Title: Wayland Worries Author: Jedi_Lover Challenge: SJRS Challenge. We are assigned a secret from the postsecret archive and we have to write a story with that particular phrase or secret. Mara and Luke must be major characters in the story. It can be a canon or an AU story. The secret I have to incorporate into this story: “I am terrified that I will never be as great as my sister.” This is an Alternate Universe Story, but it can be considered canon compliant. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~Wayland~ “How much Jedi training did the Emperor give you?” Luke asked Mara. Mara turned to glare at him not knowing where he is going with this line of questioning. They had spent the day trudging through the predator filled forest on the planet Wayland and she wasn’t in the mood for chitchat. She was tired, sore, covered with insect bites and to make things worse the Emperor’s Last Command was unrelenting. She had to force herself not to flinch when the Emperor’s words once again rang through her head. You Will Kill Luke Skywalker. “Enough,” she said. “All the basics. Why?—you looking for wisdom and compassion?” The words came out a little more caustic then she intended. “No.” Skywalker said hesitantly. He then started encouraging her to train. She wasn’t sure why that would be necessary if she had the heroic Jedi Luke Skywalker with her. “What do I need to be strong in the Force for?” His answer was cryptic. “For whatever purpose your destiny calls you to,” he said softly. “We have an hour or so left before sundown. Let’s get started.” She frowned not wanting to have more contact with Skywalker than required. The echoing of the Emperor’s words through her head increased dramatically ever since the Wild Karrde crew captured the Jedi stranded in deep space. The voice of her beloved Emperor used to fill her with pride and a sense of accomplishment, but now it was just an annoying noise that grated on her nerves and was as welcome at the sound of fingernails scratching across slate tile. There was nothing worse than having a Sith Lord nagging you endlessly from beyond the grave. She was about to tell the Jedi to kriff off but there was something in his eyes that stopped her. She saw worry, and that scared her more than all the predators in the forest. She thought he was fearless or at least crazy enough to think he was invincible. After all, he was the man that snuck onto an Imperial Star Destroyer to help save her boss…but now he was running scared. She looked back to the rest of her travel companions. Han and his Wookiee friend were setting up a sleeping tent as Lando inspected the two droids that were traveling with them. She didn’t relish the thought of having Solo grill her about her Imperial background. She might as well get some training in. It might be the only way this group would survive this mission. “Okay,” she relented. “Let’s get started.” . . . For an hour she practiced with the lightsaber, followed by another hour practicing telekinesis. By the end of the practice session she was able to move and lift stones much larger than she had since the death of the Emperor. She had once thought her ability with the Force came from her connection with Emperor Palpatine. She believed he channeled the Force to her. She never thought the power derived from her. Maybe that was why her connection of the Force failed after the Emperor’s death. She didn’t believe she could do it. The sun finally set and the two stopped to prepare for a long night in the forest. Their campsite was small and she couldn’t escape the Jedi’s gaze. She caught him looking at her more than once. Finally she was sick of the furtive glances and decided to confront Skywalker. She got up from where she was leaning against a fallen tree branch and walked over and sat down next to the Jedi. He gave her a tentative smile. “Why are you staring at me?” Luke shrugged. “I was just thinking.” Mara bristled at the thought of Skywalker sitting around thinking about her. “Thinking about what?” she asked coldly. His eyes widened obviously caught off guard by her suspicious glare. “About training…that’s all.” He said defensively. Mara relaxed at little. “Are you still worrying about training your sister’s twins?” He nodded. “I am the last Jedi. I spent very little time training with a Master and now the burden of rebuilding the Jedi Order has fallen on my shoulders.” Mara stared at him not knowing what to say. “I don’t know if I can do it. And the fact that my first students will probably be the twins puts extra pressure on me,” he continued. “Because they’re your