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Han/Obi-Wan fic for sjepstein - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Han/Obi-Wan fic for sjepstein
I was so good this morning. I didn't even need to come in, and I gave an hour of my time to cover a tour since we're short-staffed. I'm generous to a fault. It does leave me with a couple of hours to kill before my actual shift, though, so I figured, hey--write for one of them.

sjepstein e-mailed me a challenge, which wasn't quite within my parameters, but seeing as I've crashed at his place while job interviewing, that's cool. It's not based on any fic of mine (but will probably tie in), but on conversations about the subject. We both rather strongly suspect that Obi-Wan knew exactly who he was hiring in Mos Eisley, and sjepstein suggested that I write a prior meeting. It takes place not long after Ep 3.

(FYI, I don't read the EU--I've tried four books, and that's quite enough, thanks--and have no clue what they say about Han's childhood, so obviously, that will play no part. I'm a movies-only girl, as far as canon is concerned.)

Start 11:36.




Corellia.

They spotted the star fighter around noon.

It hadn't come in at the docks, but apparently it hadn't gone for a landing in the wastelands outside town, either. Instead, it was landed very carefully in a back alley, behind the cantina where Han's friend Fanetha worked. She wouldn't let him visit her there, but she often came out with enough credits to share around the gang. It was kind of a game for the boys to see if they could catch her there. All they knew for sure was that she painted herself up for it. Lando, who was a few years older than Han, said in his new "wise" voice--which he used any time he thought he could get away with it--that she might be working without a shirt on.

Not that the boys hadn't all seen what she had. She had to wash up somewhere, and when you live around a person long enough, you see things. Not a lot of places to hide around here, anyway.

So they were all down at the club, trying to get a bead on just where Fanetha was getting her credits, when Gartha, the littlest one in the gang, spotted the star fighter.

"Look what someone dropped off for us," he said from the top of the wall. "All gift-wrapped."

Han climbed up and looked down into the alley. The fighter was a little worse for wear--scored here and there with laser blasts--but it looked pretty clean. There was no one around to look after it. He smiled and looked over his shoulder. "She's a beaut," he called down. "Get the grav sled. Idiot pilot probably thinks he's being clever, putting down here."

Lando climbed the wall and stood beside him. "We could take it whole," he said. "Get it cleaned up. Fly it." He smiled. "Fly it right out of this place."

"Nah," Han said. "Look at it. It's a Jedi star fighter."

"No way! I don't see any marks."

"You can see where it hooks to its solar ring. And the symbols got sandblasted off, but you can see where." He pointed. "You wouldn't get two systems in that thing before the stormtroopers dragged you in."

"Someone got this far."

"Someone's damn lucky," Han said, savoring the feel of the curse word. "Me? I'm going for the sure thing. Get the parts. Maybe some other charity will hand us a new hull."

"Right."

"I'll stick with it," he said. "You get the sleds."

Lando nodded and jumped down, grabbing the other boys and disappearing down the grimy street toward their lair (an abandoned hangar not far from the old loading docks). Han dropped down into the alley and bent to scrutinize the fighter.

Jedi-make, all right. Flat, graceful, a little too pretty to survive, but probably with a handful of good features to strip.

The laser scoring on the hull wasn't fixable--Han had spent enough hours trying to clean off those black marks to know that on sight--but they could grab the cockpit cover. The engines looked to be in good order. Unless...

Han crawled under the fighter.

Damn.

"You don't wish to steal this fighter," someone said.

Han shot out from underneath, nearly running into the hooded man who had come so silently into the alley. His arms were crossed. Somewhere, deep under the hood, Han could see the faint glimmer of his eyes. "You're right," he said. "Don't wanna steal her. Just borrow a few things off of her."

"You don't wish to strip the fighter, either."

"Why not? Most of it's working. And you're sure not going anywhere with that power coupling fried out under there."

"Is that what the problem is?" the man asked, sounding weary. "I wondered why it was shuddering."

"Yeah, it's feeding your stabilizers. Looks like the line to the rocket boosters got a little toasted, too." Han shook his head sympathetically. "Rough break. You're stuck here. And I got a feeling you're not going to just take her in for a repair, are you?"

The man was quiet for a long time. "You have a good eye for ships," he said. "A natural eye. How old are you, if you don't mind my asking?"

"Eleven. Maybe twelve. Don't really know anymore, you know? You a Jedi?"

"That would, I believe, be against the law in the current regime."

"So's stripping a ship, but you asked me right out."

The man's lips played a small smile. "A fair enough point. Have you a name?"

"What's it to you?"

