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Beyond - Legends Play your Hand (Luke/Mara) Complete! Dec 22nd

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Annia Piet, Nov 29, 2015.

  1. Annia Piet

    Annia Piet Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Feb 7, 2015
    Title: Play your Hand
    Timeframe: Beyond (immediately after the The Last Command)
    Genre: romance
    Canonicity: Legends AU.(The end is AU, the rest is not incompatible with Legends canon I guess)
    Type: short
    Characters: Luke/Mara, with supporting interference from Han, Leia, Karrde and a few other Legends characters
    Summary: Immediately after The Last Command, Mara sets to work trying to put together an agreement between the Smugglers Alliance and the New Republic. Luke, meanwhile, is getting a bit ahead of himself in terms of exactly what Mara has committed to…
    Other information: this story is already completed and I shall be posting it a bit of a time over the next few weeks.

    A/N: I felt in the mood to try and write a L/M romance. This story covers well trod ground and probably doesn’t add very much original – there are many stories that have been written pushing them together during this era. But it’s one of my favourite L/M subgenres, which is why I wanted to try my hand at it myself. I have to add in an apologetic tone that I have little experience writing romance and I don’t think I’m very good at it, so sorry in advance for the hackneyed plot devices and cheesy romantic scenes!

    The section in italics at the start is, of course, quoted from the Last Command and copyright to that and of course the entire setting and all the characters belongs to Timothy Zahn, Lucasfilm and the Mouse.

    Play your Hand

    “What’s this?” Mara asked, frowning.

    “It’s my old lightsaber,” Luke told her quietly. “The one I lost at Cloud City, and nearly got killed with at Wayland.” He held it out. “I’d like you to have it.”

    She looked at him, startled. “Me? Why?”

    He shrugged self-consciously. “Lots of reasons. Because you earned it. Because you’re on your way to becoming a Jedi and you’ll need it. Mostly, though, because I want you to have it.”

    Slowly, almost reluctantly, she took the weapon. “Thank you.”

    “You’re welcome.” He touched her hand again. “I’ll be in the conference room with the others. Come on down when you’re decided.”

    Luke let his hand drop from where it rested on hers and turned to walk away slowly across the Palace roof. He kept his emotions under control, hoping Mara wouldn’t pick up on how nervous he was about her response. He didn’t expect any immediate answer, knowing the worst thing he could possibly do with the woman was try to push her into something before she wanted it. But still, the conversation had gone well. She seemed to be genuinely considering the Smugglers Alliance liaison role. If she accepted that, that would mean she would be based from Coruscant for the foreseeable future, and so she could continue training with him. She had even seemed to accept the idea of becoming a Jedi when he gave her his old lightsaber – at least, she hadn’t outright rejected the suggestion.

    He felt his heart lift slightly. She had accepted his gift. And not used it to dismember him in any way. Their past was now behind them, and they could start afresh. Something like friendship seemed to be growing between them, and the friendship of someone like her, a Force sensitive who was one of the few people in the Galaxy who understood what a burden that truly was, was something that gave him joy. Now the Thrawn threat was dealt with, maybe there would be peace enough to start his real life’s work. And maybe, just maybe, he’d found someone to help him do it.

    As he rested his hand on the door tab, sliding the door open, he felt filled with a sense of peace and hope for the first time in a long time.

    “Hang on a minute,” came Mara’s voice from behind him. “I’ll come with you.”

    He turned to her and a broad smile spread across his face, feeling from her that this was a yes, an acceptance. He held the door open as she walked to join him, and as they headed down the stairwell, rejoiced inside that it was time to get on with the future.

    ***


    The door slid open and Mara stepped into the Organa-Solo apartment, only to stop short at the scene of chaos that met her. Baby related items appeared to be scattered absolutely everywhere for no reason she could discern, and their golden protocol droid was wandering forlornly round the apartment trying to pick up stray socks and cuddly toys. A large dining table in the middle of the shared area was spread with datapads and layers of flimsiplast sheets with Han Solo and the aide Winter going through them. From an adjoining kitchen came smells and sounds of cooking and Mara glanced into it to see Leia Organa-Solo attempting to cook some form of elaborate greasy breakfast. ‘Attempting’ was a generous term as the amount of mess and smoke being created in the process suggested this was not one of the politician’s strong points. Mara wondered why she was bothering when a droid could do it much more efficiently. From the lounge area at the other end of the apartment came a gurgling sound and Mara glanced over, only to step back in alarm to see a small baby apparently hovering of it’s own accord above the loungers, giggling happily.

    Solo’s attention was drawn by the noise as well. “I really wish you wouldn’t do that kid,” he drawled, but didn’t exactly sound concerned. He looked up at Mara, apparently just noticing her entrance. “Oh hi Mara, come on in. Just in time for a traditional Corellian breakfast. Take a seat.”

    The baby abruptly dropped out of the air, but no scream of injury ensued and instead Luke’s head appeared from behind the concealment of the loungers. “Hi Mara,” he smiled up at her. He was now holding the infant in his arms, the child seeming quite content.

