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Beyond - Legends Hocquet Night (Luke/Mara Fic for OTP Challenge #20)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by devilinthedetails, May 7, 2021.

  1. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    Title: Hocquet Night

    Author: devilinthedetails

    Characters: Luke Skywalker; Mara Jade

    Genre: Romance; Drama

    Timeline: Beyond the Saga-Legends.

    Summary: Luke asks Mara what her favorite sport is, and that leads to a date night fast and feisty as Mara.

    Author's Note: Written for OTP Challenge #20-Date Night. As always, I am grateful for the inspiration that created a fic I wouldn't have written otherwise.

    This story is not a oneshot so there will be at least one other chapter. Maybe more, depending on how generous my muse is feeling.

    Also, yes, hocquet is a pretty transparent Star Wars stand-in for hockey, but I'm having fun with it, and I hope that my readers will as well. I must admit that going to hockey games is one of the things I've missed throughout the pandemic, so I thought I'd take advantage of the chance to celebrate one of my favorite sports in fic form!




    A Hint and an Afterthought

    “What is your favorite sport?” Luke asked Mara as they sat side by side on one of the hundreds of benches in one of Coruscant’s countless domed parks. The ecology within this dome was designed to mimic the flowery, verdant meadows and clear ponds of the Belazura grasslands.

    Around them, groups of laughing children kicked and threw balls on the green grass, while adults sprawled on blankets, picnicking or reading holozines. Happy couples like Luke and Mara occupied the surrounding benches--some kissing; some sharing fizz drinks or deli sandwiches. Married partners who had already started to produce offspring showed their children how to tear bread into pieces to feed the waterfowl that inhabited the pond or hook bait to a rod to catch-and-release the fish the pond had been diligently stocked with by park staff.

    It was, in short, a scene of joy in an artificially constructed nature. A fine imitation of nature because the real thing had, of course, been obliterated in the name of progress centuries ago on this city-world that was now capital to the New Republic that encapsulated so many of their hopes for the future.

    “Teasing you, of course.” Mara smirked at him, sharp eyes green as the grass in the false copies of the Belazura meadows.

    “I mean a real sport.” Luke shook his head with a smile. “One that you can tune into on the holoscreen.”

    “A big business sport?” Mara arched an eyebrow. “One with color and play-by-play commentators? One that’s heavily commercialized with ads that constantly interrupt the action and excitement?”

    “Exactly.” Luke had to laugh at Mara’s cutting descriptions of everything she encountered in life. “Which of those sports is your favorite?”

    “I doubt you’ve heard of it growing up on a desert planet.” Mara shot him a look that was all challenge. “It’s hocquet. Played on an ice rink.”

    “Hocquet.” Luke repeated the name of this sport he had indeed not heard of before it left Mara’s lips a second ago. It did sound magical, but maybe that was only because he was from a desert planet, as Mara had just unnecessarily reminded him. Snow and ice, despite his nightmarish experiences on Hoth, still had the power to charm him. A chilling mystique that came from being frozen water, the embodiment of the opposite of the dry heat that had encircled him during his childhood on Tatooine. “Sounds fun.”

    “It’s fast and feisty.” The edges of Mara’s eyes were crinkled with amusement now.

    “Now I see why you like it.” Luke reached out to clasp Mara’s chin in the palm of his hand.

    “Perhaps it is.” Mara didn’t pull away from his touch. “Why do you ask what my favorite sport is?”

    “Maybe I just want to learn more about you.” Luke attempted an innocent grin he knew Mara would see through right away. “Or maybe I asked you because I want to take you to a sporting event on our next date night.”

    “Ah, now I see the ulterior motive,” remarked Mara, and now she did pull away. Standing up and beginning to walk down the park path away from him, she tossed over her shoulder as a hint, an afterthought, a crumb for Luke to clutch at in his eternal quest to make her happy, “My favorite team is the Hawkbats. I even have a jersey and everything.”

    The Hawkbats. Frantically, before his mind could forget, Luke’s fingers typed the team name into the Holonet browser on his comlink to explore his ticket-purchasing options. Five minutes later, he had bought tickets to the Hawkbats’ next home game at their arena two nights from now, buying seats in what seemed to be called center ice because those seats appeared to promise good views of both goals. Hocquet, it seemed, was a sport that involved scoring goals. Beyond that, he knew only what Mara had told him. That it was played on an ice rink, and that it was fast and feisty. Just like Mara herself.

    His fingers flying over his comlink again, he messaged Mara with a fluttering in his heart that felt like a feather blowing in the wind: I got us tickets to the next Hawkbat home game two nights from now.

