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Saga - OT Love and Other Stupid Poodoo: OTP Quotes Challenge (Mara/Ezra) COMPLETE 6/04/17

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Raissa Baiard, May 26, 2017.

  1. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Title: Love, and Other Stupid Poodoo
    Author: Raissa Baiard
    Timeframe: Saga OT
    Genre: Humor, Romance, AU
    Characters: Ezra Bridger and Mara Jade Blayne, appearance by other Rebels and OCs
    Summary: After weeks apart, Mara and Ezra have their long awaited second date, only to find out that once your heart is involved, everything comes out in moron.
    Sequel to Star Crossed

    For the OTP Quotes Challenge: my quotes are below
    31. "My beloved spoke, and said unto me: 'Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; the fig-tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines in blossom give forth their fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.'" (2:10–13)

    34. Rory: I just don't want to do or say anything else that's going to be completely moronic.
    Lorelai: I'm afraid once your heart is involved, it all comes out in moron.

    Part One


    It was a good thing the ration bar was pretty much flavorless, because Ezra hardly tasted it as he gnawed at the chak fiber colored lump. His thoughts were a hundred thousand kilometers below, on the unassuming Outer Rim planet called Merkesh...and a girl who lived there.

    Her name was Mara. She was a slicer and forger with another Rebel cell called the Idiot’s Array, and not only was she pretty much everything you could ask for in a woman--smart, funny, beautiful---she was a Jedi, the daughter of a fugitive Jedi and a Force-sensitive Imperial double-agent. They’d met a few weeks earlier when the Spectres had been running a rescue mission, and the two of them had almost instantly connected. They’d been keeping in touch via a comlink she’d jerry-rigged for long-range transmissions, but until recently Ezra hadn’t been sure whether he’d ever get to see her in person again. Hera had been in favor of returning to Merkesh, ostensibly so Kanan could discuss matters of the Force with Mara’s father, but Kanan kept finding reasons to delay. Then an idle question from Hera--or maybe not so idle,knowing her--about which databases Mara could slice led Mara to the idea of using her slicing skills to divert Imperial supplies to the Rebellion, and that was an opportunity even Kanan couldn’t say no to!

    Ezra dunked the rock-hard ration bar into his caf and stirred it around. It hadn't been too difficult to get Hera to agree to let him take some time off to see Mara while the rest of them loaded the diverted supplies onto the Ghost, and for a wonder, Zeb hadn’t complained how come Ezra didn’t have to do any work and Kanan hadn’t gone on too much about Jedi and attachments and blah blah blah… For once, things were going his way. He’d been thinking about today, planning it out in his mind for days. Weeks. And yet, now that it was here, a flock of mynocks seemed to have taken up permanent residence in his stomach.

    He heard the door to the galley slide open, but was too lost in thoughts of red-gold hair and jade green eyes to pay attention until a set of enormous purple knuckles descended on his head and forcibly rearranged his hair. “So, today’s your big day, huh, kid?” Zeb grinned as he poured himself a mug of caf. “Pretty handy that your girlfriend can make the Imps’ supplies fly off the radar.”

    “Is she?” Ezra set down his caf, and furiously smoothed his hair back into place. Didn’t Zeb ever get tired of doing that? “Are you sure?”

    Sabine, whose entrance had been less dramatic--and annoying--than Zeb’s, pulled a packet of the Mandalorian field rations she always insisted on eating from the top cabinet. “I’d say anyone who can get us an entire month’s worth of supplies and a couple crates of illegal explosives is pretty handy, yeah.”

    “No, I mean, are you sure she’s my girlfriend?” He pulled the neglected ration bar out of his mug; the soggy end fell back into the caf with a plop. “We've only seen each other once, and it’s been weeks...maybe she’s changed her mind by now.”

    Sabine and Zeb exchanged glances. “You talk to her every day on the comlink,” Sabine pointed out, pouring hot water over her dry haarshun bread to reconstitute it.

    “Sometimes more than once.” Zeb screwed his face into an absurd simper, fluttering his non-existent eyelashes theatrically. “‘Hi, Ace…” he crooned in a stilted sing-song. “What’s up?...miss you!”

    “I don’t sound like that!” A lisping Gungan with a head cold couldn't sound that goofy. “Wait a minute...you listened to me talking to Mara?” Most of what they discussed was no big deal--what was going on in the Rebellion, things that were happening on Merkesh--but sometimes things were a little more...personal.

    Sabine smirked. “You may be a Jedi, but you’re not quite as subtle as you think you think you are.”

    “Yeah,” Zeb chuckled into his caf. “Besides, we figured out all your hiding places by a long time ago. The cargo hold…”

    “Inside the Phantom…”

    “The gunner’s turret…”

    “Okay, I get it.” As if Ezra didn’t have enough on his mind already, now he had to worry what exactly they’d heard...and how they were going to use it against him.

    “Why are you so worried anyway?” Sabine sat next to him in the tiny dining alcove. She shredded bits of spiced leathermeat onto her bread. “You two talk for hours. You talk about everything. You make each other laugh. What makes you think Mara’s suddenly going to decide she doesn’t like you?”

