A Luke/Mara One-Shot. Takes place in the Legends Universe. This is the answer to: Fanfiction Summer Olympics Challenge I chose to participate with a Triathlon. Rules: Star Wars and Non-Star Wars Triathlon (parts of event may be completed in any order): 1st event: 400 Word Cross Country: 400 words about your character, couple, family, or friendship with any theme. 2nd Event: 110 Word Hurdle: 110 words in which the name or names of your character, couple, family, or friendship aren’t mentioned. 3rd Event: Prime Time Coverage: 500+ words of action, adventure, or excitement with your chosen character, couple, family, or friendship as the star. Thank you to @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha for proofreading this story and for bringing me back to write L/M for this Challenge. Ny you're awesome! This is Event No. 3 "Marooned" by Jâd Sphera (JadeSphera). They had locked themselves in the wine cellar of the premises and had remained in there for the past hour, hoping things would calm down outside. But they hadn’t. The bloodthirsty thugs that searched for the two of them, had pinpointed their hiding spot as the loud banging on the heavy doors of their makeshift stronghold evinced. They were weaponless. All their smuggler standard equipment had been confiscated at the entrance point. Commlinks, blasters, vibroblades… Everything! They still had their utility belts on them, as the guards at the building entrance’s security check point had not bothered with whatever they carried inside them; their thorough scanners had taken care of that. What had initially been an innocuous business meeting, had turned into a full blown live or die situation. Their potential new business associates had turned out to be mere impostors, real crooks who only wanted to get their hands on as much money as they could make by selling their bounty to the highest bidder. They had been pissed when they learnt that none of the big names in Karrde’s organization had come to meet with them, this reduced the value of the ransom money exponentially. Despite their enraged disappointment, apparently the thugs had realized that little money was better than no money at all, and had decided to take them – the two underlings, as hostages. This type of behaviour would never be tolerated amongst serious smugglers, Karrde was going to crush them when he heard the news. Yet, being crooks didn’t mean that they were not dangerous. The loud banging continued. “It looks like trouble follows you everywhere you go, Skywalker!” she chastised her companion. “Mara, you were the one who wanted me here in the first place! I came here for you. You asked me to tag along!” She rolled her eyes, he was right. “I guess is just the habit of always you being the cause of trouble, Farmboy!” “I resent that!” he snapped, faking hurt feelings, but soon a satisfied smile showed on his face. The truth was that for the first time ever he’d had nothing to do with the mess they were in, and it was utterly refreshing. Mara glared at him, and he reconsidered. “Yeah… OK… Perhaps sometimes I have gotten you into trouble,” he sheepishly recognized. “But this time you must admit that I didn’t have anything to do with this! It was all your doing!” She cursed under her breath, she hated it when he was right. After their chaotic escape from the meeting room where their failed negotiations had taken place, the group of thugs that had ambushed them had then jumped after them. She felt thankful of her thorough hand-to-hand combat training, and also glad that Skywalker could skilfully handle himself in that scenario too. They had managed to shake their pursuers off, but had run into a dead end. “Can I use my lightsaber now?” he asked with impatience. “No!” “Mara, I know we’re supposed to be undercover, but at this rate they’ll break through that metal door in a matter of minutes. I think is better to blow off our cover now than to get thirty armed thugs in such a closed space like this with us,” he reasoned. Karrde would be so mad at this! She had not even brought her own lightsaber to avoid suspicion. She had even considered this meeting as a simple, regular negotiation with some new smugglers wishing to join the organization just like many others before them. They had been cleared as legit – in as legit a smuggler can be. Weirdly enough, for the first time ever she had not wanted to make this trip on her own, thus the invitation was extended to Skywalker. And even more weird had been that she’d decided to use one of her pseudonyms and come in disguise, something she’d asked the Farmboy to do so too. Perhaps her Force sense had been already warning her about the charade this was going to turn out to be. She had even noticed Luke’s tension the moment they had stepped in that meeting room. The Farmboy had a point. “All