    Mara responded instantly, and Luke’s heart almost stopped beating in his chest as he realized that meant she had been watching her comlink the whole time, waiting for him to message her as he had. We should arrive forty-five minutes before the game starts. Gives us a chance to get past security then check out the awesome arena and grab some greasy dinner.

    The only kind of dinner available at sporting events, he thought, before replying to Mara. Whatever you say. You’re the expert.

    I suppose I’ll have to teach you all about hocquet. M
    ara sent him an eye-rolling emoticon but Luke was pretty sure it was affectionate. Pretty sure but not one hundred percent certain. It was impossible to be one hundred percent certain with Mara or with emoticons that could never fully convey what anyone intended with absolute clarity.

    Perhaps I’ll do some preliminary research.
    Luke typed back with a winking emoticon. Make your job educating this ignorant farmboy a little easier.

    She responded to this only with a facepalm emoticon, and, when he informed her that he would swing by her conapt an hour and fifteen minutes before the game started to give them time to drive through Coruscant’s never-ending traffic congestion, she gave him a mere thumbs-up as an answer, a sign of the approval he so desperately craved from her.
     
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha 2 Truths 1 Lie Host star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_dancing] I love the setting of the initial scene, a very pretty and family/couple friendly park! The teasing between Luke and Mara is absolutely in character! I love that you picked sports night for your date setting. LOL I was thinking of just that sort of thing, i.e., what the SW equivalent of basketball was [face_mischief]
     
  3. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Very nice! I love stories that tell the start of Luke and Mara’s relationship.
     
  4. amidalachick

    amidalachick Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 3, 2003
    I have the biggest smile on my face right now! This is such an awesome idea for a fic. :D And it's great seeing Luke and Mara get a fun outing like this!

    This is a wonderful line, and the park does sound like a beautiful spot in the midst of Coruscant's artificiality.

    Awww. I liked this despite my own personal hatred for snow and winter. [face_laugh] I can totally see Luke having that almost-childlike awe and excitement over snow and ice, and it's just a really sweet detail.

    This whole paragraph made me grin! Luke's eagerness to buy the tickets, the 'fast and feisty' comparison with Mara - perfect!

    And I LOVE all the banter between Luke and Mara! As @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha said, it's perfectly in-character and so fun to read. [face_love]

    Wonderful start to this, and I can't wait to see their night out at the game! =D=:D
     
  5. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha As always, thank you so much for commenting!:) I'm so glad that you liked the initial setting of a beautiful family and couple friendly park. In the past year or so, I have really appreciated parks as a place to get some exercise and fresh air so it was nice to be able to celebrate the perks of parks a little bit in this story and show how great they can be for families and couples. I really enjoyed writing the teasing between Luke and Mara so it makes me so happy to know you got pleasure from reading it. I think I'm going to have a ton of fun trying to adapt a real world sport date night to a galaxy far far away[face_laugh]

    @Jedi_Lover Thank you so much for commenting!:) I'm so glad that you find this a nice story, and I hope you'll continue to enjoy this depiction of the early days of Luke and Mara's wonderful relationship[face_love]

    @amidalachick As always, thank you so much for your kind and supportive words!:) There can be no greater compliment than to know that you had the biggest smile on your face after reading this chapter! I'm so happy that you felt this was an awesome idea for a fic and I hope you will continue to enjoy seeing Luke and Mara on their fun outing.

    You highlighted one of my favorite lines about the park so I'm so pleased it resonated with you, and I was definitely picturing the park as a sort of oasis and place of peace in the midst of Coruscant's crazy, chaotic urban environment, so it is wonderful to know that shone through here.

    It was interesting to think about Luke's relationship with snow and ice as a result of his childhood on Tatooine. It seemed to fit that he would feel this childlike sense of awe and fascination at the snow and ice that would never appear on Tatooine. So I am so glad that you appreciated that touch and character decision!

    Luke's eagerness to buy tickets made me grin so it is great to know it made you smile as well, and I think a "fast, feisty" sport is just a perfect one for someone of Mara's temperament to be a fan of[face_laugh]And I hope you will continue to enjoy the banter between Luke and Mara as the story progresses since I can't resist writing it.

