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Saga - OT Star Crossed: Rebels/OC's--COMPLETE (5/21/2017)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Raissa Baiard, Nov 21, 2016.

  1. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Space!Family, meet Other!Space!Family! :D I've been looking forward to this meeting for a while, and by no means does it disappoint. I can see that Ezra didn't expect the Idiot's Array cell to also be a Space!Family... one can almost see and hear his brainwheels turning as he ponders the implications. Little bro? Little sis? Pygmy roba? A lot comes packaged with this Ace! :eek: And with those miles and miles of family members in between, it doesn't look like Ezra and Mara will be getting of their much wished-for alone time anytime soon. :( Especially not since Raissa, who's perfectly on top of things as usual, has manifestly figured them out and is putting the ultimate crimp on their style by sending Little Bro and Little Sis along on their tour of the house. [face_worried] (Indeed, I would wager that Raissa, in true Raissa fashion, has probably "heard" every word of their Force conversation—though darned if she's going to let that on until the time is right).

    But the way things are going, that whummffy pig-dog beastie with his little "Share?" Force-gesture may just turn out to be Ezra's "in" with Mara's family. Whatever feelings of annoyance Raissa may be harboring toward Ezra (and her elder daughter) at this point, she needs must eventually arrive at the realization that someone whom her own dear Frugly likes that much cannot be all bad. (I will be curious to see if he, too, tags along on the tour of the house...)

    Wonderful meeting of the families, and I can't wait to see more. Even if it crimps Mara and Ezra's style a bit, it will be so much fun to see more of Annina and Domnic and how they get on with Mr. S. Six. And of course I am rabidly curious now about what the adults may want to talk about on their own! [face_hypnotized] ;)
     
  2. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Yes, Space!Parents at last. And knowing what Raissa is like until one gets to know her better, Ezra is somewhat right to be worried. What immediately struck me is how she does not change all that much between this story and Not Your Mother's Life Day, which implies that her big, huge change of heart occurs in the latter. One just doesn't mess with the prefect, or the prefect WILL mess with you, while keeping a RBF. :D

    The description of the place is fantastic and I can totally see how it would be a cozy trap. And the contrast of Raissa on the couch and Frugly moving about, plus Nick and Annina being in the Idiot's Array... that's just another thing that does not add up, in a way. What's interesting is that we're reading this chapter exclusively from Ezra's point of view, so we have no idea if the others are as confused as him.

    Mara's looks, Ezra's reaction and their little Force conversation are a total SQUEE and then, I too wondered if Raissa could hear any of it - gulp! Lucky that Frugly decides to reach out to Ezra in the best possible moment. He's not a Loth-cat, but he'll do, right?
     
  3. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    And this is exactly why some of the Jedi Masters of old thought: "A Jedi must not know... his future-in-law-family. Attachment leads to serious people from whom there is no escape!"

    ;)

    Poor Luke! The more I ponder on the item that MARZRA FOREVAH! are, the more difficult it will become for him in another fanfic to get in between them.
     
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  4. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    I would like to say thank you-- I was so excited to win Best Original Relationship for Mara and Ezra! It really means a lot to me and I'm probably a little too tickled to have won for two generations of the Blayne family :D (but you can relax, Ezra, I have no plans to add a third generation...yet ;)) Once again, thank you so much [:D][:D] [:D]

    The inclusion of kids in the Array probably shouldn't surprise Ezra as much as it does...after all, he was only 14 when he became part of the Spectres. Then again Sparkle Princess Annina doesn't exactly look like she belongs in a Rebel cell :p There's definitely more in the cards than he expected--not every Rebel cell/space!family has been thrown together by fate! Raissa hasn't overheard their conversation (I always thought that mind speech could be directed specifically to a person), however, she is Mom and Prefect, which means she's quite capable of putting two and two together…and putting the skids on Mara's plans.

    If Raissa is paying attention, she'll realize Frugly's gesture means she and Ezra actually have something in common in their talent for animal friendship.

    Thank you :) The adults are probably just talking about boring Jedi stuff...or maybe they'll compare notes on raising/training snarky Force-powered teens, and what to do when said teens are bent on ignoring that whole non-attachment thing :p

    Raissa is very reserved with her emotions...and she and Ezra have gotten off on the wrong foot, with him being dragged in in binders and getting her little girl into trouble. Speaking as a mom, I can't say I'd be entirely thrilled to learn my daughter had been kissing some guy she'd just met, either.

    Thanks :) Raissa may not be thrilled about this meeting, but darned if she isn't going to do it right. Manners, you know!

    :) You know that Mara had to spend forever in the fresher getting ready, too. ;) And baking cookies...Wookiee cookies make everything better! Just ask Frugly...who may be homely, but is open-hearted and a pretty good judge of character.

