Beyond - Legends "My True Love Gave to Me" (L/M holiday challenge) Day 12

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by JadeLotus, Dec 14, 2014.

  1. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 27, 2005

    Write a story with Luke and Mara celebrating something new. You must include:
    - the colour red
    - a gift
    - a loud noise

    A/N: This was originally planned to be all in one post, however will end up being longer than intended. As it is my take on "The Twelve Days of Christmas" I am going to be posting a section each day which by the end will incorporate all of the challenge requirements. The character of "Preeni Pi" belongs to the wonderful ginchy.

    Hope you enjoy!

    My True Love Gave to Me

    It was a few days before the start of the Midwinter Festival, and through some kind of miracle, Luke and Mara’s schedules had aligned to allow them both to spend it on Coruscant. In the few months since they’d been married, Luke’s duties to the Jedi Academy and Mara’s to Karrde’s organization had kept them apart more than either of them had liked, and Luke was grateful that they had the next two weeks together. But he'd been surprised when Mara had readily agreed to decorating their apartment with a traditional Festival tree.

    “You know, Mara, I thought you’d be resistant to this,” Luke said conversationally as he began untangling the twinkling lights. It seemed that no matter how carefully he put them away at the end of the Festival, by the following year they were hopelessly intertwined. Yet another great mystery of the Force. "I never took you for a Festival kind of person."

    “Why?” Mara asked with a smile, looking over from where she was hanging ornaments on the large thorn tree they’d purchased. “Because of my cold, joyless heart?” Then she laughed to let him know she was joking. “I’ll have you know, Skywalker,” she added dryly. “I am brimming with holiday cheer.”

    Then she sobered as she took a golden star ornament out of the decorations box and carefully hung it on a branch. “When I was a girl I was allowed to go the tree lighting ceremony in the palace gardens,” she said more seriously, staring intently at the gold star. “They had a tree there, as tall as the sky. It was so beautiful when they lit it up on the first day of the Festival, and I knew that meant I would have the next twelve days off lessons and training – the only holidays I was given as a child. When I was old enough, I wasn’t even allowed that.”

    Luke watched his wife, intent on the tree, and sent a reassuring wave of love and comfort through their bond. “And did Preeni Pi bring you lots of gifts?” he asked teasingly, gratified when her melancholy faded away and she gave him an arch look.

    “Of course,” she declared. “I was a very good girl.”

    “I’ll bet you were.” Luke laughed and returned his attention to untangling the thick knots in the lights. Mara continued decorating the tree, her arrangement of the ornaments precise and symmetrical.

    “I had lunch with Leia today,” Mara said lightly as she hung silver bells on the tree.

    “Oh?” Luke replied, his attention deliberately kept on the tangled lights in his hands. “That’s nice.”

    “Yes, well she was nice enough to tell me about your plan,” Mara folded her arms and stared at him. “Twelve days of gifts, huh?”

    Luke silently cursed his sister, who hadn’t been at all enthusiastic about the idea when Luke had told her. Traditionally, the Festival went for twelve days, culminating on Midwinter, the shortest day of the year. In the early times of the Old Republic, the Festival had been intended to give light and warmth to the darkest and coldest days of the calendar. Even though Coruscant was now climate controlled and never dark because of the ever-lit cityscape, the Festival was as popular as ever, particularly with children who believed that the presents under their Festival trees were brought by Preeni Pi, the silver-winged Festival Fairy.

    When Luke had heard an old folk song about sending one’s true love gifts correlating with the day of the Festival, he’d known that he couldn’t restrict his presents for Mara to Midwinter Day. They were celebrating their first holiday as a married couple after all, and Luke wanted her to know just how much that meant to him.

    But it seemed he had miscalculated, as Leia had warned him. Mara’s gaze was penetrating, and she tapped her foot lightly against the carpet as she awaited his response.

    “It was meant to be a surprise,” Luke said carefully as he put down the lights and approached his wife.

    “Well maybe Leia knows me better than you do,” Mara accused. “I hate surprises, and she knew I would hate this idea.”

    “I just want to show my love for you by giving you gifts.” Luke stroked the side of her cheek and tucked an errant red curl behind her ear. “What’s wrong with that?”

