Since I seem to be writing a lot in the timeline first started in “My True Love Gave to Me” it seemed cleaner to keep them all in one thread. Fics already written are: My True Love Gave to Me Celestial Love Corellia Day So onto the next fic! Inspired by this Tumblr post (and a gentle nudge from ThreadSketch) ________________________________________________________ Heavy Petting Mara Jade checked her chrono as she walked swiftly through the Jedi Temple on Yavin 4: 2300 hours. Later than she’d intended, but taking leave from Karrde’s organisation wasn’t as swift as one may hope - she’d gone through her duties with Shada three times until the woman had shooed her out the door, but then she’d been waylaid by a candidate for her position as Smugger’s Alliance liaison with several questions, and finally the techs had been late clearing the Jade Sabre for launch. Then there had been the days in hyperspace which seemed to stretch out forever, where there was no work to keep her distracted and only her fierce longing to see her husband again occupying her thoughts. Mara was looking forward to spending a bit of time with Luke, since they hadn’t been able to manage more than two consecutive days together since the Midwinter Festival on Coruscant months earlier. But they were due to travel to New Alderaan the following week for the Spring Equinox, and Mara had been able to wrangle some additional furlough. Luke had been insistent that Mara come to Yavin for the following day, although he wouldn’t tell her why that date in particular was important. In truth it hadn’t taken much persuasion for Karrde to agree, and if Mara was honest she’d been slightly disappointed in his readiness for Shada to handle her duties while she was away. But Mara cast those thoughts from her mind and quickened her pace to Luke’s quarters where she punched in the keycode at the door and slipped inside. She found her husband on the couch in front of the holonet, where the tail-end of a smashball game was playing - as usual the Corellian Dreadnaughts were thrashing the opposition. But Luke was fast asleep, with his feet propped up on the caf table and head lolling back against the couch cushions. The game’s commentary was drowned out by Luke’s snoring; long rattling breaths in tandem with the rise and fall of his chest. None of this surprised Mara, however there was something about the scene that was wholly unexpected. Curled up in Luke’s lap was a small juvenile animal, fast asleep. It was no more than twenty centimetres in length, with tawny fur which covered every inch of its body, including its extraordinarily large paws and protruding purple toe pads. A purple mane of coarse fur grew from each of its Ewok-like ears and down the ridge of its spine. The animal had two tails which were at least twice as long as its body and flicking lazily from side to side, each with a tuft of purple fur at the ends which drifted with the movement. Its angular head contained two ridges of protruding bone knobs down its sharp snout, ending in a bulbous nose where its nostrils visibly fluttered with each deep breath seemingly in tandem with Luke’s. Mara nudged Luke through the Force and waited for him to rouse, crossing her arms over her chest and tapping her foot against the carpet. Luke woke up groggily, rubbing his hands over his eyes and then slowly turning his head towards her. “Mara?” Luke blinked at her several times. “Hello, Luke,” Mara greeted him, her voice deliberately sweet. “What is that?” Luke looked at the animal and then back at Mara. “It’s a wonat.” Mara rolled her eyes to the ceiling. “What is it doing here?” “He’s my new pet.” Luke patted the wonat on the head. The animal’s purple tongue lolled out of his mouth and he awoke and looked up blissfully at the attention with large indigo eyes. Mara didn’t miss the long fangs protruding from the animal’s top jaw. “I see.” Mara folded her arms across her chest. “I take it this is the infamous wonat you smuggled out of a Corellian bar?” “I had to,” Luke defended himself, sitting up a bit straighter. “They had the poor little guy dressed up like a Corellia Day sprite, and there were two Gamorreans planning on eating him!” At the distress in Luke’s voice, the wonat readjusted his position on Luke’s lap, turning around and resting his chin and large front paws on Luke’s chest. “So you had to swoop in and save the day.” Mara rolled her eyes again. “Of course.” “I