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Saga - PT Messages from a Mos Espa Love Story (Shmi/Cliegg for the OTP Challenge #14: Love Letter Exchange)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by devilinthedetails, Mar 4, 2020.

  1. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    Title: Messages from a Mos Espa Love Story

    Author: devilinthedetails

    Characters: Shmi Skywalker; Cliegg Lars; Owen Lars; Watto

    Genre: Romance, Family, General

    Timeline: Saga-PT. Set between TPM and AOTC.

    Summary: The evolution of Shmi and Cliegg's love as shown in the messages they send each other.

    Author's Note: Written for the OTP Challenge #14: Love Letter Exchange.

    Messages from a Mos Espa Love Story

    Shmi,

    I hope this message reaches you and that you didn’t give me an invalid or made up number when I asked for your comm information back in Watto’s shop. I suppose that if it is an invalid or made up number it’ll end up getting lost in some invisible comm void or find it’s way into the hands of some confused stranger who never met a Shmi or a Cliegg.

    In the case that this message has reached you, I hope you aren’t too surprised by my contacting you. I really did feel an instant connection to you from the moment our eyes met, and I enjoyed every second of our conversation even though I’d be hard-pressed to remember exactly what you told me about the power converters I needed to repair my moisture farm equipment. How I felt when you met my eyes for the first time reminded me of how I felt when I met my late wife Aika.

    I don’t bring up my lost Aika to depress you or me, but just to make it clear that I’m free to engage in an honorable relationship with you should you so desire. When I asked for your comm information, I noticed that your gaze drifted downward to the wedding band on my finger, but I want you to understand that ring was not put there by anyone still among the living. I respect Aika’s memory, but I’m free to engage in a relationship with another living woman if that living woman is willing.

    I hope that you’ll consider contacting me and that I haven’t put you off with my bluntness.

    -Cliegg

    Cliegg,

    I got your message. I didn’t give you an invalid or invented number. I did enjoy our conversation, which is why I gave you my correct comm number, but I’m not sure that we can ever be anything more than friends. While you might be a free man, I’m bound to Watto. As a slave, I’m not free to give my heart to any man. I’ll be happy to see you again if you come into Mos Espa, but I can’t promise anything more than that.

    -Shmi

    Shmi,

    I’ll be heading into Mos Espa two days from now with my son Owen to sell some of the moisture we harvested. When your work is done for the day, would you like to meet my son and me for dinner? My treat.

    -Cliegg

    Cliegg,

    I’d like that very much, thank you! I didn’t know you had a son. This is the first time you’ve mentioned him to me. How wonderful. I look forward to meeting him and to seeing you again.

    -Shmi

    Shmi,

    We’ll wait for you outside Watto’s shop then. Owen will be on his best behavior, I promise. I can’t wait to see you again.

    -Cliegg

    Dear Cliegg,

    Dinner last night was delightful, and I will remember it for the rest of my life. I won’t remember what I ate or drank because none of that was important compared to being with you and Owen. I felt like I was enjoying a family dinner for the first time in more years than I want to think about...Owen especially reminded me of my long gone son Anakin. I don’t know if you’ll ever know how much simple joy you and Owen brought to my life last night, but from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for it.

    Warmly,
    Shmi


    Dear Shmi,

    I’m glad beyond words that you enjoyed dinner with my son and me. We are plain desert folks and can’t offer much, but I did hope we could make you happy, brightening your life like the twin suns in the sky. (Forgive me for trying to be poetic. I won’t attempt it again since it came out so clumsy, but the sentiment remains, so I’ll keep the phrase.)

    I’m sorry to hear of your long gone son. From Aika, I know the pain of loss. Was Anakin sold away from you? (Sorry if the question rubs salt in an old wound. You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.)

    With all the feelings I can’t find words for,
    Cliegg

    Dear Cliegg,

    Thank you for asking about my Anakin. It always warms my heart to talk about him even if the memory of losing him also makes my heart break. Watto lost him in a Podrace bet with a Jedi (Watto will still swear to this day that he was swindled out of the most valuable slave he ever owned because Anakin was so gifted with mechanics and had reflexes sharp enough to race Pods). Now he is training to be a Jedi. He was in my life for such a short time, but I will remember him forever.

    How is your own son doing?

    Hoping you and Owen are well,
    Shmi


    Dear Shmi,

    Owen is going through a stage that I can only describe as stubborn. He keeps nagging me to let him buy a speeder bike so he can race around the dunes with his friends using the money he earned helping me with the harvest. Then when I refuse, pointing out how dangerous it is to go racing around the dunes, he sulks and conveniently forgets to do his chores around the farm. I’ve about had it up to my neck with him and frankly am on the verge of wringing his neck. Perhaps a mother would have a gentler insight and perspective on a stubborn son?

