Author: Iverna Title: Drive Characters: Han, Leia, and Chewie. Set: During their stay on Cloud City, in ESB. Plot: A continuation of the scene between Han and Leia in their Cloud City apartment. Notes: I wrote this as part of a challenge - the given title was "Drive", and I decided to interpret it a little differently. This mainly just explores Han's thoughts and feelings, and bridges the scene with Chewie and the Ugnaughts. Drive "And then you're as good as gone, aren't you?" He looked down, unable to meet her eyes. That was the crux of it. He had been relieved when Lando told him that his people could fix the Falcon. The failure of the hyperdrive had brought him closer to death than he was comfortable with, and the chase through the asteroid field had been exhilarating in a decidedly desperate sort of way. But now, Lando's people were fixing the ship, and according to the chief technician, they should be finished soon. And now Leia was in one of those moods again, and he really hadn't wanted the reminder that his reason for staying with her was quickly evaporating. Looking up, he forced a lop-sided grin on his face and tried to strike a lighter note. "Hey," he said, "at least you'll be back to technology that works when it's supposed to." She made a face. "Yeah. Hopefully." The Rebel Alliance was well-equipped, but more in terms of quantity than quality; most of the ships that Han had seen were older than the Millennium Falcon, and no one would have called the Falcon "modern". "Where are you going to go?" she asked. He shrugged expansively. "I don't know." And he didn't, he realised. He had told Rieekan that he wanted to leave, but he had put absolutely no thought into an actual destination, and then events had conspired to keep him from having to face the question of "where". Until now. He looked at the aloof expression on Leia's face and knew that it was a politician's face, intended to keep her emotions hidden. He could guess what they were, though, or at least hope. "I really don't know," he reiterated when she didn't speak. "I've been too busy escaping AT-ATs and TIE-Fighters and asteroids and other critters to think about it." She nodded. "Well, maybe you should start thinking about it." It would have been a dismissal, had she been in the position to dismiss him. Her tone tried to say "Go on, then. Off you go", but her eyes said something else. They made him uncomfortable. It was like facing your own conscience, and Han had spent the past two decades trying not to do that. "Don't worry," he said. "I'll get you to that rendezvous first. But I can't stick around." And he couldn't. He knew that; even Chewie knew it, and he was much better at the whole conscience thing than Han was. Still, for the first time ever, there was a part of Han that wanted his ship to stay broken for a while longer. It stood in stark contrast to the other part, the part of him that loved open space and the freedom that came with being a man who had nothing but a spaceship and no long-term obligation to anyone. Well, except Jabba. That was the other thing; that kind of freedom was fickle. If he didn't pay Jabba back, he wasn't going to be free to go wherever he wanted for much longer. "That's all right," Leia said. Her voice was slightly frosty, but he could tell by now that it was her effort to keep from getting hurt that made her like that. He kept forgetting that she had lost her entire planet; not because it lacked importance, but because he simply couldn't comprehend it properly. Leia was like him, except that for him, the losses hadn't all come at once. He needed to stop thinking about it, he knew. Thinking about it was only going to make him feel worse for leaving; she was going to lose someone else, and despite what she had told him in the south passage, he knew that it did matter. He wanted it to matter, because he knew that it mattered to him. He gave her an encouraging grin. "It will be."