    "Have you read the sludge news recently?" Mara asked, although her cheek pressed lightly into his hand. "Most people think I'm an undeserving and ungrateful wife as it is, what are they going to say when they find out you're showering me with Festival gifts?"

    "I don't care what they think or say," Luke reminded her. "And I know you don't either."

    “Even so, one gift on the first day, two on the next, all the way up to twelve…” Mara paused slightly and looked up, lips moving as she did the math in her head. “That makes 78 gifts in total. Skywalker, that’s so excessive it’s disgusting. Not to mention supremely unfair if I only give you gifts on Midwinter Day.”

    “Being my wife is gift enough,” Luke smiled at her.

    “You’re such a sap,” she accused him, but a smile tugged at the corner of her mouth.

    “You knew what you were getting into with me, Jade,” he teased her and leaned in. Mara didn’t answer and let him kiss her, her soft lips sliding over his in a way that made him feel warm all the way down to his toes.

    “Okay, compromise,” Mara suggested somewhat breathlessly as she pulled away. “We take turns.”


    “It’s only fair, Luke,” Mara nodded. “One of us gives gifts on the even days, and the other on the odd days. It doesn’t work out exactly even, but that can be balanced out with both of us exchanging gifts on Midwinter Day.”

    Luke sighed, knowing that this was an argument he would not win. Although he was a little annoyed his idea had been hijacked, she’d made a good point, and who was he to refuse gifts from her?

    “Alright," he agreed.

    “Good,” Mara smiled at the lack of resistance. “Since it was your idea, you can go first.”
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  2. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Nov 30, 2005
    Wonderful idea! I can't wait to see what they give each other.
    Loved the line about how the Force somehow mysteriously tangles the lights every year. And Preeni Pi! Yay! That should be canon.

    Can't wait to read more!
    Gemma, AzureAngel2, JadeLotus and 2 others like this.
  3. Demendora

    Demendora Jedi Knight star 2

    Apr 9, 2010
    Whee! What a lovely idea!
  4. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 3, 2001
    This is adorable. [face_love] Liked their discussion of the gifts and Mara's solution to her issues with it. Can't wait to see the rest.

  5. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 22, 2013


    This is gonna be gooooooooood. *rubs hands gleefully*
  6. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 3, 2001
    AzureAngel2 and JadeLotus like this.
  7. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    Delightful! It's only fair they take turns. [face_mischief]
  8. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 22, 2013
    There's plenty of Christmas-themed grouchy cat memes, but this one was handy. :p Then again, that's generally Mara's sentiment for most things, holiday-related or not, LOL.
    AzureAngel2, JadeLotus and Kahara like this.
  9. JediMara77

    JediMara77 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 5, 2004
    Yay, holiday fic!!! I love it. :D

    I can't wait to see what they get each other. [face_laugh]
    Gemma, AzureAngel2 and JadeLotus like this.
  10. Briannakin

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

    Feb 25, 2010
    Ohhhh! I love this. Mara's attitude is spot on! I can't wait for more!
    Gemma, AzureAngel2 and JadeLotus like this.
  11. taramidala

    taramidala Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jun 18, 1999
    That ginchy, she's such an enabler. What'd she do to con you into writing this? [face_laugh]

    Looking forward to it!!
    Gemma, AzureAngel2, ginchy and 2 others like this.
  12. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 27, 2005

    Thanks! It's certainly some kind of mythical power tangling those lights every year ;) And Preeni Pi should absolutely be canon! ginchy was very gracious in allowing me to use her.

    Thank you!

    Thanks! I think Mara would want total equality on the gift giving front :p

    Hee, I hope so! And love that pic - Mara's entire life could probably be told through grumpy cat memes :D

    I know, right? :D

    Thanks! I'm having a go at holiday fic this year.

    Thank you! I can see Mara as a closet Christmas Festival lover, but of course one must keep up appearances ;)

    [face_laugh] Actually this did not require any prompting on her part - maybe I should have been smarter about that :p She's helping me with some ideas, though :D
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  13. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 27, 2005

    As night fell on the first day of Midwinter Festival, thousands gathered in the Reflection Gardens on Coruscant for the traditional lighting ceremony. A huge Thorn tree stood in the centre of the gardens, covered with millions of twinkling lights which were waiting to be illuminated at the culmination of the event.

