Lando's Bad Night
by Alex Service
Luke said mournfully, "I bet I'll never get a girlfriend again."
There wasn't much one could say to that. Anyway, Lando didn't really feel up to being encouraging. He was paying more attention to the sudden and very alarming uneasiness of his stomach. Things were definitely writhing around in there, making it quite clear that they wanted to get out. Lando tried to think settling thoughts, but the various drinks he'd been swigging still felt to him like an encounter of matter and antimatter.
I'll never learn, will I? he wondered. Tarian ale, Sargassi wine and Port Amalasa cider. Stupid. Well, no one had ever said that Lando Clarissian was a man who learned from his mistakes.
Trying heroically to ignore the acrobatics of his stomach, Lando said, "Hell, Luke, don't talk like that. Sure you will. So you've hit a dry patch now; so what? You'll come out of it."
Unless, of course, Lando thought, feeling suddenly tragic, you're turning into a loser like me. When did everything go wrong? I used to think I was such an eligible bachelor. Now I just seem to be terminally single.
Stop it. The drink's making you maudlin. If he were a bit more sober and his stomach wasn't swearing at him, Lando would have chatted up one of those cute little waitresses at the bar, to reassure himself that he hadn't lost the knack. But this was clearly not his night for it. He was dead tired, anyway, apart from everything else. He'd dragged himself out of bed at some obscene hour so he could get to the spaceport on time to ferry Leia and Luke and Han and Chewie to this wretched conference. They'd asked him to loan them his ship, since the Sargaassa were a species very focused on appearances, and the Falcon, bless her rusty hull, was not the ship best calculated to impress them. No way was Lando letting Han borrow a ship of his, though, not even with Chewbacca there to keep an eye on him. So, like an idiot, he'd volunteered to fly them here, and now he was stuck for three days at Sargassa Central Spacestation, with bugger-all to do, since the damned suspicious Sargassa hadn't granted him a permit to visit any other portion of their delightful planet. He scowled and swallowed another gulp of his cider and then wished he hadn't.
Luke was saying, "I just don't understand what's wrong with us. So many people I know aren't in lasting relationships. What are we doing wrong? I mean, look at me. I'm twenty-five now. Lots of people are married with kids by that age, and I can't even get a girl for one night!"
Well, you could, Luke, if you paid for it, Lando thought, but he wasn't going to suggest that to his straight-laced young friend. Twenty-five, hunh? My heart is bleeding for you. I'm thirty-seven, with no woman and no immediate prospect of getting one, so don't expect any sympathy from me.
But of course he didn't say that, either. Instead, he offered the hypothesis, "Hey, come on, when does anyone we know have time for relationships? I mean, we are saving the galaxy every other week. Give yourself a break, kid. Heroes of the Republic can't spend every waking hour hunting down the perfect girlfriend."
Luke sighed. "Any girlfriend would do." Then Luke's eyes narrowed and he looked at Lando and frowned in focused concern instead of general depression. "You all right?"
"No," Lando admitted. "My drinks are coming back to haunt me."
"Why don't we go?" offered Luke, although Luke's own pint was far from being finished.
"Nahh, it's okay. I should live long enough for you to finish that."
"No way. I don't want to carry you back to the room. Let's go."
With relief, Lando gave up arguing. The prospect of bed sounded very attractive. If only he could get to sleep without detouring to puke his guts up, all would be well. He might even like the look of Sargassa bloody Central Spacestation, after a nice thirteen hours or so of sleep.
They left the bar and wended their way down the corridor. Lando wondered if Luke was drunk, too, and that explained why he wasn't walking in anything close to a straight line, or whether it was just Lando's own eyesight that was wonky. He decided for the former theory when it took several tries for Luke to fish the door keycard out of his jacket pocket. When the door finally slid open, they saw that the lights were on, and the three beds in the main room downstairs were neatly made and unoccupied. Chewie at least wasn't back from the conference party, then, and it sure wouldn't be like Han to leave a party before Chewie did. Surely they'd switched off the lights before they left, though? Although Lando wasn't inclined to trust his memory on that or on anything else right now.
