‘That’s the Wild Karrde,’ Luke thought excitedly as he walked across the crowded Coruscanti docking bay. He hoped Mara was on board. He hasn’t seen or heard from her since he gifted her his father’s lightsaber after their mission to Wayland. He hoped it would encourage her to train as a Jedi or at least keep in touch with him, but that has yet to happen. He wondered if she viewed the gift as inappropriate seeing that the lightsaber once belonged to the man who became Darth Vader—a disciple of the dark side and a cruel and sadistic killer. He sighed deeply. He really needed to talk to her to make sure he didn’t commit a blunder in etiquette. “Flowers, jewelry, those are proper gifts for a woman, not a weapon that probably decapitated countless of innocent people,’ he chided himself. He found the ramp of Karrde’s ship down. He prepared to board the ship, but something he heard within the ship stopped him. “She’s pregnant!” Luke wasn’t sure, but he thought that was Chin’s voice. “Yes, just a few weeks along.” Luke recognized the second voice as belonging to Talon Karrde. Luke stepped away from the ramp and moved to the side so the people inside could not see him, but he could still hear their conversation. He didn’t like eavesdropping, but his curiosity got the better of him. Mara was the only female crewmember on board. Luke didn’t even know Mara was dating somebody and now she’s pregnant. “How the hell did that happen,” Chin replied. Luke could hear Karrde chuckle. “Remember that incident during our last planetside excursion? We were all drunk and she wandered out of the ship and was gone to who knows where for half a day.” “Oh crap,” Chin said so softly that Luke barely heard him. “Yeah, oh crap!” Karrde said darkly. “I’m not looking forward to having a grumpy pregnant female onboard my ship.” Luke began to seethe when he heard Chin’s next words. “There are doctors that can take care of that, aren’t there?” “I’m not cruel enough to suggest an abortion,” Karrde said. “I just may have to ban her from the ship until she gives birth.” Luke scattered to the back of the ship when he heard footsteps walking down the ramp. He peeked around the hull and verified it was Chin and Karrde. As the two men walked away from the ship, he let out a shuttered breath. Mara was pregnant and now her boss wanted to terminate her employment until she gave birth. And who was the father? They made it sound like Mara got drunk and found herself in bed with some random stranger. He couldn’t believe her crew would abandon her like that. He stood straight and squared his shoulders. He needed to tell her that he understood the situation and would stand by her when her crewmates abandoned her…but first he needed to take care of some details. _____________________________ An hour later Luke approached the Wild Karrde. He reached out in the Force and sensed Mara’s presence. He smiled when he realized she was alone. He walked up the ship’s ramp as he called out her name. “Mara! It’s Luke. Can I talk to you?” Luke grinned broadly when Mara Jade exited her cabin and gave him a curious glance. “Skywalker,” she said before crossing her arms across her chest and leaning against the bulkhead. “What brings you here?” Luke had a rehearsed speech, but upon seeing Mara his mind went blank. He looked down at his hand and remembered the flowers he bought for her. “These are for you.” He wanted to walk over and hand them to her, but his legs had obviously decided to support his brain in an apparent “no work” strike. Mara, probably sensing his discomfort, pushed away from the bulkhead and retrieved the flowers from his hand. A suspicious expression crossed her face before she brought the bouquet to her nose to smell their soft, lingering fragrance. She looked up at Luke inquisitively. “What’s the occasion?” He shifted from foot to foot nervously. “No occasion. I just haven’t seen you since we returned from Wayland. I thought maybe you were upset over my last parting gift.” Her brow furrowed. “The lightsaber? Why would that upset me?” He shrugged slightly. “It uh…it once belonged to a Sith. I thought maybe you saw it as something cursed.” She chuckled as she turned and walked to the ship galley. “I need to put these in water.” She found a tall plastic storage container that could serve as a vase and filled it with water. She placed the flowers inside, admiring them for a long moment before turning and addressing Luke. “I was touched that you gave me the lightsaber. It was your father’s before he turned to the darkside. It is a family heirloom. If you sensed I was hesitant in taking it, it was for that reason. It should be handed down to your children.” The talk of children pulled him out of his stupor as he closed the distance between them until he stood an arms distance from her. “I don’t know if I will ever have children.” He forced a smile on his face. “I never seem to find the right woman. My sister has tried to play matchmaker, but