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Saga - OT Nothing's More Important/ Mara/Ezra, OTP Challenge

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Raissa Baiard, Mar 1, 2018.

  1. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Title: Nothing’s More Important
    Author: Raissa Baiard
    Timeframe: Saga, approx. 7 ABY
    Characters: Ezra Bridger, Mara Jade Blayne, mentions of other Rebels characters and OC’s
    Genre: mush, introspection
    Disclaimer: Contains major Marzra spoilers. Because I can’t keep my timeline in chronological order, ever. :p

    Much love to my good friends and fabulous beta-readers, @Ewok Poet and @Findswoman, for their support [face_love] [:D] @};-
    ------

    “Another meeting?” Mara’s green eyes glinted, one step short of the Look she used to quell unruly students and silence Imperial apologists, as she glared at Ezra across the breakfast table. “It’s our anniversary, and you’re going to be at another meeting?”

    Ezra sighed; he’d known this was coming. He’d known she wasn’t going to be happy that his work on Lothal’s Planetary Restoration Committee was taking him away from home again. It was a conversation he and Mara had been having a lot lately—or maybe an argument—but no matter how many times they had it nothing seemed to get settled. “I’m sorry, I know this is last minute, but the Ithorian representative is coming to brief us on the progress they’re making replanting the Westlands outside Capital City—”

    “You missed my birthday because you were at a Restoration Committee meeting.” She crossed her arms over her chest. “Now you’re going to miss our anniversary. This year of all years?”

    “I’m sorry,” Ezra said again. How many times was he going to have to say it? “I can’t help it.”

    She made a noise of frustration and half turned away from him. “You could if you wanted. You’re Lothal’s biggest hero. No one’s done more for this planet than you. You don’t think Ryder would let you out of one meeting if you asked?”

    “I thought you didn’t care about birthday parties and that kind of thing! You always said you didn’t want a big fuss before!”

    “I don’t want a fuss, but some recognition would be nice!” Mara’s chair made an angry scraping noise as she pushed away from the table. She gathered up her breakfast dishes, clanking her caf mug and bowl sharply. Ezra could sense her building up her shields, sealing her jumbled emotions behind them. Walling herself off from him. Her voice had lost its fire when she continued, “I never see you anymore. If you’re not teaching at the Academy, you and Luke are discussing how to get the Senate to agree to testing for Jedi candidates. If you’re not at the Academy, you’re in the City for a Committee meeting. Or you’re travelling to one of the restoration sites. It’s always something.” She turned away from the table, but not before Ezra noticed the gleam of tears in her eyes. “You don’t have to do everything yourself, you know.”

    “I know that, but Mara this is important!” He rose, reaching out to her.

    She ignored his outstretched hand and stalked into the kitchen. He almost couldn’t hear her words as the door swished shut behind her, “I thought nothing was more important than family.”

    ------

    Ezra sank back down into his chair. This wasn’t the way he’d pictured things would be. Wasn't everything supposed to be simple after they’d won the war? He and Mara had married after the Battle of Endor. They’d moved to Lothal, along with her family, and with Kanan and Hera, to establish a new Jedi Academy and aid in the planet’s restoration. When Ezra had found this old farmhouse, he’d had visions of building a life here with Mara, building a family—of jogan trees in bloom with kids and Loth-cats playing beneath them. Wasn’t this supposed to be their happily ever after?

    And at first, it seemed that way. It was still the two of them against the Galaxy, just like it had been on Yavin, on Hoth, at the Death Star. Thanks to Mara’s efforts to decrypt the Emperor’s private documents, they’d overcome the objections of those who felt the traitorous Jedi should on no account be allowed to train a new generation. The Academy grew slowly but steadily under Kanan and Doran’s leadership. Ezra coaxed the farm’s orchard back to life, and he and Mara would stroll through it in the evenings. A family of Loth-cats had taken up residence there, and they watched the kittens pouncing on fallen jogan blossoms and dreamed about having their own children someday soon.

    But things hadn’t stayed simple. The Empire’s operations—the strip mining that had ravaged the prairies, the pollution that still tainted the air and water—had taken a greater toll on Lothal than anyone realized. The more the Jedi Academy grew, the louder the opposition to it became.