"I thought it might be a bit easier to discuss your plans for my ship if I had something to call you."

"What about you?"

"Ben," he said. "And we'll leave it at that."

"Han."

"Han, then. I don't suppose that an offer of a substantial number of credits would convince you to leave the fighter be?"

Han did some quick math in his head, figuring how much he could get for the parts. "Depends on how substantial. I'm figuring I can get a hundred credits just for turning the stuff over. And if I can do something with them, maybe more. Maybe three hundred."

The sum was daring, and he was probably overestimating, but the man--Ben--steepled his fingers under his chin and seemed to give it serious thought.

"You could get fifty on the street," he said. "Twenty-five if people realize what the parts came from, since they could, in theory, be traced. I doubt you could use the hull effectively, so you wouldn't build anything useful merely from my ship. And even if you could, with the couplings damaged, you'd need to find another wreck to salvage."

"Ah, we got couplings lying around all over the place."

"Do you?"

"Yeah."

"Anything that would repair the damage to my fighter?"

Han shrugged. "Maybe."

"Three hundred credits."

"What?"

"Three hundred credits. I will pay you three hundred credits, to not only leave the fighter alone, but repair it with some of the couplings you claim to have lying around."

"What makes you think I can fix it?"

The small smile on Ben's lips disappeared, and he looked sad, but when he spoke, it was all business. "You can fix it, I'm quite sure. Have we a deal?"

Three hundred credits was something to think about--it would keep the gang in cold sandwiches for a few months, anyway. "Maybe."

"Your friends are back."

Han looked up and saw Lando, Gartha, and the others looking over the wall. "This guy says he'll give us three hundred credits if I fix his ship instead of stripping it. What do you think?"

"Three hundred...!" Lando looked at him like he was crazy. "And you're asking? What do you need?"

"Just some power couplings." Han bent down and checked the sizes, and called them up to Lando. "We got some of those, right?"

"Yeah. I'll be right back. You little scums, take the day off."

The littler boys all happily scurried off to do whatever they did when they weren't lifting parts. Lando double-checked the coupling sizes, then went back to the lair, dragging the empty grav-sled he'd brought along with him.

Han looked at Ben. "You know," he said, "I could probably get a thousand if I turned you in."

"You have no interest in turning me in."

"Would you cut it out with telling me what I don't want to do? I'll turn you in for bugging me."

Ben laughed softly. "You're a strong-minded boy."

"Yeah. Sure." Han crawled under the star fighter and started to unhook the power couplings. "What did you do to this thing anyway? Skim the burn range in the atmosphere with the belly?"

"It was the only option. I meant it to look as though it burned on entry."

"Yeah, well, it did."

"Burned entirely, I mean."

"You could have."

"I trusted the Force to see me through."

"Great," Han muttered.

"Do you fly?"

"What?"

"Do you fly, as well as steal and repair?"

"Oh." Han finished unhooking the power couplings and crawled out from beneath the fighter. "Yeah. Local stuff. Hoppers mostly. But we did steal a shuttle one time. It didn't go far, but I got out of orbit. Landed pretty good, too. Why? Gonna start in on me being too young?"

"No, not at all. I simply... you remind me of someone else I once knew."

"Yeah?"

"Yes. He... died not long ago."

"Oh. Right." Han fiddled with the burnt out coupling. "You know, you should get another ship. Or buy passage or something. This thing's going to get you caught."

"It only needs to make one more hop. Then I plan to destroy it myself."

There was a lull in the conversation, and Han looked nervously up at the wall. It wasn't very likely for the Empire to just drop by this neighborhood today--for all their talk about cleaning up the crime and so on, they seemed to be real talented at looking the other way--but the way his luck was running, that's exactly what would happen, and he had a feeling that he'd rather not be there when they caught up with Ben. Whatever he was, he was someone who was flying a Jedi star fighter and faking a crash to get away from someone.

"Tell me, Han," Ben said after the quiet had gone on about ten seconds longer than was natural. "When you fly, can you feel... something else? A power?"

"Yeah. It's called a ship. Engines."

"I sense..."

"Look, I don't know who you got me mixed up with, old man, but I got no idea what you're talking about. So stop talking about it."

Ben looked away. "As you wish. It would perhaps be unwise, at any rate."

"You got a serious death wish."

"No. No, I really don't."

"Funny way of showing it."

"I suppose."

Lando arrived with the new couplings less than five minutes later, looking curiously between Han and Ben, then perching himself on a garbage cannister to watch Han work. When the coupling had been changed, Han came out and wiped his hands on his shirt, leaving dark, greasy smears. "Three hundred," he said, holding out one still-grimy hand.

