Beyond Alter of Waru -(L/M Angst/Romance) Complete!

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Jedi_Lover, Sep 3, 2012.

Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade
  1. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    The Alter of Waru
    Beyond the Saga
    Luke/Mara AU: romance/Angst/Humor
    I don't own Star Wars.
    This story is just like all my other stories...which usually involves fluff, angst, parody and L/M bootknocking. Don't get turned off by the beginning. It starts out sad, but it gets better.
    ___________________________________________________________________________

    Jade Shadow currently orbiting Upekzar~~

    Luke sat at the small desk in the captain's cabin of the Jade Shadow tapping on his datapad as he finalized the after-action report from his most recent mission. He stopped and starred blankly at the data readout until he decided he was too tired to finish anything tonight. He switched off the device and placed it in the side desk compartment.

    As he went to close the drawer he noticed something sparkling in the corner. He reached down and found an earring…Mara's earring. A sad smile crossed his face. He remembered finding it a year ago under the bunk. Mara had lost it about a month before her death and now it was another reminder of his loss; in fact, the whole ship was a reminder.

    He had yet to move out her belongings. Luke knew he should, but he couldn't give her up entirely. When he saw her flight suit tucked snuggly next to his in the small bulkhead closet he could imagine that she really wasn't gone. He could almost feel her spirit within the hull walls. He always felt comforted within the Shadow. He squeezed the earring in his hand at the sad realization that in two weeks it would have been their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.

    There was a light rap on the cabin door. Luke could sense his son's Force signature burning brightly on the other side. "Come on in Ben," he said as he dropped the earring back into the drawer and slid it shut.

    The redheaded teen entered the cabin and despite the horrific events of the last few weeks Luke found himself smiling at the sight of his son. Ben was now the light of his life…the only bright spot since Mara's death. Ben reminded Luke so much of his mother in looks and personality. Luke didn't know what he would do if he ever lost Ben.

    "Dad, the recovery team returned. They weren't able to retrieve any more bodies."

    Luke gave a stiff nod. The Jedi suffered severe casualties when they fell into Abeloth's trap on Upekzar. He was just lucky that Vestara was with his son when the mutated Dream Singer attacked. It was unfortunate that Natua didn't make it out with them. She was such an enthusiastic Jedi—full of life and promise. Luke had hoped he could bring her body home to her family.

    "Thanks Ben. Contact the other Jedi and tell them to rendezvous at the predetermined coordinates I issued."

    "Okay," Ben moved to leave but then hesitated and gave his father a concerned look. Luke knew his son worried about him. The search for Abeloth was exacting a high toil on Luke's health and mental wellbeing. Sometimes he wondered if peace would ever be achieved in his lifetime. He had been fighting wars since he left Tatooine and Ben was born into a war. The hostilities never ceased, only the players changed.

    Luke sighed. "I'm alright Ben, you go on ahead."

    Ben gave his father a somber half-smile as he turned and left the cabin. Luke stood and leaned back stretching his spine and working out the kinks. At sixty-three standard years of age he was only slightly past his midlife point, but the last few years seemed to accelerate the aging process. He was getting too old for this. Fighting galactic wars was a young man's job.

    Deciding to go into a meditative trance he moved toward his bunk when he suddenly felt lightheaded. He sat down heavily on his bed hoping the sensation of vertigo would ease, but the symptoms only became worse. He now had trouble breathing. It felt like the air around him had the consistency of syrup as his lungs struggled to take in oxygen. He had the sensation of floating and for a moment as he wondered if the gravity compensator of the Shadow had failed.

    "Ben!" he cried out as he collapsed to the deck.

    As darkness swam in front of his eyes two pair of arms suddenly grab him from under his shoulders and began tugging at him.

    'It must be Ben and Vestara—they're moving me to the medical bay,' were Luke's last coherent thoughts before he blacked out.
    .
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    "Luke, Luke!"

    Luke slowly blinked his eyes and squinted into the overhead lights. His vision was blurred but he could make out the outline of Leia and Han.

    'What are they doing here? They're supposed to be on Coruscant.'

    Luke could hear the pounding of feet around him intermixed with a multitude of voices and sporadic screams. He was no longer on the Shadow; that he knew for certain. He turned his head and realized he was lying on the floor of some type of interior courtyard.

    "Where am I?" Luke asked trying to focus his eyes.

    "Crseih Station," Han said. Luke could hear the concern in his voice. "Are you alright Luke?"

    "Crseih Station! Why am I here?" Luke asked while spitting out a vile tasting viscous fluid from his mouth.

    "Luke," Leia said softly as she wiped some sticky syrupy liquid off his face. "You decided to save Anakin by giving yourself over to Waru. Han and I pulled you out."

    "That happened decades ago," Luke said as he wiped yellow ichor out of his eyes. He looked up and was finally was able to focus on Han and Leia's faces. He pulled in a quick breath—shocked at what he saw. It was his sister and brother-in-law, but they were so young. Leia looked no older than thirty.

    Luke reached out to her and caught a glimpse of his hand. The fine wrinkles that had appeared over the decades were gone. They were the hands of a young man. "Oh Force," he looked around the station. "Where's Ben?"

    Han gave him a strange look. "Luke, Ben died on the Death Star over a decade ago."

    Luke shook his head in frustration. "Not Obi-Wan. Where's my son Ben?"

    Leia and Han looked at each other in confusion.

    Leia put her hand on Luke's shoulder. "Luke, Waru must have done something to you. You don't have a son."

    Luke's mind frantically tried to understand what was happening. "What year is it?"

    Han frowned. "It's fourteen years after the Battle of Yavin."

    Luke started to shake. This couldn't be happening. What happened? Did he die? Was he in a coma hallucinating? But the main question was, where was his son?

    "He's going into shock Leia," Luke could hear Han's voice call out in panic…and then blackness.
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    ~Yavin IV~

    Cilghal the Mon Calamari Jedi healer exited the examination room and went to the waiting area where Leia and Han paced anxiously.

    "I had to sedate him when he became too distraught, but he told me an extraordinary story." The Mon Calamari gestured for Leia and Han to sit down as she took a seat across from them. "I don't know what happened while he was in Waru, but Luke is under the impression that this is 44 ABY. In his mind he has lived out the last 30 years, he married, had a son, fought a galactic war, lost his wife and was now is a single father raising his teenage son."

    Han shook his head. "He was only inside Waru for a minute, how could he dream up thirty years of memories?"

    Cilghal cocked her head, the Mon Calamari equivalent of a shrug. "I'm not sure. I researched about other beings who have entered Waru and returned and they all reported seeing visions or having hallucinations. Waru is from an alternate dimension, so it is possible a few minutes could be perceived by a human as years…it may explain the great detail in this fantasy world he created."

    Leia and Han gave each other a quick curious glance. "We didn't get to talk to Luke after he passed out." Leia said perplexed. "So, I'm not quite sure what he believes. Does he have a name of this wife he thinks he is married to?"

    Cilghal hesitated for a moment. "He believes he married Mara Jade in 19 ABY and they conceived a son he named Ben in 26 ABY."

    Han couldn't help but scoff. "Mara! She barely tolerates his presence."

    The healer bobbed her head in agreement. "I think what happened is while Luke was trapped in Waru he concocted a world where he was able to experience his greatest desires, but at the same time his greatest fears were also played out." Cilghal looked down at the floor for a moment collecting her thoughts before continuing.

    "I believe he's been harboring some desire for Mara Jade. When he entered Waru, he subconsciously attempted to create a world revolving around that desire, but his greatest fears were also at work—which was the fear of rejection. Therefore he conceived an ingenious way to get her to marry him. He dreamed up a situation where he and Mara bonded within the Force. In his fantasy they both became of one mind…knowing everything about each other. It's my belief that Luke thought if Mara could see inside his soul she would understand his love for her and she would love him in return." The healer shook her head in wonder. "The detail and complexity of his story is amazing."

    Leia moaned. "Has he asked to see Mara?"

    "No," Cilghal said slowly. "In his world Mara died four years ago. He is still mourning her loss, but now he's in terrible anguish over the loss of his son."

    Han threw his hands up in frustration. "He doesn't have a son. Mara's alive. Nobody died."

    The Mon Calamari blinked her eyes slowly. "This is very real to him. Ben might not be a real person, but to Luke it feels like he has lost another loved one. He lost a wife and now a son…he has lost his entire family."
    Last edited by Jedi_Lover, Dec 28, 2013
  2. Zer0 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 3
    A bit of a sad beginning, but It's pretty interesting so far.
  3. jacen200015 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 11, 2002
    star 4
    *Pulls up a chair with a bowl of popcorn* and the ride begins :D
  4. Force Smuggler Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    Let the ride begin again! Ha ha lol. Sorry had to say that
  5. Hazel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2010
    star 4
    Hi, JL!

    So, back to square one? Could you tag me when you start posting the new chapters?
  6. Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Feb 25, 2010
    star 4
    Hmmmm. I wonder where this is going to go.... :p

    Do you mind tagging me as well once you start posting the new chapters, just encase the editing the title issues are't fixed by then.
  7. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    Thanks everybody for reading. Since I was posting this on the temp board I will try to quickly get caught up to where I was over there.

    ~JL~

    ____________________

    CHAPTER TWO


    When Leia entered Luke's room she found him staring blankly at the wall. "Luke," she called out softly so not to startle him. He turned towards the sound of her voice, his eyes bloodshot and filled with unshed tears. His gaze was blank and unfocused. It was the same thousand parsec stare that she'd seen in the faces of the Alderaan expatriates in the weeks and months following the planet's destruction—it was the look of a person who lost everything. He didn't speak; he simply looked silently in her direction for a moment before his gaze turned back to the wall.

    Leia had never seen her brother so despondent and his presence in the Force was full of anguish and despair. She sat down in a chair next to his bed. He didn't look up or acknowledge her existence further.

    "Luke, please look at me," she begged.

    "You're not real." Luke said quietly. "I don't know what happened, but this time has come and gone for me."

    "Luke, you have to believe me, this is real. You were inside Waru for only a few minutes. The memories you have are all a dream."

    "How do I know this isn't the dream…a kriff'n nightmare!" Luke yelled at his sister making her jump. She couldn't remember a time where he talked to her so forcefully.

    "Luke," Leia said tenderly and picking her words carefully, "Cilghal tracked down reports of other pilgrims to Waru who experienced similar visions or dreams as you did."

    Luke sat up in bed. "Then take me back to Waru! I would rather live the remainder of my life out in that dream…with my son." Luke's voice faltered, cracking with emotion. "I can't lose him. I lost too much already." The tears flowed freely as he bit down on his lower lip to keep it from trembling.

    "Oh Luke," Leia went and hugged her brother. "Even if what you believe is true…you can't go back. Waru's gone. He disappeared from Crseih Station. That isn't an option."

    Luke fell back down on the bed. "I need to wake up," he muttered. "I must be in a medward with Ben looking over me. I have to wake up. He's real." He turned toward Leia. "My son is real!" he cried out.

    Leia didn't know what to say. It would be cruel for her to insist that the boy he loved and raised was just a figment of his imagination. All she could do was cry with him...cry for Luke and for the memory of a boy who never was.
    .
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    .

    "How is he?" Han asked anxiously when Leia left Luke's medward room.

    Leia shook her head. "He is in bad shape."

    Han ran his hand through his hair in frustration. "Doesn't he understand it was just a hallucination or a dream?"

    "Han how do you think you would feel if Luke pulled you out of Waru and then said you never married and you have no children?"

    Han blanched. "Stang, I would probably go barvy." He rubbed his temples where a headache was forming. "Isn't there anything we can do?"

    Leia sighed. "Cilghal says until he accepts what's happened and comes to terms with it…there isn't much we can do. In the mean time Cilghal placed a medical droid in his room to keep him under watch…just as a precaution."

    Han frowned. "As a precaution for what?" Before Leia could respond his eyes widened at the realization of what she meant. "You mean a suicide watch!" Han scoffed and made a dismissive gesture. "Luke would never do anything crazy like that. Look what he's been through already. If he was going to snap it would have happened years ago."

    "I realize that Han, but you have to understand, Luke doesn't believe this world is real. We don't know what he may or may not do in this situation." She sat down on the waiting room couch. "Cilghal said she wants to limit his visitors and allow him time to think."

    Han settled down next to her. "What about Mara? Could she bring him out of this funk? He thought he was married to her for over twenty years."

    Leia closed her eyes and sighed. "Han, Luke knows Mara exists here, but he hasn't asked to see her. I believe he's processed her death and doesn't want to open old wounds. I don't think he wants to risk falling in love again and then he wakes up from a coma in his world with his son…but he's once again a widower."

    "But he won't! That was a dream." Han protested.

    "He doesn't know that! Until he is convinced this world is real he can't get on with his life."

    Han buried his head in his hands. "We can't just let him languish in a hospital room under guard until he accepts a reality that is horrific to him."

    "Cilghal said she is going to counsel him, she thinks she can bring him around and eventually slowly introduce him back to this reality." She stretched her arm out putting her hand on her husband's knee.

    He reached down and took her hand in his and gave her a reassuring squeeze. "I guess we'll have to wait then."
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    Cilghal pulled a chair up to Luke's bed. "Luke, is it alright if I record these sessions…just in case what you experienced was a Force vision of the future?"

    Luke turned toward the Mon Calamari healer. "You can do whatever you want. I don't care."

    Cilghal turned the recorder on and placed it on the table next to his bed. "Luke, can you tell me what you remember happening after you were pulled out of Waru…not what happened in the last few days, but what you believe happened in the other timeline."

    "Why?"

    "Luke, I know you believe you are in a dream now, but just humor me. After all, if you are wrong and what you remember is a future vision, knowing exactly what happened could save countless lives."

    Luke laid in bed silently staring at the ceiling. "So you want me to help you prevent the imaginary deaths of imaginary people." Luke closed his eyes and gave a sarcastic chuckle.

    Cilghal blinked her eyes in frustration. She had never seen a psychosis so deeply embedded in a person before. Whatever Waru did to Master Skywalker had a profound impact on the Jedi, but hopefully it was curable. Unfortunately, because she didn't know what happened it would be difficult to treat.