    [face_laugh] Mara and Ezra are still on their first date; hopefully they're not thinking too much about in-laws at this point [face_laugh] But if they are, it should be reassuring to Ezra that Doran seems to think he's okay. Hera and Mara will probably get along well, too... shebs-kicking women that they are! And the sets of space!parents might just take a liking to each other after they chat for awhile. :)

    And Luke..? [face_whistling]
     
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  5. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    As always, thanks to Ewok Poet and Findswoman for betas, suggestions and support @};-

    Briannakin

    -----------------
    *This is not what I had in mind.* Mara seethed, her Force-sense roiling as they trooped out of the conversation circle and into the kitchen and dining area, where the table and slightly mismatched chairs looked suspiciously like the ones in the Café next door, then back into the entrance hallway.

    Not exactly what I was hoping for, either. Ezra stifled a sigh. So much for anything besides talk…or even talk. He tried to maneuver closer to Mara so he could maybe, finally, touch her hand, her arm...elbow…something!…but Annina slipped between them, watching them with starry eyes and a dreamy smile. On his other side, Frugly trotted along arthritically, leaning against Ezra’s leg and nosing his broad, wet muzzle into Ezra’s hand. Only Nick hung back, shrugging apologetically when he caught Ezra’s eye.

    *Figures Mom would stick us with an entourage. Sometimes having the Prefect for a mother is a real pain in the…*

    “You’re not very good at this,” Annina informed her sister. She put her hands on her hips, flouncing the ruffles on her tunic. “You didn’t even tell Ezra that was the kitchen.”

    “I think he figured it out on his own.”

    “But this is supposed to be a tour…” The little girl sighed dramatically, giving Mara a look that said she doubted her sister’s intelligence if she didn’t appreciate an occurrence of this the magnitude. “I should do it; I’m a much better hostess than you.”

    Mara raised one eyebrow, for a moment her expression was uncannily like the Prefect’s when she’d tried to mind-trick Ezra into silence. “Oh, you think so, little mistress?”

    “Yes. Watch!” Annina smiled brightly and swept her arms wide, twirling. “This is the foy-yay,” she announced. She skipped over to door on the left side of the hall and opened it with a flourish. “These are the stairs to the basement, where we have lightsaber practice and dance practice”--another quick pirouette emphasized this--“but it’s boring and ugly down there. There’s really nothing there but the Paolo-cron and the training sabers, and I’m the only one who still uses those. Mom says I can’t build my own lightsaber for another two years and Dad says I can’t have a pink one, because it’s too close to red. I guess I’ll have to make mine yellow, just like Bastila’s. What color is your lightsaber?”

    “It’s green…” Only half of what she said made any sense to Ezra--Paolo-cron? Bastila?---but at least he understood the last part, even if he had no idea how she’d arrived there. Between the drama, the giggling and the mind-scrambling chatter, she reminded Ezra of the bubbly, hyperkinetic Ranga twins. He wondered if Annina, too, could be distracted by card tricks long enough to sit still for five minutes so he could talk to Mara…assuming she’d let either of them get a word in edgewise.

    She clapped her hands. “Ooh! Just like Mara’s! Dad’s is green, too, but Mom’s is blue. I think it’s nicer that you two match. When I get a boyfriend, I hope his lightsaber looks good with mine.”

    Ezra stifled a snicker; Annina probably hadn’t meant it like that, but it still sounded kind of… He snickered again, and tried not to smirk.

    “Annina!” Mara looked like she’d prefer to take Zeb’s tack for dealing with children and stuff her sister in a cargo hold somewhere.

    “Why don’t we go upstairs now?” Nick interceded, steering his younger sister up the polished wooden staircase. He pushed her up the first few stairs.

    “What?” Annina was the picture of affronted innocence as she turned to look back at Ezra. “You are Mara’s boyfriend, right?”

    “Um….” Now there was a dangerous question. Couldn’t she just lob him a thermal detonator instead and get it over with? It seemed kind of presumptuous to say “yes” since they’d only known each other a day. Not to mention it could be potentially hazardous if Mara’s answer was “no,” given the way she’d dropped the Trandoshan in the Azure Kroyie. Then again, saying “no” if she was thinking “yes” could be just as hazardous. But Ezra really, really didn’t want the answer to be “no”, didn’t want to say “no” if there was any chance it was closer to “yes”. Or any chance of it becoming “yes”. “That’s...up to her,” he finally managed.

    “Hmm.” Annina pouted; clearly, this wasn’t the answer she’d been looking for. Mara, however, looked pleased as smiled back at him.

    They reached the top of the stairs, and Nick opened the door in the center of the hall. “This is my room.” Model ships hung from the ceiling and lined shelves above the desk and bed. The a small droid chassis sat on the desk surrounded by a litter of parts that spilled onto the floor as well. “Sorry it’s kind of a mess,” Nick said, shrugging. “I’m refurbishing a mouse droid to do some housework for Mom. You wouldn’t believe how much a roba can shed--sorry, Frug.” Frugly, who had limped up after them, looked up mournfully at Nick and whined; Nick patted his head.

