Just under the wire! Thanks to JadeLotus for providing the prompt and brainstorming with me on this, although after thinking about it some more, I realized the timing just wasn't going to work for what I wanted to do. I can explain after the fic. I'll confess - I didn't really meet the prompt's expectations. I hemmed and hawed and tried a few different things, and ultimately chickened out and settled on this little, wimpy piece. Maybe I'll do better next time! The Skywalker-Jade Revival Society's September 2014 challenge: First Day Back My prompt: Mara's first day as a full fledged Jedi Knight A Path of Light A cacophony of life rose from the dense jungle and rolled through the humid air, in spite of the early hour. The rainforests of Yavin IV never slept. How Luke could manage to meditate through all that ruckus, she'd never understand. Leaning against a great column at the front of the Grand Audience Chamber, Mara Jade gazed out past the clinging vines to the verdant expanse below. Although dawn was barely approaching, Yavin's reflection almost always painted the night in shades of orange; true darkness was a rarity here. In spite of the irony Exar Kun had brought to this tableau, she supposed this was another reason Luke enjoyed the moon. She was still ambivalent about everything, even though she'd made peace with her decision months before. Wearing garments more akin to Jedi robes than designer spacer's gear was an alien sensation, as was the fact that in four more hours she was scheduled to begin teaching her first official class on self-awareness and danger sensing, followed by hand-to-hand combat lessons in the afternoon. The uncustomary nervousness worming through her gut had driven her from bed and up here to the chamber. Luke – bless him, she thought – hadn't followed her. He understood her need for space. He'd been as supportive as he could muster, drawing near and retreating as her moods dictated. However maddening it could be at times, the presence of their bond was an intrusion she was growing to welcome more and more each day. Having a fiancé for an instructor was surreal, although she'd come to have no qualms about calling him Master at certain times. Being able to make him blush in front of the students was just a little too enjoyable to pass up on occasion. Mara fingered the cool metal of the lightsaber hanging from her belt. Luke had discussed constructing a new one; it was one of the chief rites of passage for a Jedi apprentice. Although it had been his gift to her, he had ventured that her own sense of accomplishment might be better satisfied by putting it aside to test her new skills and allow her to define her identity as a Jedi. She'd been touched by his willingness to have this piece of his family's heritage relinquished for her sake. But no, she'd said. She'd never give it up or discard it, short of losing it in battle or passing it on in death. As the weapon of Anakin Skywalker and his son, it meant little to her. As the token of her threadbare ally and future husband's trust, however, it was priceless; more valuable than a Gallinorian rainbow gem. That gesture had set them on the long, tumultuous path that had finally brought them together a decade later, and opened up an even lengthier road of promise that had yet to stretch forth. And besides, she'd reminded him, someday she was going to knock him flat with it. Someday. She smirked at the memory of his surprisingly ribald retort and what had ensued afterward. When things settled down – after the media circus that would result after Leia's public annoucement, after their wedding and honeymoon – Mara suspected she would soon tire of Yavin IV again, and though he was hopeful, Luke's expectations were no less realistic. But for now, the challenge of the praxeum was fresh once more. She turned at the gradual sensation, and saw Luke standing far away at the entrance to the chamber. He hadn't made a sound, but the unfiltered brilliance of his spirit gave him away. He smiled softly, tender admiration in his eyes. Her contemplation was finished, and he'd known. Smiling back, Mara descended the steps to join him.