This story is submitted for the SJRS February/March Truncation Challenge! For this challenge I am to take one of my old truncated Luke/Mara fics that was posted here before the move and fix the truncation issue by keeping the non-truncated part the same and then writing a new ending.This is a very old story that I wrote in January 2005.______________________ ‘Back when you first came here,’ she said, ‘I told you you could go back to Coruscant if you wanted to and let the Qom Jha and me tackle the fortress by ourselves. You said no, that you had to be here, and you said not to ask you why.’ He took a deep breath. ‘I had a vision of you on Tierfon,’ he said quietly. ‘Back before I knew you’d disappeared. I saw you lying in a pool of water, surrounded by craggy rock.’ He hesitated. ‘And you looked…’ ‘Dead?’ Abruptly, Luke snapped awake. He was laying half submerged in water inside a dark and cold underground chamber. He slowly realized he had been dreaming while in a hibernation trance. Dreaming about that fateful conversation he had with Mara not more than an hour earlier. Artoo came over to Luke and was twittering frantically. “I’m okay, Artoo,” Luke said as he stood up and dug into his side pockets looking for his glow rod. He was shivering from the cold but managed to turn it on. He was standing in a shallow pool of water along side of an underground river. He swept the light across the cavern to look for a way out when he suddenly froze. Not more than two meters from where he stood his glow rod illuminated a dreadful sight...Mara. She was floating in the shallow pool beside a craggy rock. Her lifeless eyes stared at the ceiling, her arms and legs limp and bobbing gently in the freezing water. It was exactly like the Jedi vision he had seen of her on Tierfon. “Oh Mara!” Luke sobbed. Luke wadded over to her side and slowly lifted her body out of the water and to a nearby ledge. “I am so sorry, Mara,” Luke moaned. She was dead. Luke had watched her die over an hour ago in the adjacent cavern where they valiantly fought the sentinel droids. ‘Her body must have been washed to this location by the rush of water created when I blew up the fusion generator,’ Luke thought sadly. Mara’s lifeless green eyes stared up at him. He shuddered and looked away. ‘They look at me accusingly,’ he thought. With tears running down his cheeks he reached up with his hand and gently closed her eyes. He then sat down on the ledge beside her, buried his head in his hands and sobbed uncontrollably. ***One Hour Earlier*** “There has to be a way out of this,” Luke said to Mara even though he knew there was little hope of escaping their situation. It was truly ironic. They both had done what many would consider impossible, they escaped the Chiss and defeated two sentinel droids intent on killing them. Unfortunately, their salvation only placed them in a more precarious situation. Cutting a hole in the wall and allowing water to pour onto the droids was a genius maneuver. Barring a Jedi vision of the future, there was no way for Mara to know that the small hole she created in the wall would expand allowing the water to rush in unabated preventing any chance of escape. ‘I should have told her about my vision earlier,’ Luke admonished himself. But prior to the assault of the droids there did not appear to be any need to burden Mara with such knowledge. And once the droids attacked there was no real time to explain. There was no time to think about anything else except repelling blaster bolts, trying to conceive a way of escape, and Mara. He found it odd that even when fighting for his life a small portion of his brain still focused on his friend. During the fight he and Mara were so immersed with the Force that their once tentative bond to each other had suddenly grew until it was as they were of one mind and soul. Mara’s thoughts and memories flooded into Luke’s mind as a jumbled collage of emotions and images. He had suddenly become privy to all her fears, desires, strengths, weaknesses, hopes and most private and deepest secrets. It was just too much for Luke at the moment. There was no time to ponder or examine the gift that was suddenly given to him at this time. All he knew was his undying love for this woman. If his vision was correct she would die soon and although he didn’t see himself in his vision, he knew he was also doomed. He chastised himself for all the things he should have told Mara over the years. When he gave her his lightsaber on that rooftop on Coruscant he should have revealed to her his interest. Unfortunately, he hesitated because he feared it might drive her away. He looked at the water rising and realized nothing would drive Mara away now and he had absolutely nothing to lose. She was sitting next to him when he made a hasty decision. He reached over and took Mara’s hands in his. “Mara…will you marry me?” “You mean if we get out of here alive?” He shook his head. “I mean regardless.” A slight smile crossed her face. “Yes, I will.” A flood of emotion, ecstatic but also bittersweet, rushed through his body as he pulled her into his arms and kissed her with all the pent up passion that he held back for so long. She moaned as he dragged his mouth away from hers and drew in a ragged breath. “Gods Mara…I want you.” “I want you too.” She unzipped her jumpsuit and pulled it off her shoulders then helped Luke do the same. She reached back and undid her bra and Luke let out a soft gasp as she revealed her body underneath. “You’re beautiful.” Luke leaned in and ran a hand down her side as he began a tortuous trail of kisses along her jawline with his tongue and lips. She impatiently removed her remaining clothing placing them out on the cave floor. Luke stripped out of his garments and placed them on top of hers creating a makeshift bed. They settled down next to each other gazing into each other’s eyes. “I wish our first time was under better circumstances.” She gave him a sad smile. “I’m just happy that there is a first time.” She slid the palms of her hands up his chest and