Title: Cold Hands, Warm Hearts Author: Briannakin Timeframe: New Republic era (Post TTT) Characters: Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade Genre: Romance, humor, fluff Notes: This is a fic gift for @Jedi_Lover, who wanted a story in Beyond with: 1. A secret is accidentally revealed. 2. A confrontation 3. The planet Myrkr And she do not want a sad ending. Characters: Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade Funny story, I actually got Jedi_Lover last year for the fic-gift exchange, so I was very excited to get her again this year. And AGAIN I’m surprised boot knocking was not on the list, but I still had fun with this. “Damn you to hell Skywalker,” Mara muttered to herself as she limped into the cave she and Luke had taken shelter in. The damned Jedi had asked her to come on a mission to Myrkr with him because she had experience with the northern part of the planet and ysalamiri – unlike the recruits he recently got for his new Jedi Academy. Luke kept annoying her to join, but she had always said no. The only reason she had yes when he asked her to go on this mission with her was because he promised never to bug her again about Jedi training if she did. Then the moron Jedi had to go and crash land kilometres northwest of their intended target, in the middle of frost yslamiri territory. The frost yslamiri was no different than a regular yslamiri, other than their ability to live in the extreme cold. Mara entered the main chamber of the small cave to see her fire starting to die. She had gone out into the bitter wind at just the right time. She dumped her load of wood on the dirt floor and started to build up the fire. She looked to see Skywalker sound asleep, wrapped in his clothes and a few blankets she had managed to find among the wreckage that had once been her ship. His blue lips mumbled something in his sleep. He was not doing well. He had been severely injured in the crash, yet for the first three days, he insisted he was fine and helped her gather fire-wood and food since her leg was mangled – much like his entire body. Then yesterday morning he had collapsed while they had been hunting frost ysalamiri for breakfast. They had no way of contacting anyone for help. Mara prayed that someone would notice Luke was supposed to meet his family two days ago for the holidays. She checked her wrist chrono. Twenty minutes until Fete Week started. As for her, no one would be looking for her. Karrde had given her two weeks off and she had planned to spend Fete Week in some spa on Corellia with a tumbler of whisky and a good book. In other words: all alone. She continued to build up the fire until Luke started to get restless in his sleep. She got up, took her torn leather jacket off and laid it on him. She was about to get some snow to melt, when Luke let out a series of frightened moans and grunts. Mara had discovered that Skywalker liked to talk in his sleep. She felt sorry for the poor woman who Luke would eventually marry and spend every night with, though it could be entertaining when she managed to engage him in conversation. “Mara, no, please don’t leave,” he whined in his sleep. Curious, she sat down next to him. He had never mentioned her name in his sleep before. “I’m right here,” she said, patting his head. Although she would never admit it to his face, he was a kind man with a huge heart, and she was attracted to him. She wished they weren’t surrounded by ysalamiri. At least then she could try to heal him, or at least make him comfortable in their final hours – for she knew it was the end for the both of them. “Thank you,” he mumbled back. “I’m glad you’re here.” “Why?” she asked, hoping to get the real reason why Luke asked her on this mission. “Because I love your body.” She didn’t mean to, but her shriek of “What the kriff Skywalker?” woke him from his deep slumber. She practically crawled up the cave wall to get away from him. “What are you screaming about?” Luke asked in a pain-filled haze. “You creeper! You only wanted me on this mission because you wanted to check out my butt. Is that why you keep asking me to come to the academy – to ask me out?” He refused to look at her as his cheeks turned bright pink. “Oh gods. I was talking in my sleep. Mara, I can explain.” “Please do,” she implored him. She then looked down at her belt. “Is that why you gave me your lightsaber?” Luke started to laugh, now fully awake. “Gods Skywalker!” she screamed, outraged. “Get your mind out of the gutter-system. I am going to kill you.” “Since I’m going to die anyways, I might as well admit it: I do love your body.” Mara was about to lunge at him when he continued. “And I love