The answer came in a soft voice from upstairs. "Luke? Is that you?"
Luke called back to his sister, "It's me and Lando. Are the others still out?"
"Yes," said Leia, sounding long-suffering, "Han and Chewie met some pilot who'd been in the Battle of Dunif, and they started grilling him about the Camarinda Manoeuvre. They're probably still talking battles."
"Unh-hunh," Luke said, with an enormous yawn. "Well, I'm sure not gonna wait up for them. Lando, you gonna be all right? Want me to get you a glass of water?" Lando had already, with a bare minimum of getting-ready-for-bed ritual, propelled himself into the nearest bed and had all but disappeared under the lurid pink and purple covers.
"No thanks," said Lando, already sounding half asleep. "I'll just die quietly. I hope. I apologise if I wake you with my vomiting."
"Try breathing through your nose, Lando," Leia's voice floated down from the room upstairs. "It sometimes helps."
"Breathing through my nose," Lando echoed obediently. He tried. It did seem to help a little, maybe. He was fast asleep before he had time to really find out.
He was fast asleep until…
He wasn't sure what had woken him up. A peculiar and at first unrecognisable assortment of sounds was assaulting his ears. The first thing he realised as he came fully out of sleep was that his stomach wasn't killing him any more. Thank all the gods! Then he started trying to decipher what he was hearing.
Weird. Was somebody else being sick instead of him? There was definitely a sort of whimpering, sobbing sound which could well be coming from someone who was embracing the toilet. But, as his sense of direction returned to him, he realised that the whimpering wasn't coming from the loo, but rather from the balcony above them.
Oh, hell. From the balcony that had nothing on it except one nice big double bed.
The other noise was nearer, sounding as if it were a few inches away from his ear. A deep, guttural roaring, with an almost musical progression to it, the roar going up four separate notes, finishing with a wheezing snort, and then starting off at the lowest note again.
Of course. There was nothing else that could be except a Wookiee snoring. Lando had shared rooms with Chewbacca before and hadn't heard him snore like that, so he figured that Chewie must not be sleeping comfortably. It wasn't surprising, since the bed was a good foot and a half too short for a being of Chewie's height. Another black mark against Sargassa hospitality, along with the fact that they were too stingy to give the Republic delegates more than one room or at least a room in which the upstairs and downstairs had doors and walls between them. Very thick doors and walls, for preference.
Sleep, thought Lando. I am going to sleep. He had to be able to; he'd slept on ships where the engines were louder than this. He closed his eyes and lay very still, but only succeeded in drawing attention to the fact that he now had a pounding headache. The front, sides and back of his skull were all searing with pain.
He started trying to massage his temples, then winced as Chewie's snores changed their pattern. There were five notes now, a bit lower. The snores were loud and deep enough to make the room vibrate.
Upstairs, the whimpering changed into plaintive little wails, which were getting steadily faster. Oh, good, he thought. Maybe they're almost finished. He felt sorry for Luke, who certainly had to be hearing the concert too. Luke couldn't be sleeping through it; his bed was right under the stairs.
Has Leia lost her mind? She's got to know that her easily-shocked little brother is getting an earful of this. Han, I'd expect to be an inconsiderate lout, but not our genteel Princess Leia. He supposed she was probably slightly drunk, and maybe she'd been half asleep when this started, but shit, she certainly wasn't asleep now. Neither was anyone else in the vicinity, except, of course, Chewbacca.
A particularly anguished, high-pitched moan drifted down the stairs, and Lando thought, right, that's got to be it. Now all he had to contend with was Chewie's snoring, which at least wasn't embarrassing. He sighed, rolled over so he was marginally closer to the wall and farther from the snoring Wookiee, and starting breathing through his nose for good measure, on the off-chance that it was good for headaches as well as stomach aches.
The whimpering started again.
