Beyond The Table Was Crowded... (L/M, AU) [update 3/22]

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by DaenaBenjen42, Sep 21, 2008.

Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade
  1. kataja Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2007
    star 4
    I must admit I'm a little lost about what's going on at the moment, I get the main lines but miss many and fine details because I can't quite remember what has happened. Also, while I enjoy your understated style - it doesn't help my weak memory... I'm getting old :p


    They were half-way to Byss when Roganda's head came up and she stared at the nothingness of the molted sky of hyperspace. Across the distance, she felt it... a presence that wasn't only wrong, but impossible. Familiar, yes, but... very wrong. "That can't be."

    "It isn't," Mara said from behind her. "At least, I don't think it is. That's impossible."

    "Would you stop that?" Han complained suddenly from behind Mara, who turned to stare at him with wide eyes. "Then again... what is it?"

    "Don't want to say," Mara told him tightly. Then her eyes went distant and she smiled. "But it's safe to say that Luke's as close to fine as we can hope for."

    "Good
    ."
    Focus on the task, huh, Han? ;) Let's hope Palpatine's clone was a minor distraction!


    It was eight days, right?

    Funny how eight days can stretch into eight weeks, then. Stay where you are, we'll be down to collect you, shortly.

    [face_laugh]

    Not too long after that, Han, Leia, Mara, Roganda, Wedge, Darvis, Ailee, and Wes, armed to the teeth, clambered in with unnecessary noise and confusion, and Quest was arrested... again. It helped that he was already in binders
    [face_laugh] And boy, does Luke and Mara have some talking to do!:D
  2. PadmeSkywalkerSHM Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 25, 2010
    star 2
    Mara and Luke have a lot to talk about...

    No kittens:confused:
  3. DaenaBenjen42 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2005
    star 5
    A/N: *pokes at new shiny boards system* We back up for reals? Awesome!


    Hazel: So, so glad you liked Vima. And... yep! They totally did! Thank you. :)

    Jade_eyes: Thank you. :) [:D] !!!!!

    kataja: Thank you. (And I understand your confusion completely [:D] !!!!! ) :)

    PadmeSkywalkerSHM: The kittens will be back next update. (They were in this one, just not in the narrative.) Thank you. :)
  4. DaenaBenjen42 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2005
    star 5
    A/N: The next update after this one is going to be after January 25th due to DRL. Enjoy, and thank you to the wonderful Jade_eyes for the beta. :)

    Tags: @Jade_eyes , @Hazel , @JediFalcon , @dancing_star , @PadmeSkywalkerSHM


    Years ago...


    It was the same every time. Chaos. Daylight. Weapons fire on formerly peaceful streets. Death. Senseless destruction. Loss.

    Every time she closed her eyes, she saw it. It looped and twisted and repeated and goaded her into paying attention. Into reliving it as if each moment mattered more than the last. Dared her to speak up, to voice her doubts in the middle of every strategy session.

    She didn't. Every time she tried or started to speak up, something made her doubt her own doubts. Surely, everyone had planned all they needed to plan... right? It wouldn't make a difference if she said something now. Or would it?

    It was as if a universe of possibility existed between the moment that was certainty... and the one where she found her voice.

    The images repeated in her mind's eye again and again, ending the same way every time: with a deeply personal loss that shook her to her core.

    Staring at the map being projected on to the wall as her father pointed out the various vulnerable spots and a resistance cell member from Theed proper explained where the Imps were stationed throughout, she found herself drawn to a particular area of the map... what appeared to be a wide street a block or two away from Theed Palace.

    "I'm going with you."

    The words were out so quickly that she wasn't even sure she'd said them initially. Only the sudden silence and everyone in the room turning to stare at her in varying states of confusion told her that she had.

    Her father regarded her for a very long moment before glancing at her mother in silent question. When her mother nodded ever so slightly, he turned back to her. "You're sure? It'll be brutal out there."

    "Yes." She dared him with her eyes to ask why she wanted to go. He didn't.

    He nodded. "All right."

    The rest of the strategy session passed without incident.


    Now...


    Soon enough, they were safely in hyperspace and Han allowed himself to relax. Then he turned, took Leia's hand with a smile, and looked at Mara in expectation. "Well?"

    Mara ignored him for a minute, savoring Luke's embrace as she looked past him and out of the viewport to the molted sky of hyperspace. Weeks of searching through databases and tracking down leads and finally listening to a medic who had stuffed animal phobia had led them here to this moment, the least she could do was enjoy it for what it was. Finally, she turned and looked up into Luke's eyes. "You are going to be a father."

    Luke smiled. "Weren't we going to talk about it later?"

    "And we will... but it was to you and only you that I wanted to say the words too first."

    Han chuckled. "Much to the annoyance of the rest of us." Mara's eyes narrowed and suddenly something smacked him on the back of the head. "Ow!"

    "Mara..." Luke began, but a look quelled his protest.

    Mara slowly turned to look at Han, who was now rubbing the back of his head. "I realize you were trying to make light of it, but that really was in poor taste."

    Han nodded solemnly, at once reminded why one did not make a pregnant woman mad. Especially not a telekinetic one. "You're right. It was."

    "Though the humor is appreciated."

    Luke glanced at Leia, whom if he hadn't been force sensitive and also her twin brother, he wouldn't have known was laughing internally. "What did I miss?"

    "Not much," Leia was able to say. "Other than a medic with stuffed animal phobia and Roganda kicking herself for weeks on end for certain actions not taken."

    "And a planet getting blown up," Mara added.

    Luke paused, not sure what to make of any of it. Roganda kicking herself made sense, but the other... "Which planet?"

    "Dantooine," Han told him, then shook his head at the expression of confusion Luke directed at him. "I know. Didn't make any sense at the time, either."

    "But I would..."

    "Have felt that?" Mara finished for him with a wince as she did so.

    "Exactly."

    "Not if you were unconscious at the time from a concussion. Which you were."

    "Oh."

    ~*~*~*~

    Mara pushed Luke into the corridor before Han or Leia could say anything else and led him to the 'fresher, closing the door behind them as she did so. "Finally!"

    "You didn't have to hit him on the head with telekinesis," Luke told her after a long silence.

    "No, but it felt good."

    "Leia could have done it."

    Mara paused, taking in the fact that he wasn't telling her not to do that ever again. "Good point."

    He studied her, noting the slight weight gain and just barely noticeable roundness of her abdomen under her clothes. If he hadn't known to look for it, he wouldn't have even noticed. "So..."

    She shook her head. "Don't."

    "Don't what?" Were they picking up on each other's thoughts like it was the first week of the bond all over again?

    Mara took a deep breath and looked directly at him. "First... no. I'm not reading your mind. I just want to say something first and get it out of the way."

    "Oh."

    "I've had weeks to think about all of this. Us. You and me. Getting married. Having children. It's not as scary as it was when the bond first happened between us... and that's good. Right?"

    He nodded slowly, wondering once more what had gone on while he'd been unconscious. "It is."

    "And then there's Dark Star."

    The sudden change in conversation made him frown. "What about her?"

    Mara sighed and moved closer to him. "Do you have any idea what it feels like to walk in on your companion having just finished giving birth, when you had no idea she was pregnant to begin with?"

    "Can't say that I do, no."

    Now she took hold of his hand and guided it to her abdomen. Then she met his gaze squarely again, and suddenly, he was in the lounge area of her ship, kneeling beside her on his knees and watching Dark Star and her kittens. The realization she'd had slammed through him and he was left speechless in the aftermath.

    "I wanted to tell you right there," Mara told him softly, intimately. "Right when I knew why I'd been so randomly ill every morning. Only..."

    "You couldn't," Luke finished for her when he finally found his voice again, the reality of the Falcon's 'fresher unit sliding slowly back into place seamlessly around them.

    "No. You were unreachable." The tinge of anger in her voice told him still more, filling in other missing pieces of the puzzle that was his fiancé.

    He lifted her chin and their eyes met again. "Well I'm here now."

    She smiled. "Yes. You are." Then she leaned up to kiss him. You are.

    Standing there in the 'fresher onboard the Millenium Falcon, two people reconnected... and a bond began to form with a still as yet unborn but growing child.
    Last edited by DaenaBenjen42, Jan 2, 2013
    Falcon likes this.
  5. DaenaBenjen42 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2005
    star 5
  6. DaenaBenjen42 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2005
    star 5
  7. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 7
    L/M are just too fantastic :) I love she tells Luke he's gonna be a daddy moments. =P~ :D Mara interacting with Han is always good for a laugh. ;) Snarking at each other :)
    Last edited by Jade_eyes, Jan 2, 2013
    DaenaBenjen42 likes this.
  8. Hazel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2010
    star 4
    That was sweet! [face_love] Even if Han got smacked on the head for his crack joke. [face_laugh]
    DaenaBenjen42 likes this.
  9. DaenaBenjen42 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2005
    star 5
    Jade_eyes: Thank you. :)

    Hazel: Thank you, Hazel. :)


    Next update... today!!!
    Last edited by DaenaBenjen42, Mar 30, 2013
    Jade_eyes likes this.
  10. DaenaBenjen42 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2005
    star 5
    A/N: When I said the kittens were going to be back in the next update, I meant it. I just... didn't get it typed out for various reasons, and they ended up again in the undertones. They're in this one, though. Enjoy. :)


    Mara leaned into him, enjoying the feeling of having him right here instead of out there in the ether somewhere at the edge of her perception. It was a luxury they'd not had in far too long, even before that one night they'd spent together in the middle of everything else. "Mmmm... you know, at some point we're going to have to rejoin the outside world."