    Mara let Luke lead her through the dense crowd, although her attention was on the tree. It was not as tall and impressive as the one she remembered from her childhood, and yet it touched her in a way she had not expected. There weren’t many happy memories she had from those times; years filled with endless training, tutors, lessons and expectations. But the Midwinter Festival had always been a time of rest and recuperation, of gifts left under the tree in her private quarters with an indication of how pleased the Emperor had been with her that year correlating to the number of boxes. But at its core, Mara’s childhood happiness hadn’t been about gifts - perhaps it had been the one moment of whimsy she’d allowed herself, to stand in the crowd and look up with awe as the Festival Fairy flapped her wings and seemed to light the tree by pure magic and belief.

    Luke’s hand closed around hers tightly, ostensibly so not to lose her in the throng of people, but Mara knew he had picked up on her thoughts. To his credit, he did not say anything, and she squeezed his hand in response. They made their way to the front of the crowd where Leia, Han and their three children were waiting in the VIP area.

    “Uncle Luke!” came the chorus as three rambunctious children bounded over and flung themselves at Luke, who accepted their enthusiasm graciously. Mara left him to the rapid-fire questions of when came we come to the Academy Uncle Luke can I fly your X-wing Uncle Luke do you want to see my new pet anooba Uncle Luke and went over to where Leia and Han were standing.

    Leia stepped forward and gave her a warm kiss on the cheek. “Lovely to see you, Mara,” she said, her brown eyes sparkling. “I heard you confronted my brother about his silly little idea.”

    “We sorted it out,” Mara gave her a conspiratorial smile.

    “I hope so,” Han spoke up. “He’s giving the rest of us husbands a bad name.”

    “I’ll say,” Leia rolled her eyes. “The best I can hope for a gift from this one on Midwinter morning is a suggestive poke in the back.”

    “And isn’t it worth it, sweetheart?” Han draped his arm around Leia’s shoulders and grinned. “All the pretty trinkets in the world can’t compete with the Solo charm, eh?”

    Leia sighed, but she didn’t deny it, or seemed particularly embarrassed. Mara briefly envied Leia’s openness, that ability to shift between cool politician, warm mother and loving wife. Mara wasn’t sure she would ever master that balance in private, let alone around friends or family.

    The squeals of delighted children filled her ears, and Mara turned to see Luke amble over, swinging Jacen and Jaina on each arm and Anakin hanging around his neck. Not for the first time, Mara conceded to herself that Luke would make a wonderful father. They’d spoken about it, of course, always in far off, future tense. And yet despite those vague plans Mara worried that she would never be ready. The thought of bringing her own child to the tree lighting ceremony was a nice dream, but Mara was still getting used to being a wife, of being beholden to another in a way that had chipped away at her independence and freedom, regardless of the fact she’d done it willingly. On the other hand, she’d missed out on so much because she’d resisted her feelings for Luke for so long, had feared that the reward would not be worth the risk. Was she making the same mistakes all over again?

    “Anakin,” Leia called her her son with exasperation. “You are not a monkey-lizard, get off your Uncle’s neck.”

    “He’s alright, Leia,” Luke said graciously, but Anakin let go of him obediently.

    “You’d make a good monkey-lizard, Anakin” Jacen laughed. “You’re always making Mom go bananas!” He threw back his head and laughed.

    “I guess that makes you a monkey’s uncle, Kid,” Han chimed in, and all three dissolved into laughter. Leia gave Mara a long-suffering look and shook her head.

    Mara felt an insistent tug on her sleeve, and looked down to see Jaina looking up at her intently. “Hi, Aunt Mara.”

    “Hello, Jaina.” Mara still wasn’t quite used to the title.

    “Can I ask you something?” The young girl’s brown eyes were serious with intent.

    “Jaina,” Leia said warningly. “It’s not polite to say that, how else is Mara to respond?” But then Leia was distracted by Han, Luke and the two boys competing over who could do the best monkey impression. Leia scuttled over to them, leaving Mara alone with Jaina.

    “Ask away,” Mara forced a smile.

