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Beyond - Legends A Year in the Life (L/M, holiday fic series) 25 March The Deepest Note is the Cobalt Sky

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by JadeLotus, Mar 30, 2015.

  1. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2005
    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.”





    *******
    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.
     
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  2. Annia Piet

    Annia Piet Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Feb 7, 2015
    Very nice! You have a real skill for keeping Mara's edge even in the face of overwhelming cuteness and her husband's adorable ways! :)
     
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  3. JediMara77

    JediMara77 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 5, 2004
    Reminds me of my dogs Mara and Jade learning to live with each other. :p

    Loved the ice cream sandwich gift. [face_love]
     
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  4. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    The petlings sound so cute! LOL at Mara's initial reaction to Patooga. So. Completely. Like Mine would have been! :p The tooka and the wonat match their owners' personalities. [face_mischief] Love the icecream sandwich. Yum!

    L/M are delightful in this. I absolutely, love this series! [face_rainbows] ;) [face_love]
     
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  5. taramidala

    taramidala Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 18, 1999
    EEP! I couldn't look at the pic when I was on my phone, but by the time I got to the end, I knew exactly what it was! [face_love] I love that you're continuing in this 'verse, dear!
     
  6. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    "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."

    Lol! Perfect. I can so see this happening. Love how seamlessly this flows from the "Corellia Day" fic.

    Plus, what an incredibly thoughtful thing for Luke to do, to determine when her birthday is. It normalizes her; it fills in another void that her past had left her.
     
  7. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 22, 2013
    [PTERODACTYL SCREECH]

    I AM PROUD TO BE (PARTIALLY) RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS. :D

    Snerk. :p[face_laugh]

    Because everything has to be related to food for you, Farmboy, LOL. =P~

    AHHHHHHHH, you included a HTTJ reference!!!!! [face_dancing]:cool:

    Not only is it right and adorable that you continue adding to this Holiday 'Verse, but giving them pets is something that isn't done often (bwahaha at Luke channeling Jacen [face_mischief]), so it's very fun to see that. Other than Jacen, we never actually see our heroes have family pets. One could argue that they might not have time for them, but it's still nice to have a version of them that would indulge in that.
     
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  8. taramidala

    taramidala Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 18, 1999
    But Luke had a dog once! [face_laugh]
     
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  9. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 22, 2013
    Aw, yeah, he did. ;)

    (Am I a weirdo for headcanoning that if Luke and Leia hang out with the Naberries they get to have pet voorpaks? :p)
     
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  10. taramidala

    taramidala Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 18, 1999
    Who gets? Luke and Leia, or the Naberries?
     
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  11. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2005
    "You get a voorpak! And you get a voorpak! Everybody gets a voorpak!"

    It seemed a bit weird for Luke to have a pet dog growing up - there are dogs on Tatooine? Dogs seem to Earth-y to me personally (hence the wonat is basically a dog, but not really).

    I tend to erase that from my headcanon if that is a thing. Head-decanonise?
     
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  12. Gemma

    Gemma Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 25, 2013
    I loved the whole story Luke and Mara are just darling in this. Him finding out her b-Day was very sweet and I loved the ice-cream cake with rose petals about it --- very nice touch. And I thought I knew what a Tooka was - they have had them several times in the Rebels show now.
     
  13. Irish_Jedi_Jade

    Irish_Jedi_Jade Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Suuuuuuper cute!!! [face_love] I can totally see Luke getting an animal LOL!! very very nice!!!
     
  14. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 22, 2013
    YES, THIS, because they are bite sized and precious and will hang out in your sleeves and pockets! [face_laugh] They're basically spider tribbles, LOL. Voorpaks all around!
     
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  15. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2005
    This was great! I so love it when characters get pets. The name Luke chose for his wonat is very fitting, but now I want to know what Mara names the tooka - you'll tell us in the next story? [face_batting]
     
  16. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    “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.”

    Even if Disney & JJ will not do me the favour to leave her in the main canon, I am glad that she will exist in the EU still. In stories like yours. Pretty alive, witty & sexy.
     
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  17. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2005

    Thank you! I always worry about defanging Mara a bit too much, but her softest edge is where Luke is.