    I also hope that you'll enjoy Luke and Mara's time at the game!:D




    Arrival at the Arena

    On the night of the game, true to his word, Luke swung by Mara’s conapt an hour and fifteen minutes before puck drop. (During his research on hocquet, Luke had discovered that the sport was played with a hard but little black disc that was knocked from teammate to teammate by long, hooked wooden sticks in an often fruitless effort to deposit this little black disc into a net to score a goal.) As usual, Mara was impeccable in her punctuality, and she was climbing into the vehicle beside him as soon as he managed to find an available parking strip near her residence.

    Parking strips were not easy to find on a planet as populous as Coruscant, and it was with a twinge of regret that Luke lifted his speeder away from the parking strip his craft had occupied for far too short a time.

    Glancing over at Mara, Luke saw that she was dressed in a manner befitting the occasion with an athletic jersey that bore a hawkbat mascot on the front and was no doubt licensed fanware purchased from the team.

    “You look nice,” he complimented her, wondering if he would look like a fool showing up without any officially licensed fanware on his person.

    “Eyes on the traffic,” scolded Mara with a roll of her own sharp green eyes.

    “Why?” Luke asked even as he obediently returned his focus to the congestion that seemed to stretch for city blocks before him. “It’s not going anywhere quickly, or, you know, at all.”

    Mara ignored this, moving onto his next shortcoming. “We’ll need to get you a hat or something from the team shop when we arrive at the game. Can’t have you looking woefully out of place in the bright lights of the biggest city in the galaxy, can we, Farmboy?”

    “I suppose not.” Luke’s lips quirked in mild amusement. “Good thing we left extra time in our schedule to allow for such last-minute purchases.”

    By the time they reached the arena--the dense traffic never relented, but remained a slowly progressing mass until they arrived at their destination, at which point the mad scramble for a parking strip in the team’s garage began--and found a vacant parking strip they had paid too much for the privilege of using while at the game, a significant chunk of that extra time had evaporated.

    Leaving the speeder and crossing the encased pedwalk that let game attendees filter from the parking garage into the arena’s entry area, Luke smiled as his hand slipped around Mara’s and she didn’t yank away from him.

    Their palms remained clasped around each other as they joined the long line to pass through security. When they finally came to the front of the line, they had to release one another’s hands and approach different security officers, Mara going to a female officer for inspection and Luke to a man.

    After running a wand designed to detect any weapons Luke might be wearing on his person (Luke had wisely left his lightsaber home tonight), the security officer grunted that he could pass.

    A second later, Mara joined him after her own inspection was complete, and the pair of them continued to one of the ticket collectors by the escalators that rose to the lower concourse of the arena.

    Dipping his hand into his pocket, Luke pulled out his comlink and with a few swipes of his fingers and the typing of a password drew up the team’s ticketing app. He presented the tickets to the collector, who scanned the barcode and gestured for Luke and Mara to proceed with a wave of his arm.

    “Enjoy the game!” a person whose sole job appeared to be distributing pamphlet called out to them as they stepped closer to the escalators, thrusting a glossy pamphlet that most likely contained all the players in the game and some strategically placed advertisements.

    “Thank you,” Luke reflexively replied to the person who had offered him the pamphlet although the being was already focused on thrusting more pamphlets at other attendees. Such was the fast pace of the city that he could never quite adjust to…

    Aboard the crowded escalator that rose to the lower concourse, Luke saw that they were surrounded by permaglass that glowed with the light of the Hawkbat team colors. The permaglass seemed to capture and echo back all the excited shouts and laughs of the masses arriving for the game.

    When they reached the concourse, Mara looped her elbow through his and dragged him toward what Luke discovered was the official store.

    Mara wandered through the racks of team memorabilia while Luke walked beside her, content just to be with her while she selected his next buy. Occasionally, she would hold a shirt up to his chest as if to get a clearer vision of how it would look when worn by him. Each time she did this, she would shake her head, mutter something inaudible to herself, and replace the item on the rack.

    Finally, she abandoned the shirt section and slapped a hat that had a bill very like a bird’s beak sticking out from the front beneath the omnipresent Hawkbat symbol Luke was getting used to seeing on almost every surface.

    “You’ll like this, Farmboy.” She shot him a teasing smile as she tugged him toward the register to pay for this bizarrely beaked hat. “You can use it to keep the sun out of your eyes in the future.”

    “I can’t imagine wearing this anywhere but a Hawkbat game.” Luke shook his head as he joined the line of beings waiting to purchase an assortment of Hawkbat themed apparel from a rather harried sales clerk. He could only imagine the stares such a garish hat would earn anywhere else in the galaxy.

    “Then you’ll just have to invite me to a lot of Hawkbat games and get your money’s worth out of the hat, won’t you?” Mara nudged him in the ribs.