    Normally antipsychotic drugs, neuroleptic medication or electroshock therapy would be possible treatments for a person experiencing a dissociative disorder. The trouble was…she didn't know if Master Skywalker was actually suffering from a medical problem. Waru was from a different dimension. Could Luke have been transported into another alternate reality where time had no meaning? If that was the case, there was nothing wrong with him…other than he just lost everything he loved and worked for in that lifetime.

    She ran through a relaxing technique Master Skywalker taught her years ago and then continued. "Luke, no matter what happened while you were in Waru, you're here now. I know you believe your existence here is imaginary…if so then there's no harm in you acting out this dream as if it were a real life. If you are actually in a coma dreaming, do you want to spend the next five, ten or twenty years depressed and staring at these four walls? Look at it as a second chance at your life."

    Luke scoffed. "I don't want a second chance. I don't want to start over." He pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration. "Cilghal, I was sixty-three years old. Ben was going to turn eighteen. I was looking forward to seeing him marry…maybe giving me grandchildren."

    "That can still happen here," Cilghal reminded him. "Maybe not the way you remember, but marriage and children are definitely possible."

    Luke shook his head. "No, I don't want to replay my life." He gave the Mon Calamari a sad look. "Cilghal, you're too young to understand this, but think about your uncle Ackbar. In 14 ABY, the date you say it is, he's almost sixty standard years old. How to you think he would feel if he woke up tomorrow and he was back during the time of the Clone Wars and was fighting Battle of Mon Cala again?"

    "I suppose he wouldn't be thrilled about enduring the war a second time, but I think he would use his knowledge and try to prevent as much carnage as possible."

    "But you are telling me I made up all my memories, they're hallucinations…so I don't have anything of use to tell you." Luke persisted.

    "Unless they are visions of the future, that's what I want to find out, but I need more information so we can investigate. For example, it wouldn't be difficult to send out probe droids to Nirauan to see what's there. If there is a lost tribe of Sith on this planet you call Kesh…we need to find it. But I need more details before we send out expeditions."

    "Fine," Luke grumbled. He paused for a moment and looked up at the ceiling in thought. "After I was pulled from Waru the first time…I remember going to Coruscant to the site of my father's old stronghold. I rebuilt it and soon met Akanah. She was a Fallanassi Adept who claimed to know the identity of my mother…"
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    It took quite a long time to dictate thirty years of memories, but Luke soon realized it could be quite cathartic. As he described his strange and twisted path through the years the more he questioned his belief that the memories were real. Perhaps Cilghal was correct and his mind had lived out some of his greatest fears and desires. Several of the scenarios he described were almost comical…like Jaina joining a bug cult. Other circumstances weren't as humorous, but looking back the situations appeared to be convenient plot devices to play out his fears. Luke knew he worried about not being able to protect his family so he conjured up the Yuuzhan Vong—creatures bent on pursuing galactic war and who coincidently were impervious to the Force and traditional weapons.

    He feared one of his students or family members would turn to the darkside. So he came up with a way for poor Jacen to be turned…by enduring years of torture in the hands of a Jedi turned Sith that looked like an overgrown Endorian Chicken?! Luke wondered if there was hidden meaning in that. Then there was the fear of losing a wife or child, and one of those fears was played out when Jacen killed Mara. Luke shook his head. The Mara he knew, the one who saved him on Wayland, would never have snuck off to take on a Sith alone. She was much smarter than that. And the thought that Jacen could kill her…it was preposterous.

    And finally it looked like his fear of losing his son would probably result in Ben's demise. Luke made up an entire world of Sith and some ancient super-powerful dark force user named Abeloth to play out his last biggest fear. The fact that Abeloth had Callista's face at one point should have clued him in that it was an improbable scenario where he was subconsciously exacting revenge. He was hurt and angry when Callista left him and broke his heart. So while in Waru Luke imagined her soul eaten by a monstrous dark creature and if that wasn't enough Luke later used mnemotherapy to permanently kill her off.

    He was sure psychiatrists could spend years trying to tease out the hidden meanings of this Waru-induced hallucination…if that is what truly happened. He still wasn't sure, but Cilghal was right…he was stuck here, so he should make the best of it.

    After he finished describing his life after Waru, Luke was thankful that Cilghal excused herself to make some notes.

    He was tired—more tired then he's been in his entire life. He closed his eyes and prayed for dreamless sleep.
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    Medical Notes
    Subject: Master Luke Skywalker
    Dictated: Cilghal

    It has been over a week since Master Skywalker was pulled from the creature named Waru. When he was first brought to me he was experiencing what I perceived as a dissociative disorder. Master Skywalker believed he lived to the year 44 ABY prior to finding himself back on Crseih Station in the year 14 ABY. In his mind he had married Mara Jade and had a son named Ben. Mara died in 40 ABY and for the next 4 years Master Skywalker raised his son alone.

    Upon waking up in 14 ABY, Master Skywalker has been mainly concerned about the fate of his son, Ben. He is very distraught at the thought that the young man never existed. He has not asked to see Mara Jade, although he knows she exists in this reality. I believe seeing her would only serve to distress him further. I have contacted Talon Karrde and have cancelled the Academy's shipping contract with the company. This should prevent Mara Jade from inadvertently running into Master Skywalker and upsetting him further. If Master Skywalker asks to see her I will consult with Mara Jade at that time.

    Master Skywalker is slowly accepting the fact that he is experiencing false memories due to his experience with Waru. I will attempt to slowly assimilate him back to his teaching duties at the Academy. I believe keeping his mind occupied and focused on something other than his son Ben will help the Jedi Master adapt to his current circumstances.

    Draconarius likes this.
  8. jacen200015 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 11, 2002
    star 4
  9. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    CHAPTER THREE

    Wild Karrde Shuttle: Hydian Way Run

    "What do you mean my shipping contract to the Academy was cancelled?" Mara Jade spat out angrily.

    "I'm sorry Mara," Talon Karrde's voice came over the ship's radio. "There was no explanation, only regrets and a cancelation. I eventually was able to talk to the supply clerk and even she wasn't sure what was going on. She said the order came from the top…I assume Skywalker. We can figure this out later. You might as well come back to the Wild Karrde."

    "I'll be back as soon as I talk to Skywalker. He's not getting out of paying for this current shipment," Mara snarled. "Jade out!"

    She snapped the radio off abruptly. She couldn't believe Skywalker would renege on a contract at the last minute! She paid for the cargo upfront and if she had to find another buyer at the last minute it was going to cut deep into her bottom line. Did he think ship fuel was cheap? She had been running supplies out to that backwater rimworld Academy for a little above cost—just to help him out and this is how he replays her? Mara was fuming. She was sure this was in some way in retaliation for her never finishing her training. "He can cancel the contract, but he is going to do it to my face and he will reimburse me for this last shipment or he'll have hell to pay!"
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    Yavin IV

    As she made her approach to the planet Mara contacted the Academy's incoming flight operations to inform them of her arrival. As anticipated, nobody appeared to know she was no longer expected to arrive. She landed the shuttle and cleared the ground personnel to remove the cargo. She didn't need a month's worth of foodstuffs. She was going to get her credits one way or another.

    She stomped down the loading ramp and into the planet's warm, humid air. She could hear the incessant din of a million insects buzzing and chirping in the jungle heat and the cries of some predator in the distance. She didn't miss Yavin IV. Why Skywalker decided to establish the Academy on a planet that is often described as the sweaty armpit of the galaxy she had no idea. She quickly made her way into the temple and up the two flights of stairs to Skywalker's living quarters. By the time she arrived to his door she had planned out exactly how she was going to tear into him—up one side and down the other.

    She could sense him within the room…but he felt different in the Force…muted. For a second she wondered if he was ill, but quickly decided she didn't care. She squared her shoulders readying herself the confrontation. Sick or not, he was going to hear her out. She pressed the door indicator and then opened the door and walked in uninvited.

    Luke was sitting at a small desk reading his datapad as she entered. He looked up and then dropped the device on the floor. Mara immediately felt shock and despair flooding off the Jedi. He stared at her slack jawed and wide-eyed as he slowly rose to his feet.

    "Mara…" his voice was cracked with emotion and his face paled as the blood appeared to drain from his face. Mara's rehearsed diatribe she planned to unleash on Skywalker immediately vanished from her mind.

    "Skywalker, are you alright?"

    "Mara," he repeated softly as he stepped away from his desk and slowly moved towards her. She took a tentative step back as Luke walked up to her and quickly grabbed her up in his arms. Mara tensed in a near panic as the Jedi crushed her to his body. He was trembling and Mara soon realized he was sobbing her name. "Mara, Mara…I've missed you."

    "What?" Mara yelled as she quickly and forcefully pushed him away. "Skywalker, have you gone insane! What's wrong with you?"

    Luke stumbled back on unsteady legs, his face a mask of sorrow. Suddenly the strength seemed to ebb from his body as he slowly slumped to the floor still mumbling her name.

    "Oh kriff!" Mara swore as she quickly went to the intercom system on the wall. She pressed the button for the infirmary. "We have a medical emergency in Luke Skywalker's quarters!"

    A gravely voice came over the speaker. "Is this Mara Jade?"

    "Yes Cilghal, get over here!" Mara shouted. She turned back to Luke who had stopped mumbling and was now sitting on the floor with his head buried in his hands. "Skywalker, what happened? What's wrong?"

    He remained unresponsive. "Luke, are you sick?" Mara asked as she hesitantly kneeled down next to him. She looked around the room, not sure what she was searching for. "Is there something I can get you? Are you on medication?"

    The Jedi didn't have time to respond. Cilghal and another female Jedi healer rushed into Skywalker's quarters. "Luke, look at me." Cilghal ordered the Jedi. Luke looked up, but when he caught sight of Mara his lowered his head again and stared at the floor. "Give me 50ccs." Cilghal told her human assistant and then injected something into Luke's neck with a hypodermic spray. Luke immediately relaxed and the two Jedi helped him up and put him on his bed.

    Cilghal turned and gave Mara a look which was probably the equivalent of a Mon Calamari glare. "I cancelled the shipment, you shouldn't be here!"

    Mara bristled and immediately went on the defensive. "Your Academy is going to pay for the cargo. I prepaid for it out of my funds."

    "You'll get your money!" Cilghal shot back. "I didn't want him to see you yet!" She shook her head and returned her attention to Luke. After checking his vitals Cilghal turned back to Mara and sighed. "Since he's knows you're here, you need to stay until we get some things cleared up."

    Mara shook her head angrily. "I don't know what's going on, but you don't tell me what I will or will not do. I'm getting the cargo unloaded and I am out of here." She went to leave but found an irate Mon Calamari bearing down on her.

    "If you have one ounce of compassion for that man," Cilghal pointed to Luke who was lying unconscious on the bed, "you will stay!"

    Cilghal didn't intimidate Mara, but the fact that the Jedi healer was so incensed that she would actually attempt to do so made Mara pause. Something was definitely wrong here.

    "Okay," she said slowly still bristling from the confrontation. "I'll stay for a while," she looked over to Luke. "What's with Skywalker?"

    The Mon Calamari went over to Luke and gazed down on him. "I gave him a mild sedative. He's been under tremendous stress the last week. I didn't want him to go into shock again. He'll awaken shortly."

    "Again?" Mara said confused. "What the kriff is going on?"

    Cilghal let out an exasperated breath. She turned to her assistant. "Go back to the infirmary. I have things under control." The young Jedi nodded and left the room. Cilghal pulled out a chair from the desk and slid it over to Mara. "Sit down, this is going to take awhile."
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    Mara sat in the chair silently as Cilghal finished her story. She wasn't sure what she should feel about the tale told to her. She definitely didn't want to deal with this situation, but at the same time she couldn't help but feel sympathy for Skywalker. He dreamed up a world where they were married and had a child—a world where he grieved over her death for years—and then she suddenly bursts into his room blindsiding the man.

    Mara looked up at the Jedi healer. "I'm not sure what you want me to do. Should I stay away? I'm definitely not going to play into his fantasies…if that's what you are hoping for."

    Cilghal gazed at the floor in thought. "Mara, human psychology is not my expertise, but I do believe if you totally avoid him it will distress him further. Luke understands the world he created in Waru is no longer part of his reality. I think that is why he didn't immediately ask to see you. He knows you are not the woman he was married to for twenty-one years. He needed time to adjust to his situation before he could face you."

    Mara rubbed her temples trying to work out the tension. "Why did he pick me? Why didn't his imagination conjure up Callista or some HoloNet starlet?"

    "You would have to ask him that."

    Mara shook her head. "I'm not going to talk to him about our…marriage." The word felt foreign to her. She had no idea why in the worlds Skywalker would dream up a situation where they are married. Suddenly a horrifying thought crossed her mind. "Gods Cilghal, he thinks we had sex."

    Cilghal chuckled. "Unless Master Skywalker discovered a way to create a child using the Force…yes, I assume he believes he had sex with you."

    Mara closed her eyes. "Stang! I can't stay here. What if he wants to…"

    Cilghal shook her large head. "Mara, Master Skywalker is a gentleman. I don't think he is going to toss you onto his bed and ravish you. All I ask is that you talk to him. He needs some closure." The Jedi healer stood. "He'll wake up soon. I'm going back to the office and reinstate your contract. I only cancelled it to avoid this situation. I'll ensure the proper funds are transferred."

    She went to the door and looked back at Mara. "Call if you need help, but I don't think he'll cause you any trouble…he loves you."
  10. ginchy Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 25, 2005
    star 4
    This story breaks my heart!!! (Did you get my email about it the other night, by the way?)

    And now it's my turn...

    When will we get bootknocking???? [face_devil]
  11. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    CHAPTER 4

    YAVIN IV

    As the door slid shut Mara buried her head in her hands and moaned, "Oh kriff." Why did she agree to stay? Every fiber in her body screamed for her to get into her shuttle and blast off planet as fast as possible. She didn't need a lovelorn Jedi pining over her and she definitely didn't want to discuss with Skywalker his ridiculous marital delusions. Gods, this was crazy.

    She looked over at Luke. He was lying on his side, his eyes closed and posture relaxed. He looked peaceful while sleeping, but Mara couldn't help but notice the dark bags under his eyes and the start of fine worry lines around his eyes and mouth. It looked like he aged five years since she'd last seen him a month ago. This situation obviously had taken a toll on the Jedi. She didn't know what to say to him when he woke up, but she did know it was going to be an awkward conversation.

