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Beyond - Legends "I See the Moon", MMM #2 | Luke/Mara & Ben, Vignette

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Mira_Jade , Dec 3, 2018.

  1. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Title: "I See the Moon"
    Author: Mira_Jade

    Genre: Family, Drama
    Rating: G
    Time Frame: NJO Epilogue
    Characters: Mara Jade/Luke Skywalker, Ben Skywalker

    Summary: With the end of the war and her son returned to her at last, Mara Jade adjusts to motherhood, again.

    Notes: Three cheers for the return of Monday Mush Mania! For the second challenge - adjusting to something new - I decided to go back to my Legends roots, and this is what my muse came up with. Enjoy! [face_love] [:D]

    Disclaimer: Nothing is mine but for the words. The lyrics of Mara's song are taken from Amy Robbins-Wilson's rendition of the Irish lullaby of the same name. :)

    "I See the Moon"
    by Mira_Jade

    Mara Jade Skywalker had no memory of her mother – of either of her parents, really. Maybe she’d known them at one time, in her earliest days, but even the deepest meditative trances hadn’t been able to reward her with anything more than scattered impressions of recollection. The more practical methods of genetic testing had failed to offer enlightenment, just the same, and she'd soon given up the search for her origins. She was just what the Emperor wanted her to be: his, and his alone. For so long she’d been proud to be his Hand, all until she found her footing and stood up tall as she herself instead. No doubt her parents of flesh and blood were long gone; Palpatine wouldn’t allow any such loose ends to remain tied to his possessions, not if he had any say in the matter. Even records of who they may have been had disappeared at his command. Mara didn't know where she came from, she only knew who she was.

    That knowledge wasn’t a fact she usually dwelt on; she’d accepted the truth of her existence a long time ago. Nostalgia didn’t suit her, especially when the shape of her path had brought her here to where she was today. Her place in the galaxy wasn't something she'd trade for anything.

    Now, that said, what she wouldn’t have given for a few memories – of her own childhood or siblings she may or may not have had or anything – to help her though her current dilemma just then: namely, a screaming two year old who flatly refused to turn blessedly quiet and go back to sleep.

    “Shh, Ben, shh,” had become her mantra as she bobbed the boy in her arms, the same as she’d done when he was first born. He didn’t fit against her the same as he had then, a part of her couldn’t help but notice with a pang; he’d grown up so fast during his time away. Instead of the tiny babe with his pudgy limbs delicate little fingers, Ben was now old enough to be walking and talking, and he squirmed in her arms like an angry scarlet pentamonkey. He didn’t like being held – that message she was receiving loud and clear, but he didn’t want to be set down and left alone, either. The dichotomy of that information left Mara in somewhat of a quandary. She didn’t know what to do.

    Was this even the proper protocol for toddlers? her mind raced to wonder. The N8N-3 droid had not-so-helpfully suggested that she leave Ben to cry himself to sleep, and she had leveled the droid with a cold look before powering it off with a satisfying flick of the Force. As if she could possibly leave Ben to scream in misery when she was finally there to do something about it – the very idea was anathema to her. Her son had been returned home to his parents for less than a day; there was no way she was letting anything harm him that she could help. She’d do so over her – or the droid’s – dead body. Ben was going to calm down, he was going to sleep peacefully, and they were going to be a happy normal family together from here on out. End of story.

    Yet, even Luke had hesitantly suggested that she just leave Ben to cry. There was no reasoning with the toddler at that point. “He’ll wear himself out eventually – he’s exhausted and needs to sleep. So, eventually he’ll sleep,” he reasoned. He’d learned early on that she wanted to be the one to sooth Ben without help, and he'd stood a careful distance away, back by the entrance to their makeshift nursery. Like her, he was dressed in his sleep clothes, but his exhaustion was pushed to the corners of his expression as he watched her rock (wrestle) their son with a look that was steeped in sympathy. (She hated that look, for the record.) “When the twins acted up at this age, Leia would - ”

    “ - look, farmboy, I love your sister and all, but the last thing I want from her is parenting advice,” she'd interrupted before thinking her words through. “Thanks, but no thanks.” But she'd immediately blanched and snapped her mouth shut, wishing she could draw her words back as easily as she sucked in her next breath. She hadn't meant to be so harsh.

