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New Fic: Not Half Bad

Not Half Bad
Fandom: Star Wars
Rated: PG
Category: Han/Leia Established, Humor.
Time Frame: Open, but early in the Han/Leia relationship.
Spoilers: General Star Wars knowledge only.
Summary: Han tries his hand at something new, and after a few challenges (and a lot of grumbling), discovers it’s not half bad after all.
Word Count: 1284.
Disclaimer: Anyone other than Lucas owning the holy trilogy is a good thing, but alas, it ain’t me.
Note: So far, my day has been as the title says. I’ll take it. Also, May the Fourth be with you.

---
He'd never actually done this.

Despite transporting liquor all over the Galaxy, its origin was completely new to him. Actually making and using a still wasn't something he'd ever seen himself doing. His idea of obtaining alcohol was to belly up to a bar somewhere, not to build crazy machines in the jungles of Yavin.

But desperate times called for desperate measures. Or something like that.

And fortunately, somehow Chewbacca knew how everything was supposed to work. Han didn't even want to think on how or why of that, but nonetheless he was grateful. The tubes and vats would have been too much for him otherwise.

But between them, they managed to get the job done, and Han poured the mixture he'd made the day before into their contraption.

Once he finally got everything hooked up and running, he sat back on his haunches and clapped his hands.

"Now what?" he asked Chewie.

The Wookiee growled at him and Han held his hands up in surrender.

"Okay. Okay, so we wait. I get it. Settle down," he said, stepping away from Chewie slowly. He'd learned that move ages ago. Chewbacca might be Han's best friend, but he still had a temper, and Han had been on the receiving end of that too many times to stay within arm's length when Chewie was grumbling.

They'd left the still to its task then, taking the Falcon on a literal milk run to a nearby system.

The trip was only supposed to take a few hours.

It took a few days.

So it wasn't until nearly a week later that Han checked on the progress of his concoction.

He grinned as he saw the liquid in the bottle. Then he took a swig and his smile immediately vanished. He looked like he'd swallowed a proton torpedo, and Chewie chuffed a laugh at him.

Han glared at the Wookiee and tried to say something, but started coughing instead.

Chewie's chuff turned into a full laugh, and Han glared more.

Then he threw the contents of the bottle on the ground and stormed off.

This couldn't be right, thought Han. It tasted all wrong.

Granted, he was working with one vague memory and a lot of word of mouth, but somehow he didn't think his product should taste like engine coolant.

Chewbacca let him go, but then followed a short time later.

He found Han sitting on a rock in a clearing nearby, clearly disappointed.

Chewbacca growled at him, and Han turned to face his friend.

"Yeah, I got that the timing was off," said Han. "It's just that we don't have a lot of that corn. We were lucky to find what we did. If we hadn't run into that old trader... Well, we can't waste it on more trials, anyway."

Chewie rumbled again.

"Or the temperature," conceded Han. "Or both. Right."

Han sighed.

"This was a bad idea," he said.

Chewbacca didn't reply for a moment, then he murmured a long string of growls.

Han's eyebrows rose.

"That's NOT a bad idea," he mused.

Chewie growled again.

"Yeah," said Han. "With regular grain. Say, Corellian stuff," he mused. "It's cheap. And there's plenty of it around."

Chewie chuckled.

"Yeah, that too," said Han, a mischievous grin sliding over his face. "Why should she have all the fun?"

A Wookiee eye roll met Han's words, but when Han stood up and marched off a moment later, Chewie dutifully followed.
He followed on a couple of short runs around the system to gather supplies, too.

Two weeks later, Han sipped from the same flask again. This time, he didn't spit or cough. Instead, he looked thoughtful. Chewie made an inquisitive noise and Han let out a satisfied sigh.

"That's it, Chewie. We've got it."

And this time, he knew what he was taking about from more than a bit of experience. His product wasn't quite like the stuff you could buy at the source, but he liked the little bite that set it apart, and there was a certain pride to be had in the fact that he'd made it himself. He grinned, then turned to Chewbacca and gestured at the still.

"Let's clean it out and make another run at the other stuff."

Chewie nodded in agreement as Han set aside his bottle and went to make up a new mash.

The next day, the still was put to work again.

And seven hours later, Han sighed in bliss. He was still only working with memory and gossip, but he didn't think he'd done half bad. And this batch was certainly better than engine coolant.

---

He gave her the unlabeled bottle a month later, for their anniversary.

She looked at him funny, then asked if he meant for them to drink it now.

He shrugged and let her choose.

She shrugged back and popped open the bottle.

When the aroma of the contents hit her, she sucked in a breath and looked up at him in shock.

He merely grinned back.

"How did you?" she stammered.

Han nearly didn't answer. He was enjoying the sight of Princess Leia at a loss for words too much. But eventually he managed a shrug.

"I have my ways," he murmured, kissing her on the forehead as he slid past her to grab two glasses.

A moment later, she'd poured two generous portions of the stuff. And when she sipped from hers, she actually laughed out loud.

Han knew her well enough to know it was a joyous laugh, not one meant to insult, but he had to know for sure.

"So, it's okay?" he asked.

Leia clasped his hand across the table and smiled sweetly.

"It's perfect," she said.

Han beamed then, knowing only two things well.

One, that he'd do anything to see that smile on Leia's face as often as possible.

And two, that he was grateful Alderaan had a seedy underbelly back in the day. One that preferred moonshine over fine wine, and looked the other way when a royal teenager came calling.

He took a sip from his own glass then and swallowed slowly, trying to savor the taste of the liquor.

The stuff really wasn't half bad. It had a spicy background he wasn't used to, but it was growing on him.

He'd only planned on making this one batch, as a special gift, but as he saw Leia's eyes slip closed, his mind began to wander. He wondered if he could find that trader again. The one who had Alderaanian corn grown from seeds shipped off planet before the Death Star. The one who started all this. He didn't know how to reach her for sure.

But he knew he had to try.

Because as Leia slowly drank, the weight of the Galaxy that seemed to always sit on her shoulders lifted, and Han found himself a captive audience for tales of Leia's youth. These were stories he'd only heard hints of in the past. Ones filled with enough adventure as to make his teen years seem tame by comparison.

This was the Leia he loved. The woman who was so much more than she seemed. And as Leia laughed about someone called Cassian, Han knew beyond a doubt that he'd make more moonshine of the Alderaan variety.

He didn't know when or how, but he'd manage.

Because it wasn't just the liquor that passed muster. No, the company wasn't half bad, either.

So he'd keep the still running when he could. He'd find orphaned Alderaanian corn somehow.

And if he happened to get a few runs of Corellian ale done in the meantime?

Han smirked.

Nope, he thought.

Not half bad at all.
---
A/N: In a galactic economy, such as the one portrayed in the Star Wars universe, I simply can’t believe that some local goods didn’t survive the destruction of Alderaan. What about freighters loaded with grains, hm? Surely some of them were offworld when the Empire did its thing. And there are plenty of planets in the Star Wars universe that could likely sustain those plants. With their homeworld gone, they would become rare delicacies, right? Somehow, that idea popped into my head a while ago, and well…here we are. ;)

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