Okay, here is my response to the L/M Februray challenge - I know the title is a bit lame, but I couldn't think of anything else. This fic can be read as a sequel to My True Love Gave to Me, but you don't have to have read that fic to understand what's going on here, there's just a few easter eggs for those that have. Hope you enjoy! My quote was: 7. What’s the difference between a boyfriend and a husband? About 30 pounds. It was dusk on Corellia, the sky a kaleidoscope of brilliant yellow and orange hues beneath a deep midnight blue signalling the descent of night. Luke Skywalker steered his X-Wing through the lower atmosphere, taking a moment to appreciate the beauty of the cityscape beneath the multicoloured sky. Coronet was coming to life, the city’s lights blinking on in rapid succession, but Luke couldn’t see any signs of trouble. He checked his commlink again, reading the message from Han he’d received three days ago. Come to Corellia - it’s important. Coordinates to follow. He’d tried to comm Han back, but hadn’t been able to get through. It was likely that Han had already been in hyperspace on the way to Corellia, and Luke hadn’t questioned his motive. Since Yavin 4 was further from Corellia than Coruscant, Luke gathered his brother-in-law was already planetside and waiting at the coordinates he’ received coming out of hyperspace. Luke landed his X-Wing at the designating docking station, pulling off his helmet and breathing in the crisp Corellian air gratefully as the canopy of his ship craned open. Artoo beeped from his compartment, and Luke chuckled. “Be patient Artoo,” he told the little droid and motioned to the approaching crew so they could winch him down to the platform. Luke ran a hand through his damp hair, wondering if he could find a place to have a stanisteam before he found Han. Artoo let out a series of beeps as his domed head swiveled, indicating that his sensors had picked up Han’s approach. Luke sighed and grabbed his travelling pack from the cockpit, climbing down the ladder from his X-Wing and onto the platform. Han was indeed stalking towards them, smartly dressed in black pants, a crisp cream shirt and leather jacket. “Hey, Kid,” Han greeted him, drawing Luke into a firm hug. “Thanks for coming.” “Well you said it was important,” Luke said as he pulled away. “What’s going on?” But Han gave him a sly grin. “It is a matter of extreme importance, that’s true,” he responded, putting an arm around Luke’s shoulders and drawing him across the landing bay. Luke shucked out of his grip, since Han wasn’t usually so obtuse. “You know I have classes I had to reschedule to be here,” he said, a little irritated. “But I thought you might be in trouble.” “Don’t blow a gasket, Luke,” Han waved his hand dismissively and increased his pace. “Believe me, there will be trouble if we’re late.” Luke sighed but matched Han’s long strides, Artoo rolling along behind them. “But you’re not going to tell me what we’re going to be late for?” “Trust me, you’ll like it,” Han said with a grin, but then his gaze drifted down over Luke’s flightsuit. “You gotta change, though.” *********** Thirty minutes later, after taking a shower at Han’s hotel and changing into the clothes he’d brought with him, Luke stepped out onto the Coronet street feeling refreshed. Artoo nipped at his heels, an Han cast an exasperated look at the little droid. “You couldn’t leave junior at your suite?” Han asked with one eyebrow cocked. “What can I say?” Luke shrugged. “I don’t think he trusts you, Han.” “After twenty years?” Han laughed. “You think I’d get a little credit.” “Twenty years of you dragging me into trouble,” Luke teased. “Ha! I remember it a little differently.” Artoo warbled and beeped, staring an extensive reply listing each and every time Luke and Han had gotten into a tough situation, and whose fault it was in Artoo's opinion. “What’s he saying?” Han asked. “Don’t worry,” Luke patted Artoo’s domed head. “Thanks Artoo, but we don’t need a rundown.” Artoo let out a beep that sounded very much like a raspberry and then lapsed into silence. “The city’s gone all out on the decorations,” Luke noted absently, as there were lights and coloured lanterns throughout the streets. All around them couples were embracing, walking hand in hand and exchanging gifts. “Is there some kind of festival on?” Luke asked. “They call it the Day of Celestial Love,” Han told him, a strange sort of smile on his face. “It’s a Corellian tradition.” “Oh?” Luke was intrigued. “I’ve never heard of it.” “It used to be a religious holiday,” Han said conversationally. “The legend goes that the goddess Gwyndyllin fell in love with a mortal, Gildariad. The other Celestials disapproved of course, so she brought him