    She sat in his room quietly, anxiously waiting for him to wake up. Eventually his eyelids began to flutter. Slowly his blue eyes opened and his gaze fell across her face. At first he smiled widely then the smile faltered and he closed his eyes tightly. "I'm sorry for my behavior Mara," he said quietly.

    She lowered her head, looking at the floor. "Cilghal told me what happened. She asked me to talk to you."

    She looked up at him waiting for the uncomfortable conversation to begin. When he opened his eyes she could feel a wave of conflicting emotions radiating off of him—love, loss, pain and…hope.

    Luke tried to sit up, but waivered and laid back down again. "The medication hasn't quite worn off yet."

    Mara sighed deeply. "Skyw…Luke, what can I do to help you?" When he looked at her there was so much pain in his eyes that Mara had to look away.

    Luke rolled onto his back and stared at the ceiling. "I don't think there is anything you can do. Cilghal is doing some research to see if anything I remember could be a Force vision. My sister is going to send probe droids to various planets to see if anything I recall is actually there."

    Mara hesitated. "What if they are Force visions?"

    "If we find the enemies I remember, we'll have to find a way to deal with them."

    Mara rolled her eyes in frustration. "I mean about…us."

    Luke shrugged. "I assume the will of the Force will play out."

    Mara scoffed. "You mean we'll get married and have a child?"

    He turned and looked at her sadly. "Is that scenario so bad?"

    Mara shook her head and looked away. "It's nothing personal. I'm sure you'd make a great husband and father someday. Just not with me. Luke, you have to understand…we've never dated and we can barely tolerate each other."

    "No, you barely tolerate me," Luke corrected her. "I always enjoyed your company."

    Mara snorted. "Oh like the time I forced you at blaster point to trudge through the Myrkr forest."

    Luke gave a small smile. "Yes."

    Mara shook her head. "Then you're a glutton for punishment."

    They both sat silently, not knowing what should be said about the situation. Mara fidgeted in her chair uneasily before she broke the silence. "Cilghal asked me to talk to you and I did. I really should get back to the shuttle. I have two more runs to do."

    "Can I go with you?" Luke asked with a hopeful look on his face. "I need to get away from here…and I miss your company. I know you don't want to hear that, but I do. In my world I have grieved over your death for the last four years. Only our son kept me going…and now I don't have him."

    Mara closed her eyes in exasperation. "This is just too strange for me. You are talking about our son like he's a real person."

    She wished she could take back that comment as soon as she said it. The pained expression that crossed his face was heartbreaking. "He's real to me. I have 18 years of memories with my son…I love him very much…as much as I loved you." Luke rolled over so he was not facing Mara any longer. "You're right…this situation is too difficult…for you and me. Maybe you should go."

    Mara didn't move to leave. She stared at her friend lying in bed. He was the man who would do just about anything for her…she was positive he would die for her…and all he was asking was a little time together. It would be selfish of her to deny him a little bit of happiness after what he lost...or what he believed he lost. "Would Cilghal clear you to leave with me?"

    Luke turned toward her and smiled. "I think she would…as long as you promise not to shoot me out the airlock if I slip up and accidently call you 'love'."

    "Ack, you would call me that?" Mara screwed up her face.

    Luke chuckled. "You used to call me 'husband mine'"

    Mara laughed. "What? Did my brain suddenly go soft after I married you? Why did you conjure up such an insipid term of endearment?"

    Luke slowly sat up. "Assuming it was all a dream, my overly active imagination conjured up a lot of interesting things that you said and did in my world, but I better not tell you lest you impale me with your lightsaber." He gave her a nostalgic smile.

    Mara blushed under his gaze. "Skywalker, you better not be imagining me naked or something."

    Luke chuckled and mumbled softly. "Too late."

    Mara rose out of her seat flustered. "That's it. This is not going to work."

    Luke stood up, still a little shaky on his feet. "Please Mara, I'll be good. Take me with you. I'm going barvy here. All I can think about is getting back to my son." Luke hesitated for a moment as he nervously chewed on his lower lip looking distressed. "But if Cilghal is right, that's never going to happen. I need something to distract me from these obsessive thoughts…and nobody could ever distract me as much as you."

    Mara snickered. "Thanks," she said sardonically.

    He gave her a small piteous smile. "Please Mara. I need to get away."

    She knew she shouldn't, but she couldn't turn down those pleading blue eyes.

    "Okay, but no funny business."

    Luke put his hand over his heart and bowed his head. "I promise—Jedi honor."

    Mara rolled her eyes. "Get packed and meet me at the shuttle. Meanwhile I'll let Cilghal know."
    .
    .
    .

    Luke arrived at the shuttle with a travel bag and an eager grin on his face. He was wearing his ubiquitous black outfit, which consisted of form fitting trousers over polished black boots and a moisture wicking compression shirt. It was an outfit that did nothing to hide Luke's muscular and compact physique. Mara had to grudgingly admit, Skywalker may be irritating, but he was easy on the eyes.

    "Is that all your luggage?"

    "I pack light," he held up the bag as he moved toward the boarding ramp. "Which cabin should I put it in?"

    Mara shook her head and gave him a cynical look. "There's only one cabin on this shuttle, I thought we would take shifts sleeping.

    Luke looked bewildered. "Isn't there a top bunk on this shuttle…for pilot and co-pilot?"

    "You are not sleeping in the same cabin with me Skywalker."

    He raised an eyebrow. "Why not, we slept near each other on Myrkr and Wayland."

    Mara's eyes narrowed. "While we were on Myrkr and Wayland you didn't believe you had sex with me on a daily basis for twenty years!" she shot back.

    "Mara, what do you think I'm going to do?" he scoffed at the inference. "And anyway we didn't have sex on a daily basis…sometimes we were separated during missions." Luke grinned. "But we made up for those missed days when we got back together."

    "See!" Mara threw her hands up in the air. "This is why I don't want you sleeping in the same room…you are not the same person. The Luke I knew wouldn't say something so…bold."

    Luke chuckled. "I know…I act too familiar around you. I'm sorry. It's just we were so close in my other reality that we could always joke and tease each other. It is going to be difficult for me to treat you formally."

    Mara rolled her eyes and then abruptly turned and walked up the boarding ramp. "Just get on board Skywalker before I change my mind and leave you on this rotting, Jedi-infested, jungle moon."

    Luke hurried up the ramp and tossed his bag in the lone cabin. He then took the co-pilot seat next to Mara. "Where are we going?"

    Mara gave Luke an irritated look. "We're going to Taris and then to Chandrila for a pick-up. Then I rendezvous with the Wild Karrde orbiting Coruscant."

    Luke buckled up his crash webbing. "That sounds like fun."

    "Maybe for you. To me it sounds like I'm going to be trapped with you in a small shuttle for almost two weeks."

    He gave her an unflinching look. "We haven't taken off yet. If you dread being around me, then I should go." He unbuckled his restraints and stood to leave. "The last thing I want to do is make you unhappy Mara." He looked at her sadly. "I have a feeling that happiness will elude me for quite some time, but there's no reason for you to be miserable also."

    "Stang Skywalker! Sit down." She glared at him. "If you leave now…I'll just feel guilty. I swear—you are the only person in the Galaxy that can bring out that particular emotion in me."

    Luke hesitated. "Don't feel guilty. You had nothing to do with my situation."

    "Luke, sit down." Mara snapped at him, but then her demeanor softened. "I don't mind your company. In fact, sometimes I enjoy being around you. It's just this situation makes me uncomfortable…but avoiding you won't make it go away or make it any better. So we might as well face this problem together."

    Luke slowly sat down and gave her an appreciative smile. "Thank you, Mara."

    She gave him a curt nod and then started up the shuttle engines.
    Last edited by Jedi_Lover, Sep 4, 2012
    Hazel likes this.
  12. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    CHAPTER 5

    The two traveled the first hour through hyperspace in relative silence. Mara did notice Luke continuously made furtive glances in her direction…it was almost as if he feared she would suddenly disappear if he looked away too long. The lack of conversation was at first peaceful and a relief to her, but now it was getting awkward.

    She decided to ask him some questions about his "other" memories, but she wasn't sure which topic would upset him. She was curious as to how the other Mara died, but until they were positive his memories weren't Force visions, she preferred not knowing the details. She could ask him about his son, but talking about Ben would most likely sadden the Jedi. She finally thought of a topic that might lighten the mood.

    She looked over to the blond man and gave him a teasing grin. "So Skywalker, why don't you tell me how you wined and dined your way into my heart…or the heart of the other Mara that is. When did you two start dating? Tell me about the courtship."

    She thought that would get a positive response, but she was surprised when he started fidgeting.

    "Ummm…well, we really didn't date before she agreed to marry me."

    "What?" Mara turned to regard him skeptically. "You didn't use a Jedi Mind Trick on her, did you?"

    Luke chuckled. "No, not really."

    Mara frowned. "What do you mean not really?"

    Luke turned in the co-pilot seat so he could face her directly. "In my reality I came to rescue you and while fighting attack droids we experienced an intense Force bonding. It was like we became one person. You knew all about me and I knew everything about you. After that we realized we could never be apart."

    Mara snorted. "It figures that a man would imagine a reality where he doesn't have to put a microgram of effort into romancing a woman. She just has a Force epiphany and falls in love with you. Isn't that convenient?" She shook her head incredulously. "Let me guess. After dispatching the droids I immediately fell into your arms and we had hot passionate sex."

    "I wish," Luke snickered. "You made me wait until we were married."

    "Why in the worlds would I do that?" Mara asked, her brow creased in thought and then her eyebrows shot up. "Oh Force, in your reality I was a virgin, wasn't I?"

    Luke turned red. "Maybe."

    Mara couldn't help but laugh. "Wait, weren't we supposedly married when I was in my mid-thirties?! Did you think Palpatine made me so dysfunctional that I couldn't have a relationship prior to hooking up with the great Jedi Master? Oh that's rich." She gave him a sly look. "Well, at least we know that some of your memories aren't Force visions."

    He shot a look over to her. "You mean…"

    She rolled her eyes. "Yes Luke, I'm not a virgin."

    "Oh," was all he said.

    "I hope that isn't too disappointing to you?"

    Luke shook his head. "No, I'm glad you had a relationship…I mean if it was a relationship and not something that…"

    Her posture stiffened as a jolt of anger flowed through her. "Skywalker, I hope you weren't going to ask if I performed sexual acts as part of my job as the Emperor's Hand."

    Luke looked down at the deck guiltily.

    Her eyes narrowed. "Stang, Skywalker, what kind of person do you think I am?"

    "I'm sorry," he muttered, visibly mortified at his inference.

    She looked at him in disgust. "First of all, I was able to retain some semblance of a moral compass while working with Palpatine and second I wouldn't be a very good assassin if I allowed myself to get in such a vulnerable position. I may have used my feminine wiles to get a target alone in the room, but once that door closed—he was a dead man."

    Luke gave a placating gesture. "I'm sorry Mara, you caught me off guard. I just thought…"

    She silenced him with a glare. "Get those thoughts out of your head. We're talking about a real relationship, not...something else."

    She blew out a cleansing breath as she tried to shrug off her mood. She shouldn't get angry at Luke. Palpatine was a monster that highly encouraged his spies to use every means at their disposal, including sex. She was able to avoid that route, but it rankled her that Luke, of all people, would suggest the possibility.

    He sat in his seat, head down, pensive. After a few moments he looked over to her. "Was he somebody I knew?"

    Mara rolled her eyes wondering why he couldn't quit while he was ahead. "Yes, I think you knew both men."

    "Both men!" Luke sounded shocked.

    "Frack Luke! I wasn't bedding them at the same time! And I'm not going to tell you their names. Both relationships are over so it doesn't matter."

    "Was it Lando?"

    "Lando? Why would you think it was Lando?" She said irritated. "Just forget it, I'm not going to tell you."

    "Then it was Lando."

    Her green eyes turned frosty with indignation. "I don't know what your fascination is with Lando, but we're not going to play twenty questions. I am a single woman. I'm not married to you so stop acting like a jealous husband." She turned back to the flight controls intending to ignore him for the remainder of the trip.

    "You're right. I'm sorry," Luke apologized again.

    "And before you start thinking about it, I just want to say it wasn't Corran. He's married. I may have been an assassin, but I'm no home wrecker."

    "I said I'm Sorry." Luke sat quietly for a moment before he looked over to her again. "I um…I hope they were good to you."

    Mara's expression softened. "They were."

    "Why didn't it work out?"

    Mara closed her eyes. "The first man I met while working as The Emperor's Hand. We didn't start dating until after Palpatine's death. We saw each other off and on for a year—mainly off since Ysanne Isard and Imperial Intelligence were still actively searching for me. That made it difficult to stay in one place. Anyway, I sensed he wanted more—marriage and kids—the entire relationship package. I just couldn't do it. I couldn't commit myself to someone at that time. So one night I took off. I left him a note and disappeared. I always regretted running off like that, but I knew he would try to talk me out of leaving."

    Mara saw Luke flinch at her comment. It was almost as if he knew what it was like to get that type of note. Mara wondered if that's how Callista left him.

    "Why couldn't you commit?," Luke asked quietly. "You could have stayed on the run together."

    She turned to him and glowered. "Because I had a Sith Lord screaming in my head night and day to kill a certain Jedi. It was destroying my sanity. How could I possibly live a normal life with that going on incessantly?"

    Luke blanched. "Force Mara, I didn't know. I mean, I knew about the last command, but not how it affected your personal life."

    She shook her head in irritation, but then realized she was blaming the wrong person. "It wasn't your fault Luke, it was Palpatine's."

    "After you broke away from the last command…why didn't you go back to him?" Luke asked softly.

    Mara was shocked that Luke would even hint at the possibility. After all, he thought of her as his wife.

    Mara's heart constricted. "I couldn't face him again. Luke, I walked out on him and just left a note. I don't think he could ever forgive me."

    Luke gave her a small sad smile. "I think he would….I would."

    She turned back to the flight readouts and fell silent. She was done talking for a while.
    .
    .
    .
    Dinnertime rolled around and the two sat in the galley wordlessly eating ration bars and drinking juice and caf. Right about now Mara was really regretting bringing Luke along. Ever since their last conversations there was an uneasy silence hanging over the ship.

    She could sense Luke was bothered by her admission that there were once other men in her life. He would never admit it, but Luke was jealous...but she didn't think that was the only thing that bothered him. If his memories weren't Force visions then he had no assurance that anything he dreamt up in his other world would ever come to fruition in this reality. Luke obviously didn't relish the possibility of war, but he did want his wife and son back.