    Holding my hands in the air helplessly and eager for a mother’s viewpoint,
    Cliegg

    Dear Cliegg,

    I understand your worries about your son. Part of me died every time that Anakin raced, but even more of me would have died if I hadn’t let Anakin be himself–be as free as he could be–and follow his dreams of racing. Perhaps just let your son buy the speeder he so desperately wants. Then you can at least set restrictions on how much, when, and where he flies it. If you don’t let him buy the speeder, he may sneak behind your back, borrowing a friend’s speeder, and then you’ll have lost control entirely. Sometimes we have to be guided by our sons as much as we guide them, I think.

    More than that, I believe that you’ll find a way to raise Owen right no matter what you decide to do. He may be in a stubborn, reckless stage now, but in a few short years, I’m sure he’ll have grown into a steady man to make you proud.

    Aware that you don’t actually need my advice but just my faith and reassurance,
    Shmi


    Dear Shmi,

    I have decided to allow Owen the opportunity to purchase a speeder bike with the money he earned last harvest. This has raised me in his eyes from the worst father on Tatooine to the best father on Tatooine. Since I’m currently the best father on Tatooine, he agreed to follow all my rules about speeder bike use. It is remarkable how obliging he can be when he isn’t busy being stubborn.

    Owen and I will be in Mos Espa at the end of the week to buy his new speeder bike. Would you care to join us for dinner again?

    Beginning to believe I might be the best father on Tatooine thanks to you,
    Cliegg

    Dear Cliegg,

    Of course I’d enjoy a dinner with you and your suddenly not-so-stubborn son.

    Looking forward to seeing you again,
    Shmi


    Dear Shmi,

    I didn’t want to bring it up at dinner last night because it tightened my throat too much whenever I even thought of mentioning it, but I heard rumors in the Mos Espa streets when Owen and I were going from shop to shop, evaluating the speeder bike options, rumors that your owner Watto was in serious financial straits from excessive, ill-advised gambling. Are these rumors true? How deeply is your owner buried in debt, Shmi?

    Please be honest with me because I’m breathless with worry about you,
    Cliegg

    Dear Cliegg,

    I’ll never lie to you even if I might put a bright face on the harsh truth until you ask for it. The harsh truth is Watto is so deeply in debt that he is going to have to sell me. He says it’s just business but he’ll try to sell me to a good owner. He has nothing personal against me, he says.

    Being honest as ever,
    Shmi


    Dear Shmi,

    I’m going to fly to Mos Espa now to purchase you. I won’t make you my slave. I’ll free you right away. Then your future will be your own to decide what to do with–if you want to make your own way in the world, I’ll give you money to start you on your path, but if you want to live on my farm with Owen and me, there’s an empty spot here waiting for you to fill it. I hope you’ll choose to live on the farm with Owen and me, but I’ll respect your choice–whatever it is.

    Flying off to free you now,
    Cliegg

    Dear Cliegg,

    Please be shrewd when negotiating with Watto. Don’t let him sense how much you want me. If he senses your desperation, he’ll take advantage of that to swindle you and make you pay more for me than I’m worth.

    Don’t waste money paying more for me than I’m worth,
    Shmi


    Dear Shmi,

    I couldn’t possibly pay more for you than you’re worth because you–and Owen–are worth more than anything to me. I don’t care how hard a bargain that wretched Toydarian drives, I’ll know that it’s me who swindled him if I end up with you.

    Not caring at all about money but caring very much about you,
    Cliegg

    Dear Cliegg,

    I forgot to say, but I’d be honored and delighted to fill that empty spot on your farm. You and Owen are family to me now.

    Stunned by my own forgetfulness but very much in love with you,
    Shmi




    Epilogue:

    Cliegg and Shmi stood on a sand dune overlooking their moisture farm in the cooling desert evening as the silver stars–burning suns for other planets to revolve around, each the bright center of its own system–rose after the stunning twin sunset. Tatooine might be a harsh world, but nothing could steal the simple beauty and charm of its spectacular twin sunset.

    “Owen should’ve been home before sunset,” Cliegg grunted. Owen had gradually become less acquiescent to the terms of his speeder bike usage as time progressed and the memory of his father’s generosity in allowing him to purchase the speeder bike at all faded. “I was going to let him off a lecture if he had arrived any time before the suns disappeared from the sky, but now I’m going to have to yell at him with all the fury of the krayt dragons in the bellies of the twin suns.”