Shit. This time the whimpers were interspersed with sharp, desperate gasps. Leia sounded like a tiny animal in mortal agony. Oh, come on, Han, Lando thought. Put the poor girl out of her misery and have done with it. Of course, he should have known that the great Han Solo was too sensitive and caring a guy to make his woman subsist on just one orgasm per night. Honestly, Han, couldn't you be a little less caring and sensitive tonight? Some of us would like to get some sleep …
There was a wuffetting snort from Chewbacca, and his snoring stopped. Lando tensed, allowing himself to hope that Chewie had woken up. Surely the Wookiee would put an end to this. He wouldn't be too embarrassed to growl a command for the lovers to shut up. As Han's oldest friend, he'd be able to get away with it, without Han and Leia being off with him over it for days. Lando waited, but no, Chewie just snorted again, shifted in his too-short bed, and once more began snoring. Now there was more wheezing in the snores.
In the bed upstairs, things seemed to be proceeding nicely, with no immediate likelihood of ceasing. Lando could have wept. He gritted his teeth, forcing himself not to yell at his friends. I am not awake, he told himself. I'm not hearing anything.
Now, damn it, she was squealing. That was a revelation. He'd never imagined Leia would make such a varied selection of noises. Lando was beginning to suspect that Han's tongue was intimately involved in this process, since he hadn't heard Solo making any noise at all yet. Oh, hell, he wished he hadn't thought of that. At least the bed wasn't creaking, which was a good advertisement for the quality of Sargassi bed manufacturing.
Okay, that had to be an orgasm up there. Unfortunately, before Lando could even begin to hope this time, the wild little wails and squeaks resumed, if anything a bit faster than the previous batch of them.
How much more of this can that woman take? he wondered. She can't be human. Come to think of it, neither can Han.
Lando's eyes had long become adjusted to the semi-darkness. Pale light was seeping in through the indifferent curtains, from the massive lights that encircled the Spacestation building. That was the only light Lando could see. The sky held nothing resembling daylight. Cautiously, he risked a glance at the chronometer on his wrist, and had to bite back a groan of despair. Only 0305. Hours to go yet. He didn't think he was going to survive.
There was a sound of someone shifting position form the direction of Luke's bed, but Lando didn't dare look to look at him. Lando knew that if he admitted he was awake, all was lost. He wouldn't be able to meet Luke's eyes without breaking down in laughter, or cursing, or both. He rested his forehead against the wall, which was metal and slightly cool, nursing his headache.
This is ridiculous, he thought. So they're having sex. Very noisy sex. So what? We're all mature adults here, more or less. We should be able to deal with this.
Except that I'm a frustrated mature adult. And I am a mature adult who really, really wants to be asleep.
He tried to concentrate on Chewie's snoring. Maybe it would lull him to sleep, like counting banthas. The snoring was really very musical. He hadn't known Chewie could be that melodic. I ought to be recording this. And it was kind of interesting to hear Leia's wails juxtaposed on top of it. The combination made for intriguing harmonies. Great, he thought, I've discovered a whole new musical form. If only I were recording it, it could make me rich. Well, he amended the thought, probably not very rich, and only if I marketed it in sex shops.
A squeak that he interpreted as orgasm number three, or maybe four, reached his ears, but he had long since given up hoping that this was any indication they would stop. Good thing, too, or he would have been badly disappointed. Lando began to contemplate escape. There wasn't any balcony outside the window, so he couldn't move his bedding and himself out there. He thought about making a break for the hallway, but he doubted that he would manage to get out of the room without somebody hearing him. No way was he publicly admitting he'd been awake through this. Anyway, what would he do once he was out? Sleep in the hall? Wander around the corridors half dressed and half drunk at four in the morning? Knowing the Sargassa, that would probably be enough to get him arrested. Oh, sorry, officer, I can explain everything. See, there were these two idiots bonking in my room…
It sounded like Leia was sobbing again. Lando wanted to drag his two friends from their bed and hurl them out of the window. Or maybe he could find a nice cosy garbage masher for them, since they had such tender shared memories of the first one.