    Your dogs are so cute!! Luke is totally a goofy, lovable sap who would give his wife an ice-cream sandwich for her birthday :p


    Thank you! I was really drawn to the idea of L/M having pets, and the SW equivalent of cats and dogs seemed really to fit them :D


    Thanks gal! This series could also be titled "Luke is a sap and Mara tries not to be charmed by it" - but that's a little long :p


    Thank you! Once I had Luke rescue a wonat in that fic, I knew I had to have it stick around, and of course give Mara a counterpart ;) I think it shows a lot of growth for Mara who growing up would have seen things such as birthdays pointless and frivolous, but then actually appreciate that Luke would do something like that for her.

    [:D]

    Snerk. :p[face_laugh] [/quote]

    ;)

    Because everything has to be related to food for you, Farmboy, LOL. =P~ [/quote]

    I can't remember if it's just accepted fanon that Luke is food obsessed, because it just seems so right.

    AHHHHHHHH, you included a HTTJ reference!!!!! [face_dancing]:cool:

    Not only is it right and adorable that you continue adding to this Holiday 'Verse, but giving them pets is something that isn't done often (bwahaha at Luke channeling Jacen [face_mischief]), so it's very fun to see that. Other than Jacen, we never actually see our heroes have family pets. One could argue that they might not have time for them, but it's still nice to have a version of them that would indulge in that.[/quote]

    Since this fic has already diverged from Legends, I didn't mind crossing the universes a bit and throwing in a HTTJ easter egg - how else would have Luke have figured such an impossible thing out?

    I like the idea of Luke and Mara having pets - at this point in the timeline Luke's on Yavin most of the time so would probably be able to indulge in pet-care, and of course tookas are rather independent and Mara could keep it with her on the Sabre without too much effort.

    Thank you! I've only watched a few episodes of Rebels, but I know tookas also showed up in The Clone Wars and they seemed super cute.


    Thanks! Luke would really love a big, goofy, affectionate pet, I think :p


    OMG, Jacen would totally have a whole pack of voorpaks hidden in his pockets and perched on his shoulder and following him around :p


    Thank you! At the time I hadn't thought of a good enough name for Mara's tooka, but it will be named at some point. I may have a post up over Easter if I get inspired :)


    Thank you! Canon is such an arbitrary concept, so even is Mara isn't in Disney canon, I'll still keep writing about her :)
     
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  18. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Feb 25, 2010
    DAMN YOU! I should working on papers!

    This was lovely an a ton of fun. Mara is totally a feline person, and I wanna say in one of the early EU books it did mention Luke having a "dog" on Tatooine.
     
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  19. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2005

    I regret nothing :p While I totally think Luke is a dog person (he practically is a big puppy dog), Luke with a pet dog growing up never really vibed with me - between the hard living, Uncle Owen totally not being a pet guy and the fact that dogs seem so un-SW - but when he's older, with a GFFA appropriate equivalent? Absolutely!

    ____________________________________________________________

    This one is in two parts, because it turned out way longer than expected and it actually kind of fits the "holiday."


    The Garden of Unearthly Delights (Part I: Day)

    The exit from hyperspace was designed to be a smooth transition, with no adverse affect to those within a ship. That was of course as long as the jump had been calculated correctly and the pilot’s hand steady bringing the ship back into normal space. Most sentients never even noticed that their bodies, being transported between stars at impossible speeds, were suddenly compressed back into themselves at an impact ten thousand times more violent than a speeder crash.

    But Luke Skywalker was not like most sentients, and he keenly felt the transition; the Force coming back into focus with shattering impact. Even with Mara’s expert piloting of her state-of-the-art ship the Jade Sabre, Luke was jolted from sleep as it came out of hyperspace.

    The stateroom on the Sabre was luxurious, with a wide double-bed that was certainly more comfortable than his bunk on Yavin 4. It had been a blissful few days as they’d been travelling to their destination, and a part of Luke didn’t want to get up, but to tell Mara to go back into hyperspace so that they could enjoy each other a bit longer.