    She knew Luke was restraining himself immensely. He wanted the closeness he had with his wife, but he knew he couldn't. He was confined in a small shuttle with an identical facsimile of his late wife, but he could only look; he couldn't touch. The turmoil it was producing within the Jedi was palpable within the Force and the tension was driving Mara crazy.

    She looked up from her ration bar and caught Luke staring at her again. He quickly averted his eyes pretending he was looking at anything but her. Mara sighed knowing they were going to have to address this issue. "Luke," Mara said softly.

    He looked up at her and smiled. "Yes."

    "I know you want to talk about things and I think you should or else this tension between us will always exist. I'll try not to overreact to anything you say...like I did earlier."

    He nodded thoughtfully. "That's the problem…I'm not sure what to say. We're acting like a couple who broke up and one wants to get back together and the other doesn't." He took another bite of his ration bar and chewed silently. "But we never were together is this reality. I have no right to think that you'll take me back and we will be in love again…because it never was…not in this dimension…maybe not in any dimension if Cilghal's correct."

    Mara didn't know how to respond. He was right; he was hoping to regain something that never was. They ate silently for a while. As Mara finished her ration bar and gave him an inquisitive look. "I wanted to ask you something. Why did you marry me in your world and not Callista? If the entire 30 years were conjured up by you, you could have had anyone, why me?"

    Luke shrugged. "Although I hate to admit it, I was very upset with Callista for leaving. I can understand her not wanting to be with me, but she was actively avoiding me…like I did something wrong. I think that hurt me more than anything."

    "But why me?" Mara persisted.

    Luke blushed and turned away shyly. "Because I've always been attracted to you."

    Mara sat back surprised. "You never showed me any indication of that. Why didn't you ever say anything?"

    Look shook his head sadly. "I knew you were out of my league. Why should I set myself up for failure?"

    "What?" Mara was shocked. "Luke, you're the galaxy's greatest hero…if anything, nobody's in your league!"

    That comment brought a smile to his face. "Thanks Mara. I guess the awkward teenage farm boy from Tatooine never really left me." He finished up the last of his dinner. "Callista was in my alternate reality though." A faint smile graced his lips.

    Mara raised an eyebrow. "Oh really, in what way?"

    "She showed up after you died."

    She knew it was irrational, but the fact that the bodysnatcher tried to worm her way back into Luke's life after Mara's death really irritated her.

    "So you found your old love." Mara said with a snarky tone.

    Luke laughed. "Not exactly. She appeared to me as Callista, but in my reality a grotesque darkside creature had ate Callie's soul and was using her form to trick me. I eventually was able to free Callista from the hideous being by releasing her Force essence back to the Flow of the Force."

    Mara knew she shouldn't laugh, but she did. "Stang Luke! Hell has no fury like a Jedi scorned! So you have her soul sucked out of her body by a darksider and then you do a mercy killing." She stopped laughing and gave him a sardonic look. "Are you sure that was your dream reality and not mine?"

    Luke's brow creased. "Why would you say that? I didn't know there was any animosity between you two."

    Mara panicked; there was no good way to explain that comment without admitting she never liked the fact that Callista dated Luke. "No, there were no problems," she gave a flustered half-truth hoping Luke would drop the subject. "I just was mad that she dumped you also."

    He looked at her confused for a moment but then he leaned back in his chair with a smug look. "You were jealous."

    Mara turned red—in embarrassment and anger. "Why would I be jealous of her?"

    Luke looked up to the ceiling in thought. "You did come out to the Academy that one day…and I have to admit you were acting a little strange. You take me flying in your ship and told me you sometimes missed me." He looked at her intensely. "Callie told me you even sat down to talk to her at Lunch…Stang Mara, you were fishing!"

    "What!? I have no idea what you mean by that!"

    Luke laughed. "You know," Luke extended his hands out and wiggled his fingers. "You were putting your feelers out to see if there was trouble between me and Callista and at the same time you were hinting to me that you were interested."

    Mara stood up from the table. "You're delusional."

    Luke shook his head while laughing. "Come on Mara, admit it, you were interested."

    She glared at him angrily. "I am not going to admit that!"

    "Mara, I confessed that I was always attracted to you. Why won't you admit the same?"

    She stood up and walked away. "Because it's not true, that's why. Now drop the subject or you're off this shuttle once we reach Taris!"

    Luke shook his head and gave a sigh. "Fine. I'll drop it." Luke stood up and picked up the discarded ration bar wrappers off the table and threw them away. "So much for not overreacting."
  13. Hazel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2010
    star 4
    Yup! I think Luke is definitely on to something.

    Let the fun begin.... :D
  14. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    @Hazel -thanks for reading. I am trying to catch up to where I was on the temp boards without posting the giant 'wall of words'.

    ____________________________________

    CHAPTER 6

    A few hours later Luke prepared for sleep. He did his normal 'fresher routine and changed into shorts and shirt. When he entered the lone sleeping chamber he suddenly became very aware as to how very, very small the cabin actually was. The three by two meter room held a storage locker, bunk beds and just enough space for a person to squeeze around them.

    'Maybe this wasn't a good idea after all,' Luke thought nervously. Hanging around a ship galley was one thing, but sleeping in the same room as the woman he loved was another. There was a certain amount of intimacy associated with bedchambers. Could he actually fall asleep while Mara slept only a few feet from him?

    Mara walked up to the cabin door wearing similar sleep attire. The defiant look on her face told him she was still irritated about their earlier conversation.

    "Do you want top or bottom bunk?" Luke asked.

    "Top bunk," Mara said quickly as she moved up the ladder at the end of the bunks.

    Luke shrugged and suppressed the urge to make a jesting comment about her always wanting to be on top. His wife would have tolerated his cheekiness, but the Mara of 14 ABY wasn't so tolerant. This was the hotheaded woman who once captured him, threatened him, and recently professed that she had absolutely no interest in him.

    He smiled knowingly. 'Liar! She was fishing,' he thought as he dimmed the lights and climbed into bed.

    Luke lay there for a long time unable to asleep. He could hear Mara's soft breathing in the bunk above. It was hard for him to comprehend that she was here in the same room as him, but untouchable.

    He probably shouldn't have come on this trip, but he just couldn't help himself. He was miserable after being pulled from Waru. After a week of trying to wrap his mind around the situation and wallowing in self-pity—he had enough. He was at his breaking point when Mara walked through his door. It had been years since Mara paid him a surprise visit, but at the exact moment he needed her the most…she was there. It had to be the work of the Force.

    He still didn't know what happened to him. While inside Waru he may have slipped into this alternate universe. He might have dreamt up the entire thirty years as Cilghal believed, or he may be in a coma back home suffering delusions. No matter the circumstance there must be a reason for what happened…but what, he didn't know.

    What he did know was he wanted Mara back in his life. He came on this trip hoping he could rekindle their relationship, but he soon realized his mistake—there was nothing to rekindle. If he wanted a relationship with Mara he had to start from scratch. I was just so hard for him to comprehend a world where Mara didn't love him. Unfortunately, he also couldn't fathom a world without his son…but here he was…single and without children.

    Gods, he missed his son. He didn't like the idea that it was all a dream. He would rather envision his son alive and living somewhere in an alternate reality. Luke knew it would be traumatic for the boy to have his father disappear, but it would mean his son was alive and not just a figment of his imagination.

    Luke heaved a heavy sigh. That would be nice if it were true, but now he doubted his own memories. Cilghal was correct; his recollections were just too outlandish to be probable. They were overgrown and distorted versions of Luke's own fears and desires. The quicker he accepted the truth, the faster he could get on with his life.

    He rolled to his side and pulled the covers up over his shoulder. He wanted Mara in his arms again…he wanted it badly, but he also knew the harder he pushed the more she would resist. Mara was always hardheaded, it didn't matter what reality she existed in. He had to convince her that they were meant for each other. These next two weeks were probably his best opportunity to do so. He had two weeks…two short weeks to capture her heart.

    'Force help me!'

    Eventually, and mercifully, sleep finally found him.
    .
    .
    .


    Mara lay on the top bunk wanting desperately to escape into a dreamless sleep but failing miserably. She couldn't read Luke's thoughts outright, but she could tell he was on the bottom bunk awake and thinking about his situation. She knew he wanted to be with her more than anything. She really couldn't blame him. He considered her his wife…it would be natural to want to hold onto somebody you loved. She wondered how long he would feel this way: weeks, months…years?

    She thought about what he said about her scouting out the situation between him and Callista. It irked her that he seemed to know her better now than ever before. He was right; she was fishing around for information.

    Over the last few years she started reassessing her life and much to her chagrin she found herself thinking of the Jedi Master and occasionally…missing him. She always attempted to squash those feelings—after all, they were much too different to survive as a couple. Or that's what she always thought. Luke didn't seem to hold that belief. He was absolutely positive that a romance between them would flourish.

    She wouldn't mind casually dating him…to test the waters, but she was positive Luke would see any dating as a prelude to their inevitable marriage. And when that didn't occur–he would end up heartbroken. It was safer not to get involved.

    The only reason she hadn't totally dismissed the idea was the prospect of having a family did intrigue her. She was curious as to what Luke imagined a child of theirs would be like.

    She was thinking about children when she drifted off to sleep.
    .
    .
    .

    Luke woke up early the next morning. He never lost his "farmer's chrono" and usually woke hours before the end of the normal sleep cycle.

    After dressing he went to the small galley and made up a fresh batch of caf. He was sitting at the small dining table when Mara came out of the cabin, her hair disheveled and looking groggy. He had to smile; he missed seeing her this way. There was a certain look of vulnerability to a person who has just woken up. He was sure very few people ever glimpsed this side of Mara. Of course, his wife hated him seeing her in this condition, and it appeared the Mara of this reality also felt the same way. She didn't even bother speaking to him as she moved towards the 'fresher.

    When she did exit Mara was a different looking woman. She was alert, her hair in place and eyes bright. She gave him a small smile as she moved toward the caf dispenser. "Thanks, for making some."

    Luke returned the smile. "No problem." He was thankful that she woke up in a better mood than when she went to bed. He admonished himself for irritating her the night before…even if he was correct.

    She grabbed a cup and sat down next to him at the table. He could tell she wanted to ask him something, but was hesitating.

    "Is there something you wanted to talk about?" he asked cautiously.

    He was expecting her to scold him for 'getting into her head', but she didn't. She set her cup down and gazed at him curiously. "Can you tell me about our son?"

    Luke was a bit taken aback. Not only because she asked about Ben, but she referred to him as their son…not 'his' son. Luke smiled with surprised pleasure. "Sure, he was born 26 years after the Battle of Yavin during a major war involving invaders from outside our galaxy called the Yuuzhan Vong. You were very sick during the pregnancy. We didn't know until later, but a biological weapon constructed by the enemy infected you. I think our son was the reason you lived. He is strong in the Force and I believe that, along with your intense love for our baby, kept you alive.

    'We named him Ben after my first Master, Ben Kenobi. He has your fiery red hair and my blue eyes. I think he looks more like you, but you always said he took after me. He has your personality, though. He is strong-willed."

    She smiled wryly. "Is that a nice way to say stubborn and hardheaded?"

    He gave her a teasing grin. "Perhaps." He took another sip of his caf. "We had some problems with him in his early teens. He thought he knew better than his parents, but I guess that is the same for all teenagers." The smile dropped from his face and Luke became more somber. "After you died, Ben became my rock. He traveled with me when I was in exile…"

    "What? Who exiled you?"

    Luke shrugged looking mildly embarrassed. "I was banished by the leader of the Galactic Alliance, Admiral Daala."

    Mara started to laugh. "What?" She shook her head. "Luke do you realize how insane that sounds?"

    Luke gave her a strained smile. "I know," Luke put his cup down and gestured in a sad way. "And that's why I think Cilghal is correct in thinking my memories were all a dream."

    Mara took on a troubled look. She leaned forward and put her hand over his. "I'm sorry. I forgot that if you dreamed up Daala being leader of the Alliance…that means your son was also a dream."

    Luke nodded sadly.

    Mara took a deep breath and let it out slowly, then looked into Luke's sad blue eyes. "Luke, I'm sure you will have a son in this world one day."

    "A son…but not Ben." Luke looked at her hand lying on top of his. He rotated his palm up so he could clasp hers. "Mara, for me to have any possibility of getting Ben back into my life…I would need you in my life."

    To his surprise she didn't pull her hand away. Her gaze dropped to the table. "Luke, in your reality we didn't marry for another five years."

    He waited for her to continue. When she didn't he understood her meaning. He shouldn't rush things. He released her hand and took another drink of his caf and then grinned. "I guess I should be happy that you haven't come out and completely disavowed any possibility of 'us' happening."

    She gave him a faint smile. "I found out that when it comes to you, Skywalker, anything is possible."
    .
    .
    .

    Luke heated up some prepackaged breakfast meals and put out two plates of the most unappetizing food he's ever seen on the table. He took a bite and grimaced at the bland taste. "This is worse than the stuff Yoda would feed me."

    Mara finished chewing on the rehydrated eggs and motioned to Luke with her fork. "I assume your Mara was a culinary genius."

    Luke snorted. "No, I guess my imagination wasn't good enough to envision you cooking."

    Mara convulsed with laughter, which morphed into a coughing fit as a bit of her breakfast went down the wrong way. She finally regained control of her breathing and gave Luke a teasing grin. "You've gained a sense of humor while in Waru, I see." She looked at him appraisingly. "I like it. You're not the stiff Jedi Master I remember."

    Luke's lips were trembling as he tried to stifle a laugh. "My Mara used to love it when I was a stiff Jedi Master."

    Mara's jaw dropped in shock. "Was that a double entendre?"

    Luke gave Mara a look of mock horror. "Of course not, she just liked me as the Master…Jedi Master."

    Mara scoffed and shook her head in disgust.

    He struggled to maintain a straight face. "Sorry Mara. I keep slipping back to husband Luke mode around you. I'm not trying to make you mad. Mara and I had a Force bond. She always knew when I was joking."

    Mara gave him an annoyed look, but he could feel through the Force that she was slightly amused. She crossed her arms in front of her chest and gave him a sardonic grin. "I thought you told me you were going to be good? You said Jedi honor."

    "I will Mara." He placed his hand over his chest. "From here forward."