    “Yes, I suppose I will.” Luke gave the only acceptable answer to this as he wrapped an arm around Mara’s waist.

    He was sorry when he reached the register and had to pay for his garish new purchase because it meant that he had to remove his arm from Mara’s waist to take out his wallet and give the clerk his cred card for scanning.

    With his new hat purchased and displayed on his head as if it were something to be proud of rather than a cringeworthy accessory he could never wear in public outside of a hocquet game, Luke asked Mara as they stepped out of the team store, “Should we get something to eat now?”

    “Yes.” Mara grinned impishly up at him, and, even though they were in a packed concourse, Luke somehow felt as if he was the only person she saw in the universe when she looked at him like that. This must be what love or at least infatuation felt like, Luke thought, feeling light-headed and weak-kneed as if she were a drug pumped directly into his vulnerable veins. “Unless you want me to starve and faint.”

    “What would you like to eat?” Luke flicked his wrist to encompass the incredible array of stands and stalls selling every conceivable type of fried and greasy finger food. “There are any number of heart attack inducing options to choose from.”

    “Let’s just follow our noses.” Mara tapped his nose, and he might have been offended by the gesture--it seemed to reduce him to being a child again--if it had come from anyone except her because she had stolen his heart and could do anything she wanted to him. “I’m sure they’ll lead us somewhere deliciously unhealthy.”
     
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  6. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha 2 Truths 1 Lie Host star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_dancing] I loved the ebullient crowd and Mara's teasing and Luke's basking in her ease with him.
     
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  7. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Thank you so much for commenting! I always appreciate your support and patience between my updates as I write my multi-chapter stories[:D]I'm so glad that you loved the ebullient crowd, Mara's teasing, and Luke basking in her ease with him. There will be some more Mara teasing and a chance to meet some other members of the crowd in this next chapter. And after this next chapter I have one last chapter planned that might just contain a nice Luke/Mara smooch[face_love]At least if all goes according to my authorial plan...




    The Scope of a Franchise

    In the end, Luke and Mara’s noses led them to a stand where Luke bought a namba patty for himself, a basket of fried Endorian yip-tips for Mara, a large fizz drink for each of them, and a soft, doughy pepper pretzel for the two of them to tear and share. Once they had grabbed a handful of sauces from the dispenser and dumped them on the overflowing tray the stand’s vendor had provided to carry their food, they proceeded into the rink to find their seats.

    As soon as they entered the arena, Luke noticed a considerable drop in temperature that made him wish he had worn one more layer to the hocquet game.

    Perhaps unwisely, he remarked to Mara as they climbed down the stairs to their assigned seats, “Rather cold in here, isn’t it?”

    “If it wasn’t cold in here the ice wouldn’t last very long, would it?” Mara rolled her eyes at him as they reached their row and squeezed past a couple who stood up to let them walk on to their own seats. “If the ice melted, it’d be a swimming competition, not a hocquet game. A totally different sport than the one we paid to see.”

    “You mean I paid for us to see.” Luke couldn’t resist correcting her.

    Mara elbowed him in the ribs, which almost made him drop their meal.

    “You almost made me lose our dinner.” Luke decided not to risk fizz drink spilling everywhere by giving into the temptation to nudge her back.

    “It would’ve been your own clumsiness that cost us dinner.” Mara shot him a haughty, distinctly unapologetic glance. “I would’ve expected you to buy us another.”

    Luke elected not to chance another elbow to his ribcage and instead looked around the arena, admiring the bright light cast by the massive holoscreen that soon would show highlights from the game but was currently counting down the minutes to the start of it, and the massive banners that hung from the rink’s domed ceiling. Banners on one side that bore the names, numbers, and years played with the organization of players who had done enough for the franchise to earn the honor of having their numbers retired. Never to be donned again by another player on the team.

    Players whose names would be known as legends by all fans of the team. Players whom Luke had never even heard of but who had managed to carve this legacy for themselves at least. Some of the years played listed on those banners dated back over a hundred years ago to the days of the Old Republic.

    “Hocquet was played over a hundred years ago?” Luke gaped up at the banners, his namba patty forgotten before he could take a bite. He didn’t know why he had assumed hocquet was a recent invention, a game of their time, but he had. It felt disconcerting to realize that this sport, this organization, had been around since the era of the Old Republic.

    Enduring through regime change after regime change as little else in the galaxy had. Playing on through the glory and fall of the Republic through the repression and brutality of the Empire to the final resurrection of hope and democracy that was the nascent New Republic. It made Luke feel small, strange and light-headed, considering the scope of this single sports franchise. A sports franchise that now felt like a testament to both continuity and change. A time capsule illustrating how much things changed and how much they didn’t.