around the back of his neck, pulling his lips to hers. She made a small cry of pleasure as he brought his body against hers. They let their hands and lips explore each other, each caress bringing them closer and closer until their bodies joyously joined as one. “I love you, Mara,” Luke whispered in her ear as their warm naked flesh moved together in an ancient rhythm until the combination of their physical and emotional joining pushed them both into rapture. Afterwards they redressed nervously, both with besotted looks on their faces, before they curled up next to each other to maintain their body heat. Luke smiled as he ran his fingers through her gorgeous red hair. He leaned in and pressed his lips gently to hers. “That was wonderful.” A feeling of sadness enveloped him as unshed tears welled up in his eyes. “I wasted so much time. Time I could have been with you. Mara, I think I’ve loved you since the day we met on Myrkr.” She let out a breathless laugh. “I think I was attracted by you as far back as my first glimpsed of you on Tatooine.” A wide grin crossed her face. “You looked so sexy in those black Jedi robes as you threatened Jabba.” Luke blushed. “I really doubt that’s true.” She leaned into his arms and nibbled at his neck. “After our Force bond I am sure you can check and verify the veracity of that statement.” When he continued to look at her incredulously she urged him on. “Go ahead. We have no secrets.” He chuckled. “Okay.” He closed his eyes and searched through the memories he acquired through their Force bond. Finally he found a young Mara Jade on a familiar desert world. He frowned as he realized something wasn’t right about this memory. She wasn’t at Jabba’s palace, but with a group of Stormtroopers near the Dune Sea. Mara ordered the troopers to ‘keep looking’ as they mounted Dewbacks and road over the shifting sand. A horrible chill ran down his spine as Mara’s mount crested a dune allowing her to view a small moisture farm in the distance. As the memory played out in his mind Luke became more horrified by what he saw. His eyes shot open and found a confused looking Mara Jade staring at him. “What’s wrong Luke?” “You were on Tatooine once before, prior to the time you came to assassinate me.” It wasn’t a question, but a statement of fact. He sat up and glared at her as a dark rage rose up within him, boiling his blood and clouding his brain. He jumped to his feet and pointed at her accusingly. “You were on Tatooine years before. Why didn’t you tell me!?” She rose and stood before him slack jawed and looking confused over this turn of events. “I was there to find some missing data that Vader wanted recovered.” He walked up to her incensed and she took a hesitant step back. “Mara,” his voice was full of contempt. “You questioned a middle aged couple, didn’t you!?” When she didn’t answer he grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her. “Didn’t you!?” “Yes.” He could tell she was searching through the memories she acquired from him frantically looking for answers. Her eyes went wide as she realized what she had done. “Luke…” the word came out as a sob. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t know who they were.” “You may not have known who they were, but I did.” Luke cried. “They were my aunt and uncle and you ordered them killed. You knew through the Force they were lying about something and you had them slaughtered and burned.” He ran a hand over his face as a strangled sob escaped his lips. “They were trying to protect me!” “I’m so sorry,” she wept as she stepped forward, arms reaching out to him. When her hands touched his shoulders he snapped. “Don’t touch me!” He pushed out his hand and Force shoved her away. It wasn’t until she hit the cavern wall with a sickening thud that he realized he had lost control. “Mara!” he gasped as his anger drained away. She made a gurgling sound as blood ran from her mouth. The expression on her face was a mixture of surprise, sadness and regret as she stumbled sideways and toppled over the railing to the freezing water below. “No!” Luke immediately jumped into the black water hoping to save her. He dived down, reaching, grasping out into the darkness trying to find her body. It wasn’t until he felt her Force essence blink out of existence that he finally surfaced sputtering and gasping for air. “No! Oh no! What have I done!” ***Present time*** Eventually his sobs subsided as his tears ran dry. He sat back and gazed as Mara’s lifeless body wondering what he was going to do. He realized he never told Mara the details of his aunt and uncle’s death. She truly didn’t know she killed his family. Artoo Detoo came up next to him warbling nervously, urging him to leave. He knew there was only a matter of time before the Empire of the Hand found him. He needed to make a decision quickly. For a long anguishing minute he considered pressing the hilt of his saber to his chest and joining Mara in the Force, but he couldn’t do that to his sister and her family. She would be devastated at his disappearance. He decided to bring Mara’s body back home for a funeral pyre. He could tell Karrde she fell off a ledge and died. At least it would give him closure. He bit his bottom lip and squeezed his eyes shut as he swore to the Force and whatever gods that exist that he would forever work toward redeeming himself for this unforgivable sin. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly as he made his decision. He would lie. He would say he found Mara, they fought sentinel droids and she stumbled off a ledge and unfortunately died. They would believe him…after all there were no witnesses to dispute his version of events. He stood and glanced down at his faithful droid. “Oh Artoo,” he whispered as he patted the droid’s dome affectionately. ‘No, there's one witness,’ Luke thought sadly. He knew then his failure as a friend and Jedi was not yet complete. ‘Artoo is overdue for a memory wipe anyway,’ Luke thought darkly as he picked up Mara’s cold body and made his way out of the wet, murky cavern.