    “Do you think someday I can come with you in your ship?” Jaina asked excitedly. “Dad says its real top of the line.”

    “Does he now?” Mara raised one eyebow and looked over at Han, who was in the middle of a very convincing impression of Salacious Crumb.

    “‘Course he says that its not a patch on the Falcon,” Jaina added importantly, bouncing slightly on the balls of her feet.

    “Of course.” This time, Mara’s smile was more genuine.

    “But he says it has heaps of cool mods on it,” Jaina gushed. “I’d love to see them.”

    “Sure,” Mara patted Jaina lightly on the shoulder. Ships, she could deal with - as long as Jaina didn’t ask her about makeup and boys, Mara was confident she could handle it. “Luke and I are on Coruscant for the whole Festival, so if your Mom’s okay with it, maybe we’ll take the Sabre out for a spin.”

    “Really?” Jaina’s face lit up into a brilliant smile. “Thanks Aunt Mara, I’ll ask Mom tonight!”

    Any further conversation was interrupted with the huge bang of fireworks overhead, lighting up the sky in explosions of pink, blue and green. Luke returned to Mara’s side and took her hand, as always the time with his family making his presence in the Force feel light and buoyant.

    "Make sure you get a good view, kid," Han advised. "The woman they got for Preeni Pi this year is a real looker."

    Anakin gasped, looking scandalised. "You mean she is not the real Preeni Pi?"

    "Oh, darling, you remember we talked about this," Leia stroked his downy brown hair. "Preeni Pi is so busy she must send one of her helper fairies to light the Festival tree for us."

    Jacen and Jaina exchanged identical smirks; evidently at ten they were too old to believe in the Festival Fairy. But the answer seemed to satisfy Anakin, who turned back to the tree to watch as Preeni Pi descended from the sky to land on the stage. Of course, the woman had been held aloft by wires, but to a child’s eye she seemed as if she was really flying.

    Mara had to concede that the actress was exceedingly beautiful; long blonde hair cascading out from beneath her green felt hat, the bodice of her costume clinging invitingly to her perfectly proportioned curves. Silver bells jingled from her hat and the ends of her pointed shoes, and she smiled brilliantly at the crowd and waved her silver wand. Of course, no fairy was complete without wings, and Preeni Pi had a gossamer pair which fluttered lightly in the breeze.

    “Nothing compared to you, my love,” Luke whispered softly to her, lifting their joined hands to his lips and kissing her knuckles. Mara rolled her eyes, but despite herself, his words made her feel warm inside despite the cool night air.

    “Welcome everyone!” Preeni Pi announced in a musical voice that sounded like the trilling of bells. “Oh, it is wonderful to see so many of you. Isn’t our Festival tree beautiful?”

    The crowd yelled back in the affirmative, and none louder than Mara’s own husband. She smiled at his farmboy tendencies, and when Preeni Pi claimed she couldn’t hear them, Mara abandoned cool detachment and joined in on the second call for the lighting of the tree.

    "Remember my dear ones," Preeni Pi's light clear voice cut across the gardens. "Although the days are dark and cold, have no fear of the night, for I will alight the sky with love and banish all evils. While you are sleeping on Midwinter Eve, know that I am your protector, and with the flap of my silver wings I will bring back the spring."

    It was the same speech Mara remembered from her childhood. She'd never been under any allusions about Preeni Pi; in the Emperor's service even the children had been forced to confront stark realities as early as possible. And yet she had been allowed to attend the lighting ceremony, and had felt a great surge of joy when Preeni Pi had flapped her wings, waved her wand and made the Festival tree light up. It was one of the few ceremonies Palpatine hadn’t been able to squash, the one time of the year when the people of Coruscant believed in magic; not the Empire.

    Preeni Pi rose back into the air and held her wand aloft. “Happy Festival!” she called out and flourished her wand, the lights of the tree turning on and flooding the area with colourful illumination. “I shall see you all soon, my dears!” Preeni Pi waved as she drifted off into the night, blowing kisses to the crowd that cheered her enthusiastically.