    "Does it have to be right now?" Luke asked.

    "No. Just wanted to mention it." A minute later, she pushed away from him. "But I'd rather you did get an exam, what with the concussion you had."

    "Wasn't my fault that Quest used an invisible wall."

    "Probably not, but you're the one who ran into it."

    Luke resisted the urge to roll his eyes at her as she pulled him from the 'fresher.

    ~*~*~*~

    Ailee looked up from a piece of portable lab equipment as Mara led Luke into the hold and made him sit down. "Turns out, however weird it is, that you're both right."

    Mara slowly turned and stared at the medic. "Right about what?"

    "How much time has passed. For us, it's been two months. Not so for them." She motioned to the equipment in front of her, then pointed at Quest, sitting nearby and sleeping under the vigilant guard of Roganda, Vima, and Darvis. "There's residuals in his blood that should be gone by now."

    Mara blinked in surprise. "You brought a blood analyzing machine on a rescue mission?"

    Ailee smirked at her. "You brought a post-natal feline and her kittens. How is it different?"

    Darvis chuckled. "It isn't, really."

    "Residuals?" Vima asked out of curiosity.

    Ailee glanced at the old woman, impatience flashing in her eyes momentarily. "Even though he wasn't consciously sedated, the medication, or remnants of it, rather, were still in his system. Especially with the kind of doses he was getting per Roganda's suggestion."

    Vima's gaze shifted to Roganda. "Your suggestion?"

    Roganda sighed. "He was part of a mission to kidnap children. And dangerous. Very. It was warranted at the time, and reinforced by the fact that he broke out and gave someone bruises consistent with choking and Force-Induced amnesia. And then he promptly kidnapped someone else." She shifted her gaze to Luke. "And you-"

    "Stop," Ailee said abruptly, cutting Roganda off. "There is a time and a place. This isn't it."

    "But-"

    "Stop kicking yourself about it, all right? What's done is done." Ailee sighed and looked at Luke, who was watching them with curious interest. "You'll be needing to have a talk with your student, sir. She seems to think your getting kidnapped and drugged was her fault."

    Mara shook her head. "Not so. Roganda, if anything, you're the reason it was discovered so quickly."

    "Doesn't change anything."

    "Vima knows this... feeling. Fault does not lay with you." She poked a hand at the still-sleeping Quest. "Fault is right here with this one. No more, no less."

    Roganda stared at her, only just realizing how tattered the robe Vima was wearing really was. "Where did you come from, old woman?"

    "Nar Shadda. Was lost for long time, until heard call." Vima glanced at Mara again, blinked in recognition. "You look like her."

    Mara turned her attention to Vima while Ailee quietly gave Luke an exam. "Who?"

    "A friend. Agricorps." Vima frowned for a long moment, as if she were reaching for knowledge long denied. "Widia. They were just... preparing to leave for assignment. Before. Not after. Before."

    "Before what?"

    Vima shook her head. "Not talk of that. Too painful."

    A sound suddenly intruded, causing Mara to realize she'd forgotten something and she left the hold in a rush.

    Luke frowned. "Where's she going?"

    Ailee made him face her, and shined a penlight into his eyes alternatingly. "Doesn't matter... good. Pupils acting normally."

    Mara returned momentarily with the pet carrier and set it down with a grunt, and rolled her eyes at Ailee's mild glare. "I know. I shouldn't have done that."

    "Then don't do it again, or it'll be you getting an exam and answering more questions than you ever thought you would be asked by a doctor." Ailee decided to do one last thing, and drew a blood sample for comparison. Once that was done, she began packing up the equipment she'd gotten out. "He's fine. Better than fine for someone who has recently suffered two concussions, internal bleeding, and news of impending parenthood, in fact." She nodded to the pet carrier. "Feel free to let them out, Mara. They've been cooped up a while."

    Luke was about to ask about the stray datapad on the dejarik table when Mara opened the door of the carrier and six kittens bounded out, Dark Star behind them. One ran straight for Roganda, another for Ailee, and he had to blink in surprise when a third climbed into a still-sleeping Quest's lap and curled up, making itself right at home. The rest of the kittens joined Mara as she sat next to him, while Dark Star started nuzzling his knee. "Why is Quest asleep?"

    "Sedated, actually," Ailee told him as she patiently batted away the kitten's attempts to distract her. "It was that, or let him antagonize Roganda to the point of her wanting to kill him all over again. Besides, he needed to sleep off the rest of the drug cocktail. I wasn't kidding about those residuals." She glanced at Quest, smirked. "Doesn't seem near as threatening now, though."

    "Isn't," Vima put in. "Not now."

    "Well, of course not now, lady." Ailee looked at Vima with a practiced medical eye. "How long since you last saw a medical professional, anyway?"

    "Not since before."

    "In linear time?"

    Vima had to think about it, and her gaze settled on Luke. "Before."

    Ailee frowned and looked from her, to Luke, and back again. Then her eyes widened. "Oh! When you say before... you mean it. Before he was born."

    "Yes. Before. Keeping track of time, impossible where Vima was. Was lost. Long, long time."

    Roganda sighed suddenly. "Since before the purges? Is that what you're saying?"

    "Yes."

    Luke, in an effort to change the conversation and turn the attention away from Vima, motioned to the datapad. "What's on that?"

    Mara chuckled. "That's the interrogation report." She looked at Roganda, glanced at Ailee. "Seems you both have been adopted. That's the second time they've both done that."

    Just then, Leia came into the hold, looked around, and stared at the sight of a kitten on a sleeping Sarcev Quest's lap. "What in the world...?"

    Mara jumped, startled, when one of the kittens in her lap suddenly jumped down and made a beeline for Leia. Then she chuckled. "Guess that answers the question of what to do with 'em when they're old enough."

    Leia blinked down at the kitten nuzzling her foot, then glared at Mara. "What if I don't want one?"

    "Seems to want you," Mara told her serenely.

    Leia sighed and bent to scoop up the kitten, picked it up, and looked it in the eyes. Then she smiled. "Maybe."

    "Maybe what?" Han asked from behind her. Then he saw what she was holding. "Oh."

    "Think it would be good for the twins to have a pet around the house?" Leia wondered uncertainly.

    Han glanced from the kitten, to Mara holding a kitten while Dark Star pawed at Luke's leg for attention, to the one in Roganda's lap, to another keeping Quest company for some reason, to yet another one batting at Ailee's hands while she put things away, and finally back to Leia. "Sure."

    Leia smiled and handed the kitten to him. "Then meet AT-AV the Second." She glanced at Mara. "If that's okay."

    "Of course it is."

    Finally done putting things away, Ailee turned her full attention to her kitten in exasperation. "Ploppy." Silence, save for the ever-present hum of the engines reigned as everyone turned to stare at her. She blinked and looked at Darvis, who was smirking at her in amusement. "What? Little thing likes to plop itself in the middle of everything!"

    Darvis nodded. "Ploppy the Kitten makes a whole lot more sense than Ploppy the Imperial Shuttle did, doesn't it?"

    "Oh yes!" She took in the fact that everyone else was staring at them. "Long story."

    "Her sister-in-law had a flashback to something funny while on recon," Darvis put in, causing Ailee to glare at him.

    "Or not."

    Roganda laughed at that explanation. "Makes sense." She scratched the kitten in her lap on the head, smiled wistfully. "Stringy."

    Han frowned, recognizing the reference from stories told during the long trip to Hoth. "You're naming it after a prank that Janson played on you?"

    "Of course." She winked at him. "And won't be surprised when we get back to base, hmmm?"

    Luke looked at Leia as he finally lifted Dark Star into his lap. "Where are the twins?"

    "With Winter on New Alderaan," Leia answered as she gracefully accepted the kitten back from Han. Mara turned to stare at Leia, as if suddenly realizing she'd missed something, and Leia sighed. "You've had a lot on your mind, Mara."

    "But to just forget them-"

    "Including Dantooine."

    Mara paused. "Good point." She saw Luke's curious expression. "Don't ask. It was bad enough without having to explain again, and I'm glad you missed it."

    Luke gazed at Mara, and accepted what she wasn't saying, and decided to change the subject. "So what else happened?"

    "We re-took Coruscant," Han told him.

    Mara frowned. "Then why were we still at Pinnacle Base?"

    "Happened this week."

    "Ah, so that's why we only had half of Rogue Squadron for this. Makes sense now."