here to Corellia - at that time an uninhabited world - so they could be together.” Luke smiled to himself, starting to have an inkling about the matter of “extreme importance” Han had wanted him there for. “This used to be a Feast Day in her honour,” Han continued conversationally. “And that tradition stuck around, even if hardly anyone is religious anymore.” Then he stopped at a corner florist, choosing a bunch of velanie flowers and a single, long-stemmed Corellian rose. He paid the Selonian behind the counter and handed the velanies to Luke. “You shouldn’t have,” Luke said dryly as he took the bunch of flowers. Han laughed and patted him on the shoulder. “Come on,” he said as they crossed a busy crosswalk, dodging a street performer playing a chin-harp and singing a love song. “There it is,” he added, pointing to a facade with the words The Caelestis Corellian on the sign above the door. It must be a nice place, Luke mused, because the words were written in High Galactic. But his attention was immediately drawn to the two women standing outside the restaurant, and his heart skipped a beat as Mara turned around and gave him a broad smile. She wore a dress of midnight blue, the scoop neck and the skirt falling midway down her thigh both edged with delicate lace. Tiny blue gemstones glittered in her hair which fell in red waves over her shoulders, catching the light as she moved. Luke felt his mouth go dry as he closed the distance between them in a few short strides, barely heeding the speeder which almost clipped him on the way. Mara flung her arms around him and Luke nuzzled his face into her neck, inhaling her sweet scent. It had been almost two months since he’d seen her, when they’d both been on Coruscant for the Midwinter Festival. To Luke it had felt like two years, and he held Mara tightly against him. “I’m glad to see you too, Skywalker,” Mara said lightly as she pulled away. Luke held out the bunch of velanies and she smiled prettily in response. He reached out to her through the Force, their bond fortifying now they were in close proximity, and although she was always there in the back of his mind, the vibrancy of her presence took his breath away. Luke was able to tear his eyes away from his wife to see that Han had safely crossed the street, and wordlessly handed Leia the Corellian rose as he gently kissed her cheek. Their love was apparent even without the Force, but through it he could feel his sister’s abject happiness. Artoo rolled up, and let out a series of annoyed whoops. "Oh, you're here, are you?" Mara asked the little droid derisively. "Well I can take custody of your master, now." Artoo rocked a little on his wheels and bleeped with agitation. Mara looked at Luke questioningly, and he sighed. "He says he has to recharge anyway, so he'll go back to the hotel if he's not wanted." Mara rolled her eyes as Artoo gave Luke a warbled goodbye and headed back up the street. "He's in a right little snit," he said with warm amusement. "So business as usual, then?" Luke laughed and turned back to his wife and pulled her back into his arms. "He does like you, Mara," he told her. "The insults are actually a sign of affection...similar to someone else I know," he added and winked. Before she had a chance to respond or protest, he drew Mara in for a long overdue kiss. **************** The Caelestis Corellian, Luke soon discovered, was the most exclusive restaurant in Coronet City. How Han had managed to score reservations was anyone’s guess, although Luke doubted that it was their notoriety. As he’d once learned, if there was any planet in the galaxy that didn’t give a damn who they were, it was Corellia. If anyone recognised them, the most likely reaction would be mild interest at the very worst. It made for a pleasant change from the glory-hounds and holopress of Coruscant, and Luke relished the normality of going out to dinner like a normal person. The four of them were seated together at a table in the centre of the room as the sommelier went through the extensive wine list. Luke left that discussion to Leia and Mara, looking around appreciatively at the elegant décor. There was a large keybed on one side of the room, the keyist playing a lilting instrumental tune. On the far wall was a large oil painting of an ethereal woman in red robes sitting in a lush garden, a young man laying beside her with his head pillowed in her lap. Fancier versions of the paper lanterns in the streets outside hung from the ceiling, and red candelabras were placed about the room. His sister seemed to have dressed from the occassion, Luke noted, wearing a dress of deep burgundy with an asymmetrical neckline crossing over one shoulder. Her hair was for once unbound, and she