    Meanwhile, Annina flitted next door. “And this is our room.” She flung the door open and ushered them all inside. One side of the room was was an explosion of pink fluff. Pictures of fuzzy pittins with impossibly big eyes decorated the walls; the dresser was strewn with bits of beaded jewelry and more necklaces were draped around a vase full of sparkly paper flowers. The ruffly skirted bed was covered with plush animals of all kinds, but mostly pittins--pink ones, white ones, rainbow striped ones. Frugly clambered up onto the bed among them, and what had seemed to be just another plush pittin stretched and made a protesting “meep.” Annina made kissing noises and crooned back to it. “That’s Princess, and this my side,” she pointed out, rather unnecessarily. She waved a dismissive hand towards the other side. “That’s Mara’s.”

    Mara’s half was plain compared to her sister’s, missing all the candy-colored sweetness. Her bed was covered by a blanket with a pattern of eight-pointed stars woven in shades of green and gold; a tile mosaic with a matching design hung over the bed. Her desk was similar to Nick’s, but neater, with a datapad in the center, flanked by bins of tools and parts and a box of comlinks marked MRK GARR 1138. Above the desk was a shelf full of trophies...and a well-worn stuffed Wookiee. “Those are all Mara’s awards,” Annina explained, following Ezra’s gaze.. “For dance, k’tarra, and marksmanship.” She made a face on the last. “And that’s Mr. Smuggles.”

    “Mr. Smuggles?” Ezra tried not to laugh, but a choked snicker escaped anyway.

    Mara flushed. Her expression was half mortified, half fuming, as if she couldn’t decide if if she wanted to sink through the floor before or after she throttled Annina. “I was three,” she said in a strangled voice. “And I spent most of my time in a bar...I thought it was a great name. And yes, I’m aware I was a strange child, thank you very much, Annina.”

    “No...it’s...cute, really!” Ezra hastened to assure Mara before she decided to go all Dark Side on her sister. Maybe stashing her in a hold would have been a good idea after all.

    Annina stuck her tongue out at Mara, and Nick hastily stepped between his sisters. “Hey, ’Nina, I've got an idea; why don’t you come help me put together the YT-1300 model. I’ll even let you paint all the details on this time.”

    “Mom said we were supposed to stay with Mara.”

    “How about we build a castle out of BYBLOs, then?” he coaxed, shooting a desperate “I’m trying--really!” sort of glance at Mara. “We’ll see if we can make it taller than the last one.”

    The little girl gave him a patronizing look, and shook her head, ringlets bobbing crazily around her face. “Do you want us all to get in trouble, Nick?”

    “Oh, this is ridiculous!” Frugly looked up with a startled whuff as Mara pushed Nick out of the way. She glared at Annina, planting her fists on her hips. “Ok, level with me, kid; what’s it going to take for you to give me and Ezra some privacy?

    Annina’s sweetly innocent expression turned calculating. “I get to use your lightsaber for practice next time.”

    “What?!? Gah!” Mara exclaimed, throwing up her hands in frustration. “Fine! But only for half an hour.”

    She crossed her arms over chest, stubborn as a nerf. “An hour.”

    “Done. Nick, you’re witness.” Mara grabbed Ezra’s hand. “Come on. Let’s go before she changes her mind!”
     
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  6. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Awww, what a fun chapter! [face_love] I just love seeing all these four very different Space!Kids interacting—I was kind of hoping there would be a scene like this ever since I learned that Ezra would be “meeting the fam,” and I am not disappointed in the least. Of course A-1 characterization is nothing new for this story, or for your writing in general—but it really shines like burnished gold here, because nature of the interaction brings it out. We’ve got sibling dynamics and romantic dynamics running up against romantic dynamics... we’ve got hilariously awkward negotiation attempts… we’ve got embarrassing revelations (“Mr. Smuggles”—a win on so many levels! [face_laugh] )... and we have by no means forgotten the snark. Ezra has one heck of a conundrum on hand with this “boyfriend” question from Annina; on the whole I’d say he does pretty good, but that’s no surprise for a shrewd fellow like himself. Little by little he’s getting the hang of this Blayne family and its idiosyncrasies—will he at some point get the pleasure of a chit-chat with the Paolo-cron? Then there’s poor Nick, who has ended up as the official “monkey in the middle,” trying so hard to maintain some semblance of order—I can see why he was dubbed Balance.

    Now Annina… so much to say about her! There’s clearly so much more to her than just sparkles and fluff. I love how she shows herself to be not only a Sparkly Princess but a Shrewd, Hard-Bargain-Driving Sparkly Princess who may have some ulterior motives in mind (though mainly good ones, of course). In “Not Your Mother’s Life Day” I remarked on how she seems almost to be the main mover of the action, and that’s kind of happening here a bit: whether or not Mara and Ezra will get that much-hoped-for alone time (and clearly Nick is not averse to letting them) hinges almost exclusively on the terms she sets. Though at least they will finally get that alone time—a big WHEW! [face_relieved] It’s about time, and it’s well deserved. [face_love]

    And finally, I have to reiterate my BIG CONGRATULATIONS on your win for Best Original Relationship for this cute couple. What an incredible plum that is for you and for them—and what a cool added bonus that it follows in the venerable tradition of your similar win last year for Doran and Raissa! The Galaxy will always welcome lovers... over the sequential passage of chronological intervals! @};-

    =D= =D= =D=
     
  7. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    First of all, congrats on your best original relationship win at the 2017 awards. :D I was hoping for that and it's awesome that it happened! MARZRA FOREVAH! [face_love]

    Now, regarding everything else - Annina totally stole this chapter. She's adorbs to the point where I CAN'T EVEN. [face_love][face_love][face_love]

    The very beginning, with Annina staring at them because OMG ROMANCE and Frugly being Frugly on the other side was dead funny. It reminds me of little girls who fall in love with older boys, but you cleverly evade that trope here and just use some of its typical set-ups. If Annina liked Ezra too, that wouldn't have been believable enough. Instead of it she is - simply - in love with love and that's kind of selfless, too. :) She loves the idea of her big sister having a boyfriend...and yes, she will call him a boyfriend even when neither of the two are sure of their relationship.