    Mara’s tooka was curled up at Luke’s side, and he patted her head absently, wondering when she’d snuck into the stateroom. Elia purred and nuzzled her nose into Luke’s hand, as if justifying her presence. He scratched her obediently behind the ears and was rewarded with an increased and deepened rumbling from the animal’s throat.

    It had taken Mara an entire day to come up with a name for her new pet, making several lists which she had refused to show him. Eventually she’d chosen Elia, which was evidently the female variation of Elim, a character from one of her favourite operas. He’d laughed and jokingly called her pretentious, and she’d called him a ‘Rim yokel for naming his own pet after a foodstuff. But she’d made him a nerf and stout pie like she’d promised and had even given some of the leftovers to Patooga, making a wry comment about cannibalism.


    Luke smiled at the memory, and Elia wrapped her claw-like feet around his wrist and nudged him again.

    “Sorry, girl,” he told her, picking her up so he could sit up swing his legs out of the bunk. Elia used the opportunity to climb up his sleep vest and perch herself on his shoulder, her claws finding purchase on his collarbone - thankfully with her talons retracted. Blearily, Luke rubbed his eyes as he sat for a few minutes on the edge of the bed, working up the will to get ready and join Mara in the cockpit.

    His gaze drifted to the the small table beside the bed which held a framed holo of Luke and Mara with the Solo family, taken at their wedding eight months previous. He’d given it to Mara as a gift, and Luke was gratified to see that she’d put the image in such a prominent position in her quarters. There was also a second frame which Luke had never seen before, and he grasped it curiously. It contained a holo of himself, but Luke wasn’t sure when it had been taken. He was looking off into the distance with a wistful expression on his face, obviously unaware that his image was being captured.

    “Awake yet, you lazy sod?” Mara’s warm voice came through the ship’s comm. Luke laughed and put the holo frame back in its place, hitting the comm button. “Give me a few minutes.”

    “Hurry up,” came Mara’s reply. “You know how your sister gets when we’re late.”

    That was enough to finally force Luke out of bed, and he padded towards the refresher, sliding the door behind him so Elia couldn’t follow. He’d learned that the hard way with Patooga, who seemed to make it his mission to know the whereabouts of his owner at all times.

    It didn’t take long for Luke to get ready and join Mara in the cockpit, feeling alert and refreshed. Elia had found her way there as well, curled up on the console and watching everything with her dark, star-speckled eyes.

    “I still don’t think it’s fair that I couldn’t bring Patooga with us,” Luke said as he sat in the co-pilot’s chair. He’d left the wonat with Kyp Durron on Yavin, who’d promised to look after him while Luke was away.

    “My ship, my rules,” Mara told him. “That mutt of yours is way too friendly and isn’t ‘fresher-trained.”

    Luke couldn’t disagree, and turned his attention out the viewscreen to the planet looming before them - New Alderaan. It was much like its namesake, a planet of blue and white and green indicating deep, spacious seas, dense forests and snow-capped mountains. Unlike the original, however, New Alderaan was in the shadow of a nebula that dominated the star system long thought uninhabitable. It had been discovered in the early days of the Rebellion, but had been discarded as a potential base due to the slightly gaseous atmosphere.

    After the forming of the New Republic, however, Alderaanian refuge scientists had turned their attention to the planet and terraforming options. The planet already had the requisite mountains, seas and vast, fertile plains they had been searching for, all that was needed was a slight alteration of the atmosphere to make it breathable. The experiment had worked, allowing for colonisation with no adverse affect on the planet’s habitation.

    “It’s really quite lovely,” Mara commented as she worked the control panel to steer them towards the planet.

    “It is,” Luke agreed. “I don’t come here as often as I should.”

    “Bad memories?” Mara asked in an offhand manner and cast him a wry glance.

    Luke pursed his lips. “We lost it to the Empire a few times,” he said shortly. “Once to the Emperor Reborn’s forces.”

    Mara’s expression softened, and she looked back out at the planet coming towards them as she took them into the upper atmosphere. “I didn’t know.”

    Luke appreciated her restraint - despite their previous discussions on the subject, it was still a sore point for him.