    Luke stared at both of them, dumbfounded. "It was just the Falcon and half a squadron?"

    "You're here and not a prisoner, Luke. Don't complain."

    "I'm not. Just amazed."

    Roganda chuckled. "Going by what we saw on the way in, though, it might have been overkill."

    "Is good," Vima spoke up, surprising them. "Good to be prepared."

    Roganda glanced at the old woman, who was staring at her with surprisingly clear eyes. "Well, yes, but..."

    "No butts."

    ~*~*~*~

    Mara helped Ailee lead the old woman to a bed in the medical area on Pinnacle Base and then stepped back as Ailee convinced her to sit down. Then Ailee stood back and shook her head in dissatisfaction. "That won't do."

    Vima stared up at her. "What won't?"

    "Your robe is filthy. Mara, over in the bins, there are gowns. Could you find one for her, please?"

    Mara nodded and went to find one. Finding one on the forth try, as there weren't just gowns in the bins, she returned and handed it to Ailee, who helped Vima put it on. The robe she'd been wearing, what was left of it, was set aside. Mara picked it up, glanced at Vima. "It's..."

    "Don't," Vima told her, eyes flashing shrewdly. "Was home in plain sight."

    Nodding, Mara set it down again. "Makes sense."

    "Also dirty. Tattered."

    Ailee snorted in laughter, causing them both to look at her. "What? Her sense of humor is definitely intact!" She nodded to Mara. "Go find your boyfriend, or whatever he is to you, Mara. We'll be fine."

    "But I wanted to hear more about the person she says I look like."

    "After she's gotten some medical care, you can do just that. For now... off with you! Shoo!" She watched Mara go reluctantly, and then spied Cam watching her curiously. "And you, get over here."

    "What?"

    Ailee glanced down at Vima. "It seems you need to have a talk with him about Force-Induced amnesia, Madame Jedi."

    "Vima does?"

    "Oh yes. Vima does." With that, Ailee stepped back and motioned to her patient. "Your patient, Medic. Hasn't had any kind of medical care in at least 18 years. What do you suggest?"

    Cam stared at her. "You want me to-"

    "Treat this patient. Think you can do that?"

    "Yes," Cam replied and set right to it. From the door, Tamblyn watched with a smile, grateful that Ailee had pressed him into service like a first year medical intern.

    ~*~*~*~

    Safely esconded on the bed in their now-shared quarters on Pinnacle Base, Mara chouldn't stop herself from running her fingers through his short and damp hair. She was starting to understand why he'd done something like this months previous before passing out again from exhaustion.

    "Having fun?" His tone carried amusement that made her smile.

    Mara nodded. "Enjoying something normal. Just you, me..."

    "Dark Star, her kittens..."

    She glanced over to where a make-shift bed had been set up in the corner of the room, then sat up slightly and looked at him. "There's something we haven't discussed yet."

    "Oh?"

    "The wedding."

    Luke blinked at her in surprise. "The wedding?"

    "You proposed, remember?"

    "Well, yes, but I sort of figured we'd hold off until you were ready. Really ready."

    Mara smiled and ran a finger along his jaw. "The concern is appreciated, but I'm fine now. And I think it's long past time." A sudden sensation caused her smile to widen, and she led his hand to her abdomen. "And the baby seems to agree. She moved." Mara watched his face light up when the baby kicked again.

    ~*~*~*~

    To: stitches @nrimed.mil.gov
    From: barkeep @artistniche.dorthustal.org
    Subject: very odd request

    Ailee, for some reason that makes no sense to me, Rala wishes to convey her deepest apologies but refuses to tell me why or what for. You may want to ask her at some point as I suspect it might have to do with equipment in her basement, which Glowbug said in passing might be something called a resonance alignment stabilizer, whatever that is. As for what the Glowbug might have been doing in Rala's basement... we had dinner over there last week.

    -Drev

    To: blackwave @artistniche.dorthustal.org
    From: stitches @nrimed.mil.gov
    Subject: The thing in your basement.

    Rala, what the nine hells is a Resonance Alignment Stabilizer?

    -Ailee

    To: stitches @nrimed.mil.gov
    From: blackwave @artistniche.dorthustal.org
    Subject: Re: that thing in your basement. (grr...)

    First: who told you so I can properly chew them out for not minding their own business?
    Second: Doesn't matter what it is, Ailee. Just know that I'm sick of babysitting it, it's taking up space I could use for other things, and... I don't have an and! I want an and!
    Third... how are things out there? I'm so bored, I'd actually play Golf with my team leader.

    -Rala

    To: blackwave @artistniche.dorthustal.org
    From: stitches @nrimed.mil.gov
    Subject: RE: RE: that thing in your basement

    Drev told me, as apparently Taloh had a flash of recall due to being in your basement when they were at your house for dinner. So... chew him out, and then hug her for remembered things. (I knew I should have given her a check-up in regard to her amnesia when I was home very briefly. She distracted me with caf!)

    As for how things are here... well, I wish I was bored, actually. And I finally figured out what that painting was that Taloh drew but none of us knew what it was. It's a hyperlane map of the deep core. Really. Have participated in rescue mission for Jedi Knight who was kidnapped... don't ask. We're still confused about how he was unconscious from a concussion for eight days that was also eight weeks.

    And... what is golf?

    To: stitches @nrimed.mil.gov
    From: blackwave @artistniche.dorthustal.org
    Subject: RE: RE: RE: that thing in your basement

    Hmmm... maybe I should tell Ranko to shanghai you for a Golf outing. A doctor who has never heard of the game of golf before? She'll love that!

    And I can explain the time confusion, as both are correct. Eight days for him was eight weeks for you. As for why I know that... you asked what the thing in the basement is, and really, I shouldn't have to explain why I've got something that calms down spatial temporal anomalies in my basement, as you were there for part of it and the Garrison was on alert for a month straight. Like I said: very tired of babysitting the thing.

    It's a... oh my God! Tell me you're joking about the hyperlane map, Ailee. Please, for the love of all things living, tell me you're joking. (And why didn't I realize what it was when I saw it?!? Have to go look at that thing again...)

    To: blackwave @artistniche.dorthustal.org
    From: stitches @nrimed.mil.gov
    Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: that thing in your basement

    It really, honestly and truly, is both?!? Somehow... that makes perfect sense. Thank you.

    Um... why do you want me to tell you I'm joking? I'm not. Rala, you're not making any sense.

    To: stitches @nrimed.mil.gov
    From: blackwave @artistniche.dorthustal.org
    Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: that thing in your basement

    Because if you're not joking, then I know how she painted a hyperlane map when she'd never seen one before... ever. And if I'm right, two people I know who both wear gray on a regular basis are going to get lectures on why one does not mess with temporal mechanics and endanger everyone's lives unnecessarily.



    On Pinnacle base, Ailee looked up from her computer terminal in the quarters she shared with Darvis with a very confused expression on her face. "Temporal Mechanics?"

    ~*~*~*~

    It was a sedate ceremony held in the largest room on the base, attended by whoever hadn't left yet for Coruscant, decorated with what was handy (which hadn't been much), and officiated by Han, as he was still a General, though a retired one, and had insisted he be the one to do the honors when Mara had declared she was done waiting the day before.

    Now, as Mara stood at the make-shift altar in the best clothes she'd had along on her own ship, which had been a green tunic and matching pants, being led through her vows and listening as Luke was led through his, she decided she wouldn't have had it any other way. Either way, they were still married, no matter where it was, or who officiated, or what she wore.

    "And now," Han intoned, an almost-teasing tone in his voice. "If anyone can think of any reason why these two should not be wed, speak up." Silence greeted him, and he grinned at Luke. "Then you're free to kiss your bride, Kid."

    Mara beat him to it.

    ~*~*~*~

    To: stitches @nrimed.mil.gov
    From: blackwave @artistniche.dorthustal.org
    Subject: I was right!

    ...and apparently, also somewhat wrong and now it's funny. Reason I was upset? I thought they intentionally broke a non-interference directive, but that turns out not to be the case. Also, something weird happened elsewhere and now I think I appreciate being bored just a little more. Ack.

    To: blackwave @artistniche.dorthustal.org
    From: stitches @nrimed.mil.org
    Subject: your being right and wrong...?

    I'm still wondering about your "temporal mechanics" or what ever it was you meant. So things are okay?

    To: stitches @nrimed.mil.org
    From: blackwave @artistniche.dorthustal.org
    Subject: wrong, right... upside down and pear-shaped...

    Relatively, sure. A friend is going to sedate his manic wife, and something weird happened that made her manic, and Dawn reminded me of a few things...
    What's one easily miss-able painting in the grand scheme of things? And no, you don't want to ask. I'm confused enough now and don't want to explain it. Ever.

    And the next golf game is on me. We'll be interdimensionally hi-jacking you at some point for an afternoon spent outdoors, whacking little white balls with sticks up a fairway. It'll be fun.

    As for the temporal mechanics lecture... they could have gotten you all crushed by gravitic sheer in the deep core, Ailee. Not that they knew that, of course.