    “What are you doing here?” she asked, confused.

    “Oh, he’s just gonna look after the kids while we work. Otherwise it’ll be constant distractions. Ignore him,” Solo told her.

    Leia bustled in balancing several plates covered in greasy bits of meat and starch based products. “Have you eaten yet, Mara? I hope you don’t mind us breakfasting while we talk? Eating while working seems to be the only way to fit everything in at the moment.”

    “You ever had a traditional Corellian breakfast, Mara?” Han asked. “It’s the best in the galaxy!”

    “Can’t say I have,” she answered cautiously, setting her satchel down on the table and taking a seat.
    “One of these will keep you going for the rest of the day. Proper smugglers fare this is.”

    Leia placed a plate in front of her and Mara examined it carefully. There was some form of egg with a gooey blue yolk, some singed root vegetables, and meat in at least three different forms, all extremely, if not over, done. It didn’t look appetizing exactly, but the smell of it did make her stomach rumble.

    She tucked into the food, grateful for the cover for how disconcerted she felt. The Organa-Solo’s had invited her over for a breakfast meeting to discuss the on-going negotiations between the Smugglers Alliance and the New Republic officials. Thrashing out a workable deal was proving challenging to say the least, and since agreeing to take on the liaison role, the brunt of it was falling on her. Despite the faith of all parties in her abilities, political negotiations were entirely out of her experience and skill set, and every day it seemed like either the brazen profiteering of the smuggler chiefs or the distrust of crooks of the government officials were going to scupper the whole thing.

    Word of the problems had apparently got back to Leia, who had called Mara into her political office the previous day for a quick chat. The quick chat had turned into a plan of action, and this morning was the convening of Leia’s ‘action group’ of specialists: Han Solo, former smuggler and Rebel General; Winter Retrac, former intel gatherer and experienced political aide; and of course Leia Organa-Solo herself, with all her years of political acumen and most importantly, experience of dealing with difficult smugglers (well, one in particular, but she insisted that was more than enough). As they ate, Solo started straight into how he thought they should address the problems, and soon Leia and Winter joined him with counterpoints and insights into the people Mara was dealing with.

    “Why do you care so much?” She found herself interjecting at one point. “It seems to matter a lot to you that we make this work.”

    Solo chuckled. “It’ll save me a lot of trouble, kid, that’s why. Before this crisis, the New Republic had me wandering round the galaxy trying to talk the fringe types into working with us. That’s how we fell into Karrde’s lap, if you recall. Now the babies are here, I’d much rather stay home with them, y’know? So if we can get this to work…”

    “I won’t need to babysit so much,” Winter put in. “Which would be a relief, as it’s really not my forte.”

    Leia laughed. “You don’t do so badly.”

    “I’d rather leave the men to do it. They seem to enjoy it more.”

    Mara glanced to where Luke was still lying on the floor entertaining the twin babies. It was a strange sight that didn’t jibe with the Jedi image everyone seemed to have of him. But then, Luke was a confusing mix of traits at the best of times. Doting uncle shouldn’t be such a surprise, really. She dragged her attention back to the table.

    “So, what do you think we should do about Mazzic’s demands?” she asked. The conversation re-focused, and Mara found that she enjoyed the no-nonsense, problem solving approach they took. It was easy to forget now that it was peacetime that these were all former soldiers, veterans of a long war. But some attitudes die hard.

    Eventually all the food was either eaten or had gone cold and congealed in the grease on the plates. Strategies were devised and plans of action made. Mara glanced at her crono and saw she only had fifteen minutes to the first negotiation session of the day, but now she felt more prepped than for days and felt confident there was a way through the previously intransient problems. She thanked the Organa-Solo’s and got up to leave. The rest of them also got up, Winter and Leia also realizing they needed to get off to their own meetings, and Han starting to clear away the mess from breakfast with help from C-3PO. Across the room, Luke also got up and gently laid the twins one at a time in their shared crib. “Wait up a moment, Mara,” he called from across the room. She paused at the door.

    “Do you have any space in your schedule for some training today?” he asked mildly. With the hectic pace of negotiations over the last few days, the habitual daily session they had fallen into since Wayland had fallen by the wayside.

    She frowned. “I don’t know,” she said regretfully. A little downtime would be welcome right now, but the talks were stretching long into the night. She faintly wondered when she’s started seeing the time with Luke as ‘downtime’.

    “Nothing at all?” he asked mildly, sounding a little disappointed.

    “Well…” she pursed her lips. “I do have gym time scheduled in still. That’s non-negotiable. But if we can make the session today some lightsaber practice, I guess that counts as gym time?”

    His eyes flicked down to his – no her – lightsaber at her belt and then smiled back up at her. She could sense how pleased he was. “That sounds like a plan. Comm me when you get out.”


    She nodded, and palmed the door key.
     