    More fireworks went off, and Mara felt Luke’s warm arms encircle her from behind. They watched the light show together, and Mara wasn’t sure she had ever been so happy. Certainly she’d never felt such a sense of family, since as a child she’d always stood alone. Mara found that the joy on the faces of Jacen, Jaina and Anakin, the shared love evident between Leia and Han, and the warm embrace of her husband only added to her own elation. It was an unusual yet welcome change.

    She and Luke stood together until long after the fireworks had ended and the crowd had dispersed. The lights on the tree twinkled in the night, and Mara was content to watch them, even after Leia and Han had taken the kids home to bed and she and Luke were left alone in the gardens.

    “This was where we got married,” Luke said softly, his arms still tight around her waist.

    She leaned back into his chest and smiled. “It was only a few months ago,” she teased him. “I remember.”

    “I know.” She felt Luke smiled against her hair. “I just like to say it.”

    Mara looked over at the spot where she and Luke had said their vows. It seemed like a lifetime ago, and yet they’d had so little time to enjoy married life. It had been a difficult few months for both of them, each being pulled in different directions by duties neither would shirk from. Their time off for the Festival was very much required.

    “We have a lifetime ahead of us, Mara,” he said softly, once again picking up on her unspoken thoughts.

    “Stay out of my head, Skywalker,” she teased him.

    “And your heart?” he asked, his arms tightening around her slightly.

    “Oh, you can stay there,” she added lightly. “But change the subject before we have to have the talk about sappiness again.”

    Luke’s warm laugh reverberated through the empty gardens. “So how do you like your gift for day one?” he asked, nuzzling the shell of her ear with her nose.

    “Preeni Pi in a Thorn tree?” Mara chuckled lightly, remembering the line from the old folk song. “Very nice, Skywalker.”

    “Although I can’t really take credit for that,” Luke murmured. “So I also got you this.” He withdrew a gift from his robes and held it out in front of her; a vibroblade with a white ribbon tied around the handle.

    Mara took it carefully from him, noting the fine detail on the bone handle and the excellent craftsmanship of the blade. She unsheathed it, listening to the pitch-perfect frequency and testing the precise balance.

    “Bantha tusk?” she asked, tracing the carvings on the blade handle. From the intricacy and familiar pattern, Mara knew that Luke had made it himself

    “Well done,” Luke told her, his fingers covering her own over the handle. “I once saved the life of a Tusken, although her bantha unfortunately was lost. She gave me one of the tusks in gratitude, to carry the beast’s spirit on.”

    It was a useful, practical gift, and yet one full of meaning; a small piece of his soul. He was sharing the responsibility with her, she realised, the charge from the Tusken to keep her bantha’s spirit alive. She sheathed the blade and attached it to her belt before turning around in Luke’s arms and winding her hands around his neck.

    A mere thank you would be inadequate, so Mara opened herself up through the Force and felt his understanding in return. His bright blue eyes were further lit up by the lights behind her, and Mara sent through her love, her gratitude and her overwhelming happiness.

    “And so it begins,” she couldn’t help but tease when the emotion of the moment became too great, and drew him in for a fierce kiss.
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  14. JediMara77

    JediMara77 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 5, 2004
    Luke knows the way to Mara's heart--vibroblades. :D

    I love the conversation between Jaina and Mara. [face_love]

    Can't wait to read more! :)
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  15. Demendora

    Demendora Jedi Knight star 2

    Apr 9, 2010
    Luke knows his wife pretty well. Now I am a bit jealous of Mara. To have a husband like Luke, who
    decided not only to spoil wife with gifts, but also to make each of them so special and meaningful for both of them. I am wondering how Mara will deal with this gift's challenge.
  16. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    SQUEE #1. For day one. ^:)^

    I love Mara's reflections on motherhood and marriage and embracing the choice for the former versus holding off. [face_thinking] She and Luke should enjoy couplehood for a while longer.

    Liked Mara with Jaina too. A spin in the Sabre, definitely a fun thing. :cool:

    Your H/L is terrific: Leia's smooth blend of mom, career woman, and wife ... it is a talent and a skill she has to seamlessly put those together. :)
  17. Briannakin

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

    Feb 25, 2010
    “I hope so,” Han spoke up. “He’s giving the rest of us husbands a bad name.”