    To: blackwave @artistniche.dorthustal.org
    From: stitches @nrimed.mil.gov
    Subject: RE: wrong, right... upside down and pear-shaped...

    Um... right. I'll just pretend all of that made sense. Wait a minute. Did you just say "crushed"?

    To: stitches @nrimed.mil.gov
    From: blackwave @artistniche.dorthustal.org
    Subject: RE: RE: wrong, right... upside down and pear-shaped...

    Yes. I said "crushed." As in "coming out of hyperspace transit you could have been." Be glad the problem was reduced to "slight time disturbance." And, if you think that's a joke, think again. It's really, really not.

    ~*~*~*~

    Leia smiled as AT-AV the 2nd purred in her lap. "You're sure it's okay for them to be away from their mother now?"

    Mara nodded. "They're three months old, and the datapad that Aves gave me on pet care said it was okay as soon as they were weaned. And they are, now."

    "Hmmm..." Leia glanced at her. "All right. So you're really going to Naboo for your honeymoon?"

    "Less a honeymoon, more a fact-finding mission, but yes."

    ~*~*~*

    Mara raised her hand and hesitated, then looked back at Luke. "I'm not sure I can do this to them."

    "Do what?"

    "Walk back into their lives like this."

    Before Luke could form a convincing reply, the door opened and an older woman with graying red hair nearly walked into them. She blinked, startled. "Oh. Hello. Can I help you?" She studied Mara's equally startled face, blinked again, and stepped aside to allow them entry. "Please. Come in."

    Mara stared at her. "What?"

    "A story you have to tell, yes?"

    Mara nodded slowly and wondered for a moment why Luke was chuckling internally at such a simple question. "Yes."

    "Then come in. I can definitely wait to do my shopping another time. Tomorrow, even."

    Luke nudged Mara's shoulder. Open invitation, Mara.

    She felt like glaring at him, but decided to accept the pointed request.

    ~*~*~*~

    Temaru was making himself a sandwich at the kitchen counter when he heard footsteps. "Back so soon?" He glanced up to see his wife leading two people into the kitchen and motioning them sit at the table. "Uh... Widia?"

    "Found these two at the front door," Widia replied. "Seems they have a story to tell. Probably about why she resembles Renna and Jaelle so much."

    The woman stared at her. "Excuse me?"

    Widia smiled. "Well, you do." Then her eyes widened slightly. "How far along are you? And isn't that an awkward question to ask before you've so much as told me your name?"

    The woman blinked, glanced downward, then looked at the man beside her. "Is it that obvious, Farmboy?"

    "Getting more so by the week," the man responded with a smile.

    The woman rolled her eyes at him before looking at Widia again. "It's Mara, and... I think this is week twenty-seven." She motioned to the chairs. "Can we sit?"

    Widia nodded. "Please." She turned and looked at him. "Join us?"

    Temaru nodded, finished making his sandwich, and joined them at the table. He was getting curious now... and the latent nudging from the Force piqued his interest.

    Before anything else could be said, Mara pulled a small packet of something out of her pocket and laid it on the table. "This is why we're here." She glared at the man for a moment before sighing. "All right, so it's what pointed me in the right direction. Same thing."

    "Better," the man told her. "Because, before that, you were coming down with all sorts of symptoms, including sneezing at floral arrangements." He flinched when she apparently kicked him under the table.

    Widia frowned and picked up the packet to examine it. "Oh. The first aid powder we were sent here to work on with the Naboo for the war effort."

    "War effort?" the man asked.

    "Yes. The clone wars. You might have heard of it, Mister..."

    "Skywalker," the man told her. "Luke."

    At the name, Temaru suddenly realized why he seemed so familiar. He'd met Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker once during his time at the temple, in passing, as Agricorps usually kept to it's own issues. "What does the powder have to do with your being here in our kitchen?"

    Mara looked straight at him, smiled wryly. "Smelling it caused me to remember both of you." She glanced downward, then looked at Widia. "And I am certain now that the memory I had of you before that wasn't actually a memory. My name is Mara now, but... was it Marani, before?"

    They both stared at her for long moments before Widia nodded slowly. "It was."

    "Widia!" Temaru admonished.

    "What?"

    "How do you...?"

    "Renna and Jaelle. She resembles them. Or, rather... they look like her, and I do not believe in coincidences." Widia smiled. "And don't you feel it?"

    He did, but there were still uncertainties...

    ~*~*~*~

    In the dark of night on the other side of Naboo, a woman is rudely woken from an uneasy sleep by an insistent beeping noise. With her free hand, she reaches the few inches to the ground beside her cot, finds her comm device, and answers with a grunt. "Little brother, it's too early for pranks of any kind."

    A distinctly feminine laugh sounds in the darkness of the tent. "This isn't a prank, little sister."

    "Oh. Hi. Good. Can I go back to sleep now?"

    "In a minute or so. Has he been calling you in the wee hours of the morning?"

    "Only when he forgets the time difference. How can I help you, big sister?"

    "When you wake up again in a few hours, a shuttle bound for Theed is leaving from your encampment on a supply run. I want you on it. Come home."

    She frowned. Now that was a very odd request... "Any particular reason?"

    "It's a surprise." And, the unstated message underneath that one implied, not to be spoken of on an open comm line.

    "Good surprise?"

    "More or less. See you when you get here."

    The comm ended with an audible click and she stared at the device in the darkness. What was that supposed to mean? More or less? Which was better? The more or the less?

    Slowly, she became aware of her husband's even breathing again and let him lull her back to sleep. What would come, would come, and that was hours from now. It'd keep.


    TBC...
    Last edited by DaenaBenjen42, Mar 30, 2013
    Falcon likes this.
  11. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 7
    Daena, hi. What a long and delightful update. =D= The L/M was delicious and the kittens added a nice "normal" touch. Embrace Mara's agreement to Luke's earlier proposal even in the face of so much happening in the meantime. [face_dancing]
  12. Hazel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2010
    star 4
    I love the kittens in the middle of it all and L/M are a squee.
    Jade_eyes likes this.
  13. CurtisZidaneZiraa Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 2010
    star 1
    Yay, thanks for letting me know it was updated! Still going great.
  14. Tevase2 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 12, 2011
    star 1
    Kittens ^^, wonderful update. took me awhile to re-read the story but it was completely worth it. Well done :)
  15. DaenaBenjen42 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2005
    star 5
    Jade_eyes/Nyota's Heart: After going through so much to find him, Mara could hardly do anything less than allow herself to take the next step. Even if that next step is the scariest personal thing she's ever done with another person. Thank you. :)

    Hazel: Thank you, Hazel. :)

    CurtisZidaneZiraa: You're welcome and thank you. :)

    Tevase2: As I'm aware of how long it is... [:D] Thank you, and I'm glad you like. :)



    update status: this week or next... with anagram fun! I'm shooting for this week, though.
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  16. DaenaBenjen42 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2005
    star 5
    A/N: I think I answered a dare challenge point request by referring to Quest's time as an Agricorps Initiate. Hee. I now present... is this post/chapter 33? *glances at the FFN chapters...* Huh. It is! Enjoy.


    ~*~*~*~


    The afternoon air was crisp and cool and Jaelle waited impatiently for the supply shuttle to land, and she couldn't help but feel a bizarre sense of déjà vu. After all, it wasn't very long ago since she'd seen her sister and brother-in-law off on their trip to the southern hemisphere, and yet... she chuckled and shook her head. If ever there was a reason to be coming home early, this was definitely one of those.

    The shuttle landed and out stepped her sister and brother-in-law, clad in clothing not right for an autumn afternoon, backpacks in their shoulders.

    "Let me guess: you forgot how cold Theed can get this time of year?"

    Renna laughed as she rubbed her bare arms against the cooler temperature of the air. "No. There wasn't time to take that into consideration because we had to rush."

    "Ah."

    "So what's the big surprise?"

    Jaelle glanced behind them at the shuttle's pilot before shaking her head. "It can wait until we're somewhere else. Maybe, say... Mom and Dad's house."

    Samir turned and looked back at the pilot, who was consulting a datapad and paying them no mind, then he looked at Jaelle again. "Why?"

    "Because it's just that insane."

    "Oh."

    "Insane enough to comm me in the wee hours and make sure we got on a shuttle home?" Renna asked with raised eyebrows.

    Jaelle nodded. "Exactly." She motioned toward the waiting speeder. "And the sooner we get moving, the sooner you'll get your answers and understand why I woke you up with the cryptic call."

    "You sure you haven't been taking lessons from Alena in how to verbally spar and reveal nothing?"

    "I'm a nurse, Renna. Comes with the job."


    Yesterday...


    They were having a slow morning in the medical center when her parents showed up with a man who looked vaguely familiar and a woman who wasn't, and Jaelle's curiosity was instantly piqued. For one thing, it wasn't often that her parents ventured into her place of work, as too many years on the run with the resistance had given them an aversion of open public places, and for another, they both looked happy and worried at the same time. "Um... what's up?"