right! Use it!” she growled after overcoming her reluctance. The mere presence of a lightsaber would broadcast that a Jedi had been involved in the negotiations, this would send out all the wrong messages and that was not good for business, but there was no other way out of this mess. Well, it was what it was. Mara braced herself. Free to do as he pleased, Luke reached towards the back of his utility belt, and retrieved his precious weapon. The compartment looked like a regular pouch on any common utility belt, and made the sabre nonvisible to prying eyes. Despite Mara’s insistence, he was glad he hadn’t left it behind. Lightsabers were undetectable to weapons scanners – even military grade ones, no matter how powerful these were, and this had worked on their favour; at least something had. Mara expected the Jedi to jump in front of her and get ready for action, but instead he went the opposite direction, away from the door. “What the…?” she hissed. What was he doing back there? The Jedi ignited his weapon. Digging the point of the white-green blade, he tested the back-wall’s resistance. It was a very thick wall, but made of clay bricks. This made things so much easier. In four clean cuts, Luke created an opening as tall as he was and with enough width so they could fit through. Using the Force he held the lose piece in place, and carefully moved it to the side, leaning it against the fixed part of the wall. The piece had started to crumble, so it would not be possible to fix it back to hide the opening. All right, he’d work with what he had. Stepping forward and holding the top edge of the carved opening with one hand, he took a look outside, the high winds ruffling the fabric of his outfit. The building they were in was one of the tallest buildings in the city, all other buildings around were smaller. They were on the twenty second level, and that was a long way down to try freefalling. Using the Force he was sure he’d pull it off if it were only he, but Mara was with him and that added difficulty to the feat and considerably minimized safety. Then he looked on across the empty space before the building… Beyond, he saw their exit point! The Jedi retrieved the grappling cable he carried in his utility belt and threw it outside and up, guiding it with the Force, until the grapple hooked on the roof of the building. The rooftop was only three storeys up and the length of the cable would be more than enough. The thin but resistant rope hung freely when he let go of it. The Trader had patiently waited for him to be done with his preparations. When she saw him finish, his plan did not make sense to her. If they went up, where were they going to go after that? Sure the thugs would think they were getting areal back up, but the fact was that they weren’t. But she trusted the Farmboy. Mara stepped forward ready to do what he was obviously proposing. Luke shook his head to Mara, that was not their escape route. They were not going to climb; his real target was the rooftop fifteen metres away and nine metres below the building they were in. “Don’t slap me!” he apologized. Without even considering it, he took Mara in his arms, lifting her like if she were a feather. She immediately realized his intentions. “You won’t clear all that distance!” Mara panicked. “Trust me, I’ve done worse!” Gathering Force induced strength in the muscles of his legs, he jumped. Mara held tight, her arms around his neck, suppressing a nervous yelp. Despite being a daring and seasoned adventurer herself, the things Skywalker did always put her nerves on edge. For brief moments, they flew through the air like a descending big avian against the late afternoon’s sky. When they were about to clear the long distance, the Jedi hurled Mara forward, guiding her landing using the Force. Her impeccable reflexes were ready, measuring the approximation distance, at the precise moment of contact she rolled over her shoulder to soften her landing. Luke was close to missing the edge of the rooftop by little, but he made the mark too, rolling over his shoulder just as she’d done seconds before. Both quickly got to their feet and took cover behind the installation of what appeared to be a big water tank. Luke closed his eyes and stretched out with the Force sensing the commotion they had left behind. He could feel their pursuers agitated and realizing the apparent course they had taken. “They fell for it. They’ll leave us alone for now.” Their decoy route would take the criminals in the opposite direction. “I think we better get rid of these,” Mara suggested as she peeled off the prosthetic nose she’d been wearing. One advantage of working in an organization such as Karrde’s was that whatever you got your hands on was always top of the line, this included all the props and masquerading items, which