    “Yeah, but that’s different…” Ezra shrugged. He didn’t know how to explain it, but it was. He could talk to Mara about anything over the comlink, but how was he going to be able to look in her eyes and say… “I finally get to see her again today… what if I screw everything up? What if I say everything wrong once we’re together?” He sighed and shook his head. “I just don’t want to say or do something that’s going to be completely moronic.”

    Zeb squeezed into the booth on the other side of him and laid hand on Ezra’s shoulder. “Kid, once your heart’s involved it all comes out in moron. What?” he said, at Sabine's exasperated look. “I'm just sayin’... you might as well relax. Everyone does stupid poodoo when they’re in love. Comes with the territory. But it doesn’t matter because she'll be stupid in love, too…” He gave another toothy Lasat grin over the rim of his purple mug. “Just not as stupid as you.”

    “Thanks a lot.”

    “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Zeb’s right.” Sabine ignored Zeb’s indignant “hey!” and continued. “Mara’s probably feeling the same way you are right now. Just go and be yourself.” She smiled and punched him lightly on the arm. “Seems to be working for you so far.”

    “Yeah, I guess…” Ezra agreed; the mynocks in his stomach seemed to have quieted a bit, and his caf at least had some flavor now. Then the Ghost shuddered slightly as it decelerated, and he heard the whine of the landing gear engaging. The mynocks rushed back in full force and began doing aerial acrobatics; they’d arrived

    -------------------------

    Meanwhile, Mara stood in line at L’Moko’s--”Best Brewats in Merkesh City!”--tapping her foot impatiently. There was always a crowd at the marketplace’s most popular food vendor at this time of day, but today, the elderly Ithorian proprietor seemed to be moving even slower than usual. She checked her chrono again, and stifled a sigh as the portly man in front of her ordered a dozen brewats and a six bastillas. All she needed was two of each and she had to be back at the Café Alderaan by 11:00. Everything had to be perfect today, the day she was finally getting to see Ezra again and go on their long delayed second date--the one he’d promised her even before their first date officially began.

    She had everything planned out, not just hanging in the marketplace this time. They were going to have a real, honest-to-goodness date--a picnic in the Bouskoura Nature Preserve just east of town. It was quite pretty in the springtime, when the eclesis fig trees were starting to get fruit, the velanie flower vines were blooming and the brightly striped togruta doves were nesting. Mara hoped that Ezra might find idyllic setting a little romantic...not that she didn’t enjoy their conversations about the Force and the Rebellion and her family and his, but it maybe this would give them the chance to talk about...for her to say… Mynocks fluttered at the edges of her stomach at that thought, and Mara didn’t realize she was at the front of the line until L’Moko cleared both of his throats at her. “Oh! Two brewats and two bastilas, please.” The old Ithorian nodded his hammer-shaped head and turned back to his fryer.

    As she waited, contemplating whether those would be enough, along with the meilooruns, Wookiee cookies and chilled mint tea she already had, Mara heard a familiar voice calling her name. She turned to see her so-called best friend, Rominaria Winstar-Worplesdon, trailed by their other friends, Velanie Jasra and Palomella Eusclaes. “Hi, Mara! Doing a little grocery shopping this morning? You really know how to have fun,” Rominaria said with a snide chuckle.

    “The Boyz of the New Order just came with a new album!” Velanie put in breathlessly. She looked about ready to pass out from the excitement. “We were all going to my house to listen. Want to come?”

    “Ooh...sorry,” Mara said, though she was anything but. In her opinion, the pre-processed, Imperial Culture Ministry approved sparkle-bop the Boyz made was not actually music, but the last time she’d questioned their artistic integrity, Velanie had cried for three days. She was glad to be able to add, honestly, “I’ve got plans.”

    Rominaria sniffed. “What, polishing your blaster for the Junior Marksmanship Trials? Or walking your mother’s roba?”

    “No. I have a date.” Mara felt more than a little smug satisfaction at the way Rominaria’s eyes bugged out. It was an unattractive look with her Chadra-fan-like nose and weak chin.

    Mella and Velanie exchanged rapturous glances, oblivious to their leader’s displeasure. “Ooh!” Velanie squealed. “You finally said yes to Jorrik Avery, didn’t you? I knew you’d come around!”

    “No! I bet it’s that new cadet at the Garrison--what’s his name?--Ronid Sana!” Mella guessed.

    Mara decided not to mention that she wouldn’t have touched either of them with a three meter barge-pole. Jorrik, the son of a used speeder merchant, was as slimy as a Hutt’s backside, and thought his daddy’s money could get him anything. Ronid was a six time loser in the cadets’ Zelosian zherry bomb drinking tournament, who never learned that he had no stomach for the nauseatingly sweet drinks or that making her clean up after him was not the way to Mara’s heart. “No neither of them. He’s from off-world.”

    “Ooh!” More squeals erupted and the girls’ eyes grew wide--an off-worlder was so much more intriguing than the locals--but Rominaria gave another disdainful sniff. “An off-worlder. Oh, now I know who you’re talking about! He’s that gutter-rat Lieutenant Donal caught you snogging in an alley with, the one who was arrested for murder. Your mother must be having pittins!”