    Mara huffed and continued eating. After a few moments she looked back up at him.

    "So your Mara didn't cook, but I assume she was a Jedi," she said it more as a statement than a question.

    "Yes, after we married she became a Jedi, but I didn't push her to do so. It was something she wanted."

    "Did she ever take on an apprentice?" Mara asked Luke as picked up her juice glass.

    "Yes, you were Jaina's Master," he said softly.

    Mara sipped on the juice and nodded. "That sounds like a good match." She put down her glass and smiled at Luke. "What happened to Jaina in your reality? Did she become a good Jedi? Did she ever marry and have kids?"

    "You trained her very well. She is probably one of the best Jedi warriors in the order," he said proudly. "In fact she is known as The Sword of the Jedi."

    "How did she get that title?"

    "I bestowed it upon her during her knighting ceremony." Luke hesitated as his eyes drifted off to a far wall. "The words I uttered that day were not rehearsed. They seemed to flow through the Force. During the years that followed she has proven her mettle against overwhelming odds." He turned to Mara and smiled. "She was taught by the very best, and it shows."

    Mara looked away. "I'm sure you had a lot to do with her training."

    "When she was young, yes. Jaina and her brothers trained as younglings at the Jedi Praxeum." Luke leaned back in his seat and stretched his legs. "As for her being married. She was engaged before I was pulled back to this world. You wouldn't know her fiancé. His name is Jagged Fel. He's a pilot…and an Imperial."

    Mara gave a surprised look. "And Han didn't kill him?"

    "Not yet. The Imperial Remnant and the Galactic Alliance have had a shaky truce going on for the almost two decades. They helped us in our fight against the Vong and then later other enemies." Luke smirked. "For Han, I think Jag the Imperial Officer was the least objectionable choice out of Jaina's many suitors."

    Mara leaned back in her chair. "Oh really, go on."

    Luke grinned. "The first man to come sniffing around was Kyp."

    "What! Kyp is around sixteen years older than her. I'm surprised Han didn't shoot him on sight!" Mara thought about it for a second. "How come I didn't shoot him on sight? I was Jaina's Master! That cradle robber would have received a lightsaber castration if I saw him near her."

    Luke laughed. "Ouch…Mara are you still mad at Kyp for stealing your headhunter?"

    She rolled her eyes. "That and stealing the Sun Crusher and blowing up a solar system." She shook her head. "I can't believe the Solos didn't squash that romance."

    "They were extremely covert about their courtship," Luke said. "In fact I was never sure about the extent of the relationship. Han likes Kyp, so he might have come around to the idea of having Kyp as a son-in-law. The relationship that absolutely made Han cringe was Zekk and Jaina."

    Mara shook her head. "I don't think I know him."

    "You never met him. He would come to Jaina's life about four years from now."

    "What was wrong with him?"

    Luke shook his head in amusement. "Nothing now. He's a good Jedi, but Han just about had an conniption after Jaina and Zekk traveled out to the unknown regions to help negotiate a border dispute. They got involved with a sentient insect race called the Killiks. When exposed to high amounts of Killik pheromones they became part of the hive mind and turned into what we called Joiners…or as Han would call them…bughuggers."

    Mara stared at Luke incredulously. "Jaina became a bughugger," she said slowly. "What exactly does that entail, or do I want to know?"

    "From what they told me, they were able to join their minds together. I think it was similar to the Force bonding that I had with my Mara…except in Jaina's case it was a mind bonding between her and Zekk and a whole lot of what Han called… creepy bugs."

    Mara put her head to her palm and tried not to laugh. "Please tell me this ended well and not with Jaina in a cocoon or almost fried in a bugzapper."

    Luke bit down on his lower lip trying not to laugh over what was a very trying time for the Solo family. "It wasn't that bad. Han did tell me that one day he saw Zekk and Jaina rubbing their elbows and making insect clicking sounds in their throat." Luke put his bent arms out in front of him and made a rubbing gesture while trying to imitate the annoying sound the two Jedi made during their Joiner days.

    Mara burst out laughing.

    "Anyway, Han was upset when Jaina told him about her and Zekk attending the Killik Dance of Union. This involved the two accompanying the Killiks to the Harem Cave and participating in what was called the Dawn Rumble…which was a mating ritual."

    Mara's eyes went wide. "She didn't do it with… she was with Zekk only, right?"

    Luke shrugged his shoulders. The two claimed they were imbibing in a highly intoxicating alcoholic drink called membrosia, so they don't remember everything that happened. Han did say that if in nine months Jaina gave birth to a bouncing baby grub he was going to shoot Zekk and then carpet bomb the planet with insecticide." Luke managed to get his story out before cracking up.

    Mara fell back into her seat laughing so hard she was in tears. "Luke, if this only happened in your imagination, then you should be a writer. Force! Let's hope elbows are the only things they rubbed together in the Harem Cave."

    "I'm not sure what happened that night, but no baby grub was forthcoming. Cilghal and other scientists found a way to deprogram the Joiners. We got Jaina back and she immediately ran back to the arms of Jag, much to Zekk's dismay."

    "Harem Cave," she chuckled under her breath. "Poor Jaina. Why couldn't you think up something nice for her. Like having her trapped in a Hapen male stripper harem grotto?"

    Luke gave her a small smile. "Well, if Cilghal is right what I experienced in Waru was my greatest desires and my worst fears. I obviously didn't desire Jaina to be surrounded by handsome, scantily clad men."

    "But you did fear she would be involved in a bug orgy?" Mara scoffed.

    Luke shrugged his shoulders. "I guess."

    Mara chuckled. "I'm glad my apprentice did well. How about you? Did you take an apprentice? Were you Ben's Master?"

    Luke's jovial mood faltered. "Not at first. Ben's first Master died, so I took over. He's a fine Jedi. He's a young man I am proud to call my son."

    Luke could see in Mara's eyes that she sensed the change in his demeanor and she mercifully dropped the subject.

    She stood up and cleared the table while giving him a warm sympathetic smile. "I'm sure I would have been proud to call him my son also."
    Last edited by Jedi_Lover, Sep 5, 2012
  15. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    :( I am having problems with formating on these new boards. I don't know why.


    _________________________________________________________
    CHAPTER 7

    They arrived on planet Taris the next day. Mara had to make an expensive purchase so she went to the only vender she truly trusted—Roberto Xaxo. She began a business relationship with the Corellian-born trader years ago when she first began working with Karrde. He sold high-end items: precious metals, jewelry, designer clothing, wine, ale and sometimes spice. She enjoyed working with him and it didn't hurt that he had a body that would put a mythological Corellian god to shame. He had broad shoulders with a muscular build, a head full of wavy brown hair and a face that could grace the cover of a fashion holozine. Women everywhere flocked to him to trade and he would dote over every lady ensuring they all felt special. Mara of course knew the truth…Roberto was more interested in the delivery men bringing him packages, then the ladies in his store.

    Luke insisted on accompanying her to the shop under the pretense that the planet's crime rate had tripled over the years. Mara would have bristled at the suggestion if she thought for one nanosecond that that was the real reason; she knew Skywalker just wanted to be around her.

    "Stay here, I negotiate best without a partner," Mara said as they entered the store. Luke nodded and stood near the entrance of the shop.

    Mara sauntered up to the counter and gave Roberto her best flirtatious smile. "Hey Roberto, I have a client looking to purchase some Tarisian Ale."

    The man gave Mara a broad genuine smile. "Mara, it is so nice to see you again." His eyes then narrowed suspiciously "Who told you Tarisian Ale is once more available? It hasn't been produced since the Sith occupied the planet almost four thousand years ago and the knowledge as to how to make it was destroyed during the Jedi Civil War."

    Mara gazed at him shrewdly. "I heard rumors that somebody on planet discovered the secret and is producing it. And if that were true, then you would be the man to sell it. So how much?"

    Roberto leaned over the service table and whispered. "Eight hundred credits per bottle."

    Mara's eyes went wide and her smile faltered. She heard the product was good, but not that good. She glared at the trader. "I think you are trying to make a little more profit than usual, I was told it was being sold for six hundred a bottle. Can you supply it at that rate, or do I have to go elsewhere?"

    Roberto gave her a fake look of pain. "Six hundred, oh Mara, that will cut into my profit margin tremendously." He reached out and took her hand holding it between his. "But for you, I will get it for six hundred-fifty." He kissed her hand and smiled sensually.

    Mara could feel a spike of irritation from Luke and she quickly pulled her hand away. She looked over her shoulder and saw the Jedi glaring at Roberto.

    The proprietor followed Mara's gaze. "Is that Luke Skywalker?" He gave Mara an appraising look. "My, my, your taste in coworkers has improved. He is much better looking than your usual pilot, Chin. Luke Skywalker." Roberto let the name roll over his tongue. "I always wanted to meet the man."

    Mara smirked. "If you kiss my hand again you might meet the business end of his lightsaber."

    Roberto's eyebrows shot up. "Really, are you two an item?"

    Mara shook her head. "It's complicated."

    Roberto grabbed up Mara's hand and grinned wickedly. "I would love to see Master's Skywalker's lightsaber." He then dropped another kiss to the back of her hand. As expected Luke started moving up to the store counter. Roberto made a furtive glance up. "I love how his saber swings when he walks."

    Mara couldn't help but start laughing. "You're bad."

    "Is everything alright?" Luke asked as he got up to Mara.

    Roberto released her hand and gave Luke his best disarming smile. "Of course, we were just working out a fair price for the desired product." The proprietor reached into his pocket and pulled out a coin. "Mara wants to pay six hundred credits and I say six-fifty per bottle of ale. I'll tell you what. I'll flip you for it." He held up the coin. "There is an NR insignia on one side and the face of the Taris President on the other. Heads I get paid six hundred fifty, insignia…you will get it for six hundred." He looked at Luke. "Does that sound fair Master Skywalker?"

    Luke looked at Mara and then to the man and nodded.

    "Okay, back away and I will flip the coin. No using the Force now." Roberto cautioned Luke. He then flipped the coin high and behind Luke. Roberto stretched over the counter. "I can't seem to see it. Would you mind picking it up, Master Skywalker."

    Luke walked over to the coin and bent over to pick it up. Mara looked over to Roberto who was grinning ear-to-ear as he stared at Luke's backside. Mara gave an amused smirk. She had to admit Skywalker did fill out those black pants nicely. Luke picked up the coin and turned around. "It was heads." He looked at Mara apologetically. "Sorry Mara, it looks like we'll have to pay the higher price."

    "We can go two out of three," Roberto suggested.

    Mara smacked him across the shoulder. "No, that won't be necessary, we'll take a case. Have it delivered to my shuttle." She handed him the docking information for delivery and paid for the ale. She looked over at Luke who was still eyeing Roberto suspiciously. "Luke, I'll be back. I have to use the 'fresher."

    Luke nodded as she left him standing at the counter.

    "Master Skywalker," Roberto whispered surreptitiously. "If you would like to buy something for a special woman might I suggest this." He took out a small felt lined drawer packed with jewelry.

    There was one gem-encrusted pendent that he singled out and held up for Luke's inspection. "Mara always asks to see this, but she refuses to buy it for herself. She's much too practical of a woman."

    Luke examined it. "It looks a little like the Imperial Symbol."

    Roberto shook his head. "It is a symbol of unity used by the order of the Dai Bendu monks. The spokes in the emblem represent the unification of the galaxy through the Force. This is a very old and expensive piece, but for you I have a special deal."

    .

    .

    .


    The rest of the day was uneventful. Luke asked to go to the grocery store to purchase supplies. He said he was getting tired of ration bars. When they returned to the shuttle Mara did a quick inventory of the delivered shipment. Once she was satisfied everything was accurate they prepped for flight and took off for the planet Chandrila.

    As soon as it was safe to move around the shuttle, Luke excused himself saying he was going to make dinner. Mara was sitting in the pilot's seat staring at the hyperspace lines when she smelled something good cooking. She exited the cockpit and went to the kitchen to find Luke finishing up some pasta with red Marixara sauce.

    Mara smiled. Skywalker was pulling out all the stops to impress her…and it was working. "That smells wonderful."

    Luke grinned happily. "I thought this would make a good alternative to ration bars." He motioned to a seat. "Would you care to join me?"

    "Thank you," Mara said as she sat down.

    Luke went over to the galley's cooling unit and pulled out a bottle of red wine. "This is a wine from New Alderaan called Rosa Royal." He turned the bottle so he could read the back label. "It is a fragrant sweet red wine created by distilling natural essences of various flower blossoms and intermixing with the subtle lush flavor of ripe razzelberries."

    Mara laughed. "That sounds perfect."

    Luke opened the bottle and poured two glasses. He then sat down and held up his glass for a toast. "To friendship."

    Mara touched her glass to his and then tasted the wine. "Wow, that is strong…but delicious."

    "Good," Luke remarked as he dug into his food.

    By the end of the meal the food and wine were gone and the two were feeling relaxed.

    "That was fantastic Skywalker," Mara remarked. "I didn't know you could cook."

    Luke shrugged shyly. "My Aunt Beru taught me to cook, I just never…" he trailed off.

    Mara raised her eyebrows. "Never what?"

    Luke looked away embarrassed. "It's nothing."

    "No really," Mara insisted. "What were you going to say?"

    Luke sighed. "I never cooked to impress a woman before." Luke admitted. "You're right Mara. In my other reality I never had to make an effort to court a woman. I either found her tied to a tree, trapped in a computer, or, in your case, after fighting sentinel droids the Force practically shoved you into my arms."

    She cocked an eyebrow his way. "Are you saying you decided to actually put some effort into any future romances?"

    Luke blushed. "Yes, and starting now. I'd like to court you, if you'd let me."

    Mara sat back in shock. She had ambivalent feelings concerning the situation. Luke was a man on the rebound. He was trying to get his wife back…and she wasn't that person. She wasn't the woman he married.

    “Luke," Mara ventured carefully. "I can't be the same woman you imagined yourself married to for all those years. I think you are going to be very disappointed if we did become a couple."

    Luke shook his head adamantly. "No, Mara I don't think so. I know this can work. You're not much different from the Mara of my memories. Why do you think it took me another five years and a Force intervention to get you to marry me in my other reality? Because in my dream you were the same stubborn and willful woman as you are now."

    "Oh, thanks…I guess." Mara said dryly.