looked completely natural. Both took off all their disguising elements. Mara’s blonde wig went too, as well as her orange artificially coloured skin when she swallowed the pill that would neutralize the effect, turning her skin back to her natural shade. She quickly tied her red-gold hair in a low bun to keep it out of the way. Luke peeled off the tattoos on his face and arms, and his fake goatee; then removed the dark coloured contact lenses he’d been wearing. The black tint of his hair would have to wait for a wash, in the meantime he tousled his mane, undoing the combed back hairstyle he’d sported. They also got rid of goggles, badges and other props that had been part of their disguise, making their apparel completely unrelatable to what the traitor pseudo smugglers had seen them wearing. Leaving only on the dark coloured, generic types of shirt, pants, and boots they already wore – and their also generic utility belts, they turned over their reversible jackets and were ready. Luke kept his lightsaber out of sight with the same method he’d used before. They found their way down to ground level and soon were walking in the busy and colourful streets of Kalento’s capital city, packed with pedestrians that provided a good cover. Today it was busier than usual as some kind of festival was going on. “Things couldn’t have gone more wrong,” Mara growled. “At least you now know they’re not trustworthy,” Luke pointed out. “Those *******s had no intention of making a deal right from the beginning,” Mara was fuming, how had she been so stupid? “They were just trying us out. Checking if they could steal from us. I can bet you that our ship is being searched and taken apart as we speak.” Good thing that ship was an expandable part of their undercover mission. “If you’re right, we’ll have to find alternate transport,” Luke realized. They didn’t have the credits to purchase a new one, and taking public transportation could be too risky. “You did well back there,” Mara discreetly praised him. She had calmed down and was humble enough to realize that Skywalker had saved both their skins. A smug smile appeared on his face. It was nice to get a compliment for a change. He knew Mara had just too little patience with people… Even he – who could be considered to be a more than average bright person, would achieve to make her lose her temper from time to time, less brighter sentients would not get the benefit of her compassion or understanding. “And I didn’t even blow your cover!” “Don’t be so proud of yourself,” Mara suppressed a smile. “We should lay low for a couple of days,” he suggested. “Plan on how to get out of here.” Surely the thugs would eventually give up on them, and would get off planet as soon as they managed to dismantle their stolen ship and sell the parts. That would take a few days. Mara was about to reply when she noticed Skywalker’s body tense. “They have not given up… They’re still searching for us,” he said, visibly worried. He could feel their ill intent in the pulse of the Force, their pursuers had not fallen for their little diversion for as long as it was needed and had backtracked. They could not go inside, that would corner them again. Both walked hastily amongst the crowd. They sidestepped between a group of large canisters outside an antiques store and quickly tossed their jackets inside the largest container. The sound of a large crowd cheering caught Mara’s attention. “Over there!” she signalled. They made their way towards the large gathering. Luke stopped at a nearby clothing stall and made a quick purchase of two colourful, light, and ample robes, the kind that everyone around them seemed to be wearing. “Here, put this on,” he extended one of the pieces of clothing to Mara. They put their new robes on while walking and soon reached the city’s square, where the festivities were in full swing. The moment they walked into the square, a jubilant group of locals bid them welcome, placing flower garlands and necklaces over their heads. The movement of the crowd did the rest. Luke grabbed Mara’s hand so they would not get separated. In no time they were amongst a large number of rejoiced celebrators with no idea of what was going on. Local, traditional music started playing. Trying to not look out of place, they both followed suit, jumping, dancing, and imitating the movements of the group. They blended in amongst the dancing crowd without difficulty, and Mara thought they could have not wished for a better hiding spot. The music was lively and had a nice beat to it, without difficulty she fell into the rhythm as the good dancer that she’d always been. Luke could move too, and followed her lead without hesitation. The absurdness of the situation yanked a smile from both of their lips, they couldn’t just not enjoy the moment despite