    . . . especially now. After all, who was she to cast shade on Leia’s choices when she'd let someone else raise her son for almost two whole years? Her course wasn't any better.

    But there was a war, she wanted to protest in misery. She had no choice but to fight, and she couldn’t do that while balancing a baby on her hip; it just wasn’t safe. She had to make sure there was a galaxy left for Ben to grow up in before she could take on the privilege of raising him herself. That was the burden of the name she’d accepted when she said I do, and she wouldn’t turn her back on what needed to be done. Even if she did everything all over again, she couldn’t think of a single choice she’d make differently.

    . . . even if it meant that her child now screamed at her like she was a stranger. She no longer had the ability to comfort him; she’d lost that place in his heart.

    Maybe, she gave ruefully, she was overdue to call Leia about this anyway. Not even a standard day in, and she was already grasping for a lifeline.

    Luke – honest to goodness celestial being that her husband actually was – hadn’t taken her words personally, for which she was grateful. Of being a wife and mother, she only had the heart to fail at one at a time.

    “You’re not failing, Mara,” of course Luke didn't agree with her. “Be kinder to yourself than that. You are, however, denying that there’s going to be a period of adjustment before we settle into a routine – for all of us.”

    As much as she didn’t want to hear the N8N’s advice, she most certainty didn’t need Luke Skywalker’s gentle brand of wisdom just then, either. She couldn’t stand it. “I’ve got this,” had been her hard response through her teeth. “Please, just go back to bed and let me figure this out.”

    For all that she wanted her words to sound strong and confident, she couldn’t help the please that she repeated through their bond. She felt desperate and cornered then, and she needed him to leave. She had to figure this out, her mind raced, and she would.

    She was grateful when Luke didn’t fight her. “Alright,” was all he said. “Alright.”

    Even so, his presence didn’t wholly retreat from their bond, and she knew that he didn’t return to their bed, either. Instead, she felt him sigh as he took up a spot sitting on the floor in the hall. There, he fell into an almost meditative state, content to stay until she decided to let him back in. Somewhat irrationally, she couldn’t shake the feeling that if Luke picked Ben up he’d stop crying in an instant. She had absolutely no basis for the thought, and perhaps she was being selfish and unfair to Ben for not even giving her husband a chance, but -

    - she clamped her jaw shut, and refused to indulge her thoughts any further.

    But Mara hadn’t been able to get Ben to quiet since then, no matter how she tried. He’d even started an impressive string of, “No, no, no! Want down!” that stabbed at her insides with more force than any weapon the Vong had ever turned her way. But when she tried to indulge him and put him down in his bed, Ben only continued to cry all the louder and hold out his arms. She couldn’t get him to vocalize what he wanted, for all that he was plenty capable of telling her what he did not want. When she reflexively went to sooth him with the Force, he shied away from that too – her son, she was beginning to reach the unsettling conclusion, wanted nothing to do with the immaterial presence that was such a fundamental part of his being. He only associated the Force with war, with death and despair and suffering and every other dark thing he could feel echoing through their connection. He didn’t yet understand that it could also be life and beauty and light, as well. With a child’s simplicity he refused to trust the Force enough to even give it a chance to be anything more than pain.

    Mara wasn’t going to change his mind about that overnight, even she knew; that fight would have to wait another day.

    Instead, she clenched her eyes shut as she rocked her son and muttered, “What do you want, Ben? Please, tell me how I can help you.”

    “I want,” Ben then surprised her by replying with startling clarity, “Mama Tionne!”

    Mara’s jaw fell open in the only reaction she could muster. She stopped in her trek across the room as her hand stilled from where she’d been restlessly carding her fingers through her son’s hair. For a moment, it hurt to breathe.

    Yet, ignorant to the rupture he’d just torn through her heart, Ben only realized that he had incited a reaction. With the blind insensitivity of a child, he seized his advantage and crowed, “Mama Tionne!” as loud as his little lungs could muster. Even worse that his words, Mara could feel a spike of delight and anticipation erupt from her son in the Force as he thought the goal he sought was within reach. “Want Mama Tionne! Mama Tionne!”

    She sensed Luke stir in her mind, ready as he always was to leap to her aid, but she didn’t want his comfort just then. Not for this. She didn’t want anything but her son – her son, who so clearly didn’t want her.