Han, you bastard! Is this any way to treat an old friend? Damn you, man, I wish I'd left your Amazing Squealing Princess in Darth Vader's clutches back on Bespin. And the Incredible Snoring Wookiee. Oh, heavenly gods, I am going mad. No, I'm going to die instead. Actually, that sounded like a good idea. If he died, maybe it would be quiet. Please, let me die!
Of course, he didn't die. All that happened was that Chewbacca's snores changed key. Lando began thinking all the swearwords he knew. There were a lot of them.
Ah. New development. He could hear Han now. That was a relief; he'd begun to wonder if Han had taken a vow of silence. But, only seconds later, he was very sorry that Han's silence had ended. Now the horror was complete. Lando could happily have lived his entire life without hearing these particular hoarse groans, and the grunts that went with them were immeasurably worse.
I know I'm being ludicrous, he admitted. These were very ordinary grunts and groans; nothing remarkable about them. In most details, they were probably identical to the sounds Lando himself made in the same circumstances. Right now, thought, that was a hideous thought.
I know, he thought, I'll take a vow of celibacy. That way, when I am not getting laid I can convince myself it's because I don't want to, and I can ensure that I will never, never make noises that stupid again.
Since he'd been following the story this long, he knew he ought to stick with it through the final denouement. But he just couldn't bear it. He grabbed the pillow from under him and slammed it down again over his head. Things were slightly more muffled now, but still not enough. In a rage he flung the pillow across the room, watched it bounce off the window, then lay back and jammed his fingers into his ears.
Seemingly ages later, he dared to remove one finger from one ear. He caught his breath.
Holy gods. Could they possibly be finished? Yes, dear heavens! He could hear them whispering now, but, praise be, there wasn't a moan or a wail or a grunt or a squeal to be heard. Now, if only they didn't start up again on another round after the break. The thought made him feel like committing suicide.
Chewbacca snorted and went back to the pattern of four notes in his snore. Across the room Luke moved again. Lando gazed up at the ceiling and wondered exactly what time dawn arrived here at this time of year.
He woke up again to blissful silence. No grunts. No groans. No snores. And, he realised, there was actual daylight creeping through the window. A quick check on his chronometer revealed that it was nearly half past six. Yes! I decree this night over, damn it, and may I never experience another like it!
He staggered out of bed, with almost every muscle protesting his decision to move. Gods, he thought. A man of thirty-seven threw himself into that bed, and a man of seventy at least has crawled out of it. He made his way past Chewie's bed, being very careful not to bump into it. He'd been around accidentally awakened Wookiees before, and it wasn't something he wanted to repeat.
As he reached Luke's side of the room he noticed that Luke had pulled his blanket over his head. It was still there, wrapped tightly about him like the hood of a cloak, with only his little sleeping face peeking out.
Lando smiled sourly. Poor Luke. At least he hadn't been alone in his torment. Maybe someday the two of them would have a good laugh about this shit, but definitely not this morning.
Lando stumbled into the bathroom. He wanted to take a very loud shower. Maybe he'd sing in it; that would serve the lovebirds right. He'd sing an entire opera. On second thought, no, he wouldn't. He had a very clear vision of Chewbacca ripping out his vocal cords, so he'd probably better give it a miss.
But, he would have his revenge. He smirked maliciously into the mirror. He had a plan. He would latch on to Han tonight, lure him to the bar, and keep him there, by force, if necessary, until Han had drunk so much that he wouldn't even be able to crawl to bed without help, let alone send Leia into her electrified Ewok impression. Yes, this plan was getting better by the moment. Lando remembered from the old days that Han tended to snore more than usual when he had been drinking. He grinned at the image of Leia enduring a night with an intoxicated Corellian rumbling into her ear. Of course, that would mean he and Luke would have to hear two sets of snores unless they could find Chewie a better bed, but it would be worth it.
Every good plan of attack should have a back-up, though. With that in mind, Lando decided he'd strike up an acquaintance with the waitresses from last night, and see if he could get himself invited home by any one of them who lived in a single room. If he was feeling generous, he might try to set up a similar arrangement for Luke.
But, before he made any attempt at being charming, he would wait till the others had left for their conference, and then he was damned well going to have a nap.
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