wore a delicate silver diadem with small rubies in the setting. Luke watched with a smile as Han also seemed to be regarding Leia with much more appreciation, the rose he had given her resting on the table between them. “What do you want to eat, Luke?” Mara asked, touching his arm lightly as Leia was conversing with the sommelier about a certain vintage of Alderaanian wine. A waiter had also appeared, carrying a datapad to take their order. Luke picked up the menu and then put it immediately back down when he realised he didn’t understand what half of the words meant. He loved food, but what in the sixth Corellian hell was a quenelle? Or a cealine jus? “You order for me Mara,” he said. “You know what I like.” Mara gave him a sly smile. “I certainly do.” “Hey, hey hey,” Han wagged a finger at them. “No suggestive talk at the table.” Luke felt his tips of his ears grow warm, but Mara laughed lightly. “Since you’re picking up the tab, Solo, I’ll play by your rules and stick to utterly safe topics.” She fingered the soft blue cotton of Luke’s sleeve. “I like your shirt, Luke.” By coincidence, Luke was wearing one of the shirts Mara had given him for Midwinter Festival, although he had found himself wearing them frequently since they had been separated. He'd missed Mara desperately, and wearing her gift had made him feel slightly closer to her. It certainly brought back pleasant memories. “Someone with very good taste bought me this shirt,” he grinned at her, and Mara gave a pleased sigh. “Hey,” Han complained again, looking at them through narrowed eyes. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I’m sure it’s kinky. Knock it off.” “Oh, leave them alone, Han,” Leia swatted at him. “You remember what it’s like to be newlyweds.” “Hmph,” Han grunted and then signalled the waiter to take his order, which was extensive. Leia sighed and turned back to Mara. “Do you know the difference between a newlywed and a husband of twelve years, Mara?” Mara gave a pearly laugh. “No.” “Appreciation aged like a fine wine?” Han suggested as he finished his order and handed his menu to the waiter. “No,” Leia reached over and patted his belly lightly. “About fifteen kilos.” Han’s laugh was the loudest, taking Leia’s hand from his belly and kissing it lightly. “But I got it where it counts, right sweetheart?” Leia’s smile was broad, her eyes bright as she gazed at her husband. “I have no complaints.” Mara’s mouth twisted into an amused smile. “What a ringing endorsement.” “From Leia it is,” Han winked at them. ******** They were onto their second bottle of wine by the time their food arrived, and Luke looked with interest at the dish which was placed in front of him. It appeared to be some kind of steak topped with seafood on a bed of leafy greens, although it was all unfamiliar to him. “Sorry they didn’t have any ribene-based food on the menu, Farmboy,” Mara needled him. “But you’ll like this, I promise.” It certainly smelled wonderful, and when Luke took a bite the meat it melted pleasantly on his tongue. He gave Mara a grin and tucked into the meal with gusto, washing it down with the fine red wine she’d chosen for him. “To you, Mara,” he said, clinking his glass against hers. “I hope that our union is as blessed as the Celestial goddess and her lover's,” he added, nodding towards the painting he'd examined earlier. But Mara looked at him strangely as she sipped her wine. “What an odd thing to say.” Luke almost choked on his own wine in surprise at his wife’s reaction, and put the glass back down on the table. “Well, I know I usually don’t say things so formally, but I thought…” Mara put a reassuring hand on Luke’s arm. “No, it’s not that,” she told him. “How much do you know about the goddess Gwyndyllin?” Luke glanced over at his brother-in-law. “Han told me she fell in love with a mortal, and brought him here so they could be together,” he explained, looking towards the painting again. It certainly seemed to depict blissful lovers. “Ah.” Han looked a little sheepish. “I did forget to mention a few things…” Leia have him a kind look. “Luke, the story didn’t exactly have a happy ending. The other Celestials found out where Gwyndyllin had hidden her love, and they killed him hoping that she would soon forget and rejoin them.” Mara rubbed his arm lightly. “She was so stricken with grief that she flung herself into the sun. Because she was immortal even this did not kill her, and they say she is still up there fuelling the star with her eternal power.” “Oh.” Luke took another sip of his wine. “What a cheery tale.” “That’s Corellia,” Han shrugged. “It’s not all bad,” Mara said. “The Celestials buried Gildariad in the garden Gwyndyllin had made for him, and a hardwood tree grew in the