    Mara bit her lip, feeling irrationally near tears as Ben thrashed his limbs in frustration. Her first instinct was to plop her son back down and leave him to carry on his fit alone, just as Luke and the nanny droid had suggested. Come the morning, they could try again. Ben would figure out soon enough that Tionne wasn’t his mother and that she wasn’t going anywhere; logically, her higher reason understood that. Eventually they'd all be fine, time was the only thing they needed to grow into a family together. Rationally, if somewhat distantly, she was even glad that her son had been so obviously loved in Tionne’s care. That was one of the biggest reasons she’d trusted her son’s keeping to the other woman in the first place.

    That was her higher reasoning, at least. Emotionally speaking . . . well, Mara Jade was just as stubborn as her son, and she had a lifetime’s experience with fighting to keep what she called her own. She wouldn’t let their first night back together end this way. She refused.

    “Tionne isn’t here, love,” she whispered into his hair. Somehow, with a grace she didn’t know she possessed, she managed to interject a peace into her voice that she didn’t at all feel. Not in the slightest. “She’s not your mother.”

    For that, she felt a wild note of denial spike from Ben. He didn’t accept her words; not one bit. “Want Mama!” he still pitifully called for the other woman. “Mama Tionne!”

    But Mara only held on tighter to her son, and refused to let go.

    “I know, I know,” she shushed him. “But you have me now; I’m here.”

    Ben’s hands fisted in the thin material of her robe, making it abundantly clear what he thought of that. It was so strange, she thought then, to see Luke’s eyes in such a scrunched up, angry red face, glowering at her in accusation. Ben fumed at her, and she stared right back.

    “It’s a rough deal, kiddo – trust me, I know,” she continued. “This is hard on all of us.”

    He wasn’t trying to kick and squirm out of her arms anymore, at the very least. The late hour was finally getting to him, Mara didn’t flatter herself with thinking anything otherwise. But she wasn’t above taking what she could get, all the same. Her arms were just so tired, and she wanted nothing more than to crawl into her own bed for a few hours of blissful, dreamless sleep, but there wasn’t a force in the galaxy that could move her from her child just then. She’d fought for and awaited this moment for so long that she wouldn’t squander it now that it was here – warts and all.

    Instead, she started humming underneath her breath as she continued to rock Ben and comb her fingers through his hair. She started her well-worn path across the nursery again, remembering when she’d done this for him as a newborn. He’d always been a fussy baby, even at the beginning, but after waiting to be a mother for so long – and marveling at the fact that she had indeed survived to be his mother – she’d gladly carry her son across the stars and back if it meant his happiness. That sentiment hadn’t changed for her, no matter the passing of time.

    “I see the moon, and the moon sees me,” Mara found the words to the one nursery rhyme she knew slipping from her mouth, “shining through the leaves of the old oak tree.” Even now, she still had no idea how or why she knew the song, only that she did, “Oh, let the light that shines on me, shine on the one I love.”

    After turning Ben over to Kam and Tionne to hide with the rest of the Jedi younglings, she’d still sung this to Ben over holo-calls at bedtime. As the war intensified and one battle slipped into another, she’d sadly lost that habit, but a habit it'd once been. As she sang, she felt Ben’s interest slowly pique. Though she had to be careful – oh so careful – to reach out to her son with the Force, she did so anyway to find any clue for how to sooth him. There, she caught a glimpse of a memory: of Tionne, stuck quite how she was now, with an infant Ben who couldn’t quite find the words to voice his unhappiness. No matter how many songs the singer had tried, none had ever managed to be the right one.

    The mama song, she felt the thought as it burst across the forefront of Ben’s consciousness like starlight, that’s the mama song.

    Emboldened then, feeling her heart soar as she did something right, she continued, “I hear the lark, and the lark hears me, singing from the leaves of the old oak tree. Oh, let the lark that sings to me, sing to the one I love.”

    Her son was turning drowsy in her arms. Rather than balling up in frustration, Ben’s small hands turned to cling to her instead. A part of him had missed her as much as she’d missed him, she hoped, even if he couldn’t wholly understand how or why at the time. Please, she found herself wordlessly searching through his thoughts, remember me. He had to remember her.

    “Over the mountains, over the sea,” she continued, feeling as the rapid bird’s wing pulse of his heart finally slowed, “back where my heart is longing to be. Oh, let the lark that sings to me, sing to the one I love.”