    Her mother blinked at her for a moment, as if only just realizing that her daughter worked there. "Where's Nerun?"

    They wanted her husband? Interesting. "Why?"

    "We need a DNA comparison and only a medic can write orders for one."

    Now it was Jaelle's turn to blink in confusion. "What?" She looked at her father. "Are you going to start making sense sometime today?"

    "We don't need a DNA comparison," he told her patiently. "Just an ID chip reader."

    "Again with the not making sense. For what?"

    Her mother sighed. "Jaelle, could you just help us, please? We'll explain, but not now. After."

    "Don't you have one of those things at home or something, from our time in the resistance?" And didn't that feel strange, saying it out loud for everyone in the vicinity to hear? Time enough to worry about that when her parents stopped behaving oddly.

    "It broke," her father said. "Long ago. When your mother threw it against a wall in frustration."

    "Ah." Glancing again at the man and the woman, she decided to play nice. If anything else, there would be answers. "Wait here a moment? Thank you." So saying, Jaelle went to look for an Intradermal Identification Tag Reader, and found one shortly thereafter. Chuckling, she marched right back to her parents. "Here, or somewhere private?"

    "Conference room will do nicely," the woman, who now that Jaelle was really looking at her, reminded her of Renna... if Renna had been six or seven months pregnant.

    Nodding, Jaelle led them to the nearest conference room and shut the door for privacy. "Now... who am I scanning?"

    Her mother motioned to the woman. "Her. We're formally confirming something."

    Jaelle turned to look at the woman again. "And you are?"

    "Mara." The woman sat down in an empty chair at the table, smiled. "You must be Jaelle."

    Jaelle pulled up a chair, smiled back. "Guilty. Do you mind if I...?"

    "Not at all."

    Jaelle nodded and ran the scanner over both collar bones, where they usually placed tags on infants. It beeped twice and she blinked in confusion. Looking at the readout on the scanner's small screen, she blinked again, for it never came up with this kind of information. "Marani Javeen Tovanil Jaden... and a Mara Jade, both of Coruscant. That's strange." At the echo of silence of everyone around her, Jaelle glanced up to find them staring at her. "What?"

    "Javeen and Tovanil were our family names before," her father explained. "Read through the data on the first tag again."

    Jaelle stared at him and then did as he asked, and nearly dropped the scanner in shock. "Oh. That's... oh." She looked at Mara as she carefully set the scanner down, not sure what to say. "Oh. You... you're my older sister?!?"

    Mara nodded hesitantly. "Yes."

    "And I'm going to be an aunt?"

    "Yes..."

    She stood up and glared at her mother. "And you couldn't have warned me or something?!? Mother!"

    "I wanted it confirmed first, Jaelle."

    Mara picked up the scanner and looked at both data profiles. "That's... unusually sloppy of whoever it was that placed the second one not to think about the possibility of my already having been tagged. If I had been the one doing it, I would have just simply reprogrammed the one I already had. Very sloppy." She glanced at the man who had yet to speak at all in front of Jaelle. "And whose fault is it that neither one of us knew about intradermal indentification tags, Farmboy? We weren't exactly in the room for the twins being born... and quit the silent questions. Jaelle can't hear you."

    Now Jaelle looked at him, confused. "You were... talking silently?"

    He sighed. "It was just an observation, Mara. And yes, Jaelle. I was. Sorry."

    Jaelle glanced at the scanner still in Mara's hands, suddenly getting the peculiar feeling that maybe she should scan him, too. She wasn't sure why, but the more she thought about it, the more insistent the feeling got. "Mara, can I have the scanner please?" Mara handed the scanner over, and Jaelle waved it at him wordlessly. What she got back made her stare first at the scanner, then at him, then at the scanner again. Codes, dates, what looked like a location code, and a very long serial number for a file? "Okay... that's weird. Very weird."

    "I'm sorry?" the man asked, obviously confused.

    "Apparently, you have a file somewhere, but there is no ID information for you on your tag."

    "Jaelle," her mother said slowly, questions in her tone.

    Jaelle took a deep breath a pulled a pad of flimsy out of her pocket, and started to write the codes, the dates, the location code, and the serial number down while glancing frequently at the scanner. When she was done, she handed the pad to her mother, who blinked in confusion. "See?"

    Widia stared hard at the codes, for they were familiar to her. "Two of these are Jedi diplomatic codes, but I'm not sure about the other two." She showed it to her husband. "Senatorial, maybe?"

    Temaru shrugged. "Probably." He handed the pad to Luke, who took it and read it. "That date is probably your date of birth."

    "It's Leia's," Luke told him quietly. "Mine is technically a week to the day afterward. And I don't understand... why this? Why not actual information?"

    "Two weeks after the end of the Clone Wars," Widia murmurred she looked at Luke with raised eyebrows. "Which would put it about right..." Suddenly she frowned and looked hard at Jaelle's father. "What do you mean, wrapped in political silence and intrigue?"

    "Skywalker?" Jaelle's father offered carefully. "We know what happened to him."

    "Good point."

    "Excuse me, but... what are you two talking about?" Jaelle wondered. Had they really just had half a conversation out loud and the other half in silence, or was she imagining things?

    "Rules and regulations for Jedi," her father answered. "It didn't apply to the Agricorps as much, but there was a rule about relationships and fraternization, and given how public a figure Anakin Skywalker was, even among the Jedi, one could only guess how he would have had to hide a relationship. Think about it."

    Jaelle studied Luke as he continued to read the information from the intradermal tag, wondering if this would have seemed weird to anyone else. Probably it would have. "Given the Diplomatic codes, I wonder what Alena will say when we tell her about this? 'Oh, that's no problem! I'll go ask around, see whose they were!'"

    Her mother laughed. "Very true. Where is that husband of yours, anyway?"

    "Surgery, which is why you had me all confrontational when you asked for him."

    "Ah. Bad?"

    "Routine. More or less." Jaelle gestured for the scanner device and Luke handed it back to her. Thumbing through the data on Mara, she frowned. "Huh. Mara, it's not that you've got two different tags, really. Rather, you've got two entirely different profiles and one hidden under coding as 'classified.' That's what the second beep was about... the classified one."

    "That would be her Agricorps profile," their mother put in quietly. "We were undercover as scientists when she was born." She pursed her lips for a moment in thought. "Tech must have advanced a little, because it shouldn't have been able to read the fact that there is a classified one at all."

    "What is the Agricorps?" Luke asked. "I wasn't exactly able to get answers out of Vima, and if I'd thought to really ask more questions, the answer probably wouldn't have made sense because she tends to talk in the third person more often than not."

    Jaelle watched as her mother paused, frowned, and then turned to stare at Luke in shock. "Vima? As in Vima-Da-Boda?"

    "Yes."

    "She's alive?!?"

    Luke frowned at her. "Yes. We met up with her when she showed up on Byss to answer a distress call... all the way from Nar Shadda. She didn't tell us how she managed to do that."

    Her father chuckled, and Jaelle wondered what was so funny. "Either she still had her personal fighter, or she managed to steal a ship. Both are possible, as she was out on a deep cover mission when the purges happened, and... well, you can guess."

    "Deep cover?" Mara asked.

    "Not unlike ourselves, actually. And as for what the Agricorps is, Jedi Skywalker... it's the Agricultural arm of the Jedi Order." He studied Mara for a moment. "From what I saw about how much you loved plants as a child, I had you pegged as a budding botanist."

    Mara stared at him. "Really?"

    "Really."

    "That explains the mental subterfuge related to plants," Luke muttered, which caused Jaelle to look at him funny.

    "Yes it does," Mara replied. "Especially if I broke through the conditioning more than once. Of course he'd make it harder for me to break through it again. It took us bonding for it to start to break!" She glanced at Jaelle and saw the puzzlement in her eyes. "Long story. Really."

    Jaelle nodded slowly. "I believe it. Did someone..."

    "What? Check me out medically and mentally?"

    "Well, yes."

    Mara glanced down at her belly, then looked at Jaelle with a smile. "I've had medics all around, so it was kind of unavoidable. But I appreciate the thought."

    Widia smiled at the sisterly bonding. "Where is Vima now?"

    Luke chuckled. "She's with my sister and her husband on New Alderaan, spending time re-aclimating to not hiding herself down among the lost and the homeless. Why?"

    "She's my aunt," Widia answered. "Great Aunt, really. She was on Nar Shadda?"

    Luke nodded gravely. "Said she'd been there since the end of the Clone Wars."

    Widia took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "And we were here undercover, unable to do anything! Shavit!" Obviously, it didn't help.

    "Mother, swearing does not change it," Jaelle told her sternly.

    "But it does release tension."

    "Good point."

    ~*~*~*~

    The hospital records clerk was surprised when a nurse came in with a man, a red-haired woman to resembled the nurse, and an older couple, and handed her a piece of flimsie. "Um..."

    "Is it possible to track down whatever file it is that these numbers relate to?"