tried to return him the next day,” Luke continued, stroking the animal on the head as it let out a rumble of pleasure. “But the bar owner had only procured him for the celebrations and said I could throw him out into the street for all he cared.” He scratched the wonat behind the ears affectionately. “I wasn’t about to do that.” Mara crossed the room and sat next to the pair on the couch. She didn’t like animals, particularly large, clumsy, needy creatures without any understanding of personal space - she already had Luke for that. "Sure, he's cute now," she argued. "But he'll be huge once full grown. Didn't you think I meant it when I messaged you couldn't keep him?" Luke gave her a lazy grin. "I wouldn’t have kept him unless I knew I could talk you around.” Mara huffed and leaned back into the couch, unable to counter his statement. The wonat sniffed at her experimentally and then began pawing at her hand. "He wants you to pet him," Luke said. "We all want a lot of things we can't have.” Luke chuckled and gave the wonat another scratch behind the ears. “His name is Patooga.” Mara searched her scant memory of Huttese for the translation, and then gave Luke an exasperated look. “You named him Pie?” Luke shrugged. “I like pie.” Sometimes, Mara envied her husband’s ability to see life’s simplicities. “Named for the nerf and Ginuhss pie you were so excited about?” she asked. "I brought some for you in the shipment, by the way." The wonat had evidently given up Mara petting him, and was instead focusing his attention on licking Luke’s chin. Mara made a face and edged away. “I hope you’re not expecting me to kiss you after that,” she told him, uneasily eyeing the animal’s long fangs which were centimetres from Luke’s throat. “Don’t worry, Mara,” Luke told her, picking up on her anxiety. “He’s harmless.” “Hmph.” Mara wasn’t convinced, but the wonat ceased giving Luke a tongue bath and instead lay his head in the crook of Luke’s neck, staring at Mara with it’s large indigo eyes that reminded her of the seas of Navarro. She had to admit, the creature was cute, and she reached out at experimental hand to pat it lightly on the back. The purple mane was coarse under her fingers, but the wonat flexed its spine and let out a low rumble of pleasure. “You see,” Luke grinned. “He likes you.” “Hmmm.” Mara wasn’t convinced and withdrew her hand, only to receive a look of such heartbreak and betrayal from the wonat enough to crack even her willpower. “It’s late, Luke,” she said, standing up and turning away before the animal succeeded in guilting her into giving him more affection. “Let’s go to bed, and talk tomorrow.” “Alright, Mara.” But Luke smiled as if he knew he’d already won the argument. She was halfway to the bedroom before turning back and giving the pair a no-nonsense look. “And no way is he sleeping with us.” ********** The following morning Mara awoke to a disconcerting pressure on her chest. Still groggy and without opening her eyes, she stretched out in the bed hoping to find Luke, but instead shifted through empty sheets. The pressure on her chest didn’t abate, so Mara was forced to open her eyes, only to be welcomed by a pair of indigo orbs only centimetres from her own. She flinched in surprise, but the wonat was pinning her down into the bed and was not shaken off by the movement. Mara wondered when the creature had snuck in from the nest Luke had made up for it in the living room. She glanced over at the open bedroom door indicating that her husband was already awake and elsewhere in the apartment, giving Patooga the opportunity to acoust her. A little unsettled, she wondered how long he’d been sitting on her chest waiting for her to wake up. But the animal merely began to wag its tails, and they hit against her belly as Mara let out a small ‘oof.’ Then his paws dug into her chest as he licked the side of her face with his coarse, slobbery tongue. “Ugh.” Mara pushed Patooga’s snout away with one hand and then wiped her wet cheek. The wonat was unperturbed, tails still wagging as his lips were pulled back over fangs in what could almost be described as a smile. Mustering up the most withering look she could manage at such an early hour, Mara stared right into the creature’s eyes. “Get. Off.” Patogga whinnied and leaped off the bed, digging his paws one last time into Mara’s chest. She exhaled harshly as she got out of bed and put on a silk robe over her nightgown, padding out into the living quarters. “Skywalker, you have three minutes to get that mangy, slobbering-” Mara stopped short when she saw that a large rectangular platter had been laid out on the usually empty kitchen counter. She moved closer and saw that the platter was made from shimmering mother-of-pearl, with Ithorian rose petals forming a soft carpet on which rested an ice-cream sandwich with a single, lit candle jutting out from the cookie coating. Mara picked up one of the rose petals and rubbed it between her fingers and then against her cheek, the softness against her skin pleasantly ticklish. Then she took a closer look at the ice-cream sandwich, which was iced with the words “Happy Birthday.” As if on cue, Luke appeared through the front door of the apartment, carrying a small crate which he deposited next to the kitchen counter and then took Mara into his arms. Mara gave him a kiss, but then drew back and looked at him suspiciously. “It’s not my birthday.” “How do you know?” Luke asked. She’d never celebrated her birthday when she’d been the Emperor’s Hand - no one had ever mentioned it and she hadn’t thought to ask. It was only when she’d started working with Karrde that she’d become aware of the concept. She was happy to share cake and well wishes since that seemed to be what was expected of shipmates, but had always deflected questions about when her own birthdate was until her colleagues had left her well enough alone. “You don’t know either,” Mara countered, although she was touched by Luke’s thoughtfulness. “Did you just pick a date at random?” Luke shook his head and looked very proud of himself. “Nope,” he told her. “It’s the most probable date calculated from records I’ve found, as well as various other factors.” “How did you work it out?” Mara enquired. Although Luke knew the fundamentals of math, he hadn’t exactly had the level of education required to make such calculations. Mara wasn’t sure if even Ghent could have done it, and he was the keenest mathematical mind she knew. “Did I ever tell you about the time I rescued a Givin from Imperial custody?” Luke asked. “No….” “It’s a good story,” Luke told her. Patooga was sniffing at his feet, and Luke reached down absently to scratch the wonat behind the ears. “But the short version is that if I ever need a math problem solved she’s only a comm call away.” Mara looked back down at the gift he’d prepared for her, representative of what must have been a great deal of time searching through medical and historical records. That someone cared about her so much was humbling, and Mara turned to her husband, wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him in for a long, sensuous kiss. Patooga whined at their feet, tapping one paw against Luke’s boots. “You didn’t do this just so I would let you keep that mutt did you?” Mara asked playfully as she pulled away. Patooga began to jump up on Luke’s leg, wanting to be picked up. “No,” Luke laughed, as he let the wonat jump into his arms. “I know you’re going to let me keep him regardless. This,” he indicated the platter, "is because you’re the best wife I could ask for.” He kissed her cheek and Mara couldn’t help but smile. “Now eat your treat before it melts.” Mara rolled her eyes indulgently but did as she was bid, blowing out the candle while Luke took a holo of her, and then breaking the ice-cream sandwich down the middle and offering one half to him. It was delicious, the chocolate cookie crumbly as she took a bite, and then the ice-cream cold and tartly flavoured with beebleberries. Patooga looked at her beseechingly, and Mara narrowed her eyes and shook her head. “Good, huh?” Luke asked, as he stuffed his half of the sandwich in his mouth, breaking off a small piece with his teeth which he fed to his wonat. “You’re a soft touch, Skywalker,” she scolded him as Patooga licked the remaining ice-cream from his fingers. “And a sap, right?” Luke grinned. “You wouldn’t have it any other way.” “Hmph.” Mara turned her attention to the crate Luke had carried in, which seemed to be emanating a sharp hiss. “That’s your real present,” Luke told her, wiggling his fingers at Patooga to make the wonat swat his furry paws at them. Mara raised her eyebrows at him, lifting up the crate to rest on the kitchen counter. She could see something moving inside, and Mara undid the clasp to remove the lid. Inside was a small tooka, a feline-like creature