I?m so sorry you were so sick, oba! Darling, I hope you?re better. And thanks for posting anyway. and for health. And some tea. Luke gently caressed Mara's face; she didn't wake, trusting even in her sleep. That made Luke smile. He let himself fall back asleep. *feels warm and fuzzy* What a marked change. Yay for Luke feeling at peace! Mara suddenly felt tears in her eyes, totally unexpectedly. Something indefinable rose in her, overpowering, and yet, then it settled, no less strong but quieter. I love you, she thought. Terrific description. Love can be felt in so many different ways, and this is one way I?ve experienced it before. It?s so incredible! "I fear for him," Mauwel said at last. "Because of you." *huggles Kejal* Kejal reminds me of someone, like a character in a movie or book or something, but I can?t figure out who. But anyways, I like that he and Mara had this interaction. They are, after all, the two most important people in Luke's life. To have this . . . to have peace, he would give up what he had been taught. Power had done little for him but destroy him. Perhaps, he thought, it was an equal trade after all. Hm?giving up power (control) is very hard to do, even on a smaller scale. How much peace would I gain if I gave up, say, some of my perfectionism? I don?t think I?ll ever know! You?re a brave man, Luke. "Why don't you tell me?" Mara snapped. Gr. I hate it when people play mind games like that! Oh, guess--it?ll be fun! Just tell me, dang it. LOL. never had she sensed passion from him when he spoke of the Empire, never had he spoken of it as being his Is it his in the sense that he has power and he rules it, or more that he loves it in a patriotic way? Does that make sense? I probably see it as the latter. He may have liked his own efficiency (the control he has over his own efforts), but he didn?t possess all of that power just for the sake of it. If he believes it is his duty to run the Empire, which he obviously does, then he will do it, and do it well with calculation?thus bringing us back to Mara?s line: Calculation ? he must thrive on it, she thought, or how could he stand it? Even when he?s ?gray? he seems to be serving others. Mara faced Luke, looking into his eyes. He had lost everything for her. Was this not ultimately simple? And she felt herself, in her heart, give all that she had up. Amazing, really. Simply amazing. Just?the greatest gift. Ah, the end. I have to side with Knight_Aragorn and JadedGirl--I kind of like the open ending as well, though I do admit to feeling some frustration. It?s like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which is so good it hurts. Go watch it right now! But back to the praise? Oh, oba, this story is absolutely breathtaking. I?m so glad you shared it with us. I?ve had a lot of fun reading through this, and it?s been so lovely to get to know you as well! Lots of and and plain ol? .