    Ryder—once again Governor Azadi—had asked Ezra to chair the planetary restoration committee. He had a passion for Lothal and a talent for speaking, Ryder said, and as a Jedi and a war hero his voice carried great influence. Sometimes, though, Ezra didn’t feel very influential, particularly when the committee was locked in one of its interminable proceedings, playing by rules he didn’t understand. He felt like a jumped-up Loth-rat pretending to be a politician. He didn’t feel like the kind of Jedi who could negotiate a solution to anything; he’d rather cut through the knots with his lightsaber. Ezra felt spread too thin, like there were too many people depending on him—a whole planet full of them—and he couldn’t let them down.

    Instead, he’d let down the one he’d promised he’d always stand beside.

    When had all this—meetings, problems, obligations—come between him and Mara? Somehow, in the middle of the war, Ezra had always found a way to make time for the two of them: a picnic lunch in the jungle, a cup of hot chocolate in the halls of Echo Base, a stolen kiss before flying into battle. Why had it been so much easier to focus on her then?

    Focus… Kanan always told him he needed to focus. Maybe that was what Ezra needed right now. Maybe he was trying to do too many things at once. How could he possibly do any of them well? He needed to focus on what mattered most. Mara was right; there were other people who could handle things at the Academy—Doran, Kanan, Luke—and on the Restoration Committee—Ryder, Jai, Zare—but no one else who could fill his place in this family. And nothing was more important than that.

    It was time to set things straight.

    ——

    “What are you doing?”

    Ezra set down the knife and pushed back the jar of of tok nut butter as he turned around. Mara stood in the kitchen doorway, regarding him suspiciously. Her arms were crossed over her chest again, and her lips were set in a flat line.

    “Making a picnic.” Ezra gestured to the loaf of bread and the jars on the counter. “Remember how we used to do that back on Yavin? I know it’s not nearly as romantic as the waterfall clearing, but the jogan trees are in bloom. I thought it would be nice to have lunch in the orchard.” He smiled at her, reaching out in the Force, and hoped her shield weren’t too high for her to sense it. “You still like beebleberry jam on your tok nut butter sandwiches, right?”

    He caught the shift in her Force-sense as her frown turned from one of annoyance to one of confusion. “What about your meeting? Ryder—”

    “I commed him this morning and resigned as chair.”

    “Ezra!” Confusion turned into stunned surprise. She crossed the kitchen in three quick steps, shaking her head, and took his hand. “What happened? I thought the restoration was important to you! I thought you wanted to make sure Lothal was rebuilt!”

    “It is. I do...and I will, just not as chairman.” He pulled Mara closer and wrapped an arm around her waist. “I decided I need to take care of my own part of Lothal first. Because nothing’s more important to me than you...and Caleb.” Ezra laid his other hand against the curve of her abdomen and felt the bright spark of the child—his son, their son—growing there. “I was thinking about what you said. I don’t have a lot of memories of my parents. I don’t want Caleb’s memories of me to be that I was never here.” He leaned forward and kissed Mara’s forehead. “I don’t want that to be the way you think of me, either. So, does he like beebleberry jam, too?” In answer, there was a sudden, sharp thump beneath his hand. Ezra grinned like a moof-milker and laughed. “Did he just kick me?”

    “I wouldn’t put it past him; he is your son, after all.” Mara returned the grin as she pulled Ezra into a fierce embrace. “And yes, he approves of beebleberry jam.”

    “Good.” He held her and Caleb, his family—the family he’d always dreamed of having—letting his love flow over them in the Force, and he felt theirs in return. “I love you, Ace. I love both of you, more than anything else, and I promise you’ll always be the most important thing to me.”
     
    Anedon, Kahara, Chyntuck and 4 others like this.
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW! AND WHERE'D THE ROOF GO? As in singing the Pharrell Happy song. [face_dancing]

    So plausible that Ezra and Mara, my two darlings, would be able to setttle down on Lothal in a lovely setting with a jogan tree orchard & a bunch of loth-cats, and just be plain folks until :eek: obligations and war-hero status and the details of rebuilding the Jedi and Lothal caught up with them.