    “Yep,” Mara answered his question with a supremely indifferent air, being more interested in the yip-tip she was dipping into a spicy sauce.

    “It must’ve looked a lot different then,” Luke said, grasping at the change amidst all the franchise’s and the sport’s evidence of permanence hanging from the rafters above him.

    “Oh, yes, it was a different sport back then,” agreed Mara. “The equipment wasn’t as good back then, fighting was more common because they weren’t as concerned with concussions, and many of the goalies didn’t even wear helmets if you can believe it.”

    “I can believe anything about this crazy sport.” Luke was still in awe of how far back it’s history written in the rafters seemed to stretch.

    “The rules were different then too. The trapezoid didn’t even exist back then.” Mara pointed at a pair of crimson lines painted into the ice that marked a trapezoid behind the goaltender’s net.

    “Stupid rule designed to undermine the effectiveness of the greatest goalie of all-time,” rasped an old man from the row in front of them, who had plainly picked up on the gist of their conversation and had to seize the opportunity to give voice to his ancient resentments that apparently hadn’t mellowed with time. The old man lifted a shaking, wrinkled finger toward one of the banners swaying proudly in the rafters. “He played for the Hawkbats, and he was so great that the league itself was scared of him. They made the rule to contain him because he was such a fearless puckmover and smooth skater that he could function like a third defenseman on ice. He won us three championships, but it would’ve been four or five if the league hadn’t interfered and changed the rules, you mark my words.”

    “He’s in the Hocquet Hall of Fame now,” piped up a freckle-faced boy who appeared to be about nine-years-old whom Luke assumed was the old man’s grandson taken to this game as a bonding experience. Luke smiled at the boy’s eagerness to demonstrate his hocquet knowledge and found himself wondering before he could stop the unpredictable journeys of his mind whether he and Mara might ever have a freckle-faced child as eager, as precocious as the boy in front of them.

    “Yes, he is.” The boy’s grandfather gave a grin that seemed to be comprised of equal parts nostalgia for the glory days of the Hawkbat franchise and satisfaction in how much hocquet trivia had been passed along to a younger generation. A memory of greatness that might somehow endure through oral tradition and a banner hanging from a rink’s rafter. “Along with two of his teammates--defensemen both--and the canny man who was general manager. Who guided our franchise to our first three championships.”

    “And you got his autograph at a red carpet signing event on opening night once,” the boy continued in a sing-song tone that suggested he had listened to this story told a thousand times and never tired of hearing it. “And now you’ve passed the autograph onto me, and I’ll treasure it forever.”

    Forever. But was anything, even in sports, forever?

    The conversation and Luke’s thoughts about it were interrupted by an almost tinny voice announcing over the loudspeaker: “Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the anthem of the New Republic.”

    Rising with the rest of the crowd, Luke stood in solemn silence as the singer stepped onto the carpet that had been rolled onto the ice for her so her heels wouldn’t slip on the ice. He listened to the high, piercing notes of the New Republic’s anthem echoing through the arena, sung by a person with far more musical talent than he would ever have. The song raised in him feelings of pride mingled with sorrow. Pride in the New Republic he had fought for with Leia, Han, Lando, Chewie, and so many others among the living and the dead. Pride in the New Republic they were building. And sorrow. Sorrow not only for those who never got to see the New Republic form, who died before it had become a reality, but sorrow too, because nothing endured. Not a fun night at a hocquet game. Not a galactic government. The only constant was change itself, and what a cold comfort that was in an icy hocquet rink.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2021
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  8. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha 2 Truths 1 Lie Host star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    LOL about spilling the meal and love the chat about game rules and athletes ;)
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2021
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  9. Bel505

    Bel505 Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Jul 4, 2006
    <3 A Luke/Mara story where the protagonists are Devils fans? Be still my heart!

    This is a lovely story, even without my favorite hockey team making an unexpected appearance!

    Edit: *pauses and gasps* is the devil in the details the Jersey devil? :D
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2021
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  10. amidalachick

    amidalachick Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 3, 2003
    This continues to be such a great story! You capture the whole experience so perfectly and I love all the banter between Luke and Mara.

    Oh, the nose tap is so cute! And Mara's definitely got the right idea. :D

    And I really love the discussion of the history of the game, and Luke's thoughts about it all.

    Awesome work, once again, and I look forward to more whenever your muse is ready to share! :)
     
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