    I am not sure if Annina managed to read Mara's mind here, but whether she did or not, it was a funny moment.

    And Ezra's surprise upon hearing that there's a Paolo-chron in the basement, and Bastila - without one single mention that it's a doll - was comedy gold too. Funny in a "huh?" way, not in a "ha-ha" way. :D

    Not even sure what to quote here because it's all funny. [face_rofl] OF COURSE THAT LIGHTSABERS HAVE TO MA...OH. O_O


    The room descriptions were great and the living pittin that's definitely not a plush toy and Mr. Smuggles were the highlight. But of course, so were Mara's awards. I am not sure if Ezra feels a bit threatened by his girlfriend-not-really-yet's abilities, but at least I'm glad that he's not jealous of the life he never had.

    And what Annina and Nick are doing in the end here is one dangerous, dangerous game. I can totally see Raissa and Hera the space!mom being disappointed in pretty much everybody here. I know they won't do anything that I wouldn't do in their position, but I am not sure that Mistress Perfect would buy the explanation...hmmm. [face_thinking] Let's wait and see what happens. :D
     
  8. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Thanks. :) I'm glad you enjoyed it; it was fun developing this aspect of Mara's AU. Speculating on her siblings and what family life would be like for the Blaynes has been quite entertaining, especially after Sparkly Princess Annina popped into my head. No wonder Ezra is a little bemused, though as you note, he does acquit himself well on the "boyfriend" issue. His answer may be the only acceptable one to that question:p it's a good thing Annina doesn't take it upon herself to introduce the Paolo-cron as well! (Hey, Kanan's holocron doesn't do that!) And "monkey in the middle" is a role that Nick knows well, caught between the personalities that are his sisters.

    Mr. Smuggles is named after one of my nephew's characters on SW: Galaxies. Sadly, he's not a Wookiee, but I loved the name. It seemed like an appropriately embarrassing thing for young Mara to have named her favorite plushie.

    Oh, yes, Annina... She's based in part on my own Youngling [face_love] who likewise has a flair for the dramatic. Yes, there's a lot more to Annina than fluff. With this family, you know she's got to have a mind under those pretty curls. She is, in her own way, as much a take-charge girl as Mara.

    Nick has a lot of sympathy for Ezra and Mara. As a guy, he can empathize with Ezra for wanting to have some alone time...and playing chaperone to Big Sis? Awkward! He's the peace keeper of the group, and wrangling Little Sis is all in a day's work.

    Thank you so much! It's been incredibly gratifying to be honored twice for this family saga!

    Thank you!

    Annina will do that; this was her being restrained :D She's become a more interesting character than I initially thought when I decided to give Mara a little sister who was her opposite. I didn't expect her to be as shrewd as Mara under the fluff.

    Yep, Annina is a romantic. Her older sister's love life is like another fairy tale. She would not fall in love with Ezra, because he's her sister's boyfriend...and not just her boyfriend. Annina's certain he's her true love!

    Those in jokes that make perfect sense to family, but are complete non sequitirs to anyone else!

    You can credit Findswoman for suggesting this in beta :p


    Well, Ezra's no slouch when it comes to action, and neither are the women in his space!family, so the fact that Mara can kick shebs and shoot is part of her allure...and so is her family, in an odd sort of way, precisely because he didn't have that life. He may be wistful for that life, but not jealous. At this point, he and Mara are just so darned impressed with each other :D

    Oh, in the end, both space!moms are tough, but fair. Raissa may be a bit tougher on Mara than Hera would be on Ezra, but we've also got their opposites in the space!dads. Doran seems inclined to offer the kids some latitude...probably because he was the troublemaking boundary-pusher. He's able to diffuse a lot of his wife's indignation over Mara's adventures--at least enough to let the whole "meet the fam" take place--and she wouldn't do anything truly rash.
     
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  9. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Thanks to Ewok Poet and Findswoman @};-

    Briannakin


    Chapter 10

    “Your sister’s really something,” Ezra observed as Mara pulled him across the hallway.

    “She’s a fluffy little opportunist, is what she is,” Mara growled. She toggled open a sliding door that led to a steep, narrow set of stairs. “Under all those curls, Annina's got the mind of a Corellian gambler. Dad must be so proud…” She sighed as they reached the top of the stairs , and Ezra could sense her push the annoyance away and order her emotions. “Anyway, last stop on the official tour...the roof.” The metal door slid open...into an oasis.