    “There are no krayt dragons in the bellies of the suns, my dear.” Smiling, Shmi sank her cheek into the rough, homespun fabric covering Cliegg’s strong, stable shoulder, letting him be her rock. “That’s a myth, a story told to frighten children.”

    “Then I guess my anger will have to wink out very quickly and become just a myth to frighten children–specifically, my child.” Cliegg kissed her forehead. “I’m grateful to have you on the farm beside me, and I know Owen is as well. You protect him from my gruffness.”

    “You’re a good man under all your gruffness.” Shmi tilted her face upward to stare into his eyes that reflected the starlight like mirrors. “I saw that in your messages to me when I was a slave. I never thanked you for those messages, by the way. They helped bring a feeling of purpose–of meaning and connection to others–back to my life when I felt so alone and adrift after Anakin left.”

    “I never thanked you for your messages either.” Cliegg swallowed, and then made what was for him a valiant attempt at expressing his emotions. “Through your messages, you brought me the joy and wisdom nobody else could after Aika died. I’ll be forever thankful for the messages and for you.”

    Then, having both said everything they could ever have needed to say, they both fell silent, gazing across the starlit sands as they waited for Owen to finally make his way home–hopefully in one piece–after another reckless ride on his speeder bike that endangered life and limb.
     
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    I can always count on you to showcase a pairing we seldom see, and bring out their nuances and sweetness! Such delightful messages showing the progress of first friendship then deeper affection. =D= I had to laugh, truly, at Owen's love of racing across the dunes!! [face_mischief] Looks like Luke got it from several directions!

    A wonderful OTP entry. @};-
     
  3. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Thank you so much for your kind words! I can always count on you to give the sweetest reviews. [:D] I really enjoyed being able to explore some of the nuances and sweetness of Shmi and Cliegg's relationship so it makes me so happy that you enjoyed being about to read about the nuances and sweetness of their relationship.

    I do love the idea of the progression from friendship to lovers, so it was nice for me to have the chance to apply that trope to Shmi and Cliegg.

    Owen's antics did amuse me as well in this story. I like the idea of Owen being a bit wild in his own youth before settling down and giving Luke a hard time. [face_laugh] So glad that could amuse you as well!

    I really enjoyed writing this piece, and I'm so happy to hear you thought it was a wonderful OTP entry. The OTP never fails to provide excellent inspiration to me:D
     
  4. amidalachick

    amidalachick Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 3, 2003
    I love the concept of showing a developing relationship through letters/messages, and with the developing relationship being Cliegg and Shmi? Even better!

    Such a great look at both of their characters - steady, straightforward, loyal Cliegg and wise, honest, nurturing Shmi. I especially liked Cliegg's mentions of Aika, how he loved her and misses her but recognizes that it's okay to move on with someone else, and their discussions about Anakin.

    Some great bits of humor too! I really liked this line:

    [face_laugh][face_laugh]

    [face_love] Such a beautiful image. Tatooine has always been my favorite Star Wars planet, and I always love seeing its beauty acknowledged. And it's just such a beautiful, peaceful moment for Shmi and Cliegg too.

    Fantastic job with this. =D= Thank you for sharing!
     
  5. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    This is really, really sweet. I love how you have been giving these more unassuming SW pairings and romances their due, and showing us that they’re just as beautiful and tender as any A/P or H/L out there—they really remind us how “life goes on” in the galaxy even alongside (or in spite of) all the Big Space Opera Events that surround them both. Yet there’s a bittersweet dimension here, too, because both Shmi and Cliegg are coming their newfound romance from places of loss: Shmi has just had Anakin taken away, and Cliegg is mourning for Aika. They know neither of them can every fully replace those losses, but they can help, at least in little ways, as we see when Cliegg invites Shmi to share a family dinner with him and Owen and when Shmi later offers her motherly advice on dealing with Owen's stubbornness. And when the perfect opportunity arises for Cliegg to fill that empty spot on his farm by "buying" and freeing Shmi from Watto, he is clearly not just doing it because he wants to fill his own emptiness, but because he genuinely cares about Shmi (and we especially see that when he offers her the option of striking out on her own). And what a beautiful final moment of the two of them looking out over the Tatooine landscape together in the binary sunset, reminiscing about their old exchange of messages as they wait for Owen. (I have a feeling he'll be perfectly OK! :) ) Thank you so much for hitting it out of the park with yet another wonderful OTP entry; keep 'em coming! =D=
     
  6. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    @amidalachick Thank you so much for commenting!:) I thought that this challenge was the perfect opportunity to showcase a relationship evolving through letters/messages, and for that Shmi/Cliegg was a marvelous candidate, so I'm so happy you appreciated that aspect of this story. It was awesome for me to have a chance to sort of explore these two characters in depth, looking at their individual personalities and experiences with loss, and it is nice to hear those parts resonated with you so much.