    “You weren’t around much then,” he commented, a wistful regret that he hadn’t sought her out for assistance. She was the only other person in the galaxy who knew the Emperor like he did - better than he did - and would have made a great ally against the renewed threat. And yet...it hadn’t been that long after the Thrawn Crisis and Luke had seen how hard it had been for Mara to face C’Baoth. She’d shown her mettle in that conflict, but her psyche had still been brittle - Luke hadn’t wanted to put her in danger of breaking.

    But...perhaps he’d also been young and brash and arrogant, convinced that he could defeat the dark side threat all by himself. Now he knew better - that asking for help wasn’t a weakness, and that he didn’t need to take so much upon himself. If only he’d learned that lesson sooner.

    “What’s done is done,” Mara gave him a reassuring smile, picking up on his surface thoughts. Her Force sense was like a balm against his, urging him to let go of the past. “Tell me about this celebration,” she promoted him.

    “Leia tells me it's an Alderaanian tradition,” Luke answered, grateful to move on. “The Equinox signalled the beginning to spring, when both the day and night were of equal duration. The holiday was therefore thought to have an influence on growth and fertility - farmers would plant crops, and young couples would…” He trailed off, gesturing with one hand.

    Mara gave him a knowing look, the corner of her mouth twisting into a smirk.

    “Or so Leia tells me,” Luke added, trying to look nonchalant.

    “I’m beginning to think you had an ulterior motive for bringing me here,” Mara said lightly, steering the ship across white mountain peaks and lush green forests towards the city of New Aldera.

    “I always have an ulterior motive when it comes to you, Mara,” Luke teased, and sent her a playful nudge through their bond. Elia raised her head to look at him curiously with her starscape eyes, and Luke wondered if the creature was sensitive to the Force.

    “If only we were alone in this cockpit,” Mara said slyly, reaching forward to pat Elia gently on the head. “I might have been inclined to act on those motives. But alas,” she sighed theatrically and refocused her attention on flying the ship. “We’re not.”

    “You’re a cruel woman, Mara,” Luke said with good humor, and stood to finish the preparations for landing, her light laugh following him through the ship.

    __________________________________________

    New Aldera was barely a decade old, and yet was a faithful recreation of Alderaan’s capital city - at least as far as Luke could tell based on Leia’s descriptions and images he’d seen in Coruscant’s historical archives. Sleek buildings of gleaming silver and white lined the cobblestoned streets, and between them were multitudes of trees, plants and flowers. It was a symbiosis, and representative of Alderaan’s greatest and most treasured philosophy; the balance between civilisation and nature.

    The Piazza Organa was a wide cobblestoned square forming the city’s major meeting and artistic space. Various buskers and street artists gave performances, and merchants were set up to ply their wares to the throng of locals and tourists who gathered in the square to celebrate the day festivities for the Equinox.

    In the centre of the Piazza was a stepped-down amphitheatre, which housed the full Alderaanian orchestra in a rare public performance. Luke didn’t recognise the music, but could see the reminiscence on Leia’s face and the appreciation on Mara’s, indicating that it must be a well-known Alderaanian piece. Luke would have enjoyed it regardless of its origins, moved by the sweeping strings and hauntingly beautiful woodwinds. He applauded heartily when the performance ended, but subdued his enthusiasm slightly when he saw Leia discreetly wipe away a tear.

    “Leia,” he touched his sister’s arm gently. “Do you want to show me the Galleria now?”

    “Of course,” she patted his hand and gave him a broad smile, her gratitude obvious. “Mara?”

    “I think I’ll stay here,” Mara told them and nodded towards the orchestra. “They’ll start again in a few minutes.”

    Not one to argue with his wife’s love of the symphony, Luke left her to enjoy the music and let Leia lead him to where the art gallery was located, linking her arm in his as they ambled across the square. Every now and then people would smile and either bow or curtsey to Leia, and she nodded to them all with warm acceptance. A small child ran over exuberantly and handed Leia a bunch of wildflowers, which she received with grace and enthusiasm, clearly making the young girl’s day. Luke had always thought politics was his sister’s natural habitat, but now he saw that it was here, among her people who had taken them into their hearts. It was clear that she returned their love and devotion, never refusing a gift, request or conversation, even though it meant their short journey across the piazza took almost an hour.