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  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_dancing] [face_dancing] Wonderful! This is a very plausible segue into L/M spending time together, first over strategy sessions and then sparring. And seeing Luke with babies would soften any woman up. [face_laugh] [face_love] [face_love]
     
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  3. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 1, 2004
    I like that line. :p I agree with Nyota's Heart, they need to spend time together.
     
  4. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2005
    This is one of my favourite types of fics! I never get tired to reading them.

    Ha! Great line, and I loved seeing that scene from Luke's perspective. Love the domestic setting, and the idea of Mara and Leia working together (hopefully building on the friendship begun in TTT that was sorely neglected and then forgotten by the EU). And Luke in a domestic setting, playing with babies? [face_love]
     
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  5. Briannakin

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

    Registered:
    Feb 25, 2010
    OH! I love fics like these! If you are willing, please tag or PM me when you update.

    I love seeing Luke as the doting uncle and Mara sticking around to help the New Republic. This line though, made me laugh

     
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  6. Irish_Jedi_Jade

    Irish_Jedi_Jade Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 2007
    I LOVE this!!!!!!!! More more more please!!! Are you doing a PM list?? Can I be on it??

    Love the idea of Luke babysitting. Haha, I always imagined he would be the uncle who took kids to get ice cream and candy and brought them home all sugared up but then stayed to get them to sleep :) Yayyyyy L/M!!!
     
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  7. Annia Piet

    Annia Piet Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Feb 7, 2015
    Thanks for the kind words folks :) And you want them to spend some more time together? Oh OK then! ;) Here's the next part Irish_Jedi_Jade Briannakin

    Part 2

    Mara shifted her balance from one foot to another, lightsaber out in front of her, evaluating what his next move would be. It was mid-evening, but this was just a break in the negotiations. Everyone else around the table was probably eating or reviewing notes, but she’d instead opted for the promised sparring session. The talks had gone better today after the Organa-Solo’s suggestions, but she still had a lot of frustration to work out and nothing was as good for that as exercise.

    “You’re too tense,” Luke commented. “You’re communicating way too much because of the tension in your posture. I can read you easily.”

    “That’s because this job is making me tense, farmboy!” she bit out, and flew in at him again, striking quick hard blows in at his defenses, hoping her speed and agility would get her past. It was useless of course, and he just batted them away with a smile of amusement. He was right of course, damn him.

    “You need to centre yourself. Feel calm, at peace. Then the Force will guide your actions.”

    She stopped and lowered her blade for a moment, giving him a hard stare. “I don’t want to feel at peace right now, Skywalker. I want to work off some frustration.”

    He raised an eyebrow at that, finding it amusing in some way she didn’t quite catch. “Lightsaber practice probably isn’t the best way to resolve that you know.”

    She brought her blade up again and struck back in.

    “What’s…”

    The blades connected and Luke stepped back under the force of it.

    “…that…”

    She struck again and again, pressing her advantage, making him retreat back across the floor.

    “…supposed…”

    He parried back, ducking under her blade as it started to swing out of her control, displaying an agility that surprised her.

    “…to mean?!”

    He grabbed her wrist from behind her and she found herself twisted around and up against the wall of the practice area in a move better suited to her hand to hand combat training. The only part of him that touched her was the hand on her wrist – not even his real hand, she recalled – but she felt his heavy breath on her face. Ten different ways to twist out of the position and turn the tables on him again passed through her mind, but for some reason she just stayed in place, breathing hard.

    To her surprise, he laughed gently, kindly. It wasn’t a cruel sound, and it confused her. He was nothing like the instructors of her past.

    “Only that it’s very hard to use a lightsaber well without drawing on the Force. And that is better done when centered and calm. If you use it to vent frustration, anger… you could come close to drawing on the dark side. And that’s not a good idea.” He released her hand, and she let it drop, lightsaber extinguishing. “If you need catharsis, you’d be better off finding another outlet.” He stepped back, the tension of the moment seeping away.

    “What do you use?” she asked with narrowed eyes. They walked slowly back to the centre of the practice area. Luke shrugged in that farmboy way of his.

    “Well, obviously, there’s meditation. That’s the way Jedi are taught to manage their emotions. But I also like to tinker – with machinery, droids, my ship, whatever. I find the process of using my hands and working through the logic of it very soothing for some reason. Have done since I was a kid.” He glanced at her. “Do you have anything like that?”

    She shrugged uncomfortably.

    “You said your gym time was your non-negotiable time of the day. What about that?” he pressed.

    “Yes, I suppose,” she conceded. “I was always taught to make sure I stay at my physical peak. You can’t let that drop, even for a day. If not on a mission, I always exercise, no matter what.”

    “That doesn’t sound like catharsis, more like duty and routine.”

    “I suppose not. I do enjoy exercise though. Everything is more simple when things are just… physical.”

    Luke nodded. “My master used to use physical exercise as a conduit towards clearing the mind.”

    “As you say though, it’s not catharsis. For that… I suppose dancing does that for me.”