    “Since we really don’t have a yard Mom turned it into a garden,” she said, smiling at Ezra’s surprise as they stepped out into the warm Merkeshian evening. In one corner, fat, tiered pots of herbs gave off a sweet, spicy scent. In another, the usual rooftop hodgepodge of vents and pipes was half-hidden by a trellis of delicate white flowers that nodded in the breeze. Mara guided him to a wooden bench in the center of the roof. “I like to come up here at after my shift at the Café. It's quiet, and...it’s silly, I know, but somehow the stars have always seemed closer up here.”

    “Not silly at all.” The first stars were starting to appear in the cerulean edges of the sky, and they did seem unusually bright...or maybe that was just the ones reflected in her eyes.

    “Which one is yours?”

    Their shoulders brushed as Mara looked up, and Ezra caught the scent of her hair, cinnamon-spicy, still with a hint of caf--almost irresistible. Cautiously, he edged an arm around her waist, and let out a breath he hadn't realized he was holding in when she didn't move away. “Right now? Base is on Yavin, but originally, Lothal. Another speck on the Outer Rim no one’s ever heard of.”

    “I’m sure you never heard of Merkesh before you came here, either.” She leaned against his shoulder. “Tell me about Lothal?”

    Somehow, despite her breathtaking nearness, Ezra managed to find the words. He described the rolling grasslands and the domed rock outcroppings, the farms and the cities. How the Empire had taken over, mining the farms for metals and minerals, building factories to build walkers and TIE fighters. Without really meaning to, he found himself telling her about his parents, how they’d spoken out against the Empire and been arrested for their convictions. He mostly skipped over the hard years on his own, going straight to his first meeting Kanan and Hera, becoming part of their crew. Becoming a Rebel and a Jedi.

    Mara listened without any of the awkward expressions of “I’m so sorry” and “how awful” he usually got, but the words were unnecessary between them. He could sense her anger and frustration at the Empire for despoiling another world, her sympathy and sorrow for a boy left on his own too young...and her admiration for who he’d become. He hadn’t expected that, and it was heady, a little overwhelming. His words died off self-consciously. He pushed the uncooperative shock of hair, which had fallen forward again, out of his eyes. “So...your turn. Tell me what it’s like living here.”

    “My story’s pretty boring compared to yours,” she laughed. “I’ve lived here all my life with my crazy family. Nothing exciting.”

    “Growing up as a Jedi is boring?” Ezra could hardly believe that. Jedi training might not always be fun, but he wouldn’t call it dull. When your whole family was Force-sensitive--even the pig-dog--and your mom was the prefect to boot, that would seem to make things interesting. Nothing about Mara was boring. “Slicing the Imperial database for fun? Forging documents? Weapons training? Dance lessons? That’s boring?”

    Mara waved away the familiar details of her life. “Most of growing up as Jedi has just been staying out of sight; no one ever sees the interesting parts. And slicing is pretty tame compared to being out there fighting with the Rebellion.”

    “Tell me anyway!”

    “I guess the story really starts with my dad.” She leaned her head against Ezra's shoulder, settling closer as she related how Doran had escaped Order 66 and the slaughter of the Jedi. Like Kanan, he’d wandered the Galaxy, sometimes drunk and often bitter until he’d rediscovered a purpose in life, with a family, teaching the next generation of Jedi. For Mara, the Jedi’s path had been far different than it had been for Ezra. But even though she’d known from birth she was Force-sensitive, even though she’d had her parents with her, she’d been an outsider too. It was a different kind of loneliness, hiding in plain sight, never being able to show her true self to anyone--not even the girls who were supposed to be her friends. Making sure her younger siblings never said or did anything that could give their family away. Knowing one slip could mean disaster for them all.

    “How did you manage to stay hidden from the Inquisitors this long?” he asked. A whole family of Jedi, even out here on the fringes of the Outer Rim, was exactly the kind of thing that should have caught their attention. The Blaynes must have been exceptionally careful if they’d never been noticed. “Those guys are ruthless.”

    “We almost didn’t. When I was three, someone tipped them off to a ‘suspected Force-user’ at the Garrison. They sent an Inquisitor; I remember how dark he felt…” Mara shuddered against him, chilled by the recollection or maybe the thought of what might have been. “But, well...Mom was pregnant with Nick, and it turns out even Dark Siders get squeamish when you get sick on them, especially when you alter the med records to show luf virus instead of morning sickness.”

    “Your mom threw up on an Inquisitor? Oh man!” Ezra exclaimed with a startled laugh. He would have paid good credits to see that! Now there was a way of dealing with them that he never would’ve thought of. “Which one was it? I hope it was the Grand Inquisitor; that guy was a major piece of work. Glad he’s gone.”

    “Yes, it was him…” Mara’s eyebrows rose. “You fought him?”

    “Yeah.” He shrugged. “A couple of them, actually.”