    The Galleria was housed in a domed structure of stained glass, and the effect as they entered almost took Luke’s breath away. A thousand colours danced across the smooth marble floor of the Galleria, giving the room a vibrant rainbow-like aura not unlike the nebula which dominated the star system above them. The entire glassed dome depicted scenes from Alderaanian history, from the Killiks to the modern royal houses, and legends including the orowood dryads and sprites said to have once populated the forests. At the very apex of the dome was depicted an ethereal woman with dark eyes, tan skin and long flowing black hair haloed by blue light. Her arms were slightly outstretched, and in one palm she held a sapling, and in the other a human child.

    “That is the Great Mother,” Leia told him softly, following his gaze upwards.

    “She’s beautiful,” Luke breathed, struck by the luminous quality the artist had been able to capture - it almost seemed as if her dark eyes were looking back at him, right into his soul. But the moment passed as his attention was torn away by Leia tugging lightly on his arm, leading him over to the centre of the room where a tall sculpture stood on a short dais.

    It was carved from the finest white marble, depicting a man and a woman in long, flowing robes. The detail was incredible, and Luke immediately recognised the faces he had seen a thousand times in holos on Leia’s walls: Bail and Breha Organa.

    Luke covered Leia’s hand on his arm with his own and squeezed lightly. For a moment they held back, watching as other patrons of the Galleria pay their respects to the couple as they passed. It was easy to spot the tourists from Alderaanian natives, for the latter all performed the same ritual, approaching the dais and resting their hands against Breha’s stone feet, peeking out from beneath her dress. Many of them turned away with tears in their eyes.

    Finally, Leia indicated that they should approach, and she performed the same ritual, her small hand resting on the stone. However she lingered longer than the others, her eyes riveted on the marble faces of her parents as a tear slipped down her cheek. Luke felt a wave of sorrow from his sister, making his own heart ache. But then as quickly as it had come, Leia’s pain was smothered back down into the deep place inside her soul, as she withdrew her hand from the sculpture and turned to Luke with an encouraging smile.

    Taking his cue from her, Luke reached up to place his own hand lightly over the marble foot of Breha Organa’s likeness as he had seen the others do. He had thought it strange that the Queen would have been depicted barefoot when otherwise she possessed a regal divinity, but as he lay his hand over the spot, smooth and slightly discoloured from the touch of thousands before him, Luke felt he understood. It was connectivity, both between sentient beings and nature, and between each other.

    On the dais were engraved two set of quotes, words in High Galactic edged into the marble with a flowing script. Luke let his hand drop back to his side and murmured the words to himself.

    The rule of one must always be subject to the will of the many - Her Supreme Majesty Breha Jacenta Organa, High Queen of Alderaan.”

    Beside him, Leia swallowed heavily and nodded. Luke’s gaze then drifted to the second set of words engraved into the stone dais below Breha’s.

    Silence in the face of tyranny speaks consent - His Serene Highness Bail Prestor Antilles Organa, Viceroy of Alderaan.”

    “He often used to say that,” Leia told him fondly, reaching forward and tracing the words with her fingertips. “In a pique of teenage anger I once accused him of hypocrisy, for how else could he describe his support of the Empire?” She smiled ruefully at the memory. “That was the day he told me about the Rebellion, and I took his place in the Senate a year later.”

    Luke had often wondered about those dangerous years of her life; the Imperial Senator moonlighting as a Rebel spy. He’d once been somewhat jealous that she’d been chosen by Bail Organa to take into his home and his family - that she’d grown up in wealth and beauty and privilege as the acknowledged daughter of a great family, where his dispatchment to Tatooine seemed like an afterthought. But Luke had learned to treasure those years of his life - they hadn’t been easy and the work on the moisture farm had often been difficult - but they had been safe. He hadn’t been required to wear Imperialism like a cloak and work in the shadows where trusting the wrong person meant all could be lost. He wasn’t sure he would have done as well in Leia’s place.