    “You dance?” He sounded surprised.

    “Of course. I was taught from a young age. It made for a useful cover, and is an excellent form of physical conditioning and discipline. But I enjoyed… enjoy the outlet it gives me. For, um, expression.” The last was hard to confess to out loud.

    “I’d like to see that,” Luke said quietly.

    Mara snorted and looked at him like he was mad. “I’m not dancing for you, farmboy. Or anyone else.”

    “Sorry. I just thought, if you’re feeling frustrated and need an outlet right now, that might help.”


    “Not a chance.” She closed the subject by settling into engarde position and igniting her lightsaber again. Luke shrugged in defeat and followed her lead, and they resumed their practice.
     
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  8. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    =D= Loved the discussion about how to vent frustration and the benefits of exercise and/or dancing. ;)
     
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  9. Briannakin

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

    Registered:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Hehehe. Such a Mara line. Great update!
     
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  10. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 1, 2004
    For some reason when I read about her dancing I was picturing scenes from the movie Flashdance. I have a feeling dancing might be relaxing for Mara, but Luke would lose his center and calmness. :p
     
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  11. Annia Piet

    Annia Piet Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Feb 7, 2015
    Jedi_Lover Flashdance?! Bwa ha ha! I hadn't imagined it that way before, but now I do! Probably best if poor Luke doesn't see any of her dancing at this point though ;)

    New update - rather short one today. Tagging Briannakin and Irish_Jedi_Jade

    Part 3

    With the most contentious points getting resolved piece by piece, the negotiations started to settle into a more regular routine, sorting through the more intricate details. Strategy sessions with the Organa-Solo’s had become less necessary, and yet the breakfast meetings continued, somehow becoming part of Mara’s routine. After a couple of weeks, she seemed to have been accepted into the family’s morning routine, and she didn’t even know how to extricate herself from the arrangement anymore. It seemed to be just expected that she would turn up each morning, and she had to admit the food was good and filling – at least when Han was cooking.

    Luke was a regular attendee at family breakfast too, and other friends such as Wedge Antilles, who Mara had met briefly before, often dropped in when they were around. It seemed to be that the Solo’s, with their hectic lives and endless crisis, kept their social lives and friendships intact through the eternal act of sharing food together – even if the only opportunity to do that was breakfast. It sometimes reminded Mara of meals in the mess room with Karrde’s crew, just with added babies, political gossip, and general chaos.

    Force practice sessions with Luke fell into a more regular pattern again, often with Leia in attendance as well, when her duties allowed. Mara found herself bemused by the life Luke led, now that there were no imminent crises his Jedi skills were needed to avert.

    “What do you actually do all day?” she blurted out abruptly one day when they were having some caf together after one of his training sessions.

    “Do?” he looked at her quizzically. “How do you mean ‘do’?”

    “Well, you know, what do you do with all your time when you’re not being sent off on some mission for the New Republic? You seem to just be hanging round the Palace all the time at the moment.”

    He laughed. “Oh, I see what you mean. Yes I suppose it must look like that. After all, what’s a Jedi Knight without a Jedi Order?” He took a sip of that sweet chocolate concoction he seemed to enjoy – a child’s drink, she’d always thought. At least, on Coruscant it was. “Which is really the answer to the question, of course. I mean, I get dragged into all sorts of things for the government – sometimes just trotting out their Jedi for the look of it, which is no end of annoying, but also sometimes to utilize my abilities. But at the moment, mostly, I’m trying to work out how to re-establish that order. So I’m not just the last anymore.”

    “Oh. So how do you do that?”

    “Well, that’s the thing. The Empire destroyed as much as physically possible of the Jedi - the Temple, the archives, holocrons, everything they could. But bits and pieces survive. I didn’t train long enough to learn directly from my master all the history and traditions of the order, so I’m trying to find everything I can and piece it back together – work it all out again.”

    “So… you’re trying to recreate what existed before?”


    “Yes, I suppose so. But of course the order is nothing with just history books. I need to find people too – other Force sensitives – to join the order. Having you and Leia of course is a great step forward – I’m not on my own any more.” He smiled that open smile of his at her and placed a hand on hers, and the rejection of his assumption she would be part of his new order stuck in the back of her throat. He was so full of hope, a sensation that was so alien to her, it was hard to crush that. She found she enjoyed their chats together, his open and easy nature new to her. This must be what a normal friendship is like, she thought.
     
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  12. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    I love the fact that Mara is becoming part of the Solo circle of friends, despite herself. :) And that she is liking her chats with Luke, as well. His open warm nature would be a draw to anyone [face_love] [face_love] Very natural that Luke would be trying to piece things back together and yet he can also start from scratch as well, take the good from the prior Order and leave out the not-so-much. [face_thinking] [face_laugh] Starting with the non-attachment rule. Trash that one! ;) I like very much that Mara is not as prickly and defensive about friendship and about training. :cool:
     
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  13. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 1, 2004
    That got me thinking...does he want to mimic the old order or should he build his own? Obviously the previous order had its flaws or else they wouldn't have been so easily destroyed by one Sith. [face_thinking] Personally I think the New Jedi order was a better institution than the old.

