Okay, I wrote the bulk of this LAST Halloween night but it was rough. It's still rough, but with the help of lots of friends (you know who you are and that I love you) I think it reads a lot better now. But if there are mistakes, I think it's due to the year this just sat on my hard drive. I just wanted a fun and magical L/M tale for the holiday! Happy Halloween! Title: Spell on You Author: ginchy Summary/Timeframe: Luke and Mara have a spell placed on them by a Witch. Set just pre-SotP. Disclaimer: OMG, well. Star Wars does not belong to me. It belongs to Lucasfilm which belongs to...Disney and... well, WOW. ** “How did you talk me into this, Skywalker?” Mara Jade asked, looking dubiously at the spun sugar on the end of the stick she held in her hand. She pointed the treat in the general direction of the lights and chaos of Coruscant’s Harvest Day Carnival. “Do you still have that death wish?” “Only way to die here is from bad food.” Luke Skywalker stood next to her, gingerly biting into his own stick of cotton candy. “Or perhaps on the Tilt O’ Universe…” he looked up at the giant attraction, and waved a hand at his nephews and niece, sitting in a car near the top of the peak. Anakin Solo waved back, but his older siblings looked away, as if they didn’t know their famous uncle. Mara sniggered. “Leia and Han will do me a favor then, and kill you, if something happens to the kids…” “Cute,” Luke answered, wiping sugar off his nose. “And it was your idea to buy this candy.” “I thought the children might like it.” She took another small bite. “The children.” Luke suppressed a smile. “Right. Your cheek is stained blue.” “What?” Mara swiped at her face. “No it’s not.” Luke rolled his eyes. “Okay, it’s not… but…just here...” he left the rest unsaid, using the thumb of his left hand to wipe at her cheek. Mara stiffened and let out a puff of air against his hand. “…sorry…” he said, looking at the trace of blue on his thumb. “Uh—thanks,” she said. An awkward moment stretched out between them, broken only when the three kids jumped off the ride and ran up to them. “It was astral!” Anakin grabbed Luke’s hand and pulled him. “Let’s go find something else! Can I have this?” He didn’t wait for an answer, grabbing Luke’s cotton candy and helping himself. Luke looked over to see that Jaina and Jacen had similarly commandeered Mara’s stick, and grinned at her, feeling conspiratorial. His grinned wider when she rolled her eyes at him in response. She wasn’t fooling him, not tonight. He had commed her to see if she would brave the carnival with him and the kids, after having realized they were on planet at the same time. It was a rare treat to see her when the fate of the galaxy wasn’t in balance. So rare, in fact, that he wasn’t sure if she would agree to come, especially when the kids were involved. But to his surprise she had said yes, only now it seemed that maybe she was rethinking that acquiescence. “Uncle Luke! Uncle Luke!” Luke shook himself from his reverie and looked at his niece, who was jumping up and down in front of him, pointing to a tent somewhat off the main midway of the fair. “Yes, Jaina?” “Can we go see the witch?” Jaina was pointing to a small sign next to the tent that read simply, THE WITCH IS IN. “I think your uncle has had enough contact with witches,” Mara said, squashing her lips to hide a smile. “Actually, why not?” Luke gave Mara a look. “She probably tells fortunes and things… Maybe she’s Force Sensitive.” “Yeah!!” Jaina yelled, running ahead. “Do we have to?” Jacen glumly kicked at a rock. “I want to go on more rides!” Anakin protested, but followed after his sister. “Force sensitive, Skywalker?” Mara asked, giving him a nastier version of the look he had given her earlier. “Maybe a Jedi Master who survived and now makes a hardscrabble living telling lonely women of the tall, dark, and handsome man in their futures?” “No, I was thinking maybe someone who was never trained and wasting her talents.” Luke walked forward, dropping a hand on Jacen’s shoulder to push him along. “Skywalker, I didn’t know you had that in you.” Mara’s tone was clipped, but she walked in step with him anyway. He sighed. “Look—I’m, I’m sorry, Mara. I shouldn’t have said that. I just think that maybe some of these people with purported magical powers could be Force Sensitive.” “And then you’ll force them to your merry little academy and make Jedi out of them?” “Mara, I’m trying to apologize to you and…” Luke trailed off, stepping into the darkened tent. “Never mind.” “Leave your negative energies outside,” a wizened voice said as he entered. “Mara, you’ll have to stay outside,” he said, without turning back. The kids laughed, though they were looking around in awe and more than a little trepidation. Through the Force he felt a bubble of amusement from Mara, and smiled mentally to himself. How could she drive him so mad, yet keep him coming back