    Luke reached over and grasped her hands in his. "Mara I'm not asking anything from you other than you don't reject me outright. Let me try to win your heart. If I can't, then I'll accept that."

    She looked at him guardedly. "What if you don't succeed?"

    Luke's shoulders slumped and he sighed. "I guess I will become a celibate Jedi monk doomed to roam the galaxy in everlasting sexual frustration."

    Mara guffawed. "More likely you will become a player and have a long string of relationships with blond-haired Skywalker groupies."

    Luke frowned and shook his head. "No, that's not true. They would be redheaded Skywalker groupies."

    Mara grinned. "You're different, Skywalker. Marriage was good for you."

    "I hope it'll be good for me a second time around." When he saw Mara frown he added, "but I'm getting ahead of myself."

    She gave him an appraising gaze. "Okay, you have my permission to court me."

    Luke smiled broadly. "Really? Should we set up any guidelines or rules so I can ensure my survival during this perilous mission?"

    She rolled her eyes. "Rest assured, I'll let you know if you cross any lines." Mara got up to clear the table. She wobbled when she stood and put her hand down on the table to steady herself. "That wine was strong."

    Luke gave her an affectionate smile. "Sit down and let me clean up."

    "You are serious about winning my heart," she laughed with conspiratorial delight.

    His face transformed into an expression of resolve. "I couldn't be more serious. I have everything to gain and nothing to lose."
    Last edited by Jedi_Lover, Sep 6, 2012
  16. Hazel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2010
    star 4
    I still think Roberto's hilarious, the second time around.
  17. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    @Hazel -- Thanks for reading.

    I am still having formatting problems with this new system. I will paste in my story and it will look great and then when I hit the Reply button it shows up with no spaces between the paragraphs. So then I decided to put two spaces between all my paragraphs in word and then when I paste it in this system it turns up with 4 spaces between paragraphs. I didn't have this problem on the temp boards.

    _________________________

    Chapter 8


    After dinner Mara went to do her flight checks before going to sleep. She was feeling a little tipsy from the wine, and that was probably a good thing. It would definitely help her sleep…and she needed all the help she could get. Luke Skywalker's announcement that he wanted to officially court her was a shocked to her system. If she were sober it probably would keep her up all night thinking about the possibilities.

    She knew she should be flattered, but the circumstances involved were disturbing. Luke had two decades of memories of her loving him as his wife. What would happen if they dated and things were not as copacetic as in his alternate reality? What if they didn't get along? What if the relationship ended badly? How would it affect the Jedi?

    She shook her head in frustration. Everything would have been a lot less complicated if he had the guts to ask her out after Wayland, before Waru…before Callista…before her overwhelming disappointment over how things played out on Yavin IV. She gave a mental sigh; mulling over the past was a useless endeavor.

    She finished her checks she moved out of the cockpit. A slight smile touched her lips as she tried to visualize the shy farm boy from Tatooine trying to court her. Despite the emotional risks, the thought of him waiting on her and hand and foot in an effort to curry her affection was not without its appeal. Luke was a handsome man with a warm personality. Most women would swoon over the thought of being with him. Mara was not the swooning type, but she was curious as to what a relationship with Skywalker would be like.

    She moved down the narrow hallway to the rear of the shuttle where the 'fresher and cabin were located. Luke should be done using the facilities and be asleep by now. She found the 'fresher unoccupied. She stripped out of her flight suit and used the sonic shower and quickly finished up her nightly routine, then made her way back to the lone cabin.

    When she opened the door the light from the hallway fell on Luke's face. He was in a deep slumber. She stood there for a moment transfixed by his image. He looked very much like he did on Myrkr so many years ago… asleep and vulnerable. He never had a problem letting his guard down around her. Even when she told him she wanted him dead in the Myrkr forest, he was able to fall asleep as she had a blaster trained at his heart. At that time she thought he was using some Jedi calming technique, but as the years passed she realized he never really considered her a threat…and not because he thought he could counter any attack she could throw at him. He didn't fear her because, according to him, he felt the good in her through the Force.

    A slightly deprecating smile crept across her face as she thought about the Force. Luke trusted the Force implicitly. In her opinion, he trusted the Force a little too much. Not every gut feeling was a sign from the Force. Luke thought it was their destiny to be together. She was never one to believe in fate or that the Force guided her actions. If she became romantically involved with Skywalker it would because she decided to, not because an all-encompassing energy field decided to play matchmaker. The Force couldn't influence her in this matter. She snorted mentally. 'Go ahead and do your worst,' she gave a silent challenge to the living Force as she closed the door and climbed up to the top bunk to settle down to sleep.
    .
    .
    .
    Sometime during the night Mara found herself dreaming. It was a lucid dream. An instant when the conscious and subconscious merge and you are cognizant that you are dreaming. It was a pleasant dream where she felt totally relaxed, at peace, protected and loved.

    In this dream strong but gentle arms were embracing her. Her first instinct was to struggle and throw off the unknown aggressor, but something made her pause. These were not the arms of an attacker, but a lover. Warm calloused hands roamed under her shirt and then one hand teased down her thigh. She could feel the warm breathe of her unseen lover on the back of her neck and a soft caressing masculine voice murmuring her name. "Mara."

    The sound of the voice pulled her farther out of her dream state until she realized what was happening was real. She quickly threw an elbow to the person lying behind her as she propelled herself out of bed. She expected a long fall from the top bunk, but was surprised when she only dropped a half-meter onto the floor. There was a groaning from the bunk she just exited. She quickly stood and slapped on the light panel. She spotted Luke on the bottom bunk looking puzzled and clutching his side where her elbow impacted his ribs.

    "Force Mara. What the hell was that for?"

    Her jaw dropped at his audacity. He was molesting her in her sleep and he wanted to know why she hit him?

    "Why?! Because your hands were all over me! I said you could court me, not grope me!" She pointed to the door. "Get out! I don't care where you sleep, but you are not sleeping in the same cabin with me. You can't be trusted!"

    To her surprise he gave her a stubborn look. "No, you get out!"

    "What!" She was shocked at his brazenness.

    "I didn't crawl into your bed, you crawled into mine. I was asleep until you practically broke my ribs. If I was doing something it was because you initiated it." He gave her a wink. "You obviously can't be trusted to not handle the Skywalker goods while I sleep." There was a hint of mirth in his voice.

    Her face turned to a scowl. "You are insane."

    "Look where you were, Mara. You were in my bed. Do you think I levitated you down to my bunk?"

    She shook her head trying to recall what happened. She remembered getting up in the middle of the night to use the 'fresher and then going back to bed. She went up to the top bunk, didn't she?
    "Dammit Skywalker, I'm use to being on the bottom bunk. I must have climbed in after using the 'fresher."

    "You can sleep in the bottom bunk if you want." Luke offered. "I'll sleep on top."

    "No, I want you out." She insisted, highly embarrassed that she allowed herself to be put into this situation.

    Luke just smiled at her. "No, you're the one at fault. Why should I suffer?"

    She turned to leave. She was too mortified by her actions to stay in the same room. "I'll sleep in the captain's chair."

    "Wait Mara," Luke jumped out of his bunk and stood before her somewhat awkwardly. "I'm sorry if I touched you inappropriately in anyway. I truly was asleep and I just thought I was having the most incredible dream. My wife was back in my arms. Something I craved for such a long time." He looked down at the ground. "I hope this won't change things between us. I was reacting to something that I had become accustomed to for two decades…having the love of my life in my embrace." He looked into her green eyes and gave her a pleading look. "Please forgive me."

    Mara grimaced. She really, really wanted to be angry at Skywalker, but she couldn't figure a way to pin the blame on him. "Shavit!" She muttered softly as she shook her head in frustration. "Fine, it's okay. There's nothing to forgive. Let's just forget about it." She turned to leave the cabin.

    "I'll sleep in the pilot's seat if you still don't want to be in the cabin with me," Luke offered.

    Mara shook her head. "I'm just going to get some water. I don't think I can get back to sleep right now." She walked down to the ship's small galley noticing that Skywalker was following her. She gave him a questioning look.

    "I don't think I can get back to sleep either."

    She shrugged and pulled out a water bottle from the cooling unit. "Want one?" she asked holding the bottle out to Luke.

    He gave her a small smile as he accepted the drink. "Thanks."

    They both sat down at the galley table as an embarrassed silence hung between the two.
    She closed her eyes in thought. A few hours ago she was practically dared the Force to try to influence her choice of mate and then she ended up in Luke's bed. Was this a sign?

    She looked up at the Jedi. "Do you think what happened tonight has something to do with the Force? Could it be trying to pull us together?" Mara asked tentatively as she took another sip of her water.

    "I don't know." He chuckled softly. "I was sort of hoping it had more to do with me."

    Mara almost choked on her drink. "Stang, Skywalker! Are you implying that I crawled into bed with you because I was subconsciously attracted to your charming personality and good looks."

    Luke's eyes twinkled. "So you admit I'm charming and good looking."

    She scoffed. "Waru did something to you. You're not the same Luke Skywalker I knew."

    Luke's face turned serious. "You're right. No matter what actually happened I have the memories of a lifetime of experiences. I can look back at my life," he paused for a moment. "Or my imagined life, and reassess my actions. I did a lot of things wrong. There were so many decisions that I wished I could change." He stopped and his gaze drifted as in deep thought. "Maybe it wasn't Waru, but the Force that gave me these memories. Was it a way to give me the wisdom only gained through experience so I could become a better Jedi Master? Or a better father…a better husband."

    Mara shrugged noncommittally. "That would be a better explanation then the Force just likes to screw with your mind."

    Luke guffawed. "I sometimes wonder."

    They sat silently for a few minutes quietly sipping their drinks. Finally Mara stood up from the table. "Let's go back and get some sleep. Don't worry about what happened earlier. It was my fault. It won't change things between us."

    Luke nodded and followed her back to the sleeping compartment.

    She turned off the light and climbed back up to the top bunk. She heard Luke crawl into his bed then shifted about for a while, obviously trying to get back to sleep.

    She closed her eyes trying to do the same, but found sleep elusive. She was troubled. She told Skywalker things wouldn't change between them, but she knew that was a complete lie. The sound of his voice…that sensual moan of her name did change things, because to her great astonishment she realized she was extremely aroused by what happened and more than a little curious as to what would have occurred if she hadn't woke up when she did.
    Last edited by Jedi_Lover, Sep 6, 2012
  18. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    Chapter 9

    The next day proved to be extremely uncomfortable for the trader. Mara not only felt humiliated over her actions the night before, but she was also troubled at how her mind and body responded to Luke's embrace. She was not a virgin, but something different happened last night and she was unable to suppress the inexplicable feeling that some outside influence was at work. It had to be the Force that created those strange feelings that coursed through her body the night before. It felt like a wave of intense bliss had moved through her very soul leaving her warm and content and wanting so much more.

    Whatever it was it was frightening in its power. Luke had mentioned he was bonded with his wife through the Force, could that be what she felt, the beginning of such a bond? She shook her head irritably and her cheeks flushed red. Right about now the Force was really infuriating her. First it guides her into Skywalker's bed and then it tempts her with the possibility of some extremely intimate, hypersexual Force bond.

    Damn the Force.

    Everything was going a little too fast for her, although she was sure Luke would totally disagree. She was positive if he had his way they would have been in the mists of a torrid affair before they even broke through the atmosphere of Yavin IV and she would be pregnant by now.

    What in the worlds possessed her to give him permission to court her? What if they did become a couple? That was going to throw a hydrospanner into the life she so carefully built over the years. She was sure he would pressure her to becoming a Jedi and assume she would settle down on that fetid jungle moon he calls home.

    She wanted time to think and she needed to put some distance between her and Luke before he accidentally bumped into her and the Force suddenly decided to hook them up like a pair of power couplings. She opted to keep herself busy most of the morning going over accounting figures—it was busy work but it gave her an excuse to not engage in conversation with the Jedi.

    Unfortunately, Luke didn't want to play her game of 'I'll hide and you don't seek.' He followed her around the small shuttle during the day watching her work. He watched her do bookkeeping; he watched her do navigation checks. She was surprised that he didn't try to follow her into the 'fresher. She glanced up from her datapad documents to see Luke sitting at the galley area sipping hot chocolate. When their eyes met he gave her a warm smile.

    "Why are you doing that?" she asked bluntly.

    "Doing what?"

    "Staring at me all the time."

    His smile dimmed, but didn't fade completely. "Mara, for months after my wife's death I'd come home to our apartment and I'd expect you to greet me or I'd pull out my comlink to call you…and then I'd remember you're not there. You'd never be there again. But fate has given me a second chance. You're here now and I'm going to savor every minute."

    The way he was looking at her made her suddenly look down self-consciously. She leaned forward concentrating on her datapad and tried to ignore him.

    "Mara, I know you are burying yourself in administrative work to avoid me. Let's talk about it," he said softly.

    She gave him a hard look. "Stay out of my head Skywalker."

    "I'm not in your head. It is obvious that you are embarrassed over what happened and you want to put some distance between us. Which I don't think is fair because I finally got permission to court you and now I'm getting the silent treatment for something I didn't do."

    "Sometimes life's not fair," she responded coolly.

    He gave her a forlorn little nod. "Tell me about it," Luke said glumly. "It's like me trying to adapt to a world turned completely upside down."

    The despondency in his voice made her realize she was punishing him unfairly. She put down her datapad and gave him an exhausted bleak look. She was tired of constantly shielding her emotions and thoughts from him.

    She gave a heavy sigh and then looked him straight in the eye. "Fine, I'll admit it. I'm embarrassed. What I did last night was humiliating, but I'll get over it. Just give me some time." There was a frustrated edge in her voice.

    He looked at her pensively. "Mara, time is not something I have an abundance of. I have a little over a week until you rendezvous with the Wild Karrde. I am fairly certain once we're no longer trapped together in a shuttle you will find some reason to avoid me." He made a gesture of resignation. "And then you will be gone from my life."

    He body angled into a posture of tension. "And how are you so sure of that?"

    Luke's face grew tight. "Because that is what you've always done." The words came out a trifle harsh and he looked down at his cup apologetically.

    She shook her head. "No, that's what your Mara has always done. Not me. I'm not her."

    He regarded her tersely. "Did you quit the Academy in this reality?"

    "Yes, yes I did," she responded through gritted teeth.

