So apparently, I am doing this HLWeek thing. Below is a short written for Day 2 - Favorite Scene/Moment. I could sooner choose my favorite moment of Han and Leia as I could choose a favorite star in the sky, but what came to mind is the look Han’s face (or the series of looks) when he goes to say goodbye to his Princess at the beginning of the Empire Strikes Back. He is so vulnerable, both hopeful and hurt before he throws up his shields again.
I actually wrote about this exact moment here: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11956289/4/Never-Will-I-Ever
But here’s an original based on the idea of that vulnerability he has around Leia. Might possibly connect to the short I wrote yesterday. Maybe. ;)
He’d always had a good sabacc mask. If there was one thing he could count on in this scrap heap mess of a galaxy, it was that he could keep his cards close. No one saw anything he didn’t want them to.
Oh sure, sometimes he’d let it loose. He was nothing if not demonstrative. If a part crapped out or a system went slack on the Falcon, you’d hear about it. If some knuckle-headed pilot or two-faced informant ran his mission afoul, they’d know he was pissed. And if one of his friends was in trouble, he would use everything he had - charm, resolve and outright violence - to get them out of harm’s way.
But, those were the things he wanted you to know about.
There were other things, much more subtle, uncomfortably nuanced that Han held close to his heart.
The way Chewie’s unflagging loyalty made him feel like a son, a brother, and a father all at once.
The way Luke’s boyish exuberance brought back a childhood that Han would rather forget and made him wish it had been spent with a passel of kids to pal around with and protect.
And pretty much anything having to do with Princess Leia Organa.
What people didn’t realize was the shape his mask took. It wasn’t cool indifference. It was blustering pride. It wasn’t heated, molten anger. It was all those things. That’s what made it so damn good.
Whenever he felt that pesky little organ activate, that thing both mysterious and unavoidable in the upper lefthand center of his chest, he would throw up the mask again. His chameleon-skinned cover would take whatever shape it needed to.
He could admit to himself more readily than to anyone else that it wasn’t always pleasant, for him or for those he came in contact with. He was an opportunist, he was a pragmatist, he was a survivor. It was all he knew, and it had served him pretty well for the first 30 years of his life.
Didn’t seem to be working as of late though.
As a pilot and an accidental engineer, Han knew a lot about machines. They were cool hunks of metal, plasticine, and glass twisted and shaped by fire and air, then run by the same combination. Give it a source of power, enough oil and a space to do its thing and it’d purr for you like a moon cat.
He’d thought of himself that way for a while. He ran on anger, oiled it in charm, and gave himself enough freedom to do his thing.
The thing about machines was, they didn’t do well with water. They could withstand a little bit, but a steady stream of it would corrode the inner workings, maybe cause a short, and a torrent would douse the whole damn thing, possibly taking it to a state of no return, no repair.
He thought about love that way.
A little bit was fine. His inner workings were strong enough to withstand it, maybe they could even do with a little cleaning, get the gunk off, keep ‘em nice and shiny. But a steady patter, a sprung leak, now that could be a problem. He’d worked over the last couple years to keep the water at bay, to live in that comfy place between just enough and not too much.
But, lately, it seemed the leaks were springing up all over the place.
The sound she made when she was absorbed in a task, a little growl in the back of her throat both frustrated and pleased with her progress.
That damn hair. No matter what she did with it, it was always so silky-looking, such a rich dark color, the color of chocolate and whiskey and all good things. But, she never wore it down, so he would have to imagine how he’d untwist those braids, where the do ended and she began.
The time he’d made her laugh. Really laugh. A few months into this dangerous game. He hadn’t really meant to. To be honest, he’d been furious, attempting to plug an actual leak in the main hold of the Falcon. He and the Princess had been fighting over which way to turn a wrench (like she would know with her lily-white politican’s hands) and they’d pulled the whole damn enclosure off.
The water had come out in torrents practically drowning them and he’d sputtered and hissed like that selfsame moon cat forced into a bath tub and she had laughed, so loud and long that his anger had been doused and all he’d been left with was a bubble of joy so intense that there’d been nothing for it but to burst. He’d laughed with her, drowning in her half moon eyes and bright white teeth and that sound, so full and rich and full of life.
It had taken a week to dry out the Falcon, during which time he’d been grounded and springing more leaks than he could cope with.
His head hurt as he thought through this bizarre metaphor. Since when had he become a damn poet?
He glanced around the Falcon quiet and sleeping, settled into the hangar for the night with all the other good little ships. He frowned into the silence, wondering why it felt off. Everything was in its place, the ship was in better shape than she’d been in a while, fitted with a new converter that Leia had secured for them after a particularly impressive weapons run.
And there it was.
She wasn’t far. Tucked into her quarters off in the bowels of the base. Safe as she could be in a rebel encampment just out of reach of the Galactic Empire that wanted her dead.
But, somehow, through some bizarre series of circumstances, he felt deep down in his bones, past the masks and the machine parts and all the wet, wet, wet, that he needed her here.
Shaking his head, he sprang from his seat and looked for something to do. This wasn’t him, this wasn’t smart. He was getting attached, he was becoming a sodden fool, and if he kept going like this there’d be no coming back, no drying out.
He should really leave. Should’ve left after that first mission, that first reward.
But the truth was, he was thirsty. And the scarier truth was, he might not be a machine after all.
That would mess up the whole metaphor.
So, he found something to do, a thing that didn’t really need doing, in the cockpit of his ship. It as a tangle of wires that functioned well-enough but looked like hell whenever he opened the navigation panel.
He got to work, but as kept happening lately, his fingers felt larger and clumsier than they usually did. His focus would wander, to the graceful curve of her neck or the frosty determination of her stubbornness. He even found that sexy. Most women were so easily coaxed from one mood to another, but Leia would stick to her guns as long as she damn well pleased.
There was only one sentient he knew that had the same level of bullheadedness…
“Han,” he looked up to find the object of his musings wringing her hands at the entrance to his cockpit and the damn mask fell right off.
She was pale and a little mussed, a couple wisps coming out of her clumsily coifed hair. Her big brown eyes were wide and her mouth was reddened, as if she’d been chewing on her lip (like she did when she was nervous). And most importantly, she was here, looking at him, talking to him.
The bubble of joy burst into a bright smile across his face.