    Reading the piece of flimsie for a moment, the clerk grinned. "Sure. Might take a while, though. Most of the planet-to-planet medical information infrastructure is intact, but a lot of places are still getting back in order after the government change-over." She pulled a clipboard out of a rack, grabbed an official records request form, and handed them to the nurse. "I need this filled out."

    "Why?"

    "So whomever I end up asking for the information can't tell me no because I didn't go through official channels. No, really. That's why."

    The nurse handed the clipboard to the man and he filled the form out, then handed it back to the clerk, who saw the name he'd written down and blinked several times. "Thank you, Mr. Skywalker. Who do I contact when and if I find it?"

    "Me," the nurse told her, and handed her another piece of flimsie with contact information. "And thank you."

    The clerk nodded and watched them leave with a smile. Sometimes, it just felt good to make people sign records requests and be all officious about it.

    ~*~*~*~

    There was a grunt uttered as someone entered through the back door, and Widia looked up from her datapad to find her new son-in-law lugging a pet carrier. "Um... Luke?"

    He glanced at her as he set the pet carrier down. "You have any pet food here for felines?"

    Widia set the datapad down on the table and got up to get a better look at what was in the carrier. Golden eyes stared up at her. Four sets of golden eyes, to be exact. "First, no. We don't have pet food here. Second... whose are they?"

    "Mara's. Or, rather, Dark Star is Mara's. The kittens were a surprise." His lips twitched.

    "And you brought them here for...?"

    "Because I couldn't leave them on the ship, and Mara's here, and," he was cut off by Mara herself coming into the kitchen, Temaru behind her.

    Mara saw the pet carrier and chuckled. "Luke, go back and get their food supply. It's in a bin in the galley marked 'companion food.'" He opened his mouth to say something and she shook her head. "Go. I'll explain this."

    "You're sure?"

    "Yes." She watched him go and then shook her head again as she sank into a chair at the table. "I can't believe I nearly forgot about them in the middle of all this."

    Widia pulled up a chair and sat down. "You have... cats?"

    "A cat. One. Who adopted me... the seven kittens were a surprise."

    Temaru glanced down at the door of the carrier, noting that one was still looking out, up at him directly. "But there's three now?"

    "The other three kittens adopted Luke's sister, the medic who was on the mission at the time, and another woman." She turned and looked at him, then glanced down at the carrier, noted how intent the kitten was. "There a name you're particularly fond of?"

    "Why?"

    "I think you've been adopted."

    Temaru blinked, startled by Mara's pronouncement. "Adopted?"

    "Yes. Adopted." Mara turned back and looked at Widia. "Is it all right to let them roam for a little while? They were cooped up on the ship by themselves while we were occupied with other things."

    Widia nodded and got up to open the carrier herself. "Stay right where you are, Mara. Temaru, get her a glass of water and whatever she's craving."

    Temaru nodded and went to get the ordered glass of water, and brought it back to Mara who was looking at him in amusement. "What?"

    Mara took the glass of water and sniffed it. "You wouldn't happen to have crackers and..." Here she named a fruit with a complicated name, and a butter-like spread with a simple name. "Would you?"

    Widia laughed under her breath at Temaru's wide-eyed reaction as she unhooked the carrier door. The kitten who had been at the door, got out immediately and looked up at her expectantly. For some reason, it reminded her of Bindle. "My, you are adorable!" She picked it up, quickly found out it was a boy, and scratched behind his ears.

    Temaru, meanwhile, was nodding slowly. "I think so. No. Wait. Was Luke carrying a comms device?"

    "Haven't let him go anywhere without it since the rescue."

    "Then call him and tell him to stop by the market on his way back from the spaceport and pick up that fruit. We have the other two things." He glanced at his wife to find her holding a kitten and smiling. "And I'm glad we have the freedom to go to the market to answer pregnancy cravings."

    Mara frowned at him. "Oh?"

    "Yes," Widia told her. "Being pregnant when the most readily available food source is rations that taste nothing like what you're craving? A nightmare."

    "Twice," Temaru muttered to Mara. Mara wisely chose not to reply and laughed when Widia brought the kitten over to him with a smirk. "What?"

    "He adopted you first, you name him," Widia told him serenely. "And maybe I'll forget that you just made fun of me when it was also your fault." She winked at Mara. "Granted, I'm letting him do this and I know he loves plant names."

    "You trust me to name a kitten but not our children?"

    "Yes."

    Temaru accepted the kitten from her and considered the options as he leaned into an ear scratch. "Hmm... Barry. Best of both worlds, right there, and we can't very well call him Ration Bar, no?"

    Widia stepped closer to him and kissed him on the cheek. "No. I like Barry." She looked at Mara, who wasn't even making an effort to hide her amusement at their argument. "Now, then. Do you really want that fruit, or will any kind of fruit do?"

    "I just wanted to see his reaction to naming something I'd only ever seen served on very special occasions on Coruscant," Mara answered honestly. "Any fruit will do."

    Widia nodded and set about finding the requested food items, a plate, and a knife and fork. She returned to the table to find Dark Star watching her from Mara's lap... or what was left of Mara's lap, rather... and saw the two other kittens exploring the kitchen curiously. "I'm curious as to how kittens can be a surprise."

    "I didn't know Dark Star was pregnant when she adopted me on Corellia," Mara answered as Widia set the items down. "It never even crossed my mind to take her to a veterinarian for a well-animal check, because... well, I'd never had to care for a pet before that I really remembered." She scratched behind Dark Star's ears, smiled wistfully. "Everything I've learned since has involved a datapad that a co-worker gave me, and trial and error."

    "Oh?"

    "Yes. Never try to get a cat's attention by ringing a bell. They'll ignore you."


    Now...


    Temaru wasn't surprised to find his youngest daughter in a huff before even saying hello as she marched in through the front door and refused even to sit down while her husband rolled his eyes theatrically and found a seat of his own. That was to be expected, what with pulling her off of a project and all. He sighed and looked at Jaelle, who was at present giving Renna a wide berth. "You didn't tell her anything, did you?"

    "No, she didn't," Renna told him curtly.

    Jaelle sighed and shared an eye roll with Samir. "I told her just enough to get her here. Which, yes, was next to nothing."

    "Ah."

    "If someone doesn't explain what the big surprise is, I'm hopping another shuttle back to the southern hemisphere," Renna told them pointedly, arms crossed in frustration.

    "You're going to be an aunt," Temaru told her with a mild glare of disapproval.

    Renna stared at him, then looked at Jaelle, who was obviously not pregnant, then stared at her father again. "What? Is Alena pregnant? And if she is, why didn't I hear it from Torath first?"

    "It's not Alena," Jaelle told her. "And it's not me... again, that is. And you wouldn't have heard it from them because they don't know yet. They're incommunicado at a conference."

    Renna continued to stare at them both. "Right. Explain."

    "It's me," a voice called out from the door leading to the kitchen, and Renna turned to find a pretty red-headed woman standing in the doorway who strongly resembled their mother and was very obviously pregnant. "And of all the ways I'd pictured meeting family... no, nothing I imagined was as weird as this week. Then again, I was too busy trying to find my fiance to actually worry about it much until recently."

    "You wanted us to be gentle, Mara," Temaru reminded her. "This is as gentle as it gets."

    "Um..." Samir stepped in and put a hand on Renna's shoulder, as she'd been shocked into silence. "Hey. You all right?"

    Renna nodded without looking at him, her gaze on Mara. "Fine. Who the blazes are you?"

    "This is what I wouldn't talk about over an open comm channel," Jaelle told her. "And be glad we decided to tell you this way. The way I found out involved mom wanting a DNA test done and settling for intradermal tag readings. Renna, this is our newly-found older sister Mara. Marani. Which do you prefer?"

    "Mara."

    "All right, then. Mara it is."

    Renna took a deep breath, cocked her head in curiosity. "Too busy trying to find your fiance?"

    Mara glanced over her shoulder for a moment with raised eyebrows. "Farmboy, that was so the case! And you get to explain being kidnapped by a man with drug-induced dementia. If I explain it, I'll get mad all over again and the baby will kick me a lot. And you keep forgetting they can't hear you the way I can, so stop it."

    Renna blinked in confusion as a somewhat familiar blond-haired man entered the living room to stand beside Mara. Who else was hiding in the kitchen?!? "He didn't say anything." And, now that she'd had a chance to look around the living room, why were there a black cat with golden eyes and three kittens watching them from a cushion in the corner? When had her parents gotten a cat?

    Mara smiled wryly. "Yes he did. And he can repeat it out loud for the rest of you. If I had to confront what I thought was my family but wasn't sure how to approach the situation, then Luke here has no right to be shy about meeting you."

    Luke sighed and looked at her. "I just meant you were using the whole thing as an excuse. And he got the drop on me with a needle, which I'd really rather not think about ever again, thank you."

    "Ah. You have a really unprepared, somewhat amnesic medic to complain to for the needle..."

    "Stop," Temaru interrupted. "You're confusing us. What happened?"