    Mella and Velanie gasped, looking more thrilled than horrified at this tidbit. Scandalous off-worlders, it appeared were better than the regular kind.

    It was really too bad that using mind-tricks on Rominaria would be against the Jedi Code and that as the Prefect’s daughter, Mara couldn’t very well demonstrate her k’tarra skills on her friend because at times like this, she was sorely tempted to do either...or both. “Ezra’s not a gutter-rat,” she informed Rominaria through clenched teeth. “He’s part of the crew on a freighter out of Lothal.” That was true, as far as it went. “And he was cleared of those charges. My mother arrested the bounty hunters who were responsible.” Before she could say more, L’Moko handed her a package of flimsi wrapped pastries. She tucked it into her satchel, and smiled tightly. “I really have to be going. Ezra will be here any time. You all have fun listening to your...music.” She turned to go, trying not to storm off like a marching trooper when she felt a hand on her shoulder.

    It was Mella. “Mara! Don’t listen to Ro,” she whispered. “She's just jealous. Have fun...I want to hear all the details later!” Mella waved and ran back to where the other girls were waiting, Rominaria scowling at them both.

    -----------

    Mara made it back to the Café with just enough time to pack her picnic goods in an insulated backpack and tidy her braid in the ladies’ fresher. She joined her mom and dad, who were drinking caf at Dad’s favorite table, waiting for Hera and Kanan, and she’d just sat down when a stirring in the Force made her look up in time to see the massive oro-wood door swing open.

    Ezra spotted her across the room and grinned, ducking past a spluttering Haaz so fast the Toydarian had to paddle his webbed feet to stay upright. Kanan and Hera followed in Ezra’s wake as he slid into the booth next to Mara and banged a fist against the table. “Hey, what’s a guy gotta do to get a drink around here?”

    She laughed, unreasonably pleased that he still remembered the silly pass codes they’d used the first time they’d met. “Aren’t you a little young to be drinking this early in the morning?” Mara felt more than saw her mother’s eyebrows shoot up. *Relax, Mom. It’s just one of Dad’s Corellian clever pass codes.* “I'm not technically working today” she told Ezra, “but if you want a cup of caf, I’ll get you one.”

    “Nah, that’s okay.” He waved away the offer, leaning towards her as the adults exchanged their greetings. “So, are we hanging out in the marketplace again today?”

    “No, I thought we could go hiking and have a picnic instead.”

    “Hiking?” His brows drew together in puzzlement. “Like on purpose?”

    “Well, yes…” She’d been trying for “romantic,” what if she’d just picked “lame..” instead? “There's a nature park not too far from here, and it’s really beautiful right now, with the trees and flowers in bloom and the birds….” Oh good skies...the birdies...yes, definitely veering into lame territory here.

    There were apparently benefits to dating a Jedi--not that she’d ever dated anyone else--because Ezra seemed to recognize right away that his reaction wasn’t what she’d been hoping for. “Oh, hey, that sounds great,” he said hastily, a bit of a desperate gleam in his blue eyes. “You know I’d go anywhere with you, Ace.” He grinned again, and the smile was so sincere she had to grin back.

    “Good. Then it’s a date”
     
  2. MartyAvidianus

    MartyAvidianus Jedi Padawan star 3

    Registered:
    May 14, 2017
    ah young mara, what could have been...

    This is great addition to Mara/Ezra character development. Here's hoping they get there, wherever there may be :p
     
  3. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    A Rebel in love! [face_love] As always with your Mara/Ezra and Rebels/Blaynes stories, there is so much packed in here, from A1 characterization to immersively detailed settings and scenarios. This lovesick!Ezra is such a cutie, and I love how his crewmates all rib him about his not-so-surreptitious-after-all "Hey, Ace!" chats (and for some reason I just love the way Zeb mimics him there—the image that huge purple face imitating that teenage Human simper! [face_laugh] ). And yet there's some seriousness mixed in with it too, as we see in Zeb's advice:

    Because no one, of course, ever acts as stupidly as Ezra, right? :p Seriously, though, it's neat that Zeb is the one giving this advice relating to being stupid in love—is he [hl=black]speaking from experience? If so, given what we know about his origins, there could be a very tragic backstory here[/hl]...

    Another super interesting touch is our first chance at meeting some of Mara's "mean girl" friends (?), who so far we've only seen mentioned in Teenage Rebellion. Ohmigosh, do I recognize that typically teenage mixture of morbid curiosity, dripping disdain, and snippy snobbery. That Rominaria in particular is quite… something. :rolleyes: But Mara manages to keep her cool and respond to them with complete equanimity, and it’s to her credit that she doesn’t go all [hl=black]Katts Rzewanczkowski[/hl] on them, even if she may be tempted to. At least Mella looks like she may have something in her worth saving from the fire... will be curious to see how that might pan out.

