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Say Bantha

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Han Solo never gives up on the idea of having Luke as his second mate and copilot on the Falcon, a partner in crime he can trust almost as much as he trusts Chewbacca. Immediately after the Death Star is destroyed and the medals received, they are barely back down the celebration aisle before he pulls Luke aside to start his spiel about what a great trio they'd make as smugglers, Han, Chewie and Luke.

Much to Han's chagrin, Luke just laughs. And continues to laugh every time Han brings it up.

So Han eventually comes up with another tact. This time on the third base the Rebellion has fled to after the Battle of Gavin.

"You know, kid, there might come a time you'll have to fly a freighter and fortunately for you, the Falcon is one of the few that holds to general galactic standards, at least at the basic controls," Han says, as casually as is natural for him, trying to make it sound as if he's imparting some every day wisdom to a fortunate naif. "Not every day is hotshot fighter pilot day or womprat hunting season. You could use some basic flight training in a hauler."

The practicality of this makes Luke pause, even as Chewie and Leia roll their eyes as they stand behind them, only half-listening.

"You'd let me fly the Falcon?" Luke asks. He sounds oddly suspicious. "As in be her pilot, right?"

It's Han's turn to hesitate. "Well, uh, yeah. How else would you learn? But I'd be there. The entire time. You know, because she's, uh, kind of sensitive and ..."

"I'll do it," Luke says cheerfully. "I was kind of itching to put that hunk of junk through her paces."

"What did you say?" Han warns indignantly.

"I look forward to piloting your magnificent ship, Captain," Luke corrects, with a jaunty, if only slightly ironic, salute.

"That's what I thought you said," Han grumbles before skulking away. Maybe this wasn't the best idea after all.


During the beginning of the test flight Han spends the time veering between yanking Luke's hands away from the controls and taking over every time he screws up, to waxing poetically about the life of a smuggler, conveniently skipping over the less attractive parts such as the running, the hiding and the bounties that are periodically placed on your head like the giant one that sits on Han's right now that he should take care of sooner rather than later, but he'll get to that eventually.

Hours into the test run, Han's nerves are near the shattering point. Luke may be a good pilot in a completely insane, 'let's try this' kind of way, but the Falcon is Han's baby and right now, he can hear his baby crying while in Luke's heedless care.

"What are you doing?" he asks through grit teeth, his knuckles white against the control board.

"I think the motivator is broken," Luke says when the Falcon takes a nauseating lurch toward the gravitational pull of a huge passing asteroid nearly sending them into a death spiral.

Unable to take any more, Han reaches over Luke, frantically interfering. "Nothing's broken!"

"Hey, I got it!" Luke shoves Han's hands away, which results in a childish slapping match, which turns into a wild grapple throughout the cockpit which Han has the upper hand in, at least until he pauses to turn on the autopilot, which gives Luke just enough leverage to drag him down to the deck and straddle him with knees on Han's arms, smirking in triumph.

"Say Bantha," Luke insists, invoking some sort of Tatooinese version of 'surrender'.

Han glowers up at him. "Good thing we left Chewie back on-world, kid. You'd be dangling from the drying hooks by now."

"He'd be laughing or whatever Wookies do. Now say 'Bantha'."

"Blaster. As in I'm going to blaster you the minute I get up." Han tries to make the threat sound meaningful, but Luke's blue eyes are dancing and it's hard to be too mad at him after all they'd been through together. He grins lopsidedly instead, giving Luke the same once over he gives to the dancers in the local Alterdarian clubs he frequents, seeing if it unnerves him. "Or we can do something else if you insist on being down here with me."

His gamble is rewarded. The smug look evaporates from Luke's face, replaced by a deep flush. "What?"

Han rolls his eyes dramatically. "If you are holding me down on the floor for recreational purposes then it only makes sense that we indulge in something more fun than forcing each to say Bantha, unless that's what you're into, which is fine. I'm game but then you have to do what I say next, how's that?"

Embarrassed, Luke leans back, jumping a little when his arse comes in contact with Han's groin. "Oh. Well. I ... um ... "

With a smirk, Han props himself up on his elbows, jerking up his hips and chuckling when Luke yelps, trying not to fall over. "Say Bantha, kid."

"Hey," Luke protests, his cheeks and ears bright red, but he doesn't move. "You're supposed to say that."

Now this is an interesting, if unexpected development, Han thinks gleefully. "Bantha," he whispers before leaning in for a kiss, a very gentle one, because he and Luke are friends and this is just a friendly thing although it certainly feels pretty good, if the fluttering shut of Luke's eyes and his quickened breathing are any indication. Thank the universe for autopilots is Han's last thought before very carefully rolling Luke over and taking a different kind of ride with him through the stars.

Later, when they land back on base, Luke shyly thanks him for the lesson and lopes off, his wide grin letting everyone within a parsec's distance know what they've been up to.

Chewie, for one, isn't fooled and Han tolerates his paw-waving lecture in good humor. "He's not that young," Han insists when Chewie's accusations reach a fever pitch. "Besides, bringing him on board would be terrible for business. Good thing I found that out now, right? Right?"

Chewbacca growls deeply.

"That doesn't count. When I brought those dancers with us as first mates, I was drunk. Sheesh, you don't ever forget anything do you? Come on, we have to prep the hold for the credits we'll be carrying back to Jabba. Yes, we are going back. I'm not living with this price on my head forever. No, I don't know where Hoth is. I'm sure it's some heat-stroke inducing jungle like all the other places Her Worship sends us too. Can't understand how the Empire hasn't figured out that's her favorite sort of place. Yeah, yeah ... no more messing around, Mom. Ow ... wait ... hold on ... Chewie if you break that arm we can't go anywhere. Ow!"