    She burst into a peal of laughter, her astonished smile full of appreciation. “Fighting Inquisitors, dodging bounty hunters, running rescue missions...is there anything you don’t do?” Her smile turned mischievous. “Except your hair...” Mara reached up to capture his roguish lock and twined her fingers through it, smoothing it back into place. Ezra caught his breath when her fingers paused at his his temple, then traced down the line of his jaw. Stars danced in her green eyes when they looked into his; he felt himself drawn into their orbit, and...

    Hera’s words came back to him: “Whatever happens tonight, we’re leaving Merkesh tomorrow.” Whatever happened between him and Mara tonight, it was all there could be. This kiss would be their last.

    The stars in Mara’s eyes flickered; her smile dimmed as she froze, halfway to a kiss. “What’s wrong?”

    “We’re leaving tomorrow.”

    “Oh.” Her hand fell away from his cheek, fluttering down like a wounded convor. She closed her eyes and huffed a short, mirthless laugh. “Of course. The Force really does have a perverse sense of humor, doesn’t it? I finally meet someone who understands, someone I could…” Mara shook her head; when she opened her eyes, the stars had faded from them. “…and I only get to spend one day with you.”

    “No, we’ll see each other again.” Ezra took both of her hands, holding onto them, holding onto her against the truth. “I'll come back. I…” I promise. He wanted more than anything to tell her that the Force had brought him here and it would lead him back to her, but he knew he couldn’t make those kinds of promises. Even with the Force on his side, too much could happen--too much had happened--to ever be certain where the Ghost would be tomorrow or the next day. All he could be sure of was this moment.

    So he had to make it count.

    This time, their kiss was everything the kiss in the alley hadn’t been-- breathless and lingering, bittersweet with the knowledge that this was their only chance. They clung together, neither wanting to let go first.

    *Ezra…*

    He smothered a sigh of frustration. Kanan Jarrus had to be the Galaxy’s most annoying Jedi, with the worst, most abominably inconvenient timing ever. *Go away,* he sent back furiously. *Kinda busy right now…*

    *I know.* Kanan’s reply was unmoved, unamused. *That’s why we have to leave.*

    *Give me one more hour….Half an hour...Fifteen minutes...Would fifteen minutes kill you?*

    *Ezra. Now.* There was no room for negotiation in his master’s voice.

    *Fine.*

    He sensed the corresponding surge of bitterness and despair from Mara as they drew apart. “You, too, huh?”

    She laughed bleakly. “Yeah. Both of them this time. I guess we’d better go downstairs before they come up after us.”

    They held hands as they descended the stairs taking each step as slowly as possible, but they reached the bottom too soon. The others were already gathered in the foyer, and, once again, all eyes were on them. Annina smiled dreamily at them and started across the foyer; Nick put a hand on her shoulder, holding her back. The prefect’s lips were compressed into a flat line, but her eyes held the same watchfulness as Hera’s, whose look of concern was somehow harder to bear than if she’d been Very Disappointed. Even Frugly watched with soulful eyes and whined. Ezra wished he could just wave a hand and make them all look away and forget about him and Mara, if only for a minute.

    Doran offered his hand to Kanan. “It’s been a pleasure to meet both of you. I hope we’ll get the chance to see each other again.”

    “The Force willing,” Kanan replied, returning the handshake, but his response sounded more polite and automatic than hopeful or certain.

    “Ezra.” Doran’s smile quirked slyly as he extended his hand to Ezra in turn. “Hopefully next time, we’ll actually have a chance to talk.”

    “Sir.” Though Mara’s father didn’t seem to be too sarcastic, that still seemed to be the safest response. Maybe the fact that Doran seemed to believe there would be a next time should have given him hope-- but looking at Kanan and Hera, looking at the prefect, it seemed like a slim hope indeed. “Mara, I…”

    She didn’t wait for him to finish. Throwing her mother a defiant look, she pulled Ezra into a fierce hug. He wrapped his arms around her, awkwardly at first, self-consciously, then tighter, not caring about the chorus of girlish giggles and maternal sighs behind them. When Mara let go, her shields were drawn tight, and she stood as straight and tall as when she had faced down Donal in the alley. Her expression was composed, but Ezra could see the shimmer of emotion deep within her eyes. “I’m glad you could come tonight; I hope your mission will be successful and you can get the Ranga family to safety.”

    “Thanks.” Hera touched his shoulder gently, and he knew they’d run out of time. “Well, good...night.” If he didn’t say good-bye, maybe he could still pretend he’d be back someday.

    Mara’s shields almost--almost--cracked. “Good night,” she said, her voice soft enough that it was all but lost in another round of good-byes and good-nights from the adults, as Kanan steered Ezra out the door.

    Ezra looked over his shoulder for one last glimpse of her, but the door had closed between them.

    Notes: Mara’s story about her mother getting sick on the Grand Inquisitor is the turning point between this AU and the official Legends-verse where Mara is taken from her family. I needed a way to get rid of the Inquisitor without Raissa or Doran fighting him. ;) I originally planned to do a timeline that followed the Legends-verse for the Blaynes, but I have to say this one is a lot more fun.