    I like the fact that Mara hesitates to reject Luke's belief that her and Leia will be part of his new order. I think she is falling under his spell. She cannot resist his farmboy charm. :p

    Nice update. I like short updates. I can read them quickly with my busy schedule. If I scroll down a fic update and it looks like 6-8 thousand words I put off reading it until the weekend and then I forget. Keep up the good work.
     
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  14. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2005
    I love the easy way they have with each other, and yet they're still not quite close, perfect for this period of time and what well written sparring scene!

    And the idea of a family breakfast with friends popping in and out is lovely and its nice to see Mara being a joiner for once - and asking Luke what he actually does all day! [face_laugh]
     
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  15. Briannakin

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

    Registered:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Oh, I love seeing Mara and Luke just as friends during this time. I enjoy how forward she is with him in this!
     
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  16. Annia Piet

    Annia Piet Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Feb 7, 2015
    Thanks folks. I take the state their new friendship seems to be at in the Last Command epilogue as my starting point for how their relationship would be at this point. They seem relaxed and comfortable with each other there, so it makes sense to me for that to continue to develop. Unless, of course, Luke gets over enthusiastic and pushes her too far - but he'd never do that, would he? ;)

    As to Luke's plans for the Jedi... well there's more of that to come. Here's the next installment. Tagging Briannakin and Irish_Jedi_Jade

    Part 4

    Not for the first time, it occurred to Mara that Luke might have a slightly bizarre sense of humour. She was balancing upside down on her hands, facing in a triangle formation the famed Rebel and Jedi Luke Skywalker and the senior New Republic leader Leia Organa Solo doing the same. A range of random objects floated around them. It was frankly surreal.

    “I can feel your thoughts drifting Mara. Stay focused,” came Luke’s admonition, as he simultaneously swayed a leg out to one side while lifting the opposite hand off the ground to leave him balanced on just the other hand. Show off, she thought at him, and could swear she saw a slight quirk of his lips in response, despite his closed eyes.

    Leia wasn’t faring as well at the task though. She was barely managing to stay upright on just two hands with a great deal of sweating and grunting. For Mara, with her background in extreme physical training and her regular workouts, the task was challenging but not impossible. In her teens she would have found the physical aspect to be nothing compared to the difficulty of the Force aspect, although she had to confess the physical part was now more challenging than it had once been. For Leia, who whilst usually physically fit had never had that kind of athletic and gymnastic training, and what’s more whose body was still recovering from childbirth just a few months before, the task was far beyond her physical ability.

    “Remember, if you can harness the Force, it will take away your awareness of the physical discomfort, strengthen your limbs, and open you up to what is around you. Leia, you need to stop focusing on the sensation in your arms, but instead focus on your relationship with what is around you.”

    Leia just grunted, and then a moment later collapsed in a pile on the ground with a loud selection of swear words that were a surprise coming from a royal mouth. A couple of small objects near to her fell to the floor with a thud. Mara eyed Luke for his reaction, wondering whether to roll out of her own position in sympathy. An almost imperceptible sigh went through his body, and objects gently floated to the ground as he brought legs and arms together to finish the exercise. Mara tried to lower the few things she’d been levitating with questionable success, and rolled out of her handstand with a grace born out of long practice rather than any Force ability.

    “I’m sorry Luke, I just cannot do this at the moment!” Leia bit out with frustration, pushing herself up and walking over to pick up a towel that was now pooled in the middle of the floor. She wiped her brow, avoiding making eye contact with her brother.

    “It’s alright Leia,” Luke soothed calmly. “I know it seems impossible on the outside. I wasn’t used to these kinds of acrobatics before I started training under Yoda either. The secret is in realising that this isn’t a physical task, but a mental one. The muscle strength in your arms is irrelevant if you just allow the Force to strengthen and guide your actions.”

    “I just don’t think this is where my natural abilities lie!”

    “Well, that’s why we need to work on honing them. You’re already good at manipulating the Force in matters concerning the mind – you’ve probably been doing that for years without even realising it, enhancing your natural leadership skills. It’s this ability to channel the Force in physical ways that really needs work.”

    “Well maybe I’m just not ready for that yet.”

    Mara eyed the twins carefully, not sure if she should get involved in the discussion. She understood the principles of what Luke meant. In fact, her own limited training in the Force under Palpatine had focused to a great extent on this enhancement of her physical abilities, to make her a better killer. That and her ability to communicate directly with him. But she had learnt those skills throughout an entire childhood of training. Leia had been training over a number of years, on and off, it was true, but she had nothing like the physical grounding needed for this sort of thing. Mara wondered if Luke was being unfair.

    “Does it really matter?” she asked him. “Does she really need to master the physical side of things, to be a Jedi?”