    And true to the Song of Songs prompt, there's the prospect of a picnic date in a beautiful setting with blooming vines, fig trees, and doves! Just what these two dears deserve—can't wait! (And hey, if one is going to run the chance of having one's heart "come out in moron," one can at least do so in a picturesque setting, no? :D )

    Looking forward to more, as always! :)
     
  4. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Ah, young moronic love. [face_love]

    Your characterizations of Ezra and Mara (and the rest of the gang) really jump from the screen. You bring them to life so brilliantly! I find myself cheering for them. Zeb in particular works well here. He's like the older brother for Ezra, just the right mix of snarky teasing and generous, thoughtful advice.

    A very nice addition to the expanding Raissaverse. :D
     
  5. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Love, love and more love! I adore the jabs everybody makes at Mara and Ezra, yet there's always somebody who's like "you go get it" and it feels great. :) Hope the date goes well. And the Haaz scene was so funny!
     
  6. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Thank you so much! I do enjoy giving Mara the happy life she could have had if not for the Empire, and in this universe, she and Ezra just seem to go together :)
    Thank you! Yes, Ezra In Love is awfully cute and awkward [face_love] Sabine and Zeb may give him a hard time (what else would you expect from his older space!siblings?) but they also give him a lot of support and encouragement, too...and again, that's what space!sibs are for.

    At least not in Zeb's opinion;) And in my head canon, he is absolutely speaking from experience...and someday I'd love to do a story about what kind of stupid poodoo he did for love :zeb: Because, knowing Zeb, he could give Ezra a run for his credits in that department.
    Oh yes, Rominaria is the reason the coined the term "frenemy". :p. Fortunately, Mara's inherited her mother's restraint. Rominaria is all too ready to believe (and spread) the worst gossip about Mara and Ezra. She's the friend you never would be friends with if you had better options. Mella isn't all bad, she just lacks the maturity to stand up to Rominaria's more forceful personality. I do plan to have the girls appear in future episodes of Teenage Rebellion, though it may be a while before they show up.

    They certainly have been looking forward to it. But, knowing them, something moronic is bound to happen, despite all their best intentions ;)
    [face_blush]Oh, thank you very much! I might be just a bit obsessed with Rebels, but they're such a fabulous cast of characters. I'm a glad you feel Indo them justice! Zeb--well, I love them all, but the more I see of Zeb, the more I realize there's a lot going on beneath the gruff, purple exterior. He really is like Ezra's big brother, always ready to tease him, but always ready to support him, too...probably at the same time.

    At least on Ezra's side all that teasing is mixed in with a big helping of love and encouragement. Mara's friends...well, Mella's kind of nice... though I'm sure Mara's family (Annina in particular) have provided the same kind of good natured teasing "offstage". Haaz and Ezra...these two may have a bit of a rivalry going, after the way Haaz got after Ezra for "ogling" the boss's daughter in Star Crossed. :p
     
    AzureAngel2 and Findswoman like this.
  7. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Thanks to Findswoman for beta-reading and suggestions @};-

    Part Two

    Hiking, in Ezra’s experience, meant trekking for kilometers over inhospitable terrain--jungles, ice moons, lava fields--usually overloaded with gear, chased by ravenous creatures, Imperials or some combination thereof. So he was more than a little surprised to find that the Bouskoura Forest didn’t quite live up to its name. There were plenty of trees, all right, but the ground underneath them was open, studded with white star-shaped flowers, and there were well-marked, shady trails crisscrossing the gently rolling ground. Their gear was a backpack with their picnic supplies and a couple of pairs of macro-binoculars brought for observing the wildlife, the most threatening of which seemed to be some curious kneebs.

    And at least hiking gave Ezra a chance to...appreciate...the way Mara looked. It wasn’t that he’d forgotten, exactly; he still had the holos they’d taken the day he’d left Merkesh, and they’d exchanged a few others, silly ones, mostly--Ezra giving a very unamused Kanan hoojib ears, Mara helping Frugly “wave” to the camera--but a holo couldn’t really capture how beautiful she was. Her dark green tesh-tunic set off her eyes, and it...er, fit quite nicely. Her khaki cropped pants, ending just above her knees, showed off her slender legs. Dance lessons… came the fleeting thought, and he had to brush aside the image it brought with it, interesting as it was, before he lost track of what Mara was saying.

    “Welcome to the Bouskoura Forest, the natural wonder of Merkesh City,” she told him as they strolled beneath the canopy of fragrant, blossoming trees. “Note that it's not ‘one of the natural wonders.’ This is all we have, unless you happen to enjoy scrub grass and dust. And the Bouskoura….well, at least it’s green this time of year.” She gestured to a stand of trees with particularly showy pink flowers. “We have the largest grove of ecclessis fig trees on Merkesh here.”

    “Figs?” Ezra inspected one of the green fruit that clustered on some of the branches. “The stuff they make Fig Neutrons out of?”

    “Well, yeah, but this is what they look like before they get ground up and put inside those awful cookies. Terribly exciting, aren’t they?” Mara grinned at his doubtful expression. “They don’t look like much, but they are tasty. A lot of them get shipped off-world; some chef on Coruscant swears he has to have them as garnish for his desserts.”

    “Huh.” He plucked one of the unassuming lumps off a branch and gave it a closer look. It was kind of hard, the same yellowish green as the tree frogs on Yavin, speckled with lighter yellow spots. It didn’t smell like much of anything, but who was he to argue with Coruscanti chefs? He polished it on the sleeve of his jacket and took a bite.