    Kanan is right about focus/priorities. @};- Ezra's problem at the start was rather a lot like Leia's: being good at what you do, wanting to make a difference and "being spread thin" until something snaps. :eek:
    So happy Ezra realized it just in time [face_relieved]

    A picnic with Thrawn's favorite sandwich [face_rofl] [face_mischief] and woot, there's a sweet reveal at the end. Mara's pregnant. How fantabulous!
    [face_love]

    But what's even more super-duper is that this thread is here at all. ^:)^ [:D] [:D]
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2018
  3. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Let's see if I can get there before Ny does, which is usually NOT an option... :p

    OK, I can't. I've been defeated...again! [face_rofl]

    This truly is the kind of a happy ending (to a certain point in time, that is) that somebody like Ezra, who suffered so much and lost so much, absolutely and totally deserves. An ending where his Master and his father-in-law are training a new generation of Jedi on Lothal, where his love is right by his side (and preggers!) when he's rebuilding the only homeworld he ever knew, with people he can trust. I can totally get how he got caught up amongst all those things and I am glad that he learned that he can truly have it all, with the right balance.

    Not to mention that I adore Zare Leonis and Jai Kell and that seeing them get the recognition they deserve here, as tireless young fighters and honourable men from day one is a thrill!

    The thoughts of wasteland left by the Empire are sad, though. Where are those Shapers when you need them? [face_monkey]

    It's very artistic. And, as all of Thrawn's views from various universes will say, it saves marriages! :eek:
     
  4. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 14, 2002
    This was a very good story.

    I found myself thinking it was such a pity that most records of the pre- Order 66 jedi had been lost, for the work and existence of their Agricultural Corps, would have been handy for helping Lothal's damaged soil and crops, and in turn, changing local minds.

    I liked the jumble of emotions behind her raised shields.

    But in hindsight, I'm surprised that the situation got this far.
    Being Force Sensetive, Ezra does not have the luxury of the RL male excuse of "not being ******* psychic", when their partner says they don't want a fuss about birthdays and anniversaries, and all the times that she said it was "Fine" when he had to leave for a meeting before.

    By the same token, these drokkers cannot teleconference? Ezra doesn't need to be in the room, if this Ithorian dude is only giving a progress report.

    I liked the list of stolen activities that the pair managed during the Galactic Civil War.

    The literalness that I understand isn't just me, struck when Mara claimed to never see him, but I put that down to how long they have been together, that he does not defensively challenge her use of the word.
    Did she need to send Poe out to find a map, so she could re-unite with hubby, like TFA's Leia had to do with Luke?

    Leia can play the 'never' card. Mara can't.

    If he hadn't been so Lothal cat-whipped, he would have reminded her that he was sitting right there, and saw her several times a month.

    The resolution was heart-warming, with him resigning to make more time for her, but I am reminded of a Chris Rock thing about femmes never being happy, and wait to see if Mara ever validates that by complaining that Ezra is under her feet all the time, and she just wants some space.

    My hang-ups aside, this was an excellent insight into the advanced years of their relationship, and a splendid response to the challenge.
    =D=
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2018
  5. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    A lovely look at a happily-ever-after! It's hard for Ezra to do a work-life balance, it's hard for him to say "no," and yes, Lothal is his home, his passion...in a way, restoring it is not only a way to secure a future for his children but also a way to hold on to his past and his parents since his memories of them are bound up in his memories of Lothal as it once was, the way he dreams it can be again. But he also needs to remember to 'focus on the here and now,' as Qui-Gon would say, and not lose his present while he chases the future.

    Exactly! Glad he figured it out, and I like the humble simplicity of a picnic of tok-nut butter and beebleberry jam sandwiches as a way to rekindle the romance.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2018
  6. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Thanks for writing this happy fic! The AU was so tragic at times & the new canon is as harsh as life can be.
     
  7. mavjade

    mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Sep 10, 2005
    It's always hard to see people fight, but it's realistic, people just don't always agree on things even when there's a lot of love between them. But when it resolves in such a sweet way, it's so worth it!

    This was so heartbreaking! He realizes he's letting other things control his life and he needs to make more time for other things. It can be hard to not try and do everything, but it just isn't possible and when you try other things suffer. It's nice to see how he realizes this.

    This was just so, so sweet and cute! [face_love] I'm sure it was terrifying for him to think about how he didn't really have a lot of memories with his parents and that his son might have the same thing happen if he didn't make a change.

    Great story and response to the challenge!! =D=
     
  8. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    I'm several parsecs behind on the Marzra'verse (heck, I'm several parsecs behind on Rebels!) but I thought that this was very sweet and a satisfying end-point for someone who, like me, has only read Star Crossed and skimmed through a few other stories in this continuity. Yes, Ezra is very dedicated to The Cause, and he would want to continue his work after the Rebellion's final victory against the Empire. But he also discovered, through the Ghost crew and through Mara, what it means to have a family, and this is something he wouldn't want to neglect because it was such an unexpected gift in his life. I also d'awww-ed when I saw that they named their son Caleb. Of course they would! What a great way to unite the various strands of their family life in the anticipation of the birth of their son.