    Her words broke the confrontation between the siblings. Luke frowned.

    “I don’t know. I think so, if you’re to have true mastery of the Force. I don’t think it’s a pick and choose what you want kind of thing.”

    “You don’t think?” Mara asked. “Don’t you know?”

    Luke looked between the two women. “In all honesty, no. I’ve told you this before. My training was so short – and it did focus on this kind of physical ability, to prepare me to battle…” He left ‘Vader’ and ‘the Emperor’ unsaid, but they all knew. “And I know from my research that the Jedi of old were capable of some amazing physical feats. And even if you don’t proactively go off into battle, it will also help you to keep safe, keep the twins safe. But is it necessary? I don’t honestly know.”

    Mara felt a mix of sympathy and frustration. What were they even all doing there? She didn’t know why Leia, one of the most influential politicians in the Galaxy, would want to consider putting that aside to be a Jedi. She didn’t even know why she herself was still sticking around, letting Luke teach her, when this was the ideal time in her life to put all that behind her and walk away from the Force and all the dark influence it had had over her life once and for all.

    She examined Luke, who was looking unusually non-plussed. For some reason it was so very hard to walk away from this man and all his hopes and aspirations for something new. It would be letting him down, in some way. Mara shook her head at her own thoughts. I don’t owe him anything, she told herself sternly.

    “Let’s leave it for today,” Leia said with a great sigh. “I’m just tired and haven’t had much sleep with the babies…. It’ll go better next time, I’m sure.” She stepped over to Luke and laid a reassuring hand on his arm, which he gratefully turned into a brief conciliatory embrace.

    Mara watched them, feeling a strange trace of… what? Envy? What must it be like to be so close, to have family?

    Again she shook the thought away. Spending all this time with the Organa-Solo’s seemed to be getting to her. She really needed to snap out of it.
     
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  17. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    =D= Wonderful stuff here! The reflections by Mara on how her training emphasized certain things while downplaying others. Interesting that Leia has been using the mental facets (almost automatically, it seems) while having problems with the physical side. I can tell it was very frustrating and a little daunting for Luke to admit that he is out of water when it comes to knowing what is and isn't necessary.

    I do agree that it isn't a pick and choose thing and that physical training will keep one safer than otherwise against an opponent who will not listen to anything.

    I liked reading Mara's feelings that if she left she would be letting Luke down or disappointing him, and that she wonders what it would be like to have a family -- oh yes. She's melting and so am I. [face_love]
     
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  18. Briannakin

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

    Registered:
    Feb 25, 2010
    HAHA! SO the truth comes out: Luke actually has no idea what he is doing.

    Great update. I like seeing the dynamic of Luke training Leia and Mara.
     
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  19. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2005
    Loved seeing Luke, Mara and Leia training together!
     
  20. Annia Piet

    Annia Piet Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Feb 7, 2015
    :) The idea of Luke, Leia and Mara as the starting point of a new, very different Jedi Order has always intrigued me - they each bring such a different set of experiences and perspectives. Wouldn't it have been amazing if Legends had let us see how that dynamic could have evolved?! But instead the Jedi Academy trilogy swiftly dismissed the two women Zahn had set up as Luke's two first apprentices and gave us some Marty Stu's instead... (honestly I'm not still bitter! ;) ). We could have had it aaaaalll! etc ;)

    Any way, here's the next instalment; tagging Briannakin and Irish_Jedi_Jade

    Part 5

    About three weeks in, Karrde arrived back on planet. He’d left as soon as his Vornskrs, Sturm and Drang, had recovered from their injuries on Wayland, mainly to get out to visit his crews in person to calm their jitters since he’d dropped out of circulation to go after her. It had also been to let Mara have the space to establish herself as liaison without seeming to have her strings pulled by him – there needed to be some illusion of independence, even though she was currently still employed by him.

    The Wild Karrde docked just before dawn and he commed her immediately. Of course Karrde was used to her being up from the crack of dawn, and didn’t know her daily routine had changed lately. He asked her to come over to meet on board ship straight away.

    When she wandered into his small office, he looked up from his datapad and clocked the strong cup of caf in her hand, and had the decency to look a little apologetic.

    “Ah Mara, I’m sorry, I’m still on ship time and it’s midday here. I hope I didn’t drag you out of bed.”

    “Don’t worry about it, it was time to be up anyway.”

    “Have you had breakfast? I’m about ready for lunch now anyway, I can have something brought up.”

    “Sure.”

    “So how are things progressing?” he asked.

    “Well, you’ve seen all the meeting summaries I presume? The key points were pinned down two weeks ago, now it’s all just bickering over details.”

    “Of course. I hope they’re not driving you too far round the bend?”

    “I knew what I was getting into. The smugglers are exactly what you’d expect, so that doesn’t bother me so much. The New Republic datapushers are pretty annoying though. It’s like they don’t want anything to ever get done. If they had their way, any information we pass on to the NRI would have to go through so many administrative layers that it would be utterly out of date and useless by the time it reached anyone who could do anything with it.”