with a stout body and thick, short tail, pointed ears, a wide mouth and clawed feet. The animals were scavengers that usually dwelled in Coruscant’s lower levels, able to withstand the stench since their own sense of smell through their slit-like noses was poor. This particular tooka was mustard yellow with navy blue stripes, and looked up at her with black eyes flecked with pinpoints of shine which gave the appearance of a night sky. "Jacen found her on the lower levels of Coruscant when they were on a charity tour,” Luke explained. “But Leia said that he had enough pets and wouldn't let him have any more. Plus she's kind of nasty sometimes - she'll hiss at you if she isn't in the mood to be bothered.” Luke couldn’t contain his smile. “She reminded me of you." Mara laughed. “Nice.” The tooka stared up at Mara with intelligent eyes, as if assessing her. Then she leisurely climbed out of the crate and set about exploring the room, avoiding Mara when she tried to pet her, and hissing at Patooga when he pushed his snout towards her. “And what am I supposed to do with her?” Mara asked, although she already preferred the tooka’s aloofness to Patooga’s enthusiasm. “She can keep you company on the Sabre,” Luke suggested. “Tookas can be very affectionate, if they deign to accept you.” “Are you suggesting I get lonely?” “I know you do.” The tooka began rubbing its face against Mara’s calf and winding around her legs, but she made to effort to shake it off. In fact, the sensation was quite pleasing, with the tooka's soft fur unlike the coarseness of the wonat. “Where was she last night?” Mara asked. “I was keeping her at the Temple,” Luke explained. “Er...she and Patooga don’t get on.” Mara raised an eyebrow. “Then how do you expect them to live together?” “They’ll get used to each other,” Luke said with a smile and ruffled Patooga's mane. “We did.” “Hmmm.” Mara looked down and saw that the tooka had set off again, chasing something only she could see on the other side of the room. His point was sound - if he and Mara could learn to acclimatise to one another, surely the two animals could. Although Mara reminded herself that she and Luke were yet to spend any significant time together as husband and wife. He was right, she often missed him, and sometimes the mere fact that he had given the Sabre to her chipped away at that loneliness when she was on the ship. A living creature might be even better - especially one that could catch ship vermin. “What are you going to name her?” Luke asked. “Jade’s Claw? Jade Whisker?” he teased. “Well it’s certainly not going to be anything in Huttese,” she shot back with a smile. “I know it’s like a second language to a Rim-yokel like you Luke, but it’s a bit inelegant.” Luke laughed and waved his fingers in front of Patooga’s snout again. This time, the wonat seized on them and began to nip playfully. “I don’t disagree.” While she was thinking the tooka jumped up onto the counter and began pushing the rose petals about. Patooga for some reason took exception to this, and lunged from Luke’s arms onto the counter before they both scattered to the floor. Soon they were chasing each other around the room, the wonat growling and moving silently on his furred toepads, and the tooka hissing and leaping onto better vantage points. However neither seemed intent on causing harm to the other - if anything it seemed like bluster. Mara sighed and shook her head at Luke. “Being back memories?” she asked him playfully as she poked him in the belly. “Good ones,” Luke grinned, pulling her into his embrace and kissing her forehead. “They’ll tire themselves out eventually.” “You think?” she smiled up at him. “I never get tired of fighting with you.” “Among other things.” Luke kissed her gently, and then drew her against him. She nuzzled her face into his neck, breathing in his scent which as always was like cinnamon and sand, although he had not touched the desert of his homeworld for many years. “If you’ll forgive the inelegance - uma ji muna, Mara,” he whispered quietly, and kissed her hair. Mara smiled at his Huttese. “Uma ji muna, Luke.” ******* Spoiler Inspired by the idea that Luke is totally a dog person, and Mara is totally a cat person. Wonats are indeed Corellian animals, but other than their furred toe-pads there is no physical description in the Wookiepedia, so its appearance is my fanon. Tookas are as described and were seen in The Clone Wars.