    “I suppose...actions can break a silence as well as words,” Luke said thoughtfully.

    Leia’s smile was broader this time, and she rubbed his arm affectionately. “That’s what he would have said.”

    They moved between the various exhibits, artworks and installations, including a life-sized sculpture of a dancing Twi’lek by an unknown artist and an interactive piece which replicated the Alderaanian asteroid field. Various partitions had also been erected around the room to hang paintings and other two-dimensional pieces. The famous Killik Twilight was there, as well as a portrait of Queen Breha holding a white dove, various landscape paintings depicting orowood forests and snow-capped mountains and several agonising, abstract works by artists expressing themselves about Alderaan’s destruction.

    They soon stopped before a large oil-painting depicting a beautiful woman with shortly cropped, brownish-blonde hair and a mysterious smile. She wore the royal blues of the House of Organa, although even with the little Luke knew about Alderaanian fashion he could see that the style was different from the norm - her dress was light and flowing and bare at the shoulders, as opposed to the formal styles and thick silks found in the rest of the royal portraits.

    “Her name was Sabé,” Leia said softly.

    “You knew her?” Luke asked, although he shouldn’t have been surprised.

    “She was my governess,” Leia said, her eyes still on the painting. “And later, my tutor.”

    “She wasn’t from Alderaan?”

    “No,” Leia shook her head. “She was from a small planet called Naboo. My father knew her during the Clone Wars.”

    “Naboo?” Luke searched his memory. “Wasn’t that Palpatine’s home planet?”

    Leia gave him a wry look. “Hence why it was no longer safe for her there.” Then she sighed wistfully. “She used to tell me and Winter of her homeworld, and how it was very much like Alderaan, and yet so different. We have no formal festival celebrating the new year, but Sabé would tell us of the First Night and Naboo Fete Week, and invite us to her quarters where there would always be a feast of sweetcakes and mincemeats.” A broad smile of gentle remembrance spread across Leia’s face. “We would gorge ourselves, give statements of thankfulness, and exchange wishes for the year ahead. Sabé would always wish for the same thing: an end to the Empire, so that someday she could take me to Naboo.”

    "She wanted to to see her homeworld,” Luke said softly.

    “I always felt as if she was on the verge of telling me something," Leia said. "Like she had some great secret she desperately wanted to share, but couldn't do it until we were there."

    Luke looked at the portrait again, the woman's delicate features and deep brown eyes, and imagined her with darker, longer hair.

    "She...looks a lot like you, Leia," he said carefully. "You don't think..."

    "No," Leia shook her head. "That wasn't it. I don't remember what our mother looked like, but I know what she felt like. I did feel a...kinship with Sabé, though. Not like a mother - but a great friend. But now all her secrets are lost to time."

    They lingered before Sabé's portrait for some time, with Leia sharing her memories, and Luke drinking them in. It was so rare for Leia to speak of her youth, and Luke liked to imagine that he had been there with her, that he had shared those experiences like a brother should.

    "I remember she used to have these tea rituals twice a week," Leia told him wistfully, gazing at the painting. "She would only ever say that she was remembering an 'dear old friend'. When I was older she would let me take tea with her, and we would discuss everything from politics to the latest fashions.” Leia sighed and brought the small bunch of flowers the young girl had given her to her face, inhaling their soft scent. “I miss that."

    "There's nothing stopping you from carrying on the tradition," Luke pointed out. "Remembering her as she remembered her friend."

    "You're right.” Leia hooked her arm in his again and moved them onto the next exhibit. Luke could sense that she wanted to end the discussion, but it was likely she would contemplate it later, in private when she was better equipped to deal with such memories. As they passed through the various artworks, Luke made a mental note to ask Mara what kind of tea they drank on Naboo.

    “I have a gift for you.” Leia told them as they were examining a series of busts representing past Queens of Alderaan.

    “I didn’t realise that you gave gifts on the Equinox.”

    “We don’t,” Leia smiled at him. “But it’s a sister perogative.” She tucked her flowers into her belt and reached into the pockets of her dress, withdrawing a small statue carved from the red bark of an orowood tree.