    “Lucky we have a direct route into their leadership, then, should anything be that urgent.”

    “Well yes, but going through Leia would bring internal politics into it, which would have other repercussions. She wants to make sure it can get through official channels efficiently so we don’t have to negotiate our way round that each and every time.” Karrde’s eyebrows raised fractionally at her familiar use of Leia’s name, and she kicked herself for the slip.

    “And of course, politicians rise and fall, so it’s best to have a more solid foundation to any agreements,” he commented. “If we’re to restructure our work around this arrangement, we need to be sure the financial agreement is thoroughly tied down.”

    Mara’s crono beeped, her usual reminder to head out to the Solo’s apartment. “Damn,” she said. “Excuse me, just need to make a quick call.” Her boss gestured for her to go ahead. She flicked her personal comm round to the Solo’s link. Han answered. “Hi, afraid I can’t make it this morning. Something came up. No, nothing to worry about, just Karrde is back in town. No, tell him should be fine as usual for later.” She clicked it off again, aware of Karrde’s curious scrutiny of the conversation. The man was too nosy for his own good. Which of course was what made him so good at what he did.

    “Been making friends?” he asked mildly.

    “Just cultivating those connections you’re so pleased about.”

    “Hmm. You’ve been continuing developing your… abilities with Skywalker as well?”

    She shifted in her chair uncomfortably. “Yes.”

    He looked at her thoughtfully. “How far are you planning to take that?”

    “Take what?”

    “This business with the Force. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very useful skill for a smuggler to have, but I can’t imagine Skywalker is thinking he’s doing that to help you be a better criminal.”

    “It’s none of his business what I do with it. He doesn’t have to teach me if he doesn’t want to.”

    “Has he asked you to become a Jedi?”

    She looked away. “Not exactly.”

    “Is he just assuming?”

    “I… I’m not sure.”

    “Do you want to be a Jedi?”

    Despite the urge to give a resounding ‘No!’ in response, for some reason she kept her mouth closed shut. None of this was any of Karrde’s business.

    “I bring this up because we really need to discuss your future with my organization.”

    “What?”

    He sighed. “Mara, I’m currently still paying your wages. I was grooming you to be my second in command. You know how much I want you to stay with us; you are a credit to the organization. However, if you are to continue on this path to becoming a Jedi, it is fundamentally incompatible with our line of business. You’re going to have to make a choice Mara. And better now, when this liaison opportunity offers you a good way out. We can negotiate your pay into the deal.”

    She narrowed her eyes. “You’re asking me to choose between you and him?” Anger was entering her voice.

    Karrde exhaled forcefully. “No, Mara not at all. Please don’t take this the wrong way. I simply want you to consider the reality of your situation – and choices – before they cause you problems.” He leant forward over his desk. “I don’t want you to leave. I really don’t. You’re one of my most valuable assets, and dare I say it, a friend. If I’m honest, the situation annoys me because I don’t want it to take you away from us. But as your friend, I also want you to do what’s right – for you.” It was probably the closest to an emotional appeal that Karrde got to.

    “Alright,” she said. “I’ll think about it. But I’ve not made any commitment to this Jedi thing, you know. I can walk away at any time.”


    “Of course,” he said, and leant back in his chair, letting the topic drop.
     
  21. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Fantastic stuff!!!!!! I like Karrde's business like approach followed by the appeal of a friend. Mara's reactions - awww. [face_dancing] Her descriptions of the idiotic political stalling and wrangling - sounds sorta familiar. Very RL-ish. :rolleyes: :p
     
  22. Briannakin

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

    Registered:
    Feb 25, 2010
    I really enjoyed Karrde's business tone. But he is also her friend and wants what she wants to do.
     
  23. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2005
    !!! Love Karrde, and love the relationship you've depicted between he and Mara. He needs to be a businessman first, for all that he wants the best for her as his friend.

    It was always disappointing that the Legends books after TTT seemed to completely forget about the Smuggler's Liaison angle with Mara, so its lovely to see it explored here.
     
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  24. Annia Piet

    Annia Piet Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Feb 7, 2015
    Part 6

    Luke strolled into his sister’s apartment and scooped up Jaina from her cot, where she was squalling for attention. A couple of bounces and she had a beautiful smile for him. He turned and took her over to the dining table to join the assembled crowd for breakfast.

    A table with a conspicuously empty space. “Where’s Mara?” he asked, before pausing to wonder when they’d got to the point that that was an automatic question to ask.

    “She commed a few minutes ago,” Han said around a mouthful of toast. “Karrde’s just landed, so she can’t make it this morning. Guess she’s still at his beck and call, eh?” Han grinned at him as though he found something in Luke’s expression amusing. “Don’t worry, she’s still on for later though.”

    “Thanks Han.” Luke passed the baby girl to her mother and pulled up a chair in front of a plate heaving with steaming food.