    The Inquisitor spots Mara as strongly Force-sensitive and Doran as a fugitive Jedi. Doran is killed trying to keep Mara from being taken, but Raissa, who is pregnant with Nick, escapes to the Corporate Sector. She realizes that she is not powerful enough to defeat the Inquisitors, and must stay hidden to protect her son, lest both her children fall into their hands. Many years later, she--and Nick, now an adult-- hears the news of the impending marriage of Jedi Master Luke Skywalker to a woman named Mara Jade…
     
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  10. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Gah, those pesky space!families and the way they get between young lovers. Especially in a moment like this, when the time stands still and literally everything is love. And the stars. Because stars are love, after all. I loved how this dragged on until we got another, perfect kiss and the proof that these two youngsters were meant to be - OK, at least in the head of this hopeless romantic here.

    But what stood out here on a greater scale was how Mara thinks her life is simple compared to Ezra's. I'm not sure if she can truly comprehend everything he's been through, because you have to go through it in order to be it, but at least she understands and doesn't say the kind of stuff that people say when they pretend they understand.

    Waiting for the conclusion of this love story!
     
  11. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Urgh... younger siblings are SUCH a romantic buzzkill! For that matter, so are moms! I think Mara and Ezra are a little jealous of each other... Mara sees Ezra's life adventuring, in the Rebellion, out in the Galaxy, doing things, and she's stuck at home with Mom and Dad, doing little stuff. She's contributing, too, but she probably can't see much about whether it's making any difference. Ezra, who lost his family, looks at Mara and sees the love and stability he might have had, sees her getting Jedi training from the get-go and wonders if he'd be better now if he'd had the same opportunities.

    Matching lightsabers means you're meant for each other? They didn't explain the "Jedi may not know love" rule to her, did they, LOL!
     
  12. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Awww, what a lovely scene! There's just something about rooftop gardens... where flowers, leaves, sky, and stars all combine to make the perfect environment for love—like Ewok Poet says, everything really is love up there. [face_love] I am sure Doran and Raissa have shared their own tender chats and kisses in this very location, and now it's their own little-big girl and her Spectre who get to enjoy its beauty and serenity... a very "as time goes by" moment. As always, you've got a spot-on mix of tenderness and humor that is oh so true to both these characters. Like Mistress_Renata, I found the "grass is always greener" aspect of their conversation particularly striking: to Mara daily family Jedi practice is "nothing exciting" (not to mention that they have to constantly keep that aspect of their lives inconspicuous), but what Ezra would have given to have had that kind of stability early on in life and not to have had to run around fending for himself against Imps, bounty hunters, etc.! Of course, understanding those things about each other—which they really and truly do even now—is what opens the door toward the larger, deeper understanding necessary for long-term love.

    Of course you know how much I love your explanation of why the Inquisitors have basically left the Blaynes alone. :D Oh man, I would have paid good credits to see Raissa get sick on the Grand Inquisitor—couldn't have happened to a nicer guy, either! [face_laugh] You realize you have to write this for us now. :p

    Then their beautiful "as if it were the last time" kiss, with the Force all around them making its melodic MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM, just has to be interrupted by Mr. Jedi Space!Dad and his "Ezra. Now." Geeze Louise, Kanan, you deserve some sort of medal for impeccably inconvenient timing! :p [face_laugh] Too soon they're back to the crowd of adults and family members saying their goodbyes, too soon that door has to close between them (and again, I think that works very effectively), but at least there was that one last fierce hug, and many beautiful memories. <3

    Finally, you've now got me curious about the "AU of the AU" that you put in the spoiler—do you think this might get written, just by way of a contrast or exercise or similar? [face_batting] Though I have to say I really love your current universe just as it is—definitely far less depressing and much more life-affirming. @};- Anyway, if it or any of these other tidbits do get written, we're here! :D
     
  13. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    This time, their kiss was everything the kiss in the alley hadn’t been-- breathless and lingering, bittersweet with the knowledge that this was their only chance. They clung together, neither wanting to let go first.

    *Ezra…*

    He smothered a sigh of frustration. Kanan Jarrus had to be the Galaxy’s most annoying Jedi, with the worst, most abominably inconvenient timing ever. *Go away,* he sent back furiously. *Kinda busy right now…*

    *I know.* Kanan’s reply was unmoved, unamused. *That’s why we have to leave.*

    You sure know how to spice up a love scene. And Kanan knows all about keeping his padawan in check! Thanks for the update and a belated congrats again. You deserve it for each word you have written in so far!
     
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  14. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Yes, space!families do have that uncanny ability to butt in at all the wrong times, especially when there are Jedi parents involved. But our star crossed lovers do get that kiss under the stars...and, of course, I will join you on the hopeless romantics' couch [face_love]

    This is one instance where that For e connection would really be useful. Mara may not fully understand everything that Ezra's been through, but she cares, and through the Force, she can show that without having to resort to the empty phrases that people use when they feel they have to say something to show they care.

    It is coming up!
    They sure are, though Nick, at least, would be just as happy not to be there being a buzzkill. And moms...well, that's what we're here for :p There's definitely an element of the (space) grass being greener for Mara and Ezra. As you note, Mara would love to be out there, seeing the Galaxy, fighting the battles, while having a family and home in one place looks pretty good to Ezra. They could, in a way, be complementary to each other, with Ezra providing the adventure Mara's been looking for, while she (and her crazy family) bring some of that cozy domesticity in his his life.