the seriousness of the fact that they were running for their lives. Several minutes went by until the music stopped and out of the blue the crowd got sprayed with green coloured water, what seemed to be part of the ritual. Amongst cheers and cries of jubilee from the watching crowd around, the ones that had been dancing grabbed their partner and kissed. They shared not just one, short innocent kiss, but a couple’s kiss. Everyone in the dancing crowd was engaging in the amorous exchange. Luke and Mara looked around, baffled at what was developing. They were soaking wet and about to be the two only morons not kissing each other, and that would put them out of concealment from their pursuers right away. Mara felt herself panic for a moment, no way she was going to let a stranger kiss her just because! It was a matter of principle. With decisiveness, she grabbed Luke and kissed him. The water on his lips had a sweet and tangy taste to it. Luke had been distracted tracking their pursuers presence when he felt Mara grab him by the neck, and pull him down towards her. Then the kiss. For brief moments, he felt his brain battling to split into the task of tracing the trajectory of their enemies and letting in the overwhelming sensory experience her kiss was having on him. As he struggled, he soon felt the ill intended presence fade away. With that part sorted out he then let himself fall in Mara’s kiss with careless abandon. He deepened their kiss, taking in everything she was offering. She was amazing! He had always, always wanted to kiss her! Since the first day he’d lay eyes on her. The Farmboy was a good kisser. She knew she had taken him completely off guard, and his response was overpoweringly delightful. She couldn’t let go of him! Mara found herself wishing that, perhaps only for today, they could pretend they weren’t who they were. They kissed and kissed, trapped amongst the packed crowd, their bodies pressed one against the other. Then the collective frenzy started to dispel and the crowd begun to disperse. Mara broke the spell. “They’re all leaving,” she said, catching her breath, willing the giddy cloud in her brain to go away. Their exchange had been more intense of what she would have ever expected. It took Luke longer to come back. When she stepped back, it ached to feel the empty space between them. “Uhm… Yes. We should get going,” he managed to utter, his eyes still closed. Then he was back to alertness, “Our pursuers are gone too.” The presence of their assailants had vanished completely. They left the square, just as the rest of the celebrators had done, and found a small hotel in an inconspicuous side of town. The capital city was packed with visitors, and all they could be offered was a small one-bed room at an exorbitant lodging rate; at least it included a private fresher, small table, two chairs and a couch. After showering, Luke went out to grab some supplies. All of their stuff had been confiscated or had remained in their ship, which was pretty much the same thing. They had to eat and their safest bet was to do it in their room. When he was back, Mara was all cleaned up and changed into the garments they had bought on their way searching for a hotel. With great concentration, she tinkered with the comm unit in their shared room. The Jedi placed a number of packages containing their food on the small table. “I got us some strange looking noodles and strips of sauced meat – which I was reassured come from a local herbivore commonly used as a meat source,” he wrinkled his nose when the steam of the package he just opened reached his nostrils. “Drinks of some kind of fruit I have never seen before… And I got you dessert!” he announced triumphally, showing her the small package in his hand. The Trader dropped what she was doing and joined him at the small table. She felt very tired and the smell of food had reminded her that they hadn’t eaten anything in several hours. “We are marooned here until we find a way to communicate, or Karrde figures out what happened!” She was still slightly upset, getting a ship would be almost impossible until Karrde could send her the credits, and who knew how long that would take. The planet was kind of rudimentary, with all the festivities going around all the credit transaction centres would be on holiday until all of it ended. “Come on, we’re resourceful, we’ll be all right,” he reassured. “And I cannot think of anyone better than you to be stuck with,” he warmly said. The ever optimistic Farmboy, with the dye out of his hair, the blond familiar shade was back making him look all like himself again. Mara granted him a faint smile. Luke felt happy. The food was good despite his earlier suspicions. It was nice that they could relax now, at least for a while. “I found out what that celebration was all