    The mama song, she felt the thought slip through Ben’s mind, hushed like the warmth of a sun slipping behind the horizon line of its planet. Mama.

    And, just like that, she felt the exact moment where Ben’s eyes turned too heavy for awareness, and he blessedly sank into sleep.

    There! She’d finally done it, after hours and hours of struggling. At long last, she’d successfully coaxed her son to calm, and for that she only knew a hazy sort of contentment. Her triumph was sweet as it bloomed through her veins, but perhaps just slightly overshadowed by her exhaustion as it returned to grip her with a vengeance. In that moment, all she wanted to do was sleep for a month. She carefully walked Ben over to the small sofa by his crib, and sank down to slump in boneless relief. She didn’t quite trust him not to wake if she tried setting him down to sleep by himself again, but if she too could close her eyes, for just a moment right here . . .

    “You did it; he’s sleeping.”

    Or, sleep could wait for just a minute more. She cracked one eye open, nodding drowsily. “Mm hmm,” she affirmed in the back of her throat. “Finally. For a moment there, I didn’t think he ever would.”

    If she thought she was comfortable before, sitting and cradling her son, having her husband join them made it even better. Careful not to disturb Ben, Luke wrapped an arm around her shoulders and pulled them both in close. She curled up against him in contentment, her eyes fluttering as she fought the hold of sleep. Not yet, she told herself; just a minute more.

    “I don’t know if I’m cut out for this,” she found the words bubbling up, too tired as she was to keep them in. The pang she felt was muted by her exhaustion, but it was still there, stabbing through her chest. Tilting her head so that her nose brushed against her son’s hair helped, and she breathed in deep of his scent.

    “I don’t know,’ Luke didn’t quite agree with her. “I see only evidence to the contrary.”

    She huffed. “You’re charming, Skywalker,” she returned, affection filling her voice. “But what if this is a fluke or I’m not able to - ”

    “ - then we’ll figure it out again tomorrow and every night from there on out until we get it right,” Luke didn’t allow her doubts to spiral downwards. “Though I have to thank you for cracking the code tonight – now I know what to do when it’s my turn.”

    “You, singing lullabies? I don’t know,” she couldn’t help but tease, “that may just make him cry more.”

    Luke sniffed, but she could feel his mouth stretch as he smiled against her hair. “I don’t know, some species in the galaxy - ”

    “ - some tone-deaf species,” Mara interjected.

    “ - some tone-deaf species,” Luke gave without missing a beat, “count my voice as exceptionally fine.”

    “Well,” she gave after a moment, tilting her head up to brush a kiss against his jaw, “I’m fond of it, missed pitches and all. Maybe Ben will agree with me too.”

    For that, Luke’s arms only tightened around her. She couldn’t imagine anywhere else she’d rather be just then, as comfortable as she was with her husband holding her close and her son finally sleeping in her arms. For the first, it didn’t seem like an impossible idea, their family.

    “We really are doing this out of order, aren’t we?” even so, she couldn’t help but muse aloud. “We’ve rather failed at timing our entire relationship through, I feel like sometimes.”

    “I don’t know,” she could feel Luke’s shrug. “Maybe there have been a few . . . extra turns in our path, but I feel like I’m just where I should be right now. I don’t have any regrets – you?”

    She still felt her heart twist, remembering Ben’s misery that she wasn’t someone else. Yet, the price of his safety was one she had paid and would pay a hundred times over again. They’d already made strides at repairing their bond that night, for all that it may have felt hopeless at times. But, with her child snuggled against her chest and only fair dreams teasing at his mind . . .

    “Nope, I don’t have a single one, farmboy,” she found her exhale to agree. “None at all.”

    Then, with a lullaby still waiting on the back of her tongue, she closed her own eyes, and let herself drift off to join her son in dreams.

    ~MJ @};-
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2019
    Kahara, Vek Talis, divapilot and 2 others like this.
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Aug 31, 2004
    :) [face_sigh] ^:)^ As if. I would do anything else with a Mira GEM! Fantastic characterizations, ups and downs, teasing, and confiding. And the lullaby! Beautiful and very natural that that would start the re-bonding process. @};-
    Mira_Jade , Vek Talis and Findswoman like this.
  3. Briannakin

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

    Feb 25, 2010
    Oh, I love this so much. How I have missed reading about the little Skywalker family I love so much and you do an amazing job with them. This is so heartbreaking in moments, but so beautiful too in the same moments. This is a "normal" struggle for Mara - trying to get a upset kid to sleep - after so many years of "not normal" with the long and whatnot.