    Han cocked his head at him. “You two been spending a lot of time together recently,” he noted casually.

    Luke shrugged, feeling his sister’s eyes studying him as she rocked Jaina on her shoulder. “With all of us, with all these negotiations going on. She’s progressing well in the Force. What held her back before is gone.”

    “Uh huh. Everything’s gonna be signed and sealed pretty soon though, then it’ll be back to business as usual.”

    “I suppose so,” Luke said. “But with her new role as liaison, Mara will still be able to continue her training here on Coruscant.”

    Han and Leia exchanged a glance. “Well, that’s the thing, kid. The liaison role is by no means settled. In fact, they’ve barely started discussing it. It’s like Mara keeps putting it off. Right now, she’s still Karrde’s employee. And I’m not sure that’s going to change anytime soon.”

    Luke stared down at his plate, chewing his food slowly. “It’s up to Mara to decide what she wants to do,” he said quietly, but he felt a hollow space in his gut. He didn’t want Mara to leave, not now he’d found another Force sensitive, a friend who understood something about what it was like. He’d thought she had wanted to learn to be a Jedi… If she returned to being a smuggler, that was impossible.

    He felt Leia’s hand rest gently on his and looked up to see her sympathetic eyes. She was way too good at picking up on what he was feeling. “We just don’t want you getting your hopes up, Luke,” she said gently.

    “I can’t make her be a Jedi if she doesn’t want to be,” he said, trying to sound like it didn’t matter to him.

    “Huh. Yeah, that too,” Han snorted. Luke shot him a sharp look, not getting what he meant. “Look, I’m just saying, if you want the girl to stick around, you should tell her. Worked for me!” He shot Leia a sly grin.

    “Oh, did it now?” she laughed. “That’s not quite how I remember it!”

    “Hang on, Mara and I aren’t like that.” The married couple turned a shared skeptical look on him. “Seriously! Only a month or so ago she wanted to kill me! I’d be insane to even think of her like… in that light!”

    “She did manage to fight against that urge. Very hard actually.” Leia commented mildly.

    “Even so, she’d eviscerate me if she even thought for a moment I thought of her like that!”

    “Aha!” Han waved a fork at him triumphantly. “So you do see her like that!”

    “What?! No! I don’t at all!” Unbidden, a memory flashed into his mind of Myrkr, Mara’s long form pressed against him, arm around him with gun pressed to his jaw as they hid in the undergrowth from Imperials. He shook the odd memory away. “It would be completely inappropriate if I want her to study under me and become a Jedi.”

    “Under you, aha!” Han chortled. He seemed to be enjoying himself far too much in this conversation. For a war hero and father of two, Han could still be such a child sometimes.

    “Han, leave him alone,” Leia warned her husband. Thank goodness his twin could pick up when the subject was being pushed too far.

    “Seriously, I’m not interested in her like that. And any suggestion I am would undoubtedly ruin the friendship we’ve got, so I’d be grateful if you would just drop it.”

    “Of course Luke. We just don’t want you to get…” The word hurt hung in the air between them. “… let down.” Leia finished lamely.

    “Really, I’ll be fine.”

    But as Luke later left their apartment and headed to the Imperial Palace Archives, he found their insinuations bothering him. Little flashes of memory of Mara drifted in and out of his mind – the jolt of feeling her mind for the first time on the Wild Karrde; then waking up to her hard green, angry eyes on Myrkr. The way she would so casually step into his personal space, usually to issue some kind of threat. He’d never found it threatening, but instead… somehow thrilling. He realised he’d been avoiding examining that sensation for rather a long time. When she turned up to save him from C’Boath and their three days in hyperspace, planning Karrde’s escape. The thrill… again, that sensation… as they’d broken into a star destroyer together to get the smuggler out. What in space had made that seem like a good idea?! Being around her, he knew. He felt like he could do a lot of stupid things with Mara around. Then those moments when he’s thought her lost in the Katana fleet battle, and the relief when he’d found her drifting ejection seat. And then Wayland… Wayland.

    Luke shook his head, trying to shake himself out of his reverie. He needed to get down to the archives and focus on his work of the day. On finding other Force sensitives, particularly if Mara wasn’t going to stick around. He felt a jolt in his stomach at the thought. Things had seemed to be going so well, he’d felt so happy and full of hope for the first time in a long time…

    His thoughts drifted unbidden to that evening on the roof of the Palace, after they’d got back from Wayland. His hand on hers, the memory of her skin under his, recalled so viscerally it shocked him. How he’d felt when she’d called out to him “I’ll come with you.”
    He drew in a sharp breath at the realisation.


    Maybe Han was right.
     
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  25. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Loved Han's accurate insights and teasing [face_laugh] Woot, so Luke's adventures with Mara were thrilling. what a terrific word for them! :) :) Yup, that is good, no excellent! advice! He really needs to tell her how he feels, no pressure, certainly, but if he doesn't, he'll regret it.