for more? He looked toward the voice and saw an elderly woman, wrapped in a large red cloak. “I apologize, ma’am.” The Witch looked at him, trying to stare him down, but Luke looked right back, and felt Mara tensing up somewhat behind him. He started to tell the children that it was time to leave, but the woman’s face cracked in a smile. “You Jedi don’t tremble before me. I like that. Welcome, Master Skywalker. What can I do for you?” “Thank you,” Luke said, smiling at the elderly women. He felt Mara relax fractionally, but she still stood near the children, their protector. “My niece saw your booth and wanted to come in. Do you tell fortunes or have some other specialty?” “Your niece wanted to come in here because I thought I should meet you,” the Witch said, looking at Mara though she was talking to Luke. “Meet me?” Mara asked. Jaina reached a hand out to hold Mara’s, but Mara didn’t move, intent only on looking at the self-proclaimed witch. “Yes. I heard you and Master Skywalker arguing and thought maybe I could help.” Luke forced himself not to flush at the woman’s words. “I apologize for what you heard just now--” “Not just now. Years. You’ve been arguing for years. And I’ve heard it.” “Uncle Luke and Mara fight all the time,” Anakin bravely put in. “Dad says it’s because all that energy has to go somewhere.” “What energy?” Jacen asked, looking up from inspecting a dragon figurine on the table. “Mom told him to hush,” Anakin said, with a shrug. Luke flushed this time, and noticed that Mara’s cheeks seemed stained with color now, too. “Never mind,” Mara told the children. “And what do you mean you’ve heard us?” she asked sharply, looking at the witch. “Only this.” The witch folded her hands in front of her on the table and regarded them with steely eyes. “I’ve felt your quarrel and I don’t like it.” Mara rolled her eyes. “Let’s go.” She started herding the kids toward the door. “But I wanted my fortune--” Jaina’s words were cut off by the elderly woman, still seated at the table. “You were my instrument for getting them here, and I thank you, child,” she said. “Now, the two of you,” she gestured to Luke and Mara, “I’ve put a spell on you.” “You’ve done what?” Mara and Luke asked simultaneously, looking at one another in alarm. “But you didn’t wave a wand or anything,” Jacen said. “Is that Condor dragon?” he asked, pointing to the figuring he had been admiring. “Like a Jedi, I don’t need to wave my hand to make things happen,” the Witch answered, but didn’t bother to answer Jacen’s other question. “This is ridiculous,” Mara said, turning to go out the tent-flap with the kids. “She didn’t do anything.” “Mara,” Luke called. “Wait. Come back here for a minute.” Instantly, Mara turned around and was at his side. “Thank you.” He noticed the look of horror on her face. “Mara? What’s wrong?” She didn’t speak, so he tried again. “Mara? Tell me what’s wrong.” She opened her mouth and then tried to close it, but spoke as if it were against her will. “I just did what you told me to do,” she answered. “Twice.” “Yeah, you came back over here. But what’s wrong?” He tried to forget the Witch for a moment to try and figure out what Mara was telling him. The Witch laughed behind them, and they turned to look at her. “I told you, I put a spell on you. For now,” she said, pointing at Mara, “have to do what he says.” Luke couldn’t help it, and choked back a laugh. But he didn’t laugh for long, as the Witch’s rheumy eyes turned to him. “And you,” she said, pointing him, “have to listen to what she says.” ** “Uncle Luke, does this mean you get to tell Mara what to do now?” Jaina asked, running ahead and walking backwards to look at both him and Mara. “Because that sucks.” “I agree.” Mara gave her a tight smile. “But I’m sure it was just some kind of power of suggestion that worked only inside the tent.” “Mara’s right.” Luke steered the kids to walk toward the front of the park. “Let’s head home now—too much excitement for one festival.” “Yeah, I think I’ll catch a cab back home.” Mara began to separate from the group, trying to blend in with the crowds of kids and tourists. “Mara, don’t go,” Luke called over the music of a fast-paced ride. “I can drive you home.” Stopping in her tracks, Mara visibly struggled before catching up with the group. “Guess it still works,” Jaina said, a touch of sympathy in her voice as she grabbed Mara’s hand. Luke didn’t miss Mara’s frown. “Still sucks,” she murmured, and Jaina nodded in agreement. ** “…and then the Witch put a spell on them!” Anakin finished in a big flourish, grinning at his mom and dad. “It was astral.” “She put a spell on you?” Leia looked at her brother and at Mara, who stood silently against the wall of the Solos’ foyer. She turned her attention back to Anakin for a moment. “You need to head to bed, young man. Like your siblings.” Anakin grumbled and walked off. “Apparently until we figure