    I'm agreeing with Han here! Luke is such a sap, but we love him for it.
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  18. ginchy

    ginchy Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 25, 2005
    Oh, girl. I had to save this one for last cause there is not enough room on the boards (possibly the entire internet) for all my squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees of joy over this fic!!!!!!! I see my reputation has preceeded me, but I am innocent in this case!! I had no bearing on the impetus here, though I did nose my way in to get spoilers and offer "advice" (as a ruse to get spoilers. WHAT!) [face_rofl] I am soooo happy you used Preeni Pi, girl. And I love this tree lighting ceremony with the holiday fairy. [:D] Basically: I LOVE THIS FIC. What more could I ask for in a fic???? Happy, newly married L/M in a holiday romance written by JL???? If I'm dreaming, don't wake me up. Cause I am sitting here with a goofy grin on my face, loving every word of this!!! ^:)^

    I'm twitterpated. [face_laugh]
  19. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 27, 2005

    For anyone else, the gift of a knife might seem odd - but not L/M :D I love writing baby!Jaina and Mara bonding - warms the heart, it does.

    He's a pretty perfect husband [face_love]...except for the nearly getting killed all the time thing :p Mara's turn is coming right up!

    Hee, thanks! Luke and Mara do need to enjoy time with each other first, but they waiting so long in the Legends universe! It had to be uncertainty from Mara about whether she could handle it.

    A later installment just might include that spin in the Sabre [face_whistling] I'm happy H/L came across okay - they're not a pairing I find easy to write!

    He's a sap, but he's her sap :p She likes it, really.


    [face_laugh][:D] Never stop nosing your way in gal, I always need help! Preeni Pi is such a good concept, I just had to run with it - she's totally canon to me. It's been a while since I wrote angst-free romance, so I may be a little rusty...
  20. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 27, 2005

    “Alright Mara, I give up. Where are you taking me?”

    Luke sat in the passenger side of his speeder, not overly happy that Mara had forced him to relinquish the controls so she could drive them to their destination. They’d long left the jammed flylanes of Coruscant’s city hub behind and were cruising through the restaurants, hotels and entertainment buildings that made up the resort district near the equator.

    Mara took her eyes off the lane ahead from a moment and gave him a smug look. “Patience you must have, my young padawan.”

    “You know I really hate it when you use Yoda against me,” Luke grumbled. How many times had the Jedi Master said those words to him - how many times had he said them to Mara in jest when they were training together? Luke drummed his fingers on the side of the speeder, for somehow no matter how much he learned, at heart he could not escape the young farmboy eager for adventure.

    “A trip to the equator is hardly adventure, Skywalker,” Mara remarked, picking up on his errant thoughts.

    “Anything unknown is an adventure,” Luke countered. “Especially if it involves a gift from my wife.”

    “Two gifts,” Mara reminded him. “And we’re here, so you can stop your pouting.” She pulled the speeder into a parking bay and led Luke over to a small establishment with a sign that read Chai Ghar over the door. Mara pulled him inside, the room warm and the air thick with spices. It was of an elegant decor, with small tables and booths housing all kinds of patrons sipping from dainty cups. In the corner a pink-skinned Zeltron appeared to be playing some kind of stringed instrument, plucking a dainty tune.

    “A teahouse?” Luke asked Mara quizzically, but before she could answer a rotund blue-skinned man in elaborate robes caught sight of them and hurried over.

    “Ah, Madame Skywalker!” he greeted her effusively in heavily-accented Basic as he swept across the room, blue robes billowing behind him.

    “Jade Skywalker,” she corrected him.

    “Of course, Madame, of course.” He pressed his hands together and bowed slightly. “And this is to be the great Luke Skywalker?” He bowed again, this time at Luke, who held out his hand politely. He didn’t think he would ever like people gushing over him, but after so many years at least he was used to it.

    “My name is Annis Ferini,” the host introduced himself as he clasped Luke’s outstretched hand in both of his. “And it is an honour and a privilege to be welcoming you to my humble establishment.” Annis shook Luke’s hand vigorously.

    “It’s nice to meet you, Annis,” Luke managed to say, wondering why Mara had brought him there.

    “Come, my friends, come,” Annis urged them, leading the way to a small booth near the large windows which looked out over the Coruscant skyline. There was already a small hearth centerpiece on the table, over which an antique-looking teapot simmered, held up by a brass stand.