about,” he casually conversed. Mara looked up from her food, she was really curious. “You did?” “It’s an annual festival… In that particular celebration, all married couples renovate their bows,” he made a small pause, “And unmarried ones do the dance we just did… and seal the vow with a kiss,” he finished with a shrug. Luke found all of it quite amusing, of course this was all nonsense. Mara looked back at him wide eyed. “Are you telling me that according to this planet’s tradition we just got married?” “It would seem like it,” Luke chuckled. Of course it was all nonsensical! But by the look on Mara’s face, he could tell she was not amused at all. Mara’s mouth made a little gap, this was unbelievable! Now it became clear why the clerk at the hotel’s front desk had given them that impish look when they’d checked in. “I got married to you because we exchanged a kiss?” “Several, actually,” Luke clarified. “Just what I needed!” she snapped. “Calm down, Mara! Do not take this seriously. If I had known you’d be this upset I would have never joked about it!” Luke tried to make her relax. “This doesn’t tie us!” “Why? Because I’m not good marriage material?” she shot back, clearly outraged. “Whoa! You’re taking this way too personally.” “And you’re taking it so lightly that is offensive!” Brusquely she left her seat and paced around the room. She hated to be trapped in this stupid mess. Feeling impotent and not having else were to go, she sat on the edge of the one bed. Luke walked towards her and, very carefully, sat next to her. He was afraid to trigger her annoyance even further, but he couldn’t help the pull he felt. “Mara, I would never do or say anything to offend you,” he tried to calm her down. “I think that the real problem here is… That perhaps you’re just too upset about the other matter,” he pointed out. He was right again, and how much she hated that! This whole trip seemed to have turned in a Luke is always right and Mara is always wrong scenario. “This was a total screw up!” she growled. “Karrde won’t be happy. I just messed up with my work, and I don’t like it. Not one bit.” “You’ve never messed up before,” he pointed out. “I’m sure Karrde will understand, and I don’t think he’ll hold it against you,” he tried to cheer her up. “You’ve always delivered!” Maybe the Farmboy was right. She had always been very good at her job, and had made Karrde win fortunes with all of her successful business arrangements, while earning a nice, hefty commission for herself as part of the deal of course. Karrde was a very generous employer. “You’re so perfect!” Luke just said. In his mind, he had a hard time differentiating whether he’d said what he’d just said out of his admiration of her professional abilities or out of the deep feelings he knew he’d harboured for the beautiful ex-assassin over their years of friendship. Then he snapped out of it and cleared his throat when realizing what he’d just done. “Come on, can’t you just enjoy the silliness of all this?” “You’re right, this is silly,” she admitted. Then Luke pressed his lips, and looked down, now he didn’t like how that sounded… Because he knew that what he felt for Mara was not silly. She picked up on his mood, on his insecurity. It was very evident to her now, that there was something there. “I’m not upset because you kissed me, though.” He looked up, finding the stare of those wonderful green eyes of hers locked on him, and it was electrifying. “If I remember correctly, you kissed me.” Mara could tell that something between them had changed after that kiss, something she might be willing to explore now that she had no distractions, something that felt fresh and exciting. “And according to Kalento law, you and I are officially married,” she pondered. He shrugged, “It appears so.” “Then perhaps we can solve our differences just like real married couples do,” she proposed, a devilish grin on her face. Luke swallowed, what was she saying? He’d heard that married make up sex was awesome. Mara’s mischievous grin turned into one of solemn dismissal, “You can sleep on the couch!” A gap formed on his lips, but no words came out of his mouth. Feeling a bit disconcerted, he watched her take her seat back at the small table. Soon he’d taken his own seat across from her. Their meal continued in absolute silence. But it was not an awkward type of silence, it felt more like some sort of understanding was being built between them. The final, clear understanding of words that had not been said, thoughts that had been shoved away, feelings that had been dismissed, wishes and desires that had been unacknowledged for the long duration of their friendship. Perhaps being marooned in a strange planet for the next few days with each other would turn out to be one of the most exciting experiences of their lives. The end.