out how to reverse it,” Luke mumbled, as Anakin left. He glanced over his shoulder at Mara. “I tried to speak to the woman further, but she was a harder nut to crack than Yoda.” Han laughed. “So, let me get this straight, kid. YOU have to LISTEN Mara, but SHE has to DO what you say? Sounds like the beginning of a bad pleasure holo.” “Han!” Leia scolded, but couldn’t help but smile at the flush on both Luke and Mara’s cheeks. “Seriously, isn’t there anything you can do with the Force to fix this Luke?” “Yeah, the great and powerful Jedi Master should be able to fix this,” Mara muttered. In the silence after her comment, she gave Luke a pointed look. “Nothing to say? Usually you defend your title.” Luke’s voice was sullen. “I was listening to you.” “Finally!” Mara looked smug. He gave her an evil grin, and turned to open the door. “Bye, Han, Leia. Come on, Mara.” Mara walked forward as if propelled. “Damn it!” she said, just as the door slid shut. ** “Look,” Mara said, as they walked down the halls of the Imperial Palace in the direction of Luke’s suite. “Why don’t you just tell me to go home to bed, and we’ll just avoid each other until we figure this out? It’s surely only a suggestion in the Force and will fade with time.” Luke smirked. “Don’t think I’m going to let you off that easy, Mara.” But turning to look at her, he could see that she wasn’t amused. In fact, her face was practically white. She was nervous, he realized. Maybe even...scared. This power over them scared her, and that made him stop in his tracks. “Hey. I’m only kidding. Go on home. I’ll see you in a few days?” “Yeah, Skywalker. Sure. I’ll see you then.” Without so much as a backward glance, she walked away down the long hall. Luke stood and watched until she turned a corner, and then walked away himself. ** The next few days passed pleasantly. Luke visited Leia, Han and the children often, wanting to get as much time in with them as he could before he headed back to Yavin IV. Han ribbed him over the Mara situation constantly, but he shrugged him off. He hadn’t seen Mara since the night in the hallway, and doubted he would see her again for many months. That was their pattern, no matter how much he disliked it. On the night before he was scheduled to head back to his Academy, he had dinner with his family and then headed home early, eager to catch up on a few things back in his own apartment. But his door had no sooner closed behind him than someone pounded on it, demanding to be let in. He reached out with the Force and felt Mara on the other side of the door, and she was projecting her displeasure loudly just as her voice rose to match it. “Open this door, Skywalker!” Luke palmed open the door and stared at Mara. “What’s wrong?” She frowned at him. “I had this urge to come and visit you.” “An urge?” “Think back, Skywalker. You told me you’d see me in a few days. And here I am.” “Oh,” he said, trying not to sound sheepish. “Well, you can come in, if you want.” Mara frowned, standing awkwardly in his hall, looking into the darkened apartment. She nodded to herself as if coming to a decision and walked in. “I thought this would go away after being apart. But obviously it’s still in effect. Any ideas, Master Jedi?” He sighed. “No. I was like you in the assumption that it would fade if we weren’t together. I even went back to the carnival, but the Witch’s booth was no longer there.” Mara looked at him, and he could detect the disappointment in her eyes. He walked into the living room, sitting on the couch. “Sit down,” he invited and she did, making a face as she perched on the chair across from him. “So, Skywalker…” Mara said, as silence stretched between them. “What now?” “Well, I was going to tell you to go to the Academy,” he said, with an evil grin. “But I’m not quite ready to die yet.” Mara favored him with a smile. “You’re a laugh a minute, Skywalker.” “Oh, hush,” he said, pushing himself up from the couch. “I’m heading back there tomorrow myself. I’m thinking that maybe there’s something on Force suggestion in the readings Tionne has procured.” Mara didn’t answer as he went into the kitchen and opened the cooler, grabbing a drink. “Do you want anything to drink?” he called to her. She still didn’t answer and he stuck his head out to look at her. “Mara, I asked if you--” He looked at her stony face, her lips tightly closed. “Kriff!! Mara, speak to me,” he said in a rush of realization. “You need to be more careful!” She exploded, but remained seated and gave a pointed look to her legs. “You can get up,” he said meekly. “You just don’t think, Skywalker!” She jumped up and rounded on him, apparently unmoved by his contrite face. “What if you had told me to jump out the window? Or to break a leg or something?” Luke was silent, looking at her, and he saw her eyes widen in realization. “You have to listen to me right now! Good, maybe I should say a few things