Bile sears her throat as she spits it up, trembling head to toe. He angles the nozzle of the ‘fresher shower so that it rinses the stuff off her chest. It’s cold -- the water is -- and it stings a little, even through her shirt. Maybe it’s a by-product of the spit-up. The empty cartridge of pain meds has long since disappeared under the ‘fresher hull.
Han swears, unintelligibly, under his breath behind her. She turns to look at him. His face is pale as anything.
She barely knows him, but she does think, vaguely, that he only swears in Corellian when he is really, really upset.
“Your lips were blue,” he tells her, voice hoarse. His calloused hand grips the nozzle so tightly his knuckles are near-translucent. He’s not stupid, she has to admit.
He can put it all together.
“I know,” she says, dumbly. He waits, a beat, then two. There’s an odd chord that’s twanging in the air between them: he’s still here and he said he wasn’t going to be and she claimed she didn’t want him to be and somehow it’s exactly where he needed to be.
She’s glad it’s him, and not Luke.
“I got blankets on the Falcon,” he says. “C’mon.”
He doesn’t ask any more questions; she goes with him.
Her fingers fumble with the handle of the steaming mug as he hands it to her; her mind’s still groggy with whatever elusive anxiety her subconscious is trying to pass as sleep. There are lingering jumbles of screams and shadows in her head.
“I’ll pay you back,” Han says cheerfully, sitting down across from her and taking a sip of his own drink, as though -- when she jerked awake from her nightmare -- he hadn’t been standing there with two packets of Alliance caf stuffed into his back pocket. She looks up at him, still hunched uncomfortably over the table on the other side of the cramped storage room. If he’s noticed her panicked eyes and erratic breathing, he doesn’t mention it. “For the caf. I mean, I wasn't going to, but seein’ as you caught me red-handed and everything …” His hand reaches out and gives hers -- gloved and padded -- the tiniest of squeezes. “Say, I ever told you about the time me an’ Chewie got padlocked naked to a crate of caf beans?”
Still half-awake, she laughs despite herself.
He knows how she takes her caf. She realizes this weeks after she wakes up in the store room. Mostly black, with extra nothing, just strong enough to burn her throat on the way down. Or at least – the Alliance’s caf does, poor quality that it is. He’ll offer her a cup at mess in the mornings, like he knows she’s already made one and likely forgotten about it in her rush in the morning so now it’s cold and summarily more than useless.
The cup slides towards her over the table. She picks it up absently, watches as he teases Luke about his hankering for a little blue milk -- it’s so bitter without it, Han -- and tries to focus on the warmth of her drink and the Rogues’ chatter instead of the lingering ache of her insomnia.
He scoops her cup up with his own when she’s done without comment, every time, and drops it into the dirty chute on his way out of mess though she knows that his ship is the opposite direction.
There are no credits to be given for charging out into a snow storm, alone.
She is not used to being helpless. She presses her forehead against the freezing durasteel of the hangar doors and wills her brain to go numb.
When she sees him again, he’s emerging from the medicenter with a scowl. There are lines creasing his forehead and his cheeks still tinged with too much pink from the wind’s burning touch. He sees her and stops, the edges of his face softening, and says,
“Luke’s gonna be alright. They’ve got him in bacta for now, but I bet they’ll let you in to see him.” He looks tired, something she has come to rarely associate with him, with his flippant remarks and long strides and nimble fingers always in motion, two steps ahead of whatever’s chasing him at all hours of the day. “The damn droid wouldn’t lemme out without a scan, but I should -”
She crosses the distance -- two steps -- between them and hugs him fiercely. Her hands slip under his jacket of their own accord and her arms wrap tightly around his torso.
Han’s skin is warm through the fabric of his shirt.
“Leia," he says, quietly, and nothing else.
Something in her unwinds, despite the knowledge that Luke is still in the medicenter.
There’s a brief protest, its edges quietly blended with the awe he’s showing at her hair all down. Her hands linger at the hem of his shirt, hanging from her shoulders like a dress. Han's hands linger beside hers.
Her heart beats like a hammer in her chest and her skin is tingling and electric. The Falcon is so quiet. Drifting through space without a hyperdrive will do that to a ship, she guesses.
“I’m sure,” she says. Something about this hesitation after months of confrontation is making her want to cry, but in a good way. It’s a dangerous feeling. “Now stop talking.”
She says the words, “Well, yes,” too utterly exhausted to realize what he might think. She doesn’t expect his deep breath and firm, “I won’t get in the way” either.
Han looks so serious about it, too. She realizes she’s too tired to actually cry, to register the way her heart aches against her chest at the sentiment behind his words. Maybe she’ll laugh; she hasn’t decided yet.
“He’s my brother .”
She smiles when he smiles, and feels some of the post-battle numbness fade away. It’s easy to lean in and kiss him after that.
“I need to tell you something.”
“Tell me something?” His eyebrows crease in the middle and his hands are still wrapped around her sides, fingers splayed across her back.
She says, softly with her nose bumping his: “You’re a very nice man.”
He raises an eyebrow at her. She’s close enough to count his eyelashes when his eyelids flicker.
“Obviously,” he says finally, after about five heartbeats. “Or you wouldn’t be necking with me in the captain’s chair.”
She can see the streaks of hyperspace behind them reflected in the green of his laughing eyes.
“Not that I have anything against that,” his voice says low into her ear, thumbs flicking up to brush scandalously at her sides. “The necking part, I mean.”
“Fine,” she says, “ nice is a relative term.”
He laughs out loud, then, and squeezes her ribs in just the wrong spot so that she yelps and giggles and buries her face against his neck.
The starlight maps the space around them, bright and hopeful.