Contains scenes of torture, violence and adult circumstance. Reader discretion advised.
"I still don't get why they had to send you."
Han Solo walked beside Princess Leia Organa, soon to be Leia Organa Solo, still trying to find out why it was she would be putting herself into so much danger.
"Because, Han, people trust me."
"Oh yeah? Well, guess what, Princess, I don't trust people."
She flashed him a smile.
"I'd noticed. Come on, Han. You'll be there to rescue me if anything goes wrong. Won't you?"
"Wouldn't miss it," he muttered.
"Good. And I'm set to go. So is your squad."
"I get a squad?" he asked suspiciously.
"Oh, yes. Armed and dangerous."
"Just how you like 'em, huh?"
"Just how I like you."
He laughed for a moment.
"Look, what's this thing about anyway?"
Leia shot him a cold stare.
"Weren't you paying attention in briefing?"
Han grinned apologetically.
"I was looking at you."
Her expression softened.
"You really are one of a kind aren't you?"
"That's me, sister, one-of-a-kind, never-say-die, scruffy-lookin' nerf-herder."
She looked at him sideways.
"You're never going to forget that, are you?"
"Not a chance…Your Worshipfulness. Now then, about this mission."
"You know a little about it, I imagine?"
"I guess. I know you gotta deliver important information, I know I'm your head of security, I know you're gonna be talking outside to a big crowd which I don't like, and I know I've been told enough to worry about your safety."
"That's quite good. The secret important information part is the most important. If we can get this to our people and the Trianii, our problems could halve."
"No," Han retorted. "The most important part is you."
Even since the fall of the Empire there had been those unwilling to surrender. Loyalty was high, mainly due to fear should the rumours of the Emperor's death be declared untrue. And those few were making it very difficult for the young New Republic.
Still in its early days, the New Republic already had enough problems without having to attend to star destroyers and rogue TIE-fighters. The information his lover held could halve these problems, so she said, but he had no idea how.
"Well if everybody's ready," he said quietly. "Let's go."
The journey would take them a day and a half through hyperspace (if the Falcon's held up, Leia reminded Han) and there would be a short ceremony in the afternoon on the day of their arrival. Leia would speak at this ceremony and then she would retire, with her head of Security as Han insisted, to a chamber in Senator Algara's massive house where she would divulge the Secret Important Information and the return journey would then be made after a formal dinner.
And Han didn't like it one bit. If the information was secret then there was only one reason for it and that was because it was important. If it was important then it could do damage. If it could do damage then it was dangerous. And if it was dangerous, then so was the situation.
"Boy, I wish we had Chewie with us," he muttered as Leia assisted him in helping the Falcon limp into hyperspace.
"Yes, but you know he needs time to recover."
"Yeah, I know. But I'd feel a lot better if he were here"
"Why?" she crooned, flicking the last of the switches and settling herself in his lap. "Don't I handle the ship as well as he does?"
"You handle the ship fine, Sweetheart," he said matter-of-factly as her hands wandered, and a lot of other things too, he thought, "but that's not the point. I don't like this at all."
"You should stop being so paranoid, General," she whispered into his ear before standing and walking out of the cockpit, throwing him a suggestive look with smouldering eyes as she did, "and start having fun."
When did you loosen up so much, Sweetheart, he wondered, and when did I get so tense?
So instead of fretting about the days to come and whatever dangers there might be, he stood once he was sure the Falcon could handle herself and, because he sure as all seven hells couldn't handle himself any longer, he pursued her.
Grateful for the time alone, they made love a few times before their bodies and the chronos told them it was time to sleep.
But Han could not. Instead, he lay awake with Leia cradled in his arms and watched her sleeping. He'd heard a song once that mirrored how he felt. About a man who lay awake late one night and watched his lover who was fast asleep and dreaming. The man watched her for a while and then turned out the light and just lay there in the darkness, thinking that if something happened to him tomorrow would she understand, would she know, just how much she meant to him?
He lay there, half sitting up with Leia fast asleep against his bare chest and breathing deeply, a serene smile on her beautiful face. Would she know? He could never tell her how much he loved her, there just weren't enough words. But he hoped to the Gods she would know, just know, somehow.
He brushed a stray lock of auburn hair from her face and she sighed and moved a little. His chest tightened suddenly and his eyes stung. What if tonight was their last? What if something went wrong? What if something hurt him?
What if something hurt her?
Stop it, he told himself. Thinkin' like that's gonna do you a hell of a lot of good, isn't it? Get a grip.
But something was biting at the back of his mind, chewing slowly and laughing as it did.
He didn't have the force to rely on but instinct had never let him down before.
No. He must stop thinking about it. He had much more to lose than he ever had done before and that was what was making him nervous. It must be. She was right. He was just being paranoid.
He kissed her forehead. But that little niggling feeling just wouldn't go away.
"Oh, Sweetheart," he whispered. "I have a bad feeling about this."