    His fists clenched in frustration. "I supposed your excuse to leave was my handling of the Exar Kun fiasco. But we all know that's not true. It had everything to do about commitment…commitment to the Jedi, to your training."

    Her eyes went frosty. "I went to the Academy ready to commit to something, but I soon realized my mistake. Exar Kun was only a small part of the reason I left."

    "Then what was the reason?"

    She stiffened and glared at him silently for a long moment, but then she leaned back into her chair and regarded him skeptically. "You don't know?" she whispered with an air of absolute disbelief. "You mean to tell me you had a mental and Force bond with your other Mara and you really don't know the genuine reason why she left Yavin IV?"

    He shrugged. "She told me she was angry over me trying to do everything myself. I was drawing on the Force so much I couldn't hear its guidance. She lectured me about dabbling with the darkside at Byss. Is that it?"

    She frowned. "I admit those things factored into my decision, but, no, that wasn't the main reason. Even after Exar Kun, Kyp and all the other bantha crap that happened, I probably would have stayed if it wasn't for your attitude towards me."

    Luke's brow furrowed confused. "I never treated you badly, Mara."

    She shook her head incredulously. "I see thirty years of experience still hasn't helped you figure out women." She let out a soft derisive laugh.

    "What are you talking about?" he asked baffled.

    She scrutinized his face as she tried to decide whether she should end this conversation now or drive on with the discomforting truth. When she made up her mind, her words came out low and somewhat stilted. "Luke we fought together, saved each other's lives, and later you gave me your first lightsaber…it was your father's lightsaber. It was a family heirloom. You don't just give someone something that sentimental without it having some hidden meaning."

    Luke stared at her blankly. "You saved my life. You deserved to have a lightsaber. I thought it would encourage you to continue training as a Jedi."

    Mara threw her hands up in the air. "How can someone be so dense?! Luke, that may be the way a man thinks, but not women. To me it had a whole different connotation."

    She paused hoping Luke's somewhat naïve and befuddled male brain could put the pieces together so she wouldn't have to say the truth out loud, but she had no such luck. As Luke's brilliant blue eyes took on a glassy bewildered look, Mara realized he truly had no clue as to what she was getting at. She sighed inwardly and steeled herself to continue. Hell, she came this far, she might as well kriff up things righteously.

    "I thought you gave it to me because you wanted a relationship, you di'kut!" She dragged her hands over her face and shook her head. She looked back to Luke and stabbed a finger in his direction accusingly. "When you asked me to come to the Jedi Praxeum I thought it was because you wanted to be near me. But when I get there you treat me like any other student. No, I take that back. You paid much more attention to your other students… like Kyp and you practically ignored me. I left because I wasn't going to endure the cold shoulder for years." She covered her eyes with a hand, not wanting to see Luke's reaction. "I stupidly over-analyzed your gift and felt like a total moron for allowing myself to think I was anything to you other than a potential Jedi. You were obviously not interested, so I left and moved on…and then you moved on with Callista," Mara's voice was tinged with embarrassment and anguish.

    She heard a sudden startled intake of breath from the Jedi. She looked up in time to see Luke slowly place his cup of hot chocolate on the table his hand trembling slightly. He leaned back in his chair, his eyes unblinking. "You were interested in a relationship with me after Wayland?" The absolute sound of disbelief that rang through his voice would have been comical if the tension between them wasn't so palpable.

    Mara closed her eyes as she composed her thoughts. When she opened her deep green eyes she stared intensely at the Jedi, pinning him to his chair. "Yes," the word came out almost as a hiss. She suddenly stood up and started pacing back and forth in the small room. "And if you showed me one tiny bit of interest," she held her thumb and finger about a centimeter apart for emphasis. "Then things might have turned out very different. Why'd you think I was so shocked when you told me you were always attracted to me? I still don't understand why you didn't say something?"

    Luke's face blanched and there was a stammer in his voice. "I explained my actions … I didn't think somebody as beautiful as you would be interested in me."

    Mara came to a quick stop, rocking back on a heel. "Oh that's right, how could I possibly be interested in the attractive man who saved my life, who fought Sith Lords and dark Jedi, who blew up the Death Star and is the galaxy's greatest living hero. You're right…I should hold out for someone better."

    He lowered his head. "I'm sorry, Mara. I guess I got so overwhelmed with everything…with the responsibility of rebuilding the Jedi order…I couldn't see anything but that."

    She looked away. "It doesn't matter anymore. It's all behind us." She moved back to her seat and resumed reading her datapad.

    Luke rose uneasily. "It does matter. I don't want to make the same laserbrain mistakes the second time around."

    Mara gestured in a sad way. "It's in the past," she said quietly attempting to end the conversation.

    Luke walked over to her and gently laid a hand on her shoulder. She stiffened at the contact briefly, but then relaxed. "Do you still feel the same way?" Luke asked softly. "Are you still interested in a relationship?"

    She shrugged. "I don't know." She turned to look at him directly. She tried to keep her voice impassive, but she knew her eyes would betray her emotional state. "I essentially gave up on the thought after rescuing you from the Eye of Palpatine. To see you holding Cray's body in your arms, kissing her, laughing together, clinging to each other…it was just too much." She dragged in a deep breath and let it out. "When Callista left you, I was hoping you'd stop by to talk to me, but instead you spent almost a standard year flying around the galaxy trying to find your soulmate." The last word came out strained and bitter.

    Luke sighed as his hand slowly slid off her shoulder. "You're right…but, like you said, that's all behind us. Mara, give me a chance. I'll make things right."

    She turned away from him. "I already told you I was going to give you a chance," Mara said flatly. "Court away."

    Luke nodded slowly. "Things are going to be different, Mara. I guarantee you have my full attention now."

    .
    .
    Hydian Way, one day out from Chandrila.

    Luke watched the hyperspace lines rush past the shuttle cockpit window. Since Mara's confession yesterday a wall of silence had been erected between the two. As he sat in the co-pilot seat he glanced over to the beautiful woman in the seat next to him. He knew Mara could sense he was looking at her but she sat unmoving, staring blankly into space.

    'So much for courting,' Luke thought glumly. First Mara was mortified over her accidently crawling into bed with him and then that embarrassment was magnified by her confession that she misconstrued the meaning of his gift of a lightsaber.

    Stang, he was an idiot. Why didn't he ask he out after Wayland? He wanted to. And why didn't he ever sense Mara's interest in him? All that time wasted just because he couldn't man up and ask her on a date. And now he was sitting here submissively letting her fume silently. Why was his love life so complicated?

    "Mara," Luke said quietly. "Please talk to me."

    She gave him a cool glance. "Every time I talk to you Skywalker, I find myself more horrified by what I say or do."

    "You shouldn't be. I'm the fool. I was running around frantically looking for Jedi and trying to restart the order that I became oblivious to everything else." He gave he as pleading look. "I ignored the people who meant the most to me. I'm sorry."

    Mara remained silent.

    He gave her a sheepish look. "How about if I tell you something horribly embarrassing about me. Would that make you feel better?"

    "Pfff," Mara snorted. "What could the golden boy of the galaxy have ever done to humiliate himself?"

    Luke shrugged slightly. "My nickname on Tatooine was 'Wormie'."

    That resulted in a slight snicker from Mara. "Do I want to know how you got that name?"

    "It was due to my size," he admitted red-faced.

    Mara burst out laughing.

    "I mean my height," Luke clarified quickly. "I was the shortest of my friends."

    "I believe you," Mara said as she gave a quick glance toward his lap. "But that isn't even close to the embarrassment I felt yesterday."

    "Okay, I have another embarrassing moment. In my other reality…or memories…during the Vong war a group of Jedi came with us deep into the under levels of Coruscant. We discovered a tank covered with red goo. We determined the goo was microscopic organic devourers, but the tank wasn't connected to anything so we assumed it was just a cover to prevent access to a secret chamber. I got the bright idea that if I could communicate with these organic devourers I could tell them not to eat me by repeating through the Force, "I am not food. I am not food."

    Mara cocked an eyebrow as she gave him an amused smirk. "And did the red devourers bite off any important parts of your body…Wormie?"

    Luke snorted. "No, I came out without a scratch…and without a stitch of clothing."

    Mara chuckled. "So what? Your wife sees you and who…Corran, Kyle?"

    Luke flushed. "I wish, there were young female Jedi in the group." He shook his head in shame. "They were pretending not to look but the shock and awe I sense from them through the Force was palpable."

    "Awe!" Mara let out a roaring laugh. "Luke, I can't believe you said that. Shock I can understand, but awe!"

    Luke turned crimson. "That's not what I meant. Shock and Awe is a military term. That came out wrong. I just meant it was a alarming experience for them, not that were impressed by what they saw…down there."

    Mara chuckled. "So does that mean they weren't impressed."

    "I don't know…the water was cold in that tank and the thought of red devourers swimming around my body may have caused things to…tighten up a bit."

    "You mean shrinkage?" Mara scoffed. "So what you felt in the Force was probably actually shock and disappointment."

    "Ha, ha," Luke said sarcastically. "Is that embarrassing enough to call us even?"

    She shook her head. "Not even close."

    Luke's shoulder's slumped. "Okay, there is something else, but if I tell you…you can never, ever tell a soul! And I mean never! Even if we have a falling out and you develop and overwhelming desire to eviscerate me and cast my soul to the deepest level of the Corellian Hells… you must still vow never to repeat what I am about to tell you."

    Her eyes narrowed. "Okay, I make a vow never to tell, but I doubt it's that embarrassing."

    "Okay," Luke said slowly. He looked over to the communication station to make sure it was off. "There was this kiss."

    Mara smiled. "A kiss?"

    Luke hesitated not wanting to go on and wondering if he could ever face her again after today. He took a deep breath and continued. "Yes, a kiss I got while on the planet Hoth."

    .
    .
    .
    "Mara please stop laughing," Luke begged his friend.

    The trader was doubled up in laughter. "Gods Luke, that is embarrassing." She shook her head and chuckled. "You won. Nothing in my life gets close to that awkward moment. In fact, nothing I have ever done seems embarrassing at all now."

    Luke frowned, regretting telling her. "Mara, don't tell anybody, please."

    "I made a vow and I'll keep it." She got up and walked to the rear of the ship while still laughing.

    "Where are you going?" Luke asked.

    "To the 'fresher. If I don't stop laughing I think I am going to wet my pants."
    Luke's shoulders slumped. If Leia found out that he told anybody about this he was so dead.
  19. Hazel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2010
    star 4
    [face_rofl] You know, I still don't know how they kept it a secret. I'd think someone would have blabbed to the Rogues and they would have spread it through the entire Rebellion.
  20. Force Smuggler Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    With C-3PO and Chewie there I'm surprised too
    Last edited by Force Smuggler, Sep 7, 2012
  21. ginchy Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 25, 2005
    star 4
    I notice you never answered my question about bootknocking!!!!!!! Sooooo... [face_batting]

    I'm loving your story, gal. I really like how determined Luke is now that he has a second chance. L/M are just meant to be, even if you have to go through Waru to get there. ;)
  22. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    @Hazel -- I can see Han not telling people because it would irritate Leia. Chewie might have been asked by Luke or Han to not talk about it. I think Threepio might have mentioned it to Artoo and could see the little droid freaking and his dome spinning around. Because I think Artoo is the only one who knows the truth about the two at that moment. I can then see Threepio says, "Artoo! What is all this nonsense about incest?"

    @Force Smuggler -- Thanks for reading. I am surprised somebody didn't get drunk and say something to somebody over the years.

    @ginchy -- I sent you another email about the bootknocking issue. Why is it I have the hardest time writing the romance part of a story? ACK! :(

    ___________________________________________________________

    Chapter 10

    Chandrila

    The shuttle juddered slightly upon entering Chandrila's upper atmosphere. Mara checked the readouts to ensure the heat shields were holding before she adjusted the altitude and vertical control indicators in preparation for their approach to Hanna City. She smiled at the sight of the cloud covered blue and green sphere below. Chandrila was Mara's favorite planet. It was a temperate world that consisted of huge oceans and large continents covered with lush vegetation and full of animal life. The local population valued nature and even went as far as put limits on the number of children families could have in order to remain in balance with the environment. The humans there were relatively peaceful, but they did like to debate and haggle. It was hard to get a bargain from the local merchants.

    "Chandrila looks like nice planet," Luke said as he gazed down to the colorful world below.

    She looked over to the Jedi occupying the co-pilot seat. "You've never been here?"

    Luke shook his head. "No, after the Battle of Yavin the Empire blockaded the planet. After it was liberated I never had time to travel here."

    "You're in luck, my flight schedule has me staying two days on planet. I had planned to work one day and relax on the next."

    Luke smiled, "Can I relax with you? I'll give me a chance to work on my courting skills," he said jokingly as he rubbed his hands together in anticipation.

    She heaved a sigh, pretending to be annoyed. "I guess…Wormie. Maybe while I am making my purchases you can figure out something to do during our downtime."

    Luke didn't seem at all deterred by her nickname jab, in fact his eyes shone and his face revealed a cheerful eagerness that she had not seen on the Jedi for a long time. Obviously he was elated that the tension between them had diminished since he confessed to her his most embarrassing moments. It was good that he did. Before yesterday he always came off as the Jedi Master. Now she saw him more as a man and a friend with the same amount of secrets, disappointments and foibles as any other person in the galaxy. She had to admit…she liked Luke's shy farmboy turned Rogue pilot persona much more than the stoic Jedi Master that she had become accustomed to on Yavin IV.

    "I get to plan a date," he grinned happily. "I can do that."

    Mara rolled her eyes. "You can plan an outing."

    Luke smirked. "You do know courting is synonymous with dating."

    Mara shook her head. "Not to me. Courting is an attempt to attract a person, to woo them. Dating means both parties are pursuing each other." She gave him an amused look. "I'm not pursuing you, remember? I'm waiting for something better to come along. Maybe a tall, handsome, muscular demi-god will ask me out."

    "Funny, Mara." Luke said with a sly smile. "Get ready to be wooed. By the time we get to Coruscant you are going to be so wooed that we'll be dating…and possibly romancing, swooning and seducing. "

    Mara laughed. "Gods, what have I gotten myself into?"

    .
    .
    .
    It took most of the afternoon for Mara to get the cargo purchased, delivered and properly tied down in the cargo hold.

    "I hope your planned outing involves dinner." Mara told Luke as they tautened the last of the tie down straps.