you.” “What?” She stood, shocked, unable to move. “You heard me. I love you. I don’t want to die with any regrets. I love Mara Jade, and if I could do my life over again, I would have told you a lot sooner and asked you to become my wife.” She hid her fear with a smirk as she sat back down. She didn’t want to die with any more regrets than she already had. “Are you saying you would have asked me to marry you?” “Only if you loved me back.” He reached out his hand to touch her fingers. Both their hands were freezing cold, but she felt the warmth that was there. Mara gulped. “I would have said yes,” she then lied down beside him and he allowed her to get into his cocoon of blankets with him, “Because I love you.” As they wrapped their arms around each-other, Luke’s chrono went off. He untangled his broken arm from the blankets and checked the time. “It’s midnight, Mara. Happy Fete Week.” He was the one that initiated the kiss, but she was the one that kissed him back and made it meaningful. “So,” she said idly, “What would have your Fete week have looked like?” she asked. “You mean if I weren’t dying in your arms tonight?” Mara groaned at the cheesy song lyrics. “Yes.” “Well, during the week before I would have gone to Coruscant and picked up all my packages. I do all my shopping over the holonet,” he explained. “Smart man.” “Thanks. The night before the first day of Fete week, I would have had a relaxing night in my apartment, perhaps maybe a ripple bath. I would put on a holo and wrap my gifts for Han, Leia and their kids. I would have tried to go to bed early that night because Jaina, Jacen and Anakin would have commed me bright and early. I go over to their apartment and watch the kids open their gifts. I would have spent pretty much all week over there. Near the end of the week, I would have gone out with some old Rogue Squadron buddies.” “Sounds like it would have been nice.” “Yeah,” he said, sounding distant. “What were your holiday plans?” “Nothing special. Just a room at a nice spa, AA Ston’s latest psychological thriller novel, and a bottle of fine booze.” “That sounds….” “Completely depressing?” “Yeah,” he replied bluntly. “Meh, at least my last first day of Fete week will be my best.” Luke chuckled softly. “You know what? I agree. Though I wouldn’t mind a cup of hot cocoa.” Mara rolled her eyes. * * * Finding his best friend frozen stiff on the first day of the holidays was not what Han had in mind for Fete Week. How was he going to explain this to Leia and the kids? But upon seeing Luke and Mara curled up in that cave on Myrkr, he knew one thing: the end had been peaceful and full of love. At least Mara hadn’t been damning him to hell in his last few minutes. * * * One year later … * * * “Damn you to hell Skywalker,” Mara muttered. “What did I do now?” Luke said, entering their living room with two mugs of hot cocoa. She shot him a glare as she tried to shift her weight as she sat on their couch. “I think you know what you did.” “Yeah, I do.” Setting down the mugs on the caff table, Luke smiled as he went to her aid. He helped her up, rearranged her pillows and helped her sit back down. He sat down and rubbed the blue fabric stretched over her humongous stomach. She was expecting their first child, who was due to arrive any day now. As he rubbed, Luke felt the baby kick. “That’s his –” “Or her,” Luke interrupted Mara, who merely rolled her eyes. She looked radiant in her blue maternity dress and black leggings. “Way of saying he –” “Or she.” “Stop it.” Mara elbowed her husband in the ribs. “That’s his way of saying he wants some hot cocoa, a blanket, and for his daddy to cuddle with his mommy.” Luke got their mugs of hot chocolate and Mara held them as he wrapped both their bodies with a warm blanket. Together they cuddled and held hands. Luke’s chrono went off. He looked at it, kissed her passionately and then grinned wildly. “Happy first day of Fete.” “Do you remember our last first day of Fete?” He laughed as he picked up her left hand and kissed the wedding ring on her finger. “How could I forget?” “I was just wondering. You were pretty delirious.” “Not delirious – just in love.” Their kisses ceased any more conversation for a long while. Luke eventually stopped and leaned back. “Do you think we should get going to bed? Jaina, Jacen and Anakin are going to be comm-ing us pretty early.” “Okay.” Mara started to get up but she suddenly put her hands on her stomach sat back down quickly with a surprised “Oh!” “Mara?” he looked at her with concerned blue eyes. “You must have been a good boy this year. You’re getting an extra present.” It took a moment, but Luke got it. “The baby?” Mara smiled and nodded.