most women only want to be around me for my celebrity. They see the hero of the rebellion and a Jedi Knight and not the man.” Mara scoffed softly. “I can honestly say when I look at you I only see the man.” Luke smiled brightly at her comment. “Because I sure in hell don’t consider you a Jedi Knight and the Imperial in me will never allow myself to see you as a hero.” Luke’s smile slipped from his face. “Oh.” She playfully smacked him on the shoulder. “I’m joking Skywalker.” She shook her head. “Wow, you are sensitive today.” She gazed at him intently. “So, are you going to tell me the real reason you’re here? Do you want the saber back? Did you change your mind about giving it to a future child?” Luke looked down at the deck feeling exceedingly self-conscious. “I want to give it to a future child,” he said softly before looking her in the eyes. “We make a great team and I would like to be here for you now and in the future. I think I could make a great father if you would allow me to do so.” “What!” Mara said as she took a step back. “Have you gone barvy?” She looked at him slack jawed before stepping forward and gazing deeply into his eyes. “Are you on spice?” He blew out an exasperated breath. He knew she would probably reject him, but he still wanted her to know she wasn’t going to have to go through this pregnancy alone. “Mara, I just want to help you through your pregnancy, especially if Karrde suspends your employment until after you give birth. I’m your friend and I’m here for you.” Her look was one of complete confusion. “Skywalker where did you get the idea that I’m pregnant?” Now it was his turn to look confused. “I heard Karrde and Chin complaining about a pregnant female on board the ship. You’re the only female, unless you picked up another crew member.” A look of understanding crossed her face followed by a wide smile. “Skywalker, Strum is pregnant.” His eyes went wide. “Karrde’s Vornskr?” She started laughing hysterically. “Yes, the last planet we visited was Myrkr. Chin drank a bit too much and forgot to close the ship’s ramp. She got out and hooked up with a local male. Pregnant Vornskrs are extremely aggressive during pregnancy. She would be a danger to the crew until she gave birth and weaned the young. That’s why Karrde was complaining.” Luke’s face warmed with a blush realizing he acted like a complete fool in front of his friend. “I see.” He took a step back intending to flee the ship before he died of embarrassment. Mara was still laughing when she grabbed him by the arm. “Don’t go. I want you here when I tell Karrde this hysterical story.” “Mara,” Luke pleaded in mortification. “Please don’t tell them. I feel stupid enough.” She regained her composure as she realized the changed in Luke’s demeanor. “Sure,” she said softly. “I won’t mention it.” He turned to leave but she refused to release his arm. She pulled him to the galley dining table and motioned for him to sit. “Luke, I’m flattered that you would volunteer to help me raise a child. I really am. I’m sorry that I laughed. It just was such a hilarious misunderstanding…about me being pregnant…not that you offered to help.” He lowered his head to the table top and covered his head with his hands. “I am so embarrassed.” “Luke.” Mara reached over and took his hand in hers. “Luke, stop it. You should never be embarrassed about acting nobly.” Luke startled when he heard boots walking up the ramp. He reached out and sensed the return of the Wild Karrde crew. Talon Karrde entered the galley, glanced at Luke and Mara and then the flowers sitting in a makeshift vase on the counter. His brow rose in surprise. “What’s going on?” Luke could feel his stomach drop thinking there is no way Mara could hold a straight face in lieu of recent revelations. He was surprised when Mara continued holding his hand. “Luke came by to ask me out. He’s got reservations to the Galatina restaurant.” Karrde let out a whistle of awe. “Wow, that place is expensive and hard to get into.” Mara grinned at Luke. “It just so happens that the hero of the rebellion and the last known Jedi Knight has connections.” Luke looked at her wide-eyed. ‘Did Mara just suggest that they go out on a date?’ Karrde grinned. “Well…it’s good to see you getting out, Mara. You work too hard.” He walked over and put a hand on Luke’s shoulder and gave him a stern look. “Make sure she gets home at a decent hour,” He said jokingly, giving his best impersonation of an overly protective father. “And keep your lightsaber in your pants.” As he walked away, he muttered. “I don’t need two pregnant females on my ship.” ___________________________ Author Note: This fanfic is for the OTP & Pairing Thread. I had to write a story about a misunderstanding cleared up. I didn't put the entire challenge in the title because I thought it would give away the storyline. Also, I have no idea if Strum was male or female. If I was wrong about the sex of the animal consider this AU.