    “It is being a beautiful day,” Annis commented as they sat down, and looking out at the view Luke could not disagree. “Many of our patrons find it relaxing to be drinking their tea and watching the world go by,” he continued, clasping his hands in front of him. “And yet sir, your goodly wife says that you are much preferring hot chocolate to tea.”

    Luke shrugged sheepishly - he didn’t mind tea, and was happy to try whatever new brews Mara had purchased since she practically lived on the stuff. But it simply failed to satisfy his sweet tooth, no matter how many spoons of sucra he added.

    “Then she is to be bringing you to the right place,” Annis declared, and Luke found he was quickly getting used to the man’s slightly odd way of speaking. “Our humble establishment is to be having best hot chocolate on Coruscant.”

    Luke looked over at his wife who gave him a knowing look. He was starting to get an idea of what that day’s gift would be.

    “We are to be using no artificial capsules or powders here,” Annis continued. “All of our pods are to be natural and hand-sourced - so pure and delicate that one is not needing a processor to make - we simply add the pod to our milk (which is fresh daily from our very own duncow farm) and leaving for a few minutes to brew. I promise it is to be the best hot chocolate you ever tasted!”

    “And if its not?” Mara asked.

    Annis chuckled. “Please do be forgiving me, Madame, but if it was not, I do not think you would be bringing your husband here.”

    Luke laughed heartily at Mara being bested for once. He decided that he liked Annis - after all, anyone who was so passionate about chocolate was worth knowing. Even Mara looked like she’d discovered a newfound respect for the man.

    Annis clapped his hands and in a few moments a human woman appeared wearing the same style of blue robes. “My assistant, Dela,” he introduced her, and the young woman nodded in greeting. She carried two small ornate boxes roughly the size of her palm.

    “Madame, for you a fine chocolate and tang bark pod,” Annis declared. Dela opened one of the boxes she carried and showed the small umber-coloured chocolate pod with flecks of tan to Mara. When she nodded her assent, Annis took the small pot from its stand and poured a generous serve of steaming milk into her cup. Then Dela carefully took the chocolate pod and dropped it into the milk. It quickly dissolved and the delicious smell of chocolate, combined with the tangy sweetness of the bark extract, filled Luke’s nose and he breathed it in deeply.

    The sight made Annis chuckle. “Your wife was not telling me a lie when she said you loved chocolate, Master Skywalker. You are a man after my own hearts.” He rapped his knuckles on his chest three times to emphasise his point. “Your wife requested something most special for you.” He gestured to his assistant and flourished his hands as she opened the second box. Resting on blue velvet were two large chocolate pods of a deep russet colour, with thin swirls of what looked like pure cocoa.

    “These beans are very rare,” Annis told them seriously. “They come from the deepest jungles of Trammis III, where explorers must be braving attacks from the deadly akorec. This particular variety of the cacoa plant is taking over one hundred years to mature, which gives the bean a rich and deep flavour unparalleled to any other. I guarantee that you will not ever be tasting anything as beautifully decadent.” He poured the hot milk into Luke’s cup, and then removed the pods from the small box himself, carefully adding one and then the other to the milk.

    “Master Skywalker, I must be telling you that usually we only recommend one chocolate pod per cup,” Annis clasped him lightly on the shoulder. “But your wife is assuring me that you can handle it.”

    Luke smiled. “Thank you, I’m sure I can.”

    “I need a little kick in mine, Annis,” Mara told him, tapping the side of her cup lightly. “Remember?”

    “Ah, Madame, you are most correct.” Annis clasped his hands together and smiled. Dela withdrew a small bottle filled with amber liquid from her robes and poured a generous amount into Mara’s cup.

    “Master Skywalker?” she asked.

    “No, thank you,” Luke shook his head. “I take my straight.”

    “A true connoisseur,” Annis said without a hint of jest. “I hope you will be enjoying your experience, Master Jedi.” He bowed again. “If you are to be needing anything, please ask.” He and Dela bowed again and left them to their drinks.

    “You’ve been holding out on me,” Luke said, guessing by the familiarity with which Annis had addressed her that Mara was a regular.

