Title: Rain Author: Divapilot Characters: Luke Skywalker, Mara Jade Skywalker Time frame: NJO Summary: Unexpected gifts are best. Genre: introspection; romance Notes: Written for the Holiday Challenge in the SJRS. The challenge is to write an L/M holiday fic that includes the following: horrible weather, the phrase “do you remember when,” a holiday tradition that is unique to the author’s family, and a reference to something that happened to the author this past year. In my case, the holiday tradition is making tourtiere for the family for New Year’s Day, and the event is losing power for days from Superstorm Sandy. Mara stared out the window at the dreary landscape, the vista of the distant hills obscured by a pelting rain. The wind bent the trees toward their breaking points and blew debris along the empty street. “Still not a single transport in sight,” she muttered. She huffed as she dropped herself onto the room’s single chair. Luke looked up from the datapad he had been reading. “This storm is probably too dangerous for anyone to even attempt it,” he said. Mara picked at the arm of the chair in irritation. “Nonetheless, surely there must be transportation at some point. We should have been able to leave days ago.” He smiled slyly. “I thought we were making the best of it. There are worse places I could think of to be stranded than in a quiet inn, trapped between a beautiful woman and a comfortable bed.” She rolled her eyes. “You know what I mean.” Mara stood up and began to pace the small room. “This rain won’t stop! It’s going to drive me mad. All night long I hear it streaming along the roof, smacking into the windows. I can’t stand it.” She returned to the window and pressed her face against the cold pane. Momentarily, she felt Luke come up behind her and wrap his arms around her waist. He leaned his chin on her shoulder and stared out the window with her. “I can’t stand sitting idly by when there is so much work to be done,” she said. Mara placed her hands over his. “Do you remember when you told me that there would come a time I would appreciate the quietness? A time when I would be so at peace that I would just – how did you put it – ‘be still and let the universe flow through around and through me’?” A soft kiss pressed against her neck. “Mmm hmm,” he replied. “Well, this isn’t that time.” Suddenly lights flickered and then the room darkened. The soft whisper of the air filtration unit sputtered and stopped. “No! Oh no, you don’t!” Mara said to the room. Luke released her and walked to the room’s control panel. He tested a few controls experimentally. “No power,” he confirmed. She threw up her hands in frustration. “Wonderful! Now we’ll be wet and cold.” She glared accusingly at the storm. “I hate the rain,” she announced. Luke turned to her in surprise. “Hate the rain?” he asked, frowning. “Seriously?” “Well, if it wasn’t for this storm, we wouldn’t be stuck here in the middle of nowhere. We’d be back in our own apartment on Coruscant, celebrating Fete Week. We’d have the holiday banners up. We’d invite Mirax and Corran over for drinks and there would be some gifts from Preeni Pi for the children. We would have that Tattooine meat pie, like your aunt used to make. As it is now, we can’t even give each other the presents we got for each other.” “We’ll still have all that, Mara.” The tone of his voice made her look at him, her curiosity piqued. She sensed there was more that he had to say, so she waited for him to find the words he needed. Luke walked back to the window and took her hand in his. He looked down at their interlaced fingers. Finally he spoke. “I had never seen rain until I was on Yavin Four. I was nineteen years old. Nineteen years of my life and not one single drop of rain. I had to run outside and feel it for myself. I remember the other pilots laughing at me, the fool Outer Rim kid, gawking at the clouds while the rain ran down my face. I must have stayed there for ten minutes; long enough to get soaked to the skin. All that water – easily a month’s collection from a vaporator -- just falling from the sky. I couldn’t get over it.” Luke raised her hand, still entwined with his, and kissed the soft skin. “Rain is life, my love. When you come from a desert, the idea that water can just appear literally out of the sky, well, that’s a miracle. It truly was a new world for me, and I was going to experience it, and I didn’t care what anyone thought. Maybe the other pilots had seen it a thousand times, but this was my first. It was a blessing.” She was silent for a moment, contemplating. “I suppose I never really thought of it that way.” He laughed softly. “Even the things we take for granted have to be experienced for the first time. Imagine how much fuller life would be if we paid attention to those little things that we hardly notice. Maybe what we see as an inconvenience is really here for a reason. If we would only look at things without pre-judging them, maybe we could learn from them.” He pulled her closer to him. “Let the storm run its course. We’ll still have our holiday. But for now, since the storm isn’t letting up just yet, why don’t we take advantage of this time we’ve got? After all, since the power’s off, you won’t be distracted by staring out that window anymore.” Mara begrudgingly smiled. “If there is really nothing better to do,” she said, tracing her hand along the edging of his tunic. “I suppose we’ll have to find some way to pass the time.” She raised her hand behind his neck and drew him down to her, brushing his lips with a gentle kiss. Later, Mara awoke and pulled the blankets closer. The room was completely dark, and it would be hours before there was enough light to see by in the absence of artificial lighting. She lay still and listened. It really was peaceful, she thought. The winds had quieted, and a soft patter of rainfall tapped against the window. Luke’s steady breathing confirmed his deep sleep. She reached out with her mind and felt the slumber of the other people in the inn, the drowsy lull of the night clerk in the lobby. Mara listened to the rain clattering on the roof and windows, and imagined it as if seeing it for the first time. In her mind she saw the iridescence of each rounded drop; felt the rushing air of the space between them. Each drop so perfect, so clear, and every one part of a greater force of nature. Suddenly she saw the entire system linked together. The drops comprised the rain, the rain comprised the storm – and in the same way, the planets comprised the systems, while the systems comprised the galaxy. Each drop and the galaxy were simply part of a fractal design, separated only by mere scale. Everything was in its place and interconnected by the Force, and she saw with clarity her place on that continuum. The certainty and vastness of that power was both reassuring and awe-inspiring. She smiled at the marvel of it. Luke had done it again. He had taken something so simple, this act of standing in the rain, and made it profound with meaning. In her mind, there appeared an image of a young man, his eyes closed and his face raised, feeling that warm moisture on his face like the tears of heaven itself, life-giving water running in free, generous streams. He had given her a precious gift, she realized. She nestled closer to him, resting her head on his arm. He instinctively responded by putting his other arm around her. The universe, for this night at least, stood in calm and balance. The soft rains fell, and the stillness flowed around and through her.