relatives,” she asked. Luke nodded. “Yes, but also because of who my sister is. She’s the former Princess of Alderaan, leader of the Rebel Alliance and now a leader in the New Republic. She was trained from birth to fulfill her destiny…but not me. I know how to fix moisture vaporators.” He looked up at her. His blue eyes filled with doubt. “Knowing how to replace power converters doesn’t prepare you to be a Jedi Master. When I’m around Leia I…” He paused and took a deep cleansing breath. “I am terrified that I will never be as great as my sister.” He shook his head. “That sounds wrong. I meant I don’t think I will ever measure up and if I fail when it comes to training her children…” He trailed off again and this time he did not continue. Mara didn’t know what to say. She was trained to kill, not provide morale support to a Jedi with self-esteem problems. “Skywalker, you just have to do your best. You taught me a lot today. I am impressed with your abilities. You are strong in the Force. I grew up around Palpatine and Vader and they were masters of the Force…and your Force signature burns brighter than either of them.” A wide smile from the Jedi got her flustered. “They were Sith,” she continued. “So I don’t know how things compare…but you have impressive abilities…for a Farmboy.” Luke laughed. “Thanks.” His bright blue eyes sparkled causing a strange sensation to course through her body. “Yeah, well…” She averted her eyes. That damn Jedi had an intoxicating gaze. It didn’t help that he looked so damn good in that black outfit. YOU WILL KILL LUKE SKYWALKER! The voice pulled her out of her musings and she was relieved to have her Master’s voice as a source of distraction. It was like a mental cold shower. Skywalker must have sensed her change in mood. He reached out and placed a hand on her knee. “Are you alright?” This was too much for her. Having the Jedi staring at her, talking, training was enough already, but having him touch her caused her to shiver. She stood abruptly. “I’m fine.” Luke also stood and came up to her putting a hand on her shoulder. “What’s wrong?” She smacked his hand away. “I don’t like being touched.” He took a step back and gave her an apologetic look that made her immediately feel guilty…a feeling that was almost foreign to her. What was this man doing to her? He gazed at her intently, searchingly. “I’m sorry Mara… I didn’t know.” The way he said that made her think he knew more than what she told him. "You didn't know what?” “That you don’t like to be touched.” She could feel in the Force he was hiding something. “You are looking into my mind…you are trying to find out how I got so broken,” she said accusingly as she stalked off and then dropped down on the ground far enough away from the others for privacy, but close enough for safety. Luke came up to her and sat down making sure not to touch her. He took a deep breath and sighed deeply. “I’m sorry.” She glanced at him. “For what?” “You’re right. I was using the Force to probe you.” She glared at him for a second before she started laughing hysterically. Luke smiled, caught up in her laughter. “What?” She laughed for a few more seconds before she caught her breath. “You could have worded that better.” She could see he was trying to remember his exact words. After a second he blushed. “I…I didn’t mean it that way.” Mara chuckled in amusement. It had been years since she laughed like this. In fact, she couldn’t remember ever laughing…not for real. She would laugh when undercover, a false laugh she perfected. This was the first time she truly was amused. “I shouldn’t have done it.” Luke said seriously. “I sometimes don’t think. Yoda used to say to me, ‘Control, control, you must learn control’. Mara started laughing again. “I don’t want to know what you were doing when he was yelling that.” Luke looked flustered. “What?” She could see he was furiously trying to figure out what she was laughing about. “Jade!” She laughed so hard she went into a coughing fit. She looked up to him and smiled. “Maybe I won’t kill you Skywalker. I enjoy embarrassing you too much.” He grinned. “I’m glad I am good for something.” Mara stood. “I should get my shelter up and get some sleep.” “Let me help. I’m good at pitching a tent.” Mara started laughing again. She put her hands up in a halting gesture. “Stop! You’re killing me.” As Mara Jade walked away from Luke he had a perplexed expression on his face as he tried to figure out what he said this time. “Ahh,” he moaned. Luke ran a hand over his face mortified. If this keeps up Mara wouldn’t have to kill him. He would die of embarrassment.