Title: Dancing Inside Author: Briannakin Timeframe: Various – Post-NJO AU Characters: Luke Skywalker, Mara Jade Skywalker, Ben Skywalker, Beru Skywalker (OC), others as I see fit Genre: Various Notes: This will be a series of vignettes (also possibly a few short stories – 2 or 3 posts long) centralizing around the AU that I created in my 2011 Dear Diary Challenge So NOT A Stay At Home Mom. It is not necessary to read that diary to enjoy these vignettes (though it might help), simply know that Luke and Mara had a daughter about a year after the end of the ‘Vong War, who has Cerebral Palsy. Some of these vignettes will be missing scenes from the diary, but most will continue the story of Beru Skywalker. - Baby-Girl Meets Ex-Girlfriend Timeframe: 30 ABY Luke heard the crying even before the door to his office opened. It was 1102 hours and it was his turn to take the baby for three hours while Mara taught her two classes. The door opened and an uncharacteristically frazzled Mara entered with a baby-bag over her shoulder and a crying five-month Beru in her arms. Luke smiled, got up and retrieved his daughter and her bag from his wife. He noticed Beru was wearing a purple sweat-suit, not her pink onesie and floral skirt he had put her in that morning. “Rough morning?” he asked, bouncing Beru up and down. Mara groaned. “You have no idea. I fed her breakfast, went to burb her and she puked all over me and herself. The morning has just gone downhill from there. She isn’t sick, I took her temperature and everything; she just doesn’t like me today.” He kissed Mara on the lips. “I like you both, if it’s any consolation. And we both love you.” Mara smiled. “Yeah, I know. Anyways, she has managed to keep down what I just fed her a half hour ago... so far.” She then looked at the chrono on his desk. “Shavit, I’m late. I love you, Farmboy,” she said before kissing her still crying daughter on the back of the head before rushing out. “Looks like it’s just me and you now, baby-girl,” he said as he sat back down with her. “You’re not going to spit up on me, are you?” Beru simply continued crying. Luke sighed, knowing she would only cry more if he set her down in her play-pen. So he propped her on his chest with her head on his shoulder, and patted her back while he continued working on his lesson plan for next week. Slowly, something odd happened. Slowly, Beru’s crying became quieter and quieter. Eventually, she became silent. Luke looked down in amazement. After five months of somehow virtually never sleeping (at least it felt that way to Luke) Beru was actually asleep. Her face was so serine, so at peace. Carefully, as if trying not to wake a nexu, Luke put down his stylus and placing his now free hand higher up on his daughter’s back. He was about to get up and put her in the playpen, when she gurgled and nuzzled his neck in her sleep. He froze in place. No. He would not be so stupid as to move, let alone put her down. That would certainly wake her. He cautiously used the Force to get her pink baby-blanket in her diaper bag and spread it out on top of her, covering her up, protecting her from the cold he knew she hated. He must have sat there for 40 minutes, not daring to move. The spell was broken when his comm-station rang. Beru woke and began to cry once again. Luke sighed as he rolled his chair over to the station and keyed it on. “What is it, Caro?” he asked the twi’lek apprentice responsible for directing the communications coming into Jedi Order. Luke shifted Beru so that he was holding her in his arm and spread the blanket over his chest and arm to create a tent for her. He bent over to get a pacifier from her bag and tried his best to get her to suck on it. “Did I wake little Beru?” Caro cringed. Luke nodded, regretfully. “Yeah, but don’t worry about it. Who is comm-ing me?” he asked. Most of his usual contacts, such as Chief of State Cal Omas, knew to avoid to comm-ing during the three hour of the work day Luke had Beru. “I don’t know. It’s a human female. She just said you sent her a message to contact you that you flagged as urgent two weeks ago.” Luke tried to think. Who had he contacted two weeks ago? He was so sleep deprived that he couldn’t remember what he had for breakfast this morning, let alone two weeks ago. “Just patch her through,” Luke told the Caro as he continued to try to get Beru to suck on the pacifier. He finally got her to take it in her mouth and gently held it there with one finger so she could spit it out if she really wanted to annoy him, but it wouldn’t fall out if her jaw or tongue decided to spasm. The image of Caro fuzzed out to be replaced with a woman he hadn’t laid eyes upon in seventeen years. Suddenly, events of two weeks came over him. Mara had seen a terrible vision of a possible future in her sleep. Now, they were taking every precaution to avoid it. This included him contacting his former girlfriend and warning her of the dangers lurking in the Maw. “Callista.” “Hello Luke. You needed to talk to me?” She smiled. She had worn the past two decades well, but not as well as Mara. “Yes. We have had a very grave warning of a possible future by a vision. You were a part of this vision. There is a creature in the Maw – we actually believe the Maw was created to imprison it. If you go into the Maw, the creature will consume your essence and take your identity.” Callista looked surprised. “I am glad you contacted me. I was about to pick back up my quest to find the Force in the Maw. Now, I will certainly go someplace else.” Luke smiled in relief. “Good. Thank you.” He was about ask her how her quest was going, when Beru spat out her pacifier and resumed her crying. “Oh, dear,” Callista commented. “Someone isn’t very happy with her babysitter.” He nodded, tore down Beru’s tent and wrapped her in the blanket. He held her close and began swaying with her to calm her down. “If you don’t mind me asking – it’s been awhile since I have picked up a holo-paper, I’ve spent most of my time since the beginning of that dreadful war helping refuggees – whose is she? Is she Jaina’s?” Callista asked. Luke smiled. “I’m not babysitting. She’s mine. Callista, I would like you to meet my daughter; Beru Skywalker.” Luke turned her around and let Callista get a good look at her. Beru scrunched up her face and vomited. “Oh…. She’s yours? You and Mara are still together? Oh, hm.” Luke fought the urge to scowl as he laid Beru in his lap and started to strip her of her stained clothes. He hated it when people doubted his and Mara’s love. Apparently, Callista was one of them. “Yes. We just celebrated our tenth anniversary. We have a four-year-old named Ben and this one,” he said, picking up Beru, now clad in only her diaper. He dispensed her clothes in her bag and wrapped her up in blankets. “I better go get her dressed, then we have to meet Mommy for lunch. It was nice talking to you, and please, stay out of the Maw, and call again.” Callista nodded, apparently still shocked with his revelation. “Of course I will stay out of there and I will try call again.” The line went dead and Luke let out a sigh of relief. He looked down at her daughter. “How did I ever date her? She is nowhere as cute and lovable as you.” Beru stopped crying and looked up at her daddy. “Come on, Princess, let’s go get you dressed, again, then we will go annoy Mommy during her lunch hour.” Beru smiled and Luke decided he was happy with what he had lost and what he had gained over the years.