before I lose the nerve or you tell me to shut my mouth. You aren’t thinking. You’re reacting. And that’s not something new. You’ve been living your life this way. You’re in this permanent state of providing band-aid solutions with your little rag-tag group of Jedi. And I’m sick of it! This only proves to me how little you do think sometimes.” After she finished, she took a deep breath, and silence stretched between them again. Finally his lips were loosened and he could speak. “How do you know what I do, Mara? You’re never around. You haven’t been trained. Maybe I am reacting but what else can I do? I feel so alone sometimes and so unsure….You tell me what you think I should do.” And he found that he wanted to hear what she had to say. Things had been so rough for him over the last few years, but had started to clear recently. He had started to feel sure of himself again, and of his place in the Force. But he hadn’t been on equal footing with Mara since he had given her his father’s lightsaber and he missed that feeling. Mara’s face was composed, and she didn’t look as if she didn’t want to obey his command as she had earlier when he had told her where to sit or to follow him. “I think you should learn to listen to the Force…Luke. It’s like a songbird in an ore-crushing facility… You can’t listen to the Force if you are too busy listening to all the noise around you.” Luke was quiet again, listening and not only because of the spell that compelled him. Songbirds and the Force. He never would have expected something like that from Mara. But suddenly he could feel a barrier that he did not even know existed between them lift. He could feel her through the Force more clearly than he ever had, and knew she could feel him the same. It was exhilarating and new, but there was more to say. “What about you, Mara? How can you tell me about the Force when you fail to acknowledge it? You should be trained, you have so much potential.” Mara turned her head away, but Luke tried again. “I …could make you tell me now why you don’t want to be a Jedi…but I wouldn’t do that. I’m asking, instead.” He watched as she swallowed hard, and when she turned to look at him, her eyes were suspiciously damp. “The answer is… I just haven’t felt ready. And I’m not sure when I will. But maybe I won’t have that problem any longer.” She looked at him. “You’re the man I thought you were… I knew you were still in there. ” Luke smiled at her, feeling freer and lighter than he had in some time. He sat down on the couch again and looked at Mara in invitation, careful not to force her to sit. She sat down next to him and he hesitantly put his arm around her, only mildly surprised when she melted against him with a sigh. "We still have a lot to discuss," she said. He nodded against her hair, leaning back and taking her with him to settle comfortably against the back of the couch. ** “So … it was just a cover story? You and Lando weren’t…” “No.” Mara smirked at him. “...oh.” “Yeah.” Mara was still smirking. Luke drug his fork around on his plate. It was hours later, and they were still on the couch, but eating take-out while they talked. “I wish I could find that Witch again.” Mara looked at him like he had grown another head at the change in conversation. “What?” “Just because she’s been able to get us back on equal footing. I like that. I like being here with you.” Mara’s cheeks flushed just slightly. But she nodded. “Wow,” Luke said, trying to break the intensity of the moment by taking a bite of his Alderaanian pasta. “You should try these noodles. They’re really good.” Mara leaned over and grabbed a large bite. “Hey, that’s mi--” Luke cut himself off. “Oh.” She smirked at him. “This is beginning to have its benefits.” Luke rolled his eyes. “I think the suggestion is gone and you’re just using it for your benefit.” An amused puff of air was his answer from Mara, but when he looked at her, their eyes met and held for a long moment. It was nice to sit with her, to really talk and...listen. She leaned toward him, bringing a hand to his face. He stiffened just slightly. “Mara?” She bit her lip. “You’ve got something on your cheek,” she murmured and his heart pounded at the intimate sound of her voice. “I...I have?” “Yes, just here.” She swiped her thumb against his face lightly and he remembered doing the same for her at the carnival, before the Witch had cast her spell on them. He swallowed hard and looked into her eyes as her hand didn’t move, staying still, one finger caressing the line of his jaw. And he knew it was time to take a chance. “Maybe we can test the suggestion,” he heard himself say. “See if it’s still there.” His voice was no more than a whisper. “But how?” “How about like this,” he murmured, leaning in. “Kiss me, Mara.” She stopped him with a soft finger to his lips. “No.” He smiled against her hand. “There’s my Mara.” And that’s when she kissed him.