    "Luke got kidnapped by a former Agricorps Initiate who became a deep cover Imperial Agent who originally tried to kidnap his niece and nephew with a team of commandos, when really he was apparently on Coruscant looking for a medic and/or a Jedi Healer to take back to Byss with him," Mara calmly explained. "Don't ask me to explain it further, because I wasn't kidding about the baby kicking me. Ow." She rubbed a spot on her belly with a grimace. "We spent months looking for him. Wasn't fun."

    "It's over now," Luke reminded her.

    "Who was the Initiate?" Widia asked from behind them.

    "Sarcev Quest, if that was in fact his real name."

    Widia frowned and glanced at Temaru for a moment. At his nod, the frown deepened. "Ah."

    "Ah... what?" Samir asked, having retaken his seat on the couch.

    "You'd be surprised how many people we knew at Temple," Temaru told him. "This Quest of theirs might have been in a class Widia had to save because Master Yoda tried to give a lecture on plant biology." At Luke's sudden and open reaction, Temaru frowned. "Ah, so you've met him. Does he still give really odd lectures that eventually make total sense?"

    Luke nodded slowly. "He did."

    "Did?"

    "He's gone now."

    Temaru nodded slowly, unsure of what to say in the face of that. He jumped slightly when Widia joined him where he stood, silently offering comfort with the slightest touch. She glanced at Mara, noting that she was still rubbing the spot on her belly where the baby had kicked. "You should sit down and put your feet up. Swollen feet, you know."

    Mara sighed. "Is everybody going to tell me to rest? I'm fine!" She glared at Luke. "Don't you dare start!"

    "If I don't get to say I am fine when I'm exhausted enough to sleep for ten hours on Han and Leia's couch, then neither do you." He took her arm and gently but firmly led her to the couch, to sit next to a somewhat bemused Samir. "Thirsty?"

    "You know I am, why ask?"

    "Comfort zones, remember?"

    "Ah." Mara watched him go with a smile then looked at Renna who was still standing near the door with her arms crossed. "So... you were working on a project in the Southern Hemisphere?"

    "Yes."

    "Mind telling me about it?"

    Renna stared at her for a long moment, looked at Samir, then shrugged and pulled up a chair and sat down. "You really want to hear about working in farm country?"

    "I've never lived on a farm and it sounds interesting."

    Renna laughed. "Oh! Well, our day starts, usually, with Sun-Up..."

    Temaru smiled as Renna launched into a long monologue about the work they were doing on the project, and he leaned closer to Jaelle. "Think it'll be this hard to explain when Alena and Torath get back from the sector conference?"

    Jaelle chuckled softly. "Could be. Or we could just show Alena the ID Tag results and let her pester them with questions."

    "That's mean, you know."

    "I had the whole resistance cell to learn pranks from," she reminded him. "Be glad us kids aren't more warped than we are."

    The resulting mental laughter caused Mara to glance in his direction with questions in her eyes, and thankfully she was distracted by Luke returning with the glass of water.

    ~*~*~*~

    After they'd talked and gotten to know each other for a little while, Renna sat back and glanced toward the corner where the cat was with her kittens. Then she looked at her father. "When did that happen?"

    Temaru blinked, startled that she'd ask. "By that, you mean Dark Star and the kittens?"

    "Yes. Wait... Dark Star?"

    Mara chuckled. "Dark Star is mine, Barry adopted your... our parents yesterday, and the other two don't have names yet."

    Renna frowned. "How does a kitten adopt someone?"

    "That is how I ended up with a cat I didn't know was pregnant at the time. She followed me everywhere and a native Corellian told me it was typical Spukamas behavior." Mara glanced over to Dark Star and the kittens and shook her head in amusement.


    Weeks later…


    He landed in a heap on the floor beside the bed with a grunt and simply laid there for a minute or two, slowly realizing that, one, he was on the floor, and two, his shoulder hurt but he hadn't landed on it when he fell.

    Sitting up carefully, he could see her in the darkness, laying on the bed, fists clenched. Frowning, Luke tried to get up, and stopped short when his left shoulder screamed in protest. Blinking against the pain, he pulled himself up with his other arm. Sitting on the edge of the bed, he barely had time to regroup when the light flicked on and his father-in-law joined him. "I..."

    Temaru silenced him with a look as he studied the younger man. "Heard the commotion. Felt it, too. Where does it hurt?"

    Luke took a moment to appreciate the novelty of having someone else who was Force Sensitive to talk to. "Shoulder. But I didn't land on it."

    Temaru did a cursory examination of Luke's shoulder before chuckling and glancing at Mara, who had yet to wake. "I think she punched you."

    "What?"

    Temaru watched as Mara's hands slowly unclenched and she unconsciously curled into a ball. "Ah. Made that mistake with Widia once, too."

    "I don't understand."

    "Careful when sleeping in the same bed with an at or near term pregnant woman, Luke. She dislocated your shoulder." Temaru turned his attention back to Luke and found the younger man staring at him. "What?"

    Luke shook his head. "I can't believe it didn't wake her up."

    Temaru had to resist chuckling, as laughing would have added insult to injury. "Best to let her sleep while she can. Come on. Let's go put that shoulder back in."

    At the door, Luke was surprised to find Widia watching them with a smile. "Do I want to know what you did?"

    Widia shook her head. "I'm sure you'll find it amusing when you're not in pain yourself, but now is not the time for that."

    Luke wondered what the woman meant by that as Temaru led him to the kitchen and the man handed him a wooden spoon with a thick handle. "What's this for?"

    "Biting down on." Temaru directed him to a chair and Luke dubiously but obediently put the wooden spoon between his teeth. And then Temaru reduced Luke's shoulder back in with no warning and Luke found out intimately why the spoon handle was necessary as he grunted loudly in pain. "Sorry. It was better not to warn you. Better?"

    Luke took a moment to collect himself as he took the spoon handle out of his mouth and tried moving it. It still hurt, but was mostly functional. "I think so. Where did you learn to...?"

    Temaru couldn't resist chuckling. "I lived in the Jedi Temple, we had to learn many things. For the Agricorps, it was an unspoken requirement to spend at least a year interning with the Healers, even if that was not our interest. Learned quite a bit that way."

    "Oh." Luke looked at him as he set the wooden spoon on the table. "And what did Widia do to you that she thinks I'll find amusing?"

    Temaru looked away, shook his head in thought. "She bruised my ribs and also shoved me to the floor." At Luke's silence, he looked at him and sighed. "It was three weeks after Mara was taken, and labor had been the furthest thing from our minds during that time."

    "Oh." While not completely amusing, no, there was a very odd paralelle to the situations, and Luke could appreciate the humor in it.

    Temaru stood up and started rumaging around the kitchen. He came back to Luke's side with a glass of water and two small pills. "Here. These will help with the soreness." Then he was off again, while Luke took the pills. He came back again with a game board, which he set up. "I was wondering when I'd get to play this with someone."

    "What is it?"

    "Old fashioned strategy game. Want to try?"

    Luke smiled. "Do or do not. There is no try."

    Temaru returned the smile and commenced explaining the game to the younger man.

    ~*~*~*~

    Mara woke to an empty bed and her mother watching her while reading a datapad. Slowly, she sat up, blinking as she glanced at the window and noted that it wasn't quite dawn yet. In the eight weeks they'd been staying with her parents, she hadn't once woken to her mother sitting in a chair beside the bed and Luke missing. Silently, she reached out to him, and found him playing some kind of strategy game with her father. A sore twinge of subdued pain from her husband made her wince in sympathy as she drew away again and looked at Widia. "What's going on?"

    Widia's answering smile was unnerving. "You punched your husband and slept through it. How do you feel?"

    Not quite believing what her mother had just told her, Mara paused. What had she done? That couldn't happen... right? Then again, her hand was sore, lending some credence to the claim that she'd punched someone. "Oh. Fine."

    "Right. You'll pardon me if I don't believe you right away, then."

    Mara blinked at her, really confused now. "What?"

    Widia glanced at the datapad she was holding. "I've been sitting in here with you for a couple hours, now. You've had six contractions... so far."

    "I'm in labor?"

    "Can you think of any other reason to punch someone in your sleep?"

    Mara ignored the question as she tried to do the math in her head, trying to figure out if it was too early or not, and kept coming up with the wrong number. Maybe it was the early hour, but she kept coming up with thirty weeks. That wasn't right. She knew it wasn't. "Um... this..."

    "It isn't too early," Widia told her, which caused Mara to glance at her in question. "You said you were twenty-seven weeks or so along when you got here, and it's been two months. So, if this really is labor and not false labor, it's fine. The baby will be fine if born now."

    "How did you know that that was my worry?"

    Widia shrugged. "I'm a mother, too. I had the same worry, especially after we ended up in hiding with the resistance." Mara nodded slowly and allowed the reasoning logic to calm her anxiety. "The only question now is... here, or at Theed General?"

    "Huh?"

    "If you want to stay here and have the baby, I'll comm Jaelle and tell her she has to make up a story to tell Nerun and then ask forgiveness later." At Mara's still-confused expression, Widia sighed. "Nerun is a doctor and is really touchy about home births."

