As the Dust Settles

Chapter Three: Beginnings

Han sat on the edge of their bed and watched the door of the 'fresher for a little while. Unsure just how comfortable he should make himself, he began to kick his boots off and remove his holdout blaster from around his ankle. When the 'fresher door slid open he raised his head and thanked the goddess he was sitting down as his heart fell down to his knees.

Leia smiled at him and walked towards him wearing nothing but a sheer gossamer slip. As all the blood in his body seemed to coalesce into one spot, Han cleared his throat and straightened himself up on the bed.

As she stopped to stand in front of him, she looked down at his eyes and gently running her fingers through his hair, she whispered, "I thought I told you to get comfortable."

Clearing his throat a little bit, Han smiled and said, "I was working on it."

"Let me help you," she whispered as she tugged on his arm for him to stand.

Standing in front of her now, Han felt as if he was watching himself from afar. As she nimbly ran her fingers over the fabric of his shirt and began to tug and pull the garment off of his frame, he felt sure that he was dreaming. The love they had shared on their way to Bespin had been frantic and desperate, and Leia had been passionate but shy and reserved. Han felt as if their roles had reversed as he swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat.

He felt her fingers lightly exploring his chest and then slowly moving down to his abdomen as the pressure built inside of him like boiling water in a kettle. Upon reaching his waist, her fingers stilled and she looked up at him. Placing a hand on the side of her face, he said, "You're beautiful."

He watched her smile at him and then followed her hands as they trailed along the edge of her slip and lifted the gauzy fabric up and over her head. Unable to resist any longer and finally finding his bearings, Han lowered his mouth down to hers and kissed her as his hands began to rediscover the territory that had just been revealed to him. Her skin was cool to his touch but her breath was hot against his mouth and neck as they broke their kiss and explored each other with tiny kisses. The smell of her hair was enticing as he buried his face in the crook of her neck and inhaled hungrily.

Their time together on Bespin had been a voyage of discovery to somewhere they thought they may never return to again. Now their exploration took on a different tone; one of memorizing and studying those places that you know you want to visit over and over again for the rest of your life.

He felt her hands on his waist and heard his buckle open with a pop as his pants slid down his legs to the floor. Stepping out of his pants, Han let out a throaty groan as Leia pressed herself against him causing a wonderful mixture of pleasure and pain. As he felt his boxers sliding down to the floor, Han gently pulled her towards him and they collapsed together on the bed.

It was slow and familiar and yet it was fleeting and new. A touch or a throaty moan would remind Han of the nights he had spent with her in his arms, tantalizing and familiar. While at the same time a delicately placed kiss or a playful whisper would reveal a brand new side of his princess. And when it was over and he held her in his arms, sweaty and exhausted, the knowledge that time was not bearing down on them transformed the experience in yet another way.

But then there was something else. Something that had crept inside of him that was so foreign and intangible that it scared him at first. Breathing a heavy sigh and feeling Leia's breath against his neck and her back rising and falling beneath his arm, he stilled his thoughts and concentrated on this invisible, uninvited guest. He let it nestle up inside of him, curl up and get comfortable. A slow, burning warmth permeated from the spot and a small smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. He had placed it. It was a something he hadn't felt in as long as he could remember.

He was home.

As he pulled the covers over them and Leia stirred in his arms, Han heard a low rumble coming from his stomach.

"Are you hungry?" she asked as she propped her chin up on his chest.

"What makes you say that?" he joked and gave her a squeeze.

Wiggling out of his arms he watched her crawl towards the edge of the bed and grab the comm. Feeling another hunger growing inside of him as he appreciated the view. As she looked down at the comm and pressed a few buttons, her eyes quickly darted to meet his and she looked down at herself and then back at him and gave him a shy smile.

He listened to her order a meal fit for an army and then felt his urge surge again as she bent towards the nightstand and placed the comm on its base. As she crawled back towards him, he made no attempt to hide his lust and preoccupation with her current state of undress.

"It'll be here in a little bit," she said as she smiled at him and kissed him in a way that made him feel that she knew very well what was running through his mind.

"You didn't give them the apartment number," Han noted as he tucked a piece of her hair behind her ear and trailed his finger down her neck and chest.

"Oh, they know me," she replied matter-of-factly as her hands roamed through his hair and down the back of his neck.

"I was somewhat surprised that you would even know where the kitchen was…"

"Don't be," she said with a quick kiss on his lips, "it's where the kaffe dispenser is."

He smiled at her and they both chuckled and then growing serious their lips crashed together in a heated kiss.

They were lying in each other's arms again, covered in perspiration and still trying to catch their breath when the door chime rang throughout the apartment.

Han lost the argument on who would have to answer the door and, slipping on his boxers, he disappeared and then returned to their bedroom with an armload of Alderaani cuisine. The couple set up a picnic on the large bed and shared their first meal in their first apartment.

"Ummmm, this is really good," Han offered.

"Oh, I know. There's a really good Corellian place, too. But they don't deliver."

"Have you even turned on the range?" He asked as he gave her a pointed look.

"No. Why would I?" she replied nonchalantly as she sipped on her clear soup.

Han laughed at her and shook his head as he looked down at the little boxes and searched for what he wanted to try next.

"What? I'm not going to cook for just me."

"Right," he chuckled as he broke off a piece of bread and popped it in his mouth.