    “Yes, well I was afraid once you found the place I’d never get you to leave,” Mara winked at him over the rim of her cup as she took a small sip. “Actually I only found it recently,” she continued as she put her cup down. “You have no idea how many caf-stops, cafés and chocolateries I had to comb through to find the best cup of hot chocolate on Coruscant.”

    Luke felt his smile grow wider. “You really did that?”

    “Well it wasn’t exactly a hardship,” she said dryly and took another sip from her cup. “Now hurry up and drink to see if it was worth it!”

    Luke looked down at his cup of hot chocolate which seemed to be finished brewing and was now a deep russet colour. It smelled amazing, and Luke took a few moments to inhale the scent; rich and full with a hint of underlying bitterness that cut through the sweet so not to make the aroma too cloying.

    Mara rolled her eyes. “The suspense is killing me, Luke.”

    “Well, we can’t have that,” Luke teased, and obediently lifted the cup to his lips. The beverage was smooth like shimmersilk on his tongue, the strong chocolate flavour assaulting and enlivening his tastebuds. It was like a liquid dream, the chocolate flavour so rich and complex it made his mouth sing. It was stronger than any hot chocolate he’d drunk before, and Luke was sure that from now on he’d be adding extra to the cups he made at home to try and replicate the taste.

    Mara was watching him from across the table, biting her lower lip to clamp down a smile. “Good?”

    “Mmmm.” Luke had no words. He closed his eyes as he took another sip, allowing the warm liquid to slosh around in his mouth as he savoured the intense flavour. The cup was empty all too quickly, and yet Luke felt supremely satisfied. “I don’t know how you’re going to top that, Mara,” he said, patting his belly appreciately.

    Mara’s eyes sparkled from across the table. “Now that’s a challenge.”

    Luke chuckled and looked around the room. “Do they sell pods to take home?”

    “Never satisfied, are you Skywalker,” Mara teased.

    “I’m just a forward thinker,” Luke replied with grin.

    “If you say so,” Mara said wryly. “They do in fact, and if you’re a very good boy Preeni Pi may leave some for you under the Festival Tree.” She leaned over the table conspiratorially and lowered her voice. “They also sell a kind of chocolate that is...not appropriate for consumption in a public place,” she said with a wink.

    Luke cleared his throat and looked over to where Annis was standing at the counter. “Bill please!”
    Gemma, Hazel, AzureAngel2 and 5 others like this.
  21. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    As another person who adores liquid and solid forms of chocolate, milk particularly, but also dark, [face_dancing] this is one place I would love to visit, frequently. =P~ The ambience is wonderfully elegant and I can literally almost smell and taste the chocolate!

    A perfect gift for Luke and yes, I think he'll enjoy the spreadable chocolate even more than the drinkable sort. [face_mischief]
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  22. ThreadSketch

    ThreadSketch Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 22, 2013
    AND HOT CHOCOLATE IS NOW CANON AGAIN. XD *does the chocolate dance*

    Srsly, wonderful setting and description of this treat. You, Kahara and Chyntuck are the queens of fic culture. ;)
    Gemma, AzureAngel2 and Nyota's Heart like this.
  23. JediMara77

    JediMara77 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 5, 2004
    Well, now I'm very glad someone sent our office a basket of Christmas goodies because I do believe I saw some chocolate in there... =D==P~
    Gemma, AzureAngel2 and Nyota's Heart like this.
  24. ginchy

    ginchy Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 25, 2005
    Now I want hot chocolate, too!!! What a perfect gift for Luke. Mara knows the way to her man's heart. [face_love] And I love reading about a little teahouse. With the whole of Coruscant there has to be little places like that with their own stories. Excellent day, and it seems like Luke might have gotten three gifts with that ending... [face_mischief]
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  25. Demendora

    Demendora Jedi Knight star 2

    Apr 9, 2010
    Yeah, Mara is definitely knows how to make her farmboy all happy and satisfied. To search all the Coruscant for the best cafee with the best chocolate on the planete just to see Luke enjoying his favourite drink. Who is sap now, Mrs.Skywalker? And the last part about their private chocolate party at home made me dreaming about small but hot shine. Are there a missing scene to read?
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