Ben pressed the credits on him, counting carefully as if he wanted to prove honesty, then climbed up into the cockpit of the fighter. "Thank you, Han," he said.

Han shrugged.

The fighter took off.

"So, who was that?" Lando asked.

"Just a crazy old man," Han said. "Let's eat."



End 12:37

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Comments
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: April 20th, 2004 09:54 am (UTC) (Link)
"Yeah. It's called a ship. Engines."

*cracks up* I can so hear Han saying that.
sangria_lila From: sangria_lila Date: April 18th, 2006 02:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Little eleven year old smart mouthed Han. Oh, I love Han.
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: April 20th, 2004 11:16 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm a movies-only girl, as far as canon is concerned.

Just out of curiosity, though, have you read Shadows of the Empire and if so, what did you think of it?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 20th, 2004 12:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, that's one of the ones I read. I... well, there were a few pages that were all right, but on the whole, I disliked it immensely. I found myself annoyed that they had an opportunity to explore the place Han filled by leaving it empty, and instead filled it with Dash Rendar, Gary Stu of all time.

This is a problem I seem to have with a lot of the EU--there are so many things it could be doing, and just doesn't. And the Gary Stus. Good G-d. Lizard guy who makes strong-minded Leia forget about Han because of his super-duper hormones. Yeah, uh-huh. Buying that. What's his name? Doesn't it start with an X?

And then setting up all of these people who were one way or another equal to Vader in the Empire--to Palpatine's apprentice. Vader would have snapped the lizard in two without even looking back, years before this happened.

I did like Perry showing Luke practicing on the highwire, and making the lightsaber. And Anakin's futile quest to use the Dark Side for healing. I don't think the Force would ever work that way, but Perry is right to point out the conundrum of the Dark Side, that doing something that would bring genuine happiness would make the power go away. That was an interesting thought, but he only spent a page or two on it, not really exploring it much in depth, or tying it to the main themes of the book, mirroring it in the twins' quests, really working it. That would have been interesting, but it was just used as a tossaway scene instead of a solid philosophical/psychological exploration.

I've read much better Vaders in fanfic that no one is getting paid for, though.

Oh (deleting and adding, since there's no edit feature)--Xixor. That's right. Lizard-boy's name. See, he could have mirrored it as well, very nicely, and since he was an unnecessary character, he could have been killed at the end because he couldn't grasp that the pleasure principle always turns on itself.

Leia? She was in a place where she could have used power, and instead of being tempted with powerlessness, she could have been tempted with a dark power, and ultimately learned the lesson her father was struggling with. Luke, obviously, has to wait for RotJ to learn it, so he was in a holding pattern, but his adventures certainly could have reflected the struggle. Or Lando--assuming that there was no Gary Stu--could find himself tempted to fill Han's place, but realizing that he can't be truly himself if he's trying to be Han, and opting to find his own place instead.

And so on. That's the real trick of tie-in fiction, whether it's fan or pro. Finding the themes in the original that fascinate you as a writer, and working them hard, until you nut out what they are and how they work. It's what makes reading tie-ins fun, too--they're like little microscopes to hold up to the original, to examine new things in it that you might not have seen before.
thewhiteowl From: thewhiteowl Date: April 20th, 2004 01:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like the way Ham reminded Obi-Wan of Anakin. He reminds me of Anakin too. I could imagine them getting on well together in a better world.
From: marciamarcia Date: November 16th, 2005 03:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hee. Maybe I'm just stupid and fluffy, but reading that just gives me an image of Han getting all flustered when he comes to pick up Leia and finds her dad sitting by the door polishing his lightsaber and scowling.



fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: November 16th, 2005 09:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
HA! Bwah, if Anakin hadn't turned, I wouldn't want to be any who tried to come courting his little girl.
(Deleted comment)
moonspinner From: moonspinner Date: April 28th, 2004 02:55 am (UTC) (Link)

Late review...

"Do you fly, as well as steal and repair?"

LOL!



Emm... is this really the last of the one-hour fics? :( What about a Padmé story? [-o<


From: marciamarcia Date: August 2nd, 2005 04:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
We both rather strongly suspect that Obi-Wan knew exactly who he was hiring in Mos Eisley,

It's nice to know that I'm not the only nutcase who thought that. I'd love to see you write more little Han stuff. :) Please? :)
pronker From: pronker Date: October 26th, 2013 02:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Bouncing around tonight and found this - Excellent! - fic. The Han is spot on, while war-weary, man on a mission Obi-Wan comes through so very well. Faving right away.
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