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. Mara 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.