    Luke practically beamed at her. "Yes. I didn't know what outfits you had on board so I didn't plan on going anywhere fancy. So dress casual. I made dinner reservations for 1900."

    Mara looked at her wrist chrono. "That perfect. It gives me time to shower and change," she said as she moved toward the passenger area of the shuttle.

    Luke watched her leave, the smile never leaving his face. "Our first date," he whispered.
    .
    .
    .


    "The Chakula restaurant on Eleventh and Forty-eight," Luke told the skytaxi driver as he and Mara entered the vehicle.

    "Got it," the Bothan driver said as he took off abruptly pushing Mara and Luke back into their seats.

    Mara turned to Luke. "How do you know about this restaurant?"

    Luke gave his shoulders a slight shrug. "I just checked the HoloNet for restaurants with good ratings and no dress codes. They have a variety of cuisine. I figured there might be something there we would like." He glanced over to Mara his eyes gliding over her body. "I like your outfit."

    "A short-sleeve tunic over straight leg pants can't be considered an outfit worthy of praise," she replied.

    "It is when you're in it," Luke said with a wink.

    Mara looked away shyly. "Save the false compliments, Skywalker. These are work clothes." She self-consciously smoothed the wrinkles out of her shirt. "When I left the Wild Karrde I wasn't expecting on going out on a date."

    Luke grinned broadly. "So it is a date?"

    Mara blanched at her gaffe. "I meant outing."

    "Fine, an outing. You still look beautiful." A besotted grin covered his face.

    Mara closed her eyes and shook her head. "Cool your jets Skywalker. Did your Mara like sappy compliments?"

    He chuckled. "She hated it when I said them in public, but she liked them in private."

    Mara rolled her eyes. "Spare me the details of your overactive imagination."

    "Okay." Luke gave her a knowing look. "I wouldn't want to ruin our date."

    "Outing," Mara shot back.

    Luke wisely opted not to argue the point. The two sat silently until they arrived at the restaurant.
    .
    .
    .

    When they arrived to the restaurant they were ushered over to a corner booth of the eating establishment. Luke was relieved. It offered them some privacy and hopefully they could avoid the media hounds that would follow him doggedly whenever his whereabouts became known.

    As Mara perused the menu Luke went ahead and ordered some wine. "Can we get a bottle of Corellian Humalassa sparkling rosé, please?"

    Mara looked up surprised. "That's my favorite."

    Luke grinned as he looked over his menu. "I know."

    Mara's eyes narrowed. "I don't remember ever telling you that."

    Luke's smile grew broader. "You made sure three cases were on hand at our wedding reception."

    She gave him a hard look. "I must have mentioned it to you in the past."

    "Maybe, or it could be I was married to your double in another dimension." Luke looked at his menu for a minute before looking up at Mara. "Or maybe it was all a dream and the Force is giving me clues to help me court you."

    Mara scoffed. "I'm sure that must be it," she said sarcastically. "The Force suddenly has become a matchmaker."

    "Maybe the Force collects Chak Hearts."

    She gave Luke a questioning look.

    "It is part of the Ewok Festival of Love Celebration. They were little bits of bark from their sacred spirit tree with a heart carved of it. Visitors who did deeds in the name of love were awarded the hearts. They are supposed to be good luck."

    An satirical smile touched her lips. "Weren't the Ewoks the creatures that intended to eat you and Han?"

    Luke laughed. "Yes, but now we are part of the tribe."

    She regarded him drolly. "I hope they don't serve stewed Jedi with a side dish of smuggler at these celebrations."

    Luke shook his head. "Maybe Stormtrooper pâté. I am pretty sure I saw a head roll out of one of the trooper helmets they were using as drums."

    Mara made a face, "That really is a disgusting thought."

    "Sorry," Luke said then smiled in a languid way. "I wouldn't mind if the Force was giving me some assistance. I'll take all the help I can get."

    Mara eyed him over her menu and cocked up an eyebrow. "So tell me something about your Mara that you think gives you insight to me and my personality. Then I can dispel your theory that the Force is at work."

    Luke put his menu down and looked at Mara fondly "My Mara liked going to parties, but didn't like hosting them. She hated cooking, but enjoyed eating at home; we had a lot of take out or delivery meals." He paused for a second trying to gauge her reaction. When she didn't comment he continued. "She loved dancing and the theater."

    Mara gave a slight shrug. "That probably describes most women who grew up in the Imperial Court."

    Luke nodded and continued. "Her favorite holofilm was the love story "A Parsec Apart", but she would never admit it to anyone and she would turn it off whenever I came into the room…but I could tell she was all weepy over the sad ending."

    "I was not!" Mara protested. "I mean I am sure your alternate dimension fantasy Mara wasn't crying. If so then you conjured up a Mara Jade that is completely out of character from who I am."

    "Yeah, I'm sure that must be it," Luke said sardonically mirroring Mara's earlier comment. "So you've never seen the movie?"

    "I may have seen it once…by accident."

    "Humph," Luke scoffed.

    The arrival of the waiter interrupted their conversation long enough for Luke and Mara to order their food.

    Luke decided not to argue the point, but simply forged on. "Her favorite way to unwind was soaking in a warm tub with either bubble bath or scented bath oils and she loved it when I gave her a back massage afterwards."

    Mara chuckled. "I can't picture you as the masseur type."

    "I wasn't," he said warmly. "The first time I tried it she complained that I was just pinching her muscles and made things feel worse. So for our fifth Wedding Anniversary I secretly took a class on how to give a sensual massage. She never complained about my touch after that."

    She shook her head in disbelief. "You're too much, Skywalker."

    He looked at her questioningly. "You find nothing similar between you and her?"

    "Luke, what you described could be said about 90 percent of the women in the galaxy. I don't think the Force is giving you cheat sheets on how to romance a woman."

    Luke's shoulders dropped a bit disappointed. "Oh well, I guess I am going to have to seduce you using my farmboy charm and maybe a Jedi mind trick."

    She smiled at that comment. "I'd put your money on the mind trick."

    The food arrived along with the sparkling wine. They both dug in hungrily. Luke was having a wonderful time…which made him feel a little guilty. What if Ben wasn't a creation of his imagination, but somebody waiting for his father in another dimension? It was hard for Luke to enjoy himself when he didn't know for sure. But what was he going to do? Waru was gone and there was no way to determine what exactly happened to him that day on Crseih Station. He might as well make the best of things.

    Mara took a sip of the wine and closed her eyes savoring the taste. "The flavor is incredible." She looked over her glass at the Jedi. "So how was your Mara as a mother? I can't imagine me having a child, changing diapers and doing midnight feedings."

    "Mara was a great mother." Luke said happily, eager to talk about his lost love. "I remember when she saw Ben for the first time…the look on her face was pure love. I think any anxiety she had about becoming a mother disappeared at that moment."

    Mara smiled slightly, "So, she also had her doubts about becoming a mother?"

    Luke nodded. "I think most people have some fears, but she had more so than others." He took a sip of wine. "A few days before the birth I remember lying in bed with her. Our hands were on her belly and we could feel the movement of our baby. He was kicking that night. I could tell she was anxious about something so I asked her about it."

    She leaned forward slightly. "What did she say?"

    "Well, after chiding me for 'being in her head', she said she worried about being a good mother. She never knew her mother. She was raised in the Imperial courts mainly by nanny droids and Imperial trainers. Palpatine was the closest thing she had to a parental figure. She wondered if a person trained as an assassin would have the maternal instinct needed to raise a child. But after delivery, once Ben was snug in her arms, we all knew the truth."

    "Which was?" she whispered.

    Luke smiled. "She was going to be as protective as a mother Nexu with her cub. She would use all her training to protect our son." Luke eyes shone with unshed tears. "I remember all the kidnapping attempts on Leia's children and I realized Ben had the perfect mother. Yes, she was a trained assassin, spy, and later Jedi and all that training made her into a strong woman and mother who would protect her son until her dying breath."

    Luke suddenly stopped talking remembering that is exactly what Mara did. He quickly moved the subject to safer ground. "Anyway, she loved and cared for Ben like any mother. She did have the maternal instinct that she worried so much about. She changed diapers and did midnight feedings without complaint. Although we didn't have as much time with Ben as a baby as we would have liked. During the war we sent the Jedi children into hiding in the Maw."

    "So the children survived the war," Mara asked.

    Luke fell silent, remembering the fatal mission to Myrkr. "The youngest children were safe, but the teenage and young adults fought along side the more seasoned Jedi. Anakin Solo volunteered to lead a dangerous mission to Myrkr. His strike team planned to take out a cloning facility that was creating genetically engineered predators developed from vornskr stock and used to hunt Jedi." He paused for a moment as he remembered that fatal mission. "They were vicious and deadly predators. They had a poisoned barbed tail, could spit acid and emit ear shattering sonic blasts… and they all had a taste for Jedi blood. Unfortunately Anakin and some of the other young Jedi were killed."

    Mara sat back in shock. "How old was he?"

    "Almost seventeen," Luke said softly.

    "What idiot sent a sixteen year old kid on a dangerous mission?"

    Luke pushed his food around on his plate. "I did."

    Mara put her fork down and leaned forward gazing deeply into Luke's eyes. "Isn't that enough proof that Cilghal is correct."

    His eyes dropped and roved across his plate nervously. "What do you mean?"

    "Luke, if you knew where the facility was located you bomb it from space. Look at Palpatine's Galaxy Gun…it could penetrate the planetary shields of any world and destroy it in a heartbeat. Build one of those weapons and blow the planet to bits if you have to. The Luke Skywalker I knew would never send young teens on such a dangerous mission."

    "The situation was complicated and dire." Luke looked up from his plate. "Also, I may not be the Luke Skywalker you knew. Maybe I switched places with your Luke while in Waru."

    Mara frowned. "Anything is possible, but I still think Cilghal's theory is correct." She thought for a moment then looked up at Luke with probing eyes. "How did these invaders discover the existence of Vornskrs? Palpatine actively hid their existence to the general populace. I know you had no knowledge of them before you came to Myrkr."

    He gave a weak shrug of the shoulders, but remained silent.

    "Why didn't you counter these mutated Vornskrs attacks by using the ysalamiri," Mara continued. "It would hide your Force signature?"

    Luke grimaced. "For some reason the ysalamiri made the voxyn—that was the name for the bioformed vornskrs—mad with rage. They would do anything to kill them. So having a ysalamiri only made things worse."

    Mara cocked an eyebrow. "So a creature created to hunt down Force-users has an insatiable desire to kill a Force-void creature. Why?"

    "I don't know. Maybe the invaders knew about the ysalamiri and bioengineered the voxyn to hate them."

    "Or maybe it never happened and while inside Waru your fear of losing Jedi took the form of a mutated, super lethal Vornskr. I mean, come on Luke, acid for drool. That is something you see in science fiction holos." She paused in thought and then started laughing.

    "What's so funny?"

    "I'm just imagining those mutated, acid drooling vornskrs grooming themselves. That had to be a pain in the butt."

    The image she conjured up in his mind broke his melancholy. "Literally," he conceded. He took another bite of his food and thought about what was said. "You might be right. It does seem far-fetched that the aliens that attacked us were impervious to just about everything we could throw at them including conventional weapons and the power of the Force. Luke sighed. "Just a little too convenient." He looked up at Mara and gave her a weak smile. "Almost as convenient as having the Force arranging our marriage."

    Mara shrugged her shoulders noncommittally.

    Luke stared at his plate as an empty feeling started to creep into his belly. He dreaded the thought of losing his son, but the knowledge that the Vong war never happened, Jacen didn't turn to the darkside, and Mara was never killed should give him some solace. The last thirty years consisted of one nightmare after another. He should be relieved that it was all a figment of his imagination, and he would have been comforted if it wasn't for the loss of his son.

    "Let's change the subject," Mara suggested. "I don't want to be around a glum Jedi all night. Tell me something about your memories that aren't horrifying or foreboding."

    Luke shook off the sullen feelings that threatened to envelop him and smiled softly. "My Mara and I had a Force bond that was special. It was part of that Force-bonding-marriage-matchmaking-epiphany you joked about." Luke chuckled with private pleasure. "It was very special. I felt so close to her." Luke closed his eyes in thought tried to think of a way to describe it. "It was a intermingling of our Force senses. We could feel each other's emotions. It wasn't a particularly a great thing to have when experiencing grief or sadness, but when we were happy and full of joy it would intensify the emotion tenfold…and Force, it made the sex incredible." Luke's eyes flew open. He didn't mean to say that out loud.

    Mara started coughing up her drink. She pulled her napkin to her mouth and tried to regain her composure.

    "I'm sorry Mara, that sort of slipped out." Luke was trying to keep a straight face, but not doing a very good job.

    Mara glared at him. "Just make sure nothing else slips out."

    Luke looked at her mischievously. "Was that a double entendre?"

    Mara turned bright red. "No!"

    Luke laughed. "I better quit while I'm still alive. I keep forgetting you're the Mara who a few years ago wanted to kill me."

    She glowered at him. "And you better not forget it. I may still kill you if you don't stop the smart comments."

    Luke gazed at her lovingly. "Gods, how I missed you threatening me."

    A roll of the eyes was her only response to that comment.

    He smiled and continued eating. "Would you like to go dancing afterwards? I looked at the map on the HoloNet and there is a nightclub at the end of the street."

    "I didn't think you knew how to dance?" Mara said. "Didn't you tell me you kept stepping on your dance partners' toes at your sister's wedding?"

    "I've since learned to dance."

    "Did Callista teach you?" Mara asked with a slight condescending tone.

    Luke's eyes twinkled. "No you did."

    She gave him a steady look. "Okay, I'll go dancing with you. I'd like to see how well your Mara taught you."
    Last edited by Jedi_Lover, Sep 8, 2012
    Draconarius likes this.
  23. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    This is brilliant, makes me smiley and crying at the same time. Please put me on your PM list, even though I am pretty busy with two jobs & a third coming up. But I would not like to miss this story. Thanks for bringing it to the SW universe!

    *thinks about something that Jean-Luc Picard once experienced & also Riker in another Star Trek episode*

    But your fanfic is more romantic, more emotional, more funny.... ^:)^
  24. Hazel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2010
    star 4
    Mara does not stand a chance. :D ;)
  25. Catsmeow Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 8, 2012
    star 1
    Gosh this is so funny! I don't know who I feel worse for Luke or Mara! :)
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