    “Ezra, don’t eat that! It’s not ripe yet!”

    His teeth crunched into the fruit, with a spray of milky white sap. The fruit didn’t taste like much either, a little bitter but mostly bland. Kind of blah, but not worth Mara getting excited about it.

    “…And the sap of unripe figs does…that…” She pointed to his hands, which were turning red where the the milky ooze had hit them. And they were starting to itch. “Bleaaah!” Ezra gagged, realizing he had a mouthful of of the same noxious stuff. He spat the bite of fig onto the side of the trail and scrubbed his tongue vigorously with his sleeve.

    “Wait!” Mara slipped off her backpack, fumbled with the straps, fished out a bottle and thrust it into his hands. Ezra poured the cold, minty liquid into his mouth and gargled, twice, just to make sure he’d gotten rid of all the sap.

    She was not quite laughing when he straightened up, still panting a bit. “Are you okay?”

    “Yeah, I think so…”

    “Here, let me see your hand.” She took it in both her hands and her fingers were cool against his skin. A tingling, humming sensation--odd, but not unpleasant--spread outwards from where she touched him, and the redness and itching slowly dissipated. “There,” Mara said, raising his hand to her lips for a light kiss. “All better.”

    “Thanks.” Ezra felt like a prize moof-milker as she let go, and even more so when he caught himself rubbing the place where she’d kissed him.

    “Maybe this would be a good time to stop for lunch. That looks like a good spot over there, beneath those eucalyptus trees.” Mara put down her backpack, and Ezra helped her spread out the brightly patterned blanket she pulled from it.

    “No figs in there, are there?” he asked as she unpacked several flimsi wrapped packages and another bottle of mint tea.

    She grinned. “Just meilooruns. Your favorite, right?”

    “You remembered.” Ezra smiled back; he’d bought a couple of the orange fruits on their first date, hanging out in the marketplace, pretending to be regular teens while they tried to elude a pair of Trandoshan bounty hunters. Not exactly a typical date, but then, Mara wasn’t your typical girl.

    “It was a fairly memorable day. I guess you were that irresistible after all.” Mara’s cheeks were slightly pink as she turned to fuss with the backpack’s contents. “So, besides the meilooruns, we have brewats and bastillas from L’moko’s, Wookiee cookies, and mint tea.” She handed Ezra a packet of each; he recognized the meat-filled pastries he’d eaten in the Merkesh bazaar, as well as the cookies Mara had made when he, Kanan and Hera had gone to the Blaynes’ house, and the mint tea she’d served him after he’d ordered the less-than-appetizing Zelosion zherry bomb. She really had remembered everything.

    As he unwrapped the package of sliced meiloorun, a melancholy refrain-- hoo-hoo coo-ah-coo!--threaded through the trees above.

    “Sounds like there’s a nest of togruta doves up there.” Mara reached for a pair of macro-binoculars. “They’re kind of a big deal around here, pretty popular in traditional Merkeshian art.”

    “Why’s that?” One of the birds flew off as Ezra picked up the other pair of binoculars, and he could see where the doves had gotten their name. Its head was a striking shade of red, while its wings bore the same variegated pattern as a Togruta’s montrals.

    “They’re supposed to be symbols of love and fidelity, because they mate for life and always come back to the same tree to nest. So they do a lot better than some so-called sentient beings out there,” Mara explained. She put her binoculars down and frowned. “It looks like there are a couple of nestlings up there, but that big branch is blocking my view.”

    “I can get them to come down here for you. Animal empathy is kind of a specialty of mine.” He pushed his awareness outwards towards the nest; there were three chicks inside, and they were hungry, waiting for their mother to come back with food. The biggest of them was testing its wings, wondering if it should try its luck at this food-finding business. *Come on down,* Ezra coaxed. *We have nice food. Come on; it’s safe!* The biggest nestling was the first to respond, quickly followed by its siblings. The fluffy bundles of blue and gray feathers landed in a huddle in front of Ezra, pecking at the brewat crust he crumbled for them.

    “How did you do that? I mean, Mom has Frugly and Annina can get Princess to do things for her, but I’ve never seen them get just any animal to listen!”

    “Aw, that? That’s nothing--watch.” Ezra reached out to the chicks again. They were much happier now, enjoying the bits of pastry. *Hey, little guys, see the nice girl over there? Wouldn’t it be fun to go perch on her shoulder? And sing for her?* he wheedled. *She’s really nice and she loves birds! Singing for her would be really great, don’t you think?* One of the nestlings cocked his head at Ezra, then at Mara. It took a few bouncy hops towards her, then fluttered up, not exactly gracefully, and landed on her shoulder. It hopped along her shoulder peeping in a tiny voice that sounded nothing like the adults’ coo-ah-coo, but was pretty cute, nonetheless.

    Mara’s eyes widened, and she stifled a gasp as the other two chicks decided that they, too, thought Ezra’s suggestion sounded perfectly reasonable. One chick joined its sibling on her left shoulder, while the other perched on her right, and they all peeped in a chorus that was almost at Annina-levels of cuteness. Unfortunately, Ezra was so caught up in Mara’s astonished smile that he forgot about the mother togruta dove.