    And now, I guess I need to go and read the rest of your stories to discover the secret meaning of tok nut butter and beebleberry jam sandwiches :D
     
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  9. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Oh, this is so, so sweet! What an incredible, wonderful treat to see Marzra—the couple that captured JCF Fanfic’s heart and still does so on a daily basis—at this beautiful stage, as young marrieds on the verge of starting a family! And even aside from that, this is a very well-thought-out AU: I lovethe leading role you’ve given Ezra in this AU as the leading of Lothal; there is no better man for that job, just as there are no better men than Messrs. Blayne and Jarrus for the task of founding a new Jedi Academy. Like EP, I was stoked to see Zare given a role in Lothal’s restoration, too, and it’s wonderful to see Ryder Azadi back at the helm as governor. Lothal is clearly once again the wonderful, beautiful, happening place it was always meant to be.

    Of course, as cool as it is to see Ezra so active in helping his homeworld heal, there is the other side to that coin, too—namely that it keeps taking him away from the person (people!) he loves most. I don’t blame Mara for being frustrated and feeling pushed to the wayside in all of this; it’s very believable for the situation. And I admire her for speaking up to her husband about it, in true Mara fashion—she has never been one to just stuff her feelings (Ezra never would have fallen in love with her if so, I think). Especially the way she reminds him of one of his own most important personal tenets: “nothing’s more important than family.”

    And that decides him. How could it not? I love that the first thing he does is to start preparing a picnic, complete with TASTY GOURMET toknut and beebleberry jam sandwiches, “their” snack. I can’t help but think back to their first picnic together in “Love and Other Stupid Poodoo,” not just because of the choice of repast but also in the way Ezra mentions the blooming jogan trees in the orchard (hearkening to the Song of Songs verse that helped prompt LOSP). A very sweet moment of intertextuality there!

    And I have to say, I really love that you saved the reveal of Mara’s pregnancy (squee!) for that sweet moment at the end. Of course, we do have a tiny hint at the beginning that something may be up, when Mara says “this year, of all years.” But putting the full reveal where you put it was just the perfect touch, and made the whole thing all the more effective. Yep, Ez, that’s your spirited, kicky boy, all right! :D And I love too that his presence doesn’t keep his parents from engaging in a passionate embrace of their own: kind of makes it all the more so, I’d say. The more tender Marzra moments, the better, in the GFFA and here in our own galaxy! :ezra: [face_love]

    Thanks for another wonderful addition to the ongoing Marzra romance; these two are always such a joy to read. And echoing Nyota, the biggest joy here is the fact that you rebounded and wrote this to begin with! =D= =D= =D=
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018
  10. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Thak you so much! Somehow, I knew you'd enjoy it :D Before all the Very Emotional Events of Season 4 of Rebels, I had this lovely little happily-ever-after planned for my AU. I felt that Ezra would want to go back to Lothal, and with a Jedi Temple there, it would be the ideal place for a new Academy. Maybe not an ordinary life, but Ezra and Mara have never been your ordinary couple.

    Kanan's been right about a lot of things, and I think Ezra realizes that even more as he matures. Ezra's problem was very similar to Leia's--that wanting to make a difference and filling up his time with work until there's hardly any time for the people he loves. But just like Leia, he sees what's happening and resolves to do something about it.

    Ezra would like it known that he was making this particular sandwich long before Thrawn was :D His cooking skills are epic! The little reveal was another aspect I had planned out long before the series finale. Hey, it's an AU, why not make it really happy, right?
    Thanks :D It's not just a happily-ever-after for Mara and Ezra... both their Space!Families get to share in the joy and the renewal, both of Lothal and the Jedi Order. And yes, the Space!Family is growing. It takes them some time to adjust, but it will be worth the effort.

    I was so happy to see Jai return at the end of Season 4 He was such a stalwart member of the Lothal rebellion, I know he'd want to carry on the good work. Zare, too; in the Servants of the Empire books, you learn that his parents are agricultural scientists, so Zare may bring some very useful skills to the restoration.

    Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it! Perhaps that's the next thing Mara needs to turn her mad slicing skillz to; I bet the Emperor had those records in some secret archive.

    Some good points here. It probably shouldn't have gotten to this point, but Ezra may be a Jedi, but he's still Human, with Human fallibility and the Human propensity to see what he wants to see. Still, teleconferencing could be a reasonable compromise for them in the future.
    I guess this is where married female author and single male reader have different points of view :D Of course Mara doesn't mean she literally never sees Ezra; most people don't really mean "never" when they use it that way. However, if he'd suggested to Mara that seeing her several time a month and wasn't that good enough for her, Ezra probably would have been sleeping in the orchard with the Loth-cats. Seeing one's spouse a few times a month is not really sufficient for most people. I don't think it makes Ezra "whipped" to realize this.
    Oh, that's a lovely point about Lothal being both his past, a link to his parents, and the future for his new family. But he can't be so focused on either the past or the future that he loses the present with Mara and their son.

    [/quote] Sometimes the simplest gestures are the most touching. The picnic reminds them both of the things they've shared together over the years.
    Thank you! Mara and Ezra have been through a lot, but they get through it together. Now that they've rekindled that bond, they can continue to work towards that ever-after.
    Yes, love doesn't guarantee the road will always be smooth, but it can help make those rough patches easier to get through. Ezra realizes that truly the most important thing is that love-- for Mara and for their son. The other issues are important, but ultimately take a second place o his family.

    This was just so, so sweet and cute! [face_love] I'm sure it was terrifying for him to think about how he didn't really have a lot of memories with his parents and that his son might have the same thing happen if he didn't make a change.

    Great story and response to the challenge!! =D=[/QUOTE]I think Ezra's got a lot of emotions about becoming a father. Family is so important to him after losing his parents at such a young age, and he wants to be the best father he can be, to be there for his son in a way his father couldn't be for him. Thanks and glad you enjoyed it!
    Thank you! The Marzra'verse has become bigger than ! ever expected (though as far as the Marzra'verse is concerned--Season 4? What Season 4? :D) Yes, the Ghost's crew has really taught Ezra what it means to belong to a family again, and now he has a chance to build a new family with the woman he loves. I'm glad you liked their choice of name for their son; it just felt perfect to me. (His full name is Caleb Ephraim, honoring both Ezra's master and his father. Yes, I may have their children planned out a little too much ;))

    As far as tok nut butter and beebleberry jam sandwiches--in one of the early chapters of Teenage Rebellion, Ezra makes a picnic for the two of them, featuring the sandwiches, and they later @Ewok Poet wrote an award fic for me, where Thrawn's cooking skills are also truly epic.
    Awww, well thank you so much! [face_love] I think the future of the Jedi Academy's gooing to take a very different path in this AU, since Luke isn't going it alone. He's got some experienced Jedi--not just Kanan and Doran, but Raissa and the whole Blayne family--there, too. Lothal is in good hands and is definitely on its way to becoming one of the lights of the Outer Rim.

    Yep, Mara's always been very open about her feelings with Ezra, from that first date to their first "I love you"s and all through their time together on Yavin. And I think you're right that Ezra admires that about her, even if it does mean he has to confront some uncomfortable realities sometimes. But we all need someone we love to point out these things to us at times, and Mara's forthrightness reminds Ezra of what's really important in his life
    They really are a couple who enjoys the romance of small moments rather than huge, perfectly planned events, from the picnic in the Bouskoura Forest to the ones in their waterfall clearing on Yavin. It doesn't matter if the food is gourmet cooking or a TB&J sandwich, the romance is in spending the time with each other. [face_love]

    :D Thanks! I couldn't resist introducing Caleb. You know he's going to be as cute and lively as the young Ezra we see climbing over Mira in the Bridgers' holo! And yes, why shouldn't Mara and Ezra still embrace? It's that love that ties their family together, now and in the future.
     
  11. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    Nice story :)
    I`m glad Ezra got the happy end he deserves after all he went through. Its intresting seeing him together with Mara in this. They defenetly seem to care a lot for each other and its nice to see Ezra giving up his responsibilities to spent more time with his wife and future child.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018
  12. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    I adore this. You have our familiar Mara being so, well, Mara, and I still see that goofy street rat in Ezra. I love your Marzraverse, and I love the AU where everyone gets a happy ending. Beautiful and sweet story!
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018