"I can cook, you know," she protested as she took a sip of her carbonated beverage.

Reaching out to her and taking the beverage from her hand, Han said, "Oh, I know," right before he took a long sip of the drink himself.

"That range on the Falcon is faulty!" she argued vehemently.

Han finished swallowing his drink and then reaching behind him to set the cup on the nightstand he turned around and said, "I've got no problem with it. Chewie's got…"

"You and Chewie can press a button in the cockpit that'll flush the toilet in your cabin. I don't want to hear about what you two can do on the Falcon."

"How do you know about that?" Han laughed and then Leia joined him before she leaned towards him and gave him a deep, delicious kiss.

As she pulled away from him and looked him in the eyes he licked his lips and said, "Oh, what is that? That's spicy."

Leia looked down at the tiny box of noodles in front of her and then twirled several noodles around her fork and offered it to Han. He closed his eyes and let out a delightful, "ummmmm." When he opened his eyes Leia was watching him and he winked at her, which snapped her out of her trance and they both continued to finish their meal.

Han had cleaned off the bed while Leia went to the 'fresher. When she walked back into their room she was pulling a thin night gown over her head and she met his eyes as the material slid down her body and stopped above her knees.

Walking into his arms she said, "You know, we should probably talk about your meeting with the New Republic tomorrow," as she played with the hair on his chest.

Han sighed as he kissed the top of her head and then pulling away from her he said, "C'mon," as he grabbed her hand and led her towards their family room, "Tell me whatcha got."

Leia followed him silently which Han took as a bad sign. He imagined good news would be spilling out of her like an overturned whiskey bottle. The uncertainty of what he would do with himself in this new life of theirs was not something that hadn't crossed his mind in the last six months, it was just that other worries had taken precedence. Worries that now seemed, thankfully, unfounded. If during his absence Leia had determined that they would be living together, Han was more than sure that she had been doing some reconnaissance work of her own on a possible career option for the reformed smuggler.

He plopped himself down on the sofa and was surprised when Leia opted to straddle on top of him so that they sat face-to-face. She could get me to agree to anything in this position, Han thought to himself and then worried that there could be a little too much truth in that thought as he watched Leia looking at him in that way she looked when she was searching for words to say. As far as he could tell, he was about the only person in the galaxy that could give pause to Leia Organa. Sometimes that was a good thing, sometimes it was not.

She took her hand and moved his bangs off of his forehead and then trailed her fingers down the side of his face, ending up with tracing her forefinger over the scar on his chin as she said, "There is a position that I hoped you might be interested in."

Somewhat nervous but also somewhat relieved, Han replied, "Well, if it's anything like this position, you've got me sold," as he ran his hands up her thighs.

She smiled at him but it was a half-hearted attempt. She was ready to be serious so he immediately complied as he added, "So, tell me about it."

"Well, they've played around with the title a bit, but currently it's being called the Galactic Trade Commissioner."

"Does it come with a cape?"

Leia laughed in spite of herself and then said, "I know. But the title doesn't matter. I really think the responsibilities of the role might interest you."

"Alright, I'm listening."

And Han did listen as Leia explained the role of Galactic Trade Commissioner. The role would oversee the galactic trade lanes; it would deal directly with the trade federation in setting up the by-laws, taxation and policing of basically everything and anything that entailed moving goods from planet to planet.

"So, basically I would be the guy that all the smugglers would be griping about and blaming for all the ills in their lives."

"Not if the job is done correctly and justly. You could make it possible for smugglers to make an honest living. To get paid above the board for what they do and not have to resort to working for the Hutts to earn a decent living."

"That's a tall order, sweetheart. And…" Leia opened her mouth to interrupt him but he pressed on, "And, I don't care how fair and just the system is, there will always be smuggling going on."

"For illegal contraband, yes, but it's so bad out there now that we have pilots smuggling food and house wares." Leia let out a long sigh of disappointment as she dropped her eyes down away from his. That didn't go unnoticed by Han.

"Sweetheart, I'm not saying the job doesn't sound interesting to me," she looked up at him and he continued, "I just want to be sure I know what I'm getting myself into and what the New Republic is going to expect from a role like this. I won't become some sort of hypocrite."

"I know that," she said as she leaned in and kissed him, "Don't you think I know that?"

"I know you know that, it's High Command I'm worried about."

"You'll have to outline your own expectations. I only thought the role sounded well-suited for you. I don't know what kind of latitude it would be given or what you would expect."

"Okay, it does sound interesting. At least I can have thought about some of that before my meeting tomorrow."

"Exactly, and…"

"How did I know there would be an and?" Han teased as he smiled at her.

"And, the Galactic Trade Commissioner would just so happen to have to work very closely with the Ambassador-At-Large," she said as she watched her fingers play with the hair on his chest.

"Would he, now?"

"Yes," Leia replied as she leaned into him and began to kiss a trail along his neck, "trade talks are usually at the forefront of petitioning star systems as well as established members." And then as she nibbled on his ear she added, "The commissioner would most probably accompany me on all of my off-planet visits as well as sit on some of the same councils with me on Coruscant."

Han cleared his throat and shifted a little in his seat as he said, "I'll have to factor that in to my decision."

Leia pulled back from him and asked curiously, "As a pro or a con?"

"Exactly," he chuckled as he pulled her towards him and captured her mouth in a kiss.