spot where they had lain him to rest. That’s why their flowers are called gilda blossoms, and why they only bloom when the sun is shining, or so the legend goes.” Luke had to admit there was a romantic element to the tale amidst the tragedy. Perhaps, he thought to himself, the most memorable love stories were the tragic ones. “Alright, enough legends,” Han waved his hand. “More wine.” ******** Three hours and seven bottles of wine later, Luke was feeling pleasantly tipsy. His companions, however, were far further gone; Han had long since given up on coherent speech and was rambling about the latest smashball results to no one in particular, while Leia and Mara were giggling uncontrollably about some shared joke or another. Luke found it difficult to follow the conversation, but apparently it involved the last time they’d been out with Mirax, a stylus, two Bothans and a stolen speeder. Luke thought himself pretty good at holding his liquor, and usually Mara was made of sterner stuff than she seemed to be that night. However, he’d learnt that she and Leia had started on pre-dinner cocktails while waiting for Luke and Han to arrive, so they’d had a head start. “You’re not laughing, Luke,” Leia chided him, reaching over the table and pouring him another glass of wine. It always amused Luke to see his sister drunk - unlike Han, who became jovial but incomprehensible, Leia’s diction became even clearer, her old senatorial accent bleeding through the more she drank. “Do you not think I’m funny?” “Oh, you know him,” Mara tried to slap his arm, but missed by several centimetres. “Damned fast meto - meti - metabolism, plus Jedi powers, equals….” She gestured to him with her hands. “You know what I mean.” “Heh, not what I remember from the ol’ days, kid, kid...kiddo” Han joined in. “I ‘member dragging you back to your quarters from the mess more than once.” “Ah, I see we’ve reached the point in the evening when you start telling embarrassing Rebellion stories,” Luke smiled with good humour. “I was wondering when we’d get there.” “Yeah,” Han slurred. “Like that one time you kissed your sister.” Luke blushed, looking around to make sure no one at the other tables had heard. Luckily, half of the patrons had left for the night, and those that were left seemed to be in a similar state of intoxication as their party. “We didn’t know that at the time,” he defended himself. “Anyway, she kissed me - and it was only to make you jealous.” Han scowled. “It worked.” Luke looked at his brother-in-law curiously. “Really?” he enquired. “I thought you were above all of that nonsense.” Mara snorted in an unbecoming fashion. “Yeah, Solo, any fool could have seen that there was nothin’ romantic between these two.” She gestured to Luke and Leia clumsily. “Oh, well why dontcha tell us about it, Miss-wasn’t-even-there-at-the-time,” Han said hotly, cocking his head back and forth in time with his words. “This fool,” he jabbed a finger against his chest, perhaps not quite realising what he was saying. “He was bein’ a gentlemen, eh?” Mara laughed. “I find that very hard to believe.” “Oh, it’s true!” Leia nodded her head emphatically, her eyes large and her voice crisp. “On Endor, after the battle had finished, he said that if I loved Luke, he wouldn’t get in the way.” She turned to her husband lovingly. “And in that moment I knew I would marry him someday.” Luke hadn’t known that, and was touched to think Han had been willing to step back, even when it had been obvious to everyone except him that Luke and Leia shared a platonic love only. Luke himself had figured that out only a few weeks after the Battle of Yavin, and his affection had shifted to amusement as Han and Leia began to dance around each other. Watching them both, he’d felt that the love in his heart for Leia was something entirely different - no less potent or strong - just different. “Kriff, I wish you’da told me that at the time, honey,” Han drawled. “We could’ve avoided that whole Isolder mess.” Luke grinned to himself as he took another sip of wine, finally feeling a bit lightheaded. “What?” Mara poked him in the leg under the table. “What’re you smiling about?” “He’s got his own planet,” Luke began to sing softly, “although it’s kind of wild.” “No,” Han pointed at him. “No, kid, no. No.” “Wookiees love him,” Luke continued. “Women love him,” Leia joined in, and Mara sniggered into her wine. “He’s got a winning smile!” Luke sang as he grinned at Han. “Though he may seem cool and cocky,” he and Leia sang in harmony. “He’s more sensitive than he seems…..Han Solo! What a man! Solo. He’s every princesses’ dream!” Luke finished off the song with a vibrato and a hand flourish, while Mara cackled beside him and Han buried his face in his