    Until she dive-bombed his face.

    “Aaah!” Ezra threw up his hands as the blur of blue and white wings sped toward him, so instead of having his eyes pecked out, he only got a nasty gash. Who knew that such a tiny bird could have such a lethally sharp beak? The babies erupted into a flurry of panicked squeaking, and flapped off after their irate mother.

    “Animal friendship is your specialty, huh?” Mara asked, laughing as she brushed the scatterIng of blue-gray down and pin-feathers the chicks had left behind off her shoulders.

    “I don’t know what happened,” Ezra complained, feeling not just like a prize moof-milker but the grand champion of all moof-milkers. He could handle purrgils and frynocks, no problem, but a cute little birdie attacked him…in front of Mara, no less. Could someone please just blast him now? “Until now, it’s worked on pretty much everything except for giant spiders.”

    She raised an eyebrow. “Do I even want to know what happened with the spiders? Oh, you’re bleeding!” She moved across the picnic blanket to take his hand, the same one she’d healed from the fig sap, and tsk-ed over it. “Looks like you need your own healer as well as a bodyguard.”

    “Are you volunteering for that job, too?”

    “Maybe. Someone needs to take care of you. Do I get paid double if I’m your healer and your bodyguard?” Mara cradled Ezra’s wounded hand in her left hand, wiped the blood away from his wound with her napkin, then laid her right hand on top of his. The same tingling warmth as earlier radiated through his hand, along with a weird tugging sensation as the gash drew together. She took her hand away and inspected her work, tracing over the now closed wound with a fingertip. That light touch made Ezra catch his breath, and she cocked her to one side, raising an eyebrow at him. “What’s that look for?”

    She was so near he could smell the cinnamon-caf scent of her hair, the touch of her hands was so warm against his…and Ezra was struck again how good she looked in person. “It’s just...you look kind of hot today.”

    Mara dropped his hand like a hot topato. Her eyes narrowed. “Hot?” Despite the word, the temperature of the Force around her dropped to sub-arctic proportions.

    Oh...oh, karabast… What just happened there? How had he managed to put his foot in his mouth just by giving her a compliment? “Um…yeah. You know, beautiful. Pretty. Good. Nice.”

    “Hot.” she repeated, and her eyes were like green ice. Mara drew back further, her shields--frost covered durasteel this time--slamming into place. “Is that what you think of me?”

    Was there a right answer to that question? “Um..well, I…”

    “Is that all I am to you?” she demanded. “A hot piece of shebs? After all the time we spent talking to each other, I thought I meant more to you than that!”

    It was too bad mind-tricks and empathy skills didn’t work on girlfriends, he thought desperately, but maybe he could call the togruta dove back to peck at him some more. It would almost be less painful. This was definitely not the way Ezra had planned this day; he’d wanted it to be special, romantic, and instead he’d just gone from one piece of stupid poodoo to another. “Of course you mean more to me than that…I love you!”
    -----------------------------

    Perhaps she’d overestimated the benefits of dating a Jedi, Mara thought, because right now Ezra sounded exactly like every other stupid male ever, no better than that idiotic Jorrik Avery, who’d told her she was “hotter than a Twi’lek slave girl.” What was it with men, that they thought women were supposed to be flattered by stupid poodoo like that? Because every woman wanted to be seen as nothing more than a hot body! And now Ezra thought he could get himself out of the sarlacc pit by telling her he loved her? Well, he was sadly mistaken, and she intended to tell him exactly how sadly!

    But she stopped.

    Ezra sat across from her, frozen in shock, like a gallaze in a hunter’s sights, waiting for her to pull the trigger. His eyes, his face, every line of his body practically shouted “Oh karabast, I really said that, didn’t I?” He shook his head slowly. “That’s...not exactly... the way I planned to tell you that.”

    Now Mara felt like she was the one who’d been frozen in carbonite. He’d planned to tell her? A flight of giddy mynocks erupted in her stomach. “Maybe you should try it again,” she suggested, feeling her cheeks go warm at the way her voice came out as as a husky whisper.

    He nodded, swallowing hard, and Mara sensed a low hum building in the Force as Ezra reached across the blanket to take both her hands. She was suddenly aware of the warmth of his hands and all the places where they were a little rough from working on the Ghost. He moved closer to her, close enough for her to catch his scent--a mixture of his leather jacket, and the hair gel that refused to hold that one unruly lock of hair over his right eye in place. The mynocks in her stomach fluttered again when his twilight blue eyes met hers and held. “I...I love you, Ace.”

    All Mara’s careful shields shattered like glass. The Force’s hum steadily grew louder until it was joined by a chorus of joyful bird song from the trees above. She pulled Ezra into her arms. “I love you, too!”

    --------------------

    By the time Ezra returned to the Ghost, almost all of the diverted Imperial supplies had been moved into the cargo hold. Sabine and Zeb were loading the last few crates of freeze-dried veg-protein and some large sacks of mealgrain onto repulsor-sled.