    Mara nodded in understanding before shaking her head. "No. Theed General will be fine." Suddenly, Mara chuckled, which surprised the older woman. "We will not be forcing anyone to lie to their husband, least of all my sister that I didn't know I had until recently."

    "At least now we know what you wanted to help me clean all week long, hmmm?"

    As Mara swung her feet over the side of the bed, her attention was taken by a very sudden cramping in her abdomen and she grunted. "Oh...!" Widia was at her side instantly, supporting her so she didn't fall to the floor as she breathed her way through it. When it was over, Mara lifted her head and met Widia's eyes tiredly. "I really punched him?"

    "You really did."

    "Good."

    ~*~*~*~

    Despite having been a General at one point, Luke was losing badly to Temaru as they played the strategy game when something caused him to blink and look around. "What the-"

    "She's awake now, so you're feeling it more," Temmaru told him as he moved a piece into place. "And now you are cornered. Can you figure out a way out of this?"

    Luke stared at the game board. How had that happened? "I... no."

    Temaru laughed as he looked up to see Widia helping Mara into the kitchen to sit in a chair next to Luke. "How far apart are they?"

    "About forty minutes. The last one was thirty-eight," Widia told him. She got Mara situated and looked at the game board. Then she chuckled. "Ah. Luke, move that piece there about three spaces diagonally to the left."

    Temaru shook his head as she left the room again, and looked at Mara. "And how are you?"

    "Wondering if I shouldn't have left him in Quest's care or not," she muttered irritably as Luke did as Widia had instructed, which caused him to turn and stare at her. "What?"

    "That's not funny, Mara." She simply looked at him in silence, and Luke stared back at her.

    "Luke," Temaru spoke up hesitantly, and Luke looked at him in confusion. "Don't argue with a woman in labor. You'll lose and logic isn't the point. And Mara? Go easy on him."

    Mara rolled her eyes. "I thought I was. What is this thing you're playing?"

    "Strategy game," Luke told her. "And I think I'm losing."

    "Ah."

    Momentarily, Widia came back into the kitchen carrying Mara's bag and helped her up again. "We'll leave you two to finish the game, if you want to. I'm taking her to Theed General."

    Temaru glanced at Mara's night clothes and robe. "Now?"

    "Yes."

    "We'll follow, then."

    ~*~*~*~

    Seventeen hours and numerous threats to Luke's anatomy later, an exhausted Mara Jade Skywalker lay watching her husband hold their newborn baby girl. The sight made her smile... he looked so cute, holding her in his arms like an already-overprotective father. "We still have to name her."

    Luke nodded absently, smiling down at the bundle in his arms. "Yes. We do. I know what I'd want to name a boy, but..."

    Mara considered what she knew about him and his family, and came to a conclusion. "What was your aunt's name?"

    "Beru. Why?"

    She didn't answer him right away as she grabbed the pad of flimsy that a nurse had left at her request along with a pen. That phrase Darvis had used on the way to Byss kept coming to mind for some reason, and so she wrote 'needle in a haystack' on the flimsy and looked at it. Then she frowned and started rearranging letters and coming up with combinations. "Neela... Ninhle... Sheena. No. Naynea? No. Daysah? No. Ayenan? No. Eelin?" She shuddered at how that one sounded. "No." Then she looked at the phrase again and tried one more. "Neesta?"

    Luke blinked at how right it sounded. "Neesta?" He looked down at the baby, considering. Then he smiled. "Neesta. I like that one."

    "Neesta Beru," Mara corrected with a smile.

    "Even better."

    He handed the baby to her and Mara smiled down at her. "Welcome to our lives, Neesta Beru Skywalker."

    The infant's only response was a yawn.


    TBC…
    Last edited by DaenaBenjen42, Sep 7, 2013
    Falcon likes this.
  17. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 7
    Wonderful family moments and happy to see Neesta born. :)
    DaenaBenjen42 and Falcon like this.
  18. Falcon Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 7, 2002
    star 9
    The kittens sound adorable and little Neesta is here and loved the way Han was able to wed Luke and Mara. Have way too many favorite quotes in here but poor Luke, ended up with a dislocated shoulder because Mara punched him when she went into labor. More soon
    DaenaBenjen42 likes this.
  19. Hazel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2010
    star 4
    That was very sweet! ♥
  20. DaenaBenjen42 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2005
    star 5
    Nyota's Heart: It is, isn't it? Thank you. :)

    Falcon: Thank you, JediFalcon. :) (More, you ask? Okay... it may not be really long, but there shall be an update!)

    Hazel: Thank you. :)
    Last edited by DaenaBenjen42, Sep 19, 2013
  21. DaenaBenjen42 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2005
    star 5
    ~*~*~*~

    It was early the next morning when Mara awoke to find Luke dozing in a reclining chair with their daughter in his arms. She watched for long minutes, a smile on her lips. It should have been odd to see him like this… so normal. It wasn’t, but it should have been.

    The door opened and a nurse entered quietly, crossing to her bed. Mara sat up, slowly, and took note of just how sore she still was. “Hi. Where is Jaelle?”

    The nurse smiled as she began to take Mara’s vitals. “In an on-call room, sleeping.” She nodded to Luke and the baby. “Want me to…”

    “No,” Mara told her. “He’s not fully asleep.”

    The nurse nodded again and went back to her task, completed it, wrote some numbers on a pad of flimsie she’d dug out of a pocket, and left the room again.

    Luke’s eyes blinked open and he yawned. “Must they do that three times a night?”

    Mara laid back down, smiled at him. “Be glad she didn’t try to take yours. And it’s a hospital. Of course they must.” She noticed that he was holding most of the baby’s weight in his right arm. “Which arm did I punch?”

    “Left shoulder.”

    “Still sore?”

    “You dislocated it,” he answered truthfully.

    Now that… that explained why he was holding her mostly with his right arm. “Oh.” She sat up again, held out her arms. “Give her to me.”

    “But…”

    “My turn,” Mara reminded him. He simply looked at her for a few moments before struggling to sit up and then get up out of the chair, and placed the infant in Mara’s waiting arms. She smiled at him, then with her free hand, grabbed the front of his shirt and pulled him in for a kiss. Then she pulled back and nodded to the chair. “Sleep. Heal that shoulder so you can hold her without pain.”

    Luke stared at her. “You want me to go into a healing trance? Now?”

    “Yes. Indulge me?” She glared at him until he acceded, got comfortable in the reclining chair, and put himself into a healing trance. Then she chuckled and laid back with their daughter in her arms.

    ~*~*~*~

    Breakfast had come and gone by the time Mara felt like getting out of bed, and now she was standing at the window, looking down at the street below and holding Neesta securely. She was sore, yes, but that was only natural, considering she’d gone through seventeen hours of labor the day before.

    "You're not supposed to be up and about, you know," a now-familiar woman's voice chided her gently. "You are supposed to be resting."

    Mara turned to find an older woman with graying red hair standing in the doorway. "Couldn't stay in bed anymore and I wanted her to look out with me."

    Widia smiled and approached, holding out her arms. "You must be tired, though. Can I?"

    Mara nodded and handed the small precious bundle she'd been holding over to the other woman. "Not tired so much as..."

    "Sore?"

    "Yes." Together they looked down at the small babe and smiled. Then Mara shook her head, silently acknowledging the moment for what it was. “I saw us, here. Like this.”

    Widia frowned. “Saw?”

    “Months ago, before I really knew I had family out there somewhere.” She glanced back to where Luke was still sleeping, then looked at Widia. “It’s strange to be here now, really.”

    “I think I understand,” Widia said slowly, turning from the window. She considered the sleeping man for a moment. “Was he part of what you saw?”

    “He caused it, but I only saw us.” Mara sighed and went to get back into the bed. “It was so strange, I couldn’t tell him afterward. I wasn’t even sure if I saw what I saw.”

    “The Force can work like that,” Widia said as she sat down on the edge of the bed. “Jaelle pushed us out so quickly yesterday that I didn’t get to find out what you named her.”

    Mara smiled. “Neesta.” She nodded to the sleeping man. “After her father.” At Widia’s questioning expression, Mara chuckled. “He was, after all, our missing needle in a haystack. Seems only fitting.”

    The older woman chuckled. It did, at that.


    TBC...
    Last edited by DaenaBenjen42, Sep 20, 2013
  22. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 7
    Marvelously sweet moments @};- [:D]
  23. Hazel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2010
    star 4
  24. dancing_star Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 24, 2007
    star 4
    Wonderful updates! =D= Enjoyed catching up. :) Very sweet last post.
    [:D] @};-
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  25. Falcon Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 7, 2002
    star 9
    wonderful update

    Mara smiled. “Neesta.” She nodded to the sleeping man. “After her father.” At Widia’s questioning expression, Mara chuckled. “He was, after all, our missing needle in a haystack. Seems only fitting.”

    [face_love] very sweet indeed @};-
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
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