    I couldn't resist adding some humor to the messages, and for that, Owen was an excellent target[face_laugh]

    Tatooine is a very interesting planet, and there is some real natural beauty that is perhaps underrated there so it was nice to have a chance to really show some of the beauty in the sunset moment of peace and love between Shmi and Cliegg. I really enjoyed being able to end the story on such a beautiful note, and I'm so glad that it touched you as well!

    @Findswoman As always, thank you so much for commenting!:) I'm so flattered that you found this story so sweet. I do enjoy being able to show some of the everyday drama and adorableness of relationships like Shmi and Cliegg's in addition to some of the more galaxy-spanning implications of couples like Han/Leia and Anakin/Padme. I love those pairings as well but sometimes it is nice to explore couples that may not get as much attention but can still have great stories to tell. It also does, as you say, give a chance to remember how much life just goes on in a galaxy far, far away, much as life goes on for those of us on Earth.

    I definitely agree that for both Shmi and Cliegg there is a bittersweet aspect of their relationship in that both are coming to it and seeking comfort in it after a major loss: his former wife for Cliegg and her son for Shmi. The new relationship isn't a replacement for what was lost (nothing could truly replace what was lost) but it is a chance for closeness and connection, a family, nonetheless. I really enjoyed being able to explore those moments of building a family feeling with the dinner between Shmi, Owen, and Cliegg as well as with Shmi's advice to Cliegg about Owen.

    I really wanted to show that for Cliegg "buying" Shmi wasn't a selfish act and that he was willing to let her go if that was what she wanted, so I'm so glad that part stuck out in a meaningful way to you.

    The sunset moment might have been my favorite moment in the entire story (I'm a softy when it comes to sunset moments--they melt my heart like chocolate) so I'm so happy to hear it was a highlight for you, and I agree with you that Owen will be okay.

    Thank you again for your kind and detailed comments!
     
  7. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    This is a really wonderful take on a couple that we don't see very much of, in canon or elsewhere! [face_love] I really like how you can kind of see Owen and Beru in their relationship, though they are clearly their own people with their own story. But Owen obviously learned something about love from them. :)

    Aww! [face_love] The honesty and goodwill from both of them makes these messages so endearing.

    Shmi must have had such a difficult time. Even knowing that her son was free and had the chance for a better life, that total separation would be truly awful to go through. @};- And Cliegg understands grief all too well, even though of a different kind.

    [face_rofl] Owen the speed demon. If Luke only knew! Though Owen's probably twice as stern with him, knowing exactly how reckless a teen with a speeder can be. :p

    Oh, Shmi. I'm so glad that Cliegg knows full well that Shmi is worth more than any mere credits -- and willingly gives her the freedom to choose her life's path. I love the deep feeling that comes through in how they write to each other, throughout but here especially. They say so much with so few words, and with such clarity.

    [face_love] Lovely, as is the ending with them watching the sunset(s) together.
     
  8. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 19, 2019
    @Kahara Thanks so much for commenting!:) I've always loved the idea of Cliegg and Shmi's relationship and felt like there was a story there to tell, so it was so nice to be able to use this challenge as an opportunity to explore their relationship and story. I'm glad that you can see some shades of Owen and Beru in them since I absolutely agree with you that Owen was influenced by seeing this couple and their love for one another.

    I really wanted to showcase the honesty of each of the people in this pairing in these letters so I'm happy to hear that quality shone through so well for you.

    You're right that Shmi was in a very difficult situation after her son left to train as a Jedi. She knew he was going off to live a better life, but it still would be heartbreaking to be left alone as a slave on Tatooine. And you're right that Cliegg is in a perfect place to understand that grief and loss having lost his own wife in the past.

    [face_laugh]Yes, if Luke only knew the trouble his uncle got into on a speeder, but I think you're absolutely that Owen's own youthful craziness made him twice as hard on Luke about such things.

    It was very important for me to show how much Cliegg respected Shmi, appreciated her value, and was willing to set her totally free if she wanted so I'm so glad that aspect of the story resonated so much with you.

    I have a soft spot for romantic sunset endings, so it's awesome to know that ending also touched you.

    Thank you again for the detailed and kind comment!