hands. “At least it’s over,” he grumbled, as Leia ruffled his hair affectionately. But evidently their song had drawn the attention of the keybed player across the room, who began to play the first few notes of the song again. Luke laughed and began to sing with gusto, this time motioning for Mara to join in. “Everybody now!” he called out just before the chorus, and soon the entire restaurant was singing Han Solo. What a man! Solo as two of the waiters linked arms and began to dance a jig. Han sat with his arms crossed, glowering as the keybed player started from the top again. “I hate you all.” The song continued for six more rounds, each louder than the last, until the restaurant owner released a burst of confetti in the shape of hearts from the ceiling. Luke laughed as Mara shook the confetti out of her hair, her eyes bright as she climbed onto Luke's lap, wrapping her arms around his neck. She kissed him as the red hearts fell around them, and didn't care who say. Well into the night, when most of the other patrons had moved on and the restaurant was almost empty, Leia draped one arm around her husband’s neck, still singing softly. “Han Solo. What a man! Solo,” she crooned, kissing Han’s temple and running a gentle hand down his arm. “He’s every Princesses’ dream.” ***** It was close to 1 a.m. when Luke carried Mara back to the hotel Han had booked for them. She hadn’t quite been able to leave the restaurant under her own power, but Luke was happy to hold her in his arms. She was awake, prattling on that she really could walk, you know Skywalker, she was perfectly capable to using her own two legs and she wasn’t really that drunk after all and Leia and Han were both much drunker than her anyway and wasn’t it nice of Han to do this for them and she felt a bit sorry for teasing him, but he was such an easy target and she thought he liked it anyway, Leia certainly seemed to like it, giggle, giggle, what had she been talking about? “Mara,” he kissed her hair and ignored her rambling as he stepped over the threshold of their suite. “We’re here.” Artoo was recharging at the power station, and greeted them with a series of beeps and whistles. “Hello, Artoo,” Mara said as shewiggled in Luke’s arms. He set her down but held on her waist to keep her steady as she bent down to pat Artoo’s domed head. “You know, I do like you really.” Artoo informed him that according to his sensors, Mara had a blood alcohol level far beyond what was recommended for human organics. It was Artoo’s further opinion that the alcohol had impaired Mara’s mental faculties, and suggested a diagnostic overhaul. “Thanks, Artoo,” Luke said dryly, swinging one of Mara’s arms around his neck and urging her towards the bedroom. “But a recharge should suffice.” When the bedroom door slid closed behind them, Mara turned in Luke’s arms and pressed her lips to his. After a few blissful moments she pulled back, her arms tight around his neck and her eyes bright. “I would fling myself into the sun if I ever lost you, Luke,” she told him intently. “Okay, love,” Luke patted her back. “Let’s get you to bed.” “No, Luke,” Mara kissed him again, fiercely. “I missed you,” she whispered against his lips. “I want to be with you.” “Mara,” Luke protested, pulling away slightly. “You can’t even stand up by yourself.” “Luckily what I have in mind doesn’t involve standing then,” Mara said with a toothy grin, the kind she had only ever given him in the past year, since Nirauan. “I love you, Luke,” she said, as her Force sense grasped clumsily for his. He caught her errant probe, and held it steady, drawing her into him. He appreciated the sentiment, but for once Luke wished she would tell him that without her being blind drunk, in the midst of passion or waking him from a Force trance. “Truly,” Mara added, as if he had doubts, but Luke could feel the fringes of her consciousness beginning to fall away. So he smiled and didn’t reply, lifting her gently up again and then laying her on the turned-down bed. She sighed and fell asleep almost as soon her he head hit the pillow, and Luke removed her shoes and his own boots before crawling in beside her and drawing the covers over them. He reminded himself that they had not even been married a year, and they still had plenty of time to tear down those final barriers, to grow closer still at their own pace. For now he was simply happy to be with her, even if tomorrow he would have to go back to the Academy and she on her latest assignment for Karrde, unsure of when exactly when they would be together again. For now, her in his arms was enough, her back pressed against his chest, her soft hair tickling his cheek, and their Force senses intermingling lightly as he followed her into sleep.