    Bahaha. I'm sorry, but Mara with a toddler just makes me so happy.

    Yeah, this is one thing she just can't will into existence.

    I totally get the struggle - sometimes you just have to let the kid cry himself to sleep. Toddlers are unreasonable creatures. But he's her baby and Mara was starved of that for so long.

    =(( This is just heartbreaking. I mean, I totally get that Ben wants what is familiar, but it's not any easier on Mara.
    I think this is really important. I think all mothers at some point feel like a failure compared to other mothers, or mother figures, but everyone struggles at some point.

    BAHAHAHA. And then here's the banter with Luke I love so much.

    This was absolutely adorable! @};-
  4. Onderon1

    Onderon1 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 18, 2008
    Mira: First - =D=^:)^

    This is good 'fic. Doesn't matter what 'verse it is (although more on that in a minute), it's just good 'fic.

    Second, it's excellent L/M and Ben 'fic. You've got both parental Skywalkers just right, with Luke's understanding and Mara's proper mix of snark, sass and deep-but-guarded love that she hides so very well - and, of course, Ben would associate "Mama" with Tionne, consciously, for now.

    But there's a connection, and Mara finds her strength in letting down her guard for one of the few beings she would or could do so for. :)

    You've caught them at a point before the wretched mischaracterization that plagued so much of DNT and onwards, and it's a delight to read good SW Legends 'fic.

    Thanks for sharing this. :D
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018
  5. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Jedi Knight star 2

    Oct 12, 2018
    Palpatine wouldn’t allow any such loose ends to remain tied to his possessions, not if he had any say in the matter.

    And of course he had lots to say about everything. :emperor:

    Emotionally speaking . . . well, Mara Jade was just as stubborn as her son,

    Maybe just a little blast of Force lightning. [face_devil]

    But you have me now; I’m here.

    Looks like you're stuck, Ben. :D

    The mama song, she felt the thought as it burst across the forefront of Ben’s consciousness like starlight, that’s the mama song.

    Cute line and thought process for little Ben. =D=

    “You, singing lullabies? I don’t know,” she couldn’t help but tease, “that may just make him cry more.”

    I second that. :p

    “ - some tone-deaf species,” Luke gave without missing a beat, “count my voice as exceptionally fine.”

    I'm sensing the off-key is 'tone-deaf'. ;)

    Great story, Mira_Jade! =D= Excellent answer to the challenge, too.
  6. mayo_durron_666

    mayo_durron_666 Jedi Master star 2

    Nov 26, 2005
    Wow, I really felt Mara's pain in this. :_| Incredibly well written, capturing a side of Mara that I really find interesting and wish had been explored more in the books. Motherhood for Mara is so unique given her entire journey in the old EU. Such a complicated and tough character then becoming a parent, it's such a brilliant side to add to an already fascinating woman. Luke's character was perfectly captured too. Great job! :)
  7. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 27, 2014
    Awww, this is just gorgeous. [face_love] I was nodding my head in sympathy with Mara pretty much all the way through—calming a worked-up toddler in preparation for bedtime is difficult enough even when you haven’t been away from him for two years! Even if he undoubtedly was well cared for by Tionne, I can totally see where Ben’s “want Mama Tionne!” was like twisting a dagger in Mara’s heart. And whoo boy, that “I’m not cut out for this and what if it’s a fluke and won’t work next time I try” feeling, and the utter elemental fatigue Mara feels once Ben’s finally down, are all too real—that I know from experience. :p When she does finally stumble on a method to calm Ben down, well, stumbling is kind of what it is; the song she sings grows out of kind of a mix of her fatigue and her determination to be there for her son, for real. And that’s really what makes it “the mama song,” I think—because doesn’t that right there pretty much sum up motherhood? :p

    So yes, Mara, just as Luke says, you are doing much better than you think! Keep on soldiering on, because it really does get better. And best of all? You don’t have to go it alone, because you’ve got a loving, caring husband by your side. :luke: Who I’m sure would not do half bad at singing Ben to sleep, given the chance! :D

    A wonderful contribution to the MMM and to this prompt—thanks so much for sharing! =D=