    Luke took the statue and stared at it in his palm for a few moments. Then he looked up at the stained glass above them, confirming that the idol was indeed a representation of Alderaan’s revered mother goddess, although her hands were folded softly over a distended belly and she wore a wreath crown.

    “It’s a fertility blessing,” Leia told him with a sly smile, in case there had been any doubt in his mind.

    “Why are you giving it to me?” he asked innocently.

    “You don’t have as many secrets as you think, Luke,” Leia chided him. “Or are you going to stand there and tell me you and Mara aren’t trying?”

    “We’re not...trying,” Luke explained, deeply uncomfortable discussion with such private matters, even with his sister. But he had no hope concealing them from her, and resigned himself to her gentle probe. “We’re just...letting nature run it course.”

    “I see,” Leia gave him an indulgent smiled and ruffled his hair, and Luke had never felt more like her kid brother. “Well that’s what the Equinox is for,” she reminded him. “The creation of new life.”

    “Is that why you insisted Mara and I come?” he asked her, amused that Mara had accused him of ulterior motives when really it had all been Leia’s machinations. Not that Luke minded - he would take any excuse to spend time with his wife.

    “I don’t deny that it would be nice to have a niece or nephew to spoil,” Leia told him. “I think I’ve been very patient so far.”

    Luke rolled his eyes and and stashed the statue away in his cloak. “Well, I’ll do my best, Leia.”

    “That’s all I ask.” Leia gave him a broad smile without a hint of irony, and pulled him along to the next exhibit.


    ____________________

    I've altered the Legends background for Bail and Breha a bit - because I firmly believe Alderaan was a matriarchal culture and won't hear otherwise.

    Thanks to taramidala for her wonderful Sabé and First Night fics and headcanons which inspired that aspect of this work.
     
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  20. Annia Piet

    Annia Piet Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Feb 7, 2015
    I love this so much - my favourite of the series so far! Perfect sibling interaction, and all the Leia/Alderaan background I always longed for in the Legends books but never found :)
     
  21. taramidala

    taramidala Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 18, 1999
    Ooohhhh, girly, this one was lovely! Beautiful! *swoon*!!

    The first bit with L/M was wonderful as always, and I'm still trying to wrap my head around them as pet parents. [face_laugh]

    But the second half...oh goodness I'm sitting here trying not to cry. I love how you write Luke and Leia's relationship here, and Leia sharing childhood stories? *sobs quietly* I can just picture the space and how it's all laid out, and the statues and paintings and...oh my. And the Sabé stuff? Lady, that turned out more beautiful than I imagined it ever could! I love that you could turn my brain garbage into something to lovely. :p
     
  22. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Feb 25, 2010
    That was lovely! I loved the teasing nature of LM, then the beautiful descriptions of the ritual at Breha and Bail's statue!
     
  23. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Awww, I like Elia! She's taken to Luke too, besides being Mara's official pet. ;) I get the feeling Patooga is more "intrusive" [face_laugh] :p

    Hmmm. Wonder when that second holo on the bedside table was taken? :)
    Gorgeous details of the celebration and the piazza. =D=

    Fantabulous conversation and sibling-istic feels with the Luke/Leia scene! She is full of nostalgia and fondness mixed with grief, still @};- and he is so sympathetic. [face_love]

    Terrific quotes from Breha and Bail :cool: and wonderful memories of Sabe! =D= (I recognized the tie-in to Taramidala's stuff). I love when that happens! [face_batting]
     
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  24. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 22, 2013
    GURL, I BEAT YOU THERE. *wads up tissues*

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Srsly, I can't decide between a pterodactyl screech or soft mewling. :_|

    Don't you just love that, when your fic just runs away on you and then IT GOT BETTER? (Especially when you collab with your fic BFF? Headcanons FTW. :D)

    The Galleria reminded me of this ceiling:

    [​IMG]
     
  25. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    There has been such beautiful Bail/Breha and handmaiden work out there lately, and here is another one. The banter with Luke and Mara is charming, and I love their pets, too. But the descriptions are gorgeous. Love the little references to other works that you snuck in there.

    Really,a gorgeous piece. A lovely addition to your year-long journey.