    “I take it from the sappy grin on your face that things went well with Mara,” Sabine remarked, checking off the boxes on her supply manifest.

    Zeb threw a ten-kilo bag of mealgrain on the sled. “Guess you didn’t do too much stupid poodoo, huh?”

    Ezra ducked out his way before Zeb could give him another noogie. “Nah, I just did what you said. I just relaxed and was myself. No problem.”

    As they had that morning, Sabine and Zeb exchanged knowing glances. The Lasat grinned toothily. “So you got into all kinds of stupid poodoo, then.”

    It was so nice that his family always believed the best of him. “Some,” he admitted. “But you were right, it really didn’t matter.”

    “Because Mara was stupid, too?” Sabine asked with a smile.

    “No.” Ezra could feel his grin spread across his face. Somewhere among the noise of the spaceport, he could hear a pair of togruta doves singing. “Because she loves me.”

    Notes:
    The Bouskoura Nature Preserve is named after and based on the Bouskoura Forestin Casablanca.

    Brewats and bastillas are meat filled pastries that are popular in Moroccan cuisine.

    The ecclessis fig is named after Ecclessis Figg, founder of Cloud City. Ezra’s allergic reaction to fig sap is based on a characteristic of real figs.

    Togruta doves are a fanon species, but their song is based on that of the mourning dove, which also mate for life.

    Fig Neutrons are another fanon product.[/url]
     
  8. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    What gorgeous scenery! The Bouskoura Forest is so beautifully described and sounds like the perfect place for a romantic picnic, as well as a surprisingly happy respite from the usual kind of “hiking” Ezra so often finds himself having to do. Love how you integrate the elements from the Song of Songs prompt verse in such a beautiful way: the figs and flowers are there, and the togruta doves are the crowning touch: they are models of faithful love here just as they are in the Song. (Maybe these two can have a flock of them released at their wedding! :p )

    (An interesting little reversal I just noticed: in the Song of Songs, it’s the male lover who invites the female lover to “arise and come away” in to the beauties of nature—and here it’s implied to be Mara who invited Ezra, since the Bouskoura is on her home turf.)

    What’s doubly cool is not just the beauties of the setting but the fact that you manage to dovetail (!) it seamlessly with your second prompt, which is (or seems) so diametrically different. Because the goofy mishaps brought about by young!moronic!lovestruck behavior relate directly to aspects of the setting! @};-

    First there’s Ezra’s encounter with the spray of itchy fig sap (and I learned something new here, because I had no idea that real-life figs did that too). The incident is a kind of counterpart to [hl=black]Luke’s encounter with the touch-not shrubs in the Yavin forest in Teenage Rebellion[/hl].

    And second… yep, there it is—your keen Disney sensibility at work with Ezra’s second goofy maneuver with the birds. :D Just loved that whole sequence—such a fun twist on Disney’s “birds chirping on the princess’s shoulders” motif, plus a tie-in to one of Ezra’s own signature abilities—and its limits! Yep, no one ever seems to consider the viewpoint of the mother bird in things like this, do they? :p This is the first time I’ve read of Mara’s healing touch, and it makes me smile, because (and perhaps predictably) it reminds me of the similar ability of [hl=black]an OC of my own[/hl]… [face_love]

    Now, doofy Ezra maneuver no. 3… it’s interesting that, in a way, it’s the most harmless of all (since it “only” involves words rather than physical harm), and yet it’s the one that Mara considers the poodooest of the poodoo (indeed, the previous two didn’t really faze her all that much, all things considered). Of course, it goes to show that words are important, and how we express ourselves to those we love matters as much the fact that we do express ourselves. Of course I don’t blame Mara at all for her initial reaction to the implication that she’s viewed only as a "hot piece of shebs" (and I love that you actually went ahead and included that phrase :p ) But she’s not made of marble, and so she gives him another chance to express himself when she sees that his chagrin is sincere. His response is just as sincere—if it hadn’t been, it wouldn’t have been accompanied by both the Force and the birds bursting into song. @};-

    (By the way—and I mentioned this in the beta too—I love that she gets to revel in his physical presence and scent as much as he does in hers. Shows just how reciprocal their love really is!)

    Things come full circle in such a nice way in the final scene. At the start of the story Ezra got totally bent out of shape when his crewmates teased him about his “Hi, Ace” chats, but he’s not fazed at all by their teasing now. Love has been known to give peope confidence that way, even though it sometimes does so by way of stupid poodoo! :D (And wow, he just admitted that Zeb was right about something—did I just see a roba whiz by up there in the sky? :p )

    Such a wonderful addition to the ongoing saga of Marzra, both humorous and tender. Thanks so much for sharing! =D=
     
  9. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    This story is beautiful in so many ways. =D=

    My favourite moment had got to be the Disneyanna-influenced Cinderella one, with the birds, and then Ezra messes it all up. Of course, the other moment with birds, where they're singing as the young hearts declare their love for each other, in a forest in the middle of a desert planet (matches the whole idea of a Bible quote used!).

    I also love how you used the figs here - they act as a foil to Ezra and in a way, they, just like the other foil - the birds - make Mara and Ezra bond together; so this goes far beyond a typical teenage boy showing off and being curious. And holding somebody's wounded hand has this blood brother, blood sister quality to it. And that kind of bonding, where you're holding the hand that is close to the heart, shows one's vulnerable side more than anything else. Clever, clever.

    This is totally unrelated, but I am also sucker for Mara's style in this one. I love the stuff she's wearing - sporty and casual. I can totally see how her boyfriend thinks of it as hot. Of course, the way he said it was clumsy, but yes, sporty girls are the best girls ever.
     
  10. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    I shouldn't have read this before dinner, now I'm hungry and there's not a brewat in sight! What a lovely, sweet picnic. Of course he just dives in to the figs without checking. I didn't know about that allergic reaction thing either, interesting! And of course he just blurts out that he loves her... and of course she falls for such mush, how couldn't she?

    I was expecting the worst... Imperial patrols, inquisitive baby sisters... but no, just a mother dove. They got off fairly lightly! Loved the baby chicks clustering on Mara. I half-expected there to be an 'accident.' But my grandmother always said that having a bird drop on you is lucky. :confused: Not sure how she came up with that!

    Lovely, Raissa!!!
     
  11. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    The bird scene was even more fun than the one in "Shrek". [face_laugh] All in all fun updates with lovely character development, spicy dialogue and a lot of teen hormones.
     
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  12. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

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

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Melty melty melt! I am shockingly taken with Marzra [face_laugh] which is quite the accomplishment. ;) [:D] =D=
     
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  13. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Thank you! I ran across the real Bouskoura Forest when I was researching Casablanca and it seemed like a lovely place for one of my couples to have a date (who knows, maybe Raissa and Doran picnicked there, too! Family outings for the Blayne family? Oh, teh bunnehs!) The doves...the name "Togruta" has always seemed to me to be a take on "tortuga"--Spanish for "turtle"--so the togruta doves become "the voice of the turtle". :) Annina likes your suggestion about releasing doves at Mara and Ezra's wedding; she's putting that in her file, too! (And I love it that, like Annina, you're planning their wedding on their second date! ;))

    Mara is kind of the go-getter in the relationship; she's the one who initially asked Ezra out, too. But somehow, I don't think he minds:D

    The fig was one of those too perfect serendipitous moments, because Ezra was just going to bite into an unrepentant fig and have it taste awful, until I googled "unripe figs" and found that not on.y are they not very tasty, they cause an allergic reaction! :oops:

    And in this case, it's the prince who has the animal affinity! Even if it doesn't quite work as he planned, which I guess is partially what he gets for trying to show off. I thought that Mara would have at least a bit of healing ability, learned from her dad, enough to do some basic first-aid.

    Yes, without this particular piece of poodoo, the others would have been silly, "we'll laugh about this later" moments, because they might have been doofy, but they were pretty harmless. But calling her "hot"....well, even though I think Ezra did mean it as "you look really attractive" and not "you are nothing more than an attractive body to me"...yikes, he wasn't thinking how it sounded! And unfortunately for him, Mara's forthright enough to call him on it...and outspoken enough to say "hot piece of shebs"! Fortunately, she's also perceptive enough to see he's not just trying to weasel out by saying "I love you." And when he gets it right, even the Force approves!

    I owe that to your suggestion, so thank you!

    Ah, yes, moronic young love turns out to be not quite so moronic when you know it's reciprocated! Even admitting your giant purple space!bro might know something after all isn't so painful when you're all blissed out in love!

    And thank you! I'm so very glad you enjoyed it!
     
  14. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    And :oops: hit "Reply" by accident before finishing the responses!
    Thank you so much! Oh, the Disney princess moment was so much fun to use, partly because Ezra does mess it up. It's such a cliche in fairy tales to have the princess surrounded by cute little animals, and here, it's not only the prince who calls them, he screws it up and gets dive bombed by angry mama dove! But the Force gives them a little nudge at the right moment to make up for it :)

    There's a bit of showing off, of course, but their reaction to those "d'oh" moments, show that they really do care for each other. The teasing is pretty gentle and the way Mara takes care of his wound shows how she feels more than any kiss.

    :D Thanks! She seems like she would go for comfort and practicality, but that doesn't mean she still didn't look good. Someone get Ezra a thesaurus so he can choose a better adjective next time!

    Mmmm...brewats!

    Of course he does! Teen guys, particularly this one, aren't known for being cautious, and hey, it's just a piece of fruit! And of course on both counts for the "I love you"! They're teenagers in love, after all, but at least Mara's Jedi intuition lets her see the sincerity behind his awkward confession.

    :D oh, there will be plenty of opportunities for those things! And I have to confess that I thought about having one of the baby birdies leaving a little present for Mara, but I thought that might have a little too much! I actually have heard that about bird droppings...I guess maybe it started as attempt to make the person thus "blessed" feel better :p

    Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it!
    [face_blush] [face_dancing] Thank you so much! I feel so honored to have you say that! I still feel like a relative newcomer to romance and at first I wasn't sure whether writing about Mara and NOT LUKE would get me branded a heretic ;) So it makes me all kinds of happy that you're enjoying Marzra, because I'm quite taken with them, too! [:D]