    Weeeell....her parents shot that rule all to heck! And this universe was started before AotC, back in the days when every Jax, Dax and Bail Jedi got married and had kids :p so the rule is not as strictly enforced. But yes, matching lightsabers = true love in Annina's starry eyes.
    Thank you :). I think that rooftop garden would be a lovely spot for just about anything--family dinners, relaxing after a long shift at the Café--but it's especially nice for quiet, romantic moments. And certainly the Blayne space!parents have availed themselves of that atmosphere (and darn you for giving me another plot bunny :p) I'm not sure that Mara and Ezra fully understand each other just yet, but they're certainly making a good start by spending their time under the stars opening up to each other instead of skipping straight to the kissing part! (Perhaps Raissa has less to worry about than she thinks?)

    Someday...when all my other plot bunnies have been wrangled into submission [face_laugh]

    Yep, the Jedi Who Never Smiles must interrupt all romantic moments. I think that Doran and Raissa had some idea what was happening up on the roof, given the parent/child bonds, and clued Kanan in. At least Ezra only gets space!dad pinging the mental comlink...poor Mara gets Mom and Dad at the same time. And then it's time for them to say good-bye, or at least good-night...

    What?! I don't have enough bunnies in the hutch already? :p I'm not sure if I will ever write this. One never knows, but right now I feel like I have too many ideas in the current 'verse. And I'm honestly not sure I could ever write a death scene for Doran :_|
    Thank you very much [:D]
     
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  15. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Thank you to my wonderful beta readers, Ewok Poet and Findswoman, for their invaluable support and friendship throughout the writing of this story [:D] @};-

    Briannakin

    Chapter 11
    BWOP! BWOP! BWOP!

    "Aaaah!" Chopper’s blaring exclamations tore Ezra from his dreams of running over the rooftops along side a girl with jade-green eyes. He jolted awake with a start and nearly banged his head...on the dejarik table. Ezra struggled upright and tried to figure out why he was slumped over on the acceleration couch in the common area.

    Slowly it came back to him… he hadn’t been able to sleep last night after returning to the Ghost. His mind had been in hyperdrive, trying to come up with some way for him to come back to Merkesh--to Mara. His ideas had run the gamut from the merely impractical--finding another persecuted soul in need of the Idiot’s Array’s services--to the stupidly reckless--borrowing the Phantom and coming back on his own. The more hopeless prospects he came up with, the more he tossed and turned, until Zeb, already ill-tempered from his evening babysitting the Ranga children, thumped on the bottom of Ezra’s bunk and told him that if he didn’t stop flopping like a giju and get to sleep, he was going to stuff him head first in the equipment locker and leave him there until next Benduday.

    He fled to the common area before Zeb could make good on his threat, where he played a couple dispirited games of dejarik with Chopper to try to take his mind off Mara--didn’t work--and lost both of them badly. When Chopper realized Ezra wasn’t responding to his gloating taunts, he got bored and wandered off. Ezra guessed he must have finally fallen asleep after that, still slumped at the dejarik table.

    Now Chopper prodded him with one grasper, fortunately without using his electroshock. “Bwaaa, bwabwop bwop bwopbwop!” he informed Ezra.

    “Yeah, all right. I’m coming.” Ezra dragged himself up off the couch and stumbled to the galley, where the others were already finishing breakfast. Their conversation died off as he entered.

    “Good morning.” Hera’s tone was gentle and her eyes were worried as she regarded him over her cup of tea. “Are you feeling all right, Ezra? Chopper said you were up late and you slept in the common room last night.”

    “Sure,” Ezra lied. “Fine. Couldn’t sleep, that’s all.” Maybe he’d feel better after a cup of caf. He grabbed the pot and poured himself a mug of--engine sludge. He frowned down at it. Stang. It was Taungsday, which meant it had been his turn to make the caf, and when he’d overslept...again….Zeb must have made it instead. Great...so far this morning was turning out just great. He plunked his ration bar in the sludgy caf to soften it and sat down on the edge of the overcrowded dining alcove.

    “We were just going over our plans for today,” Hera told him. “The shuttle to the Corporate Sector leaves in an hour; we’re all going to escort Meryan and the children to the terminal, just in case any of the bounty hunters from yesterday show up. Sabine and Zeb will check out the terminal first; you and Chopper stay with the Rangas, while Kanan and I follow. We wait there until the shuttle is away, then come back to the Ghost in our groups...are you listening?

    “Huh? Yeah…” Kind of. He’d been staring into his caf, remembering Mara wrangling with the cranky caf machine at the Café Alderaan and the way her hair had smelled faintly of caf and cinnamon. The way her green eyes sparkled when she smiled. How bright she was in the Force. The way the Force had hummed when they’d kissed… “Stay with the Rangas, come back with Chopper. Got it.”

    Hera frowned and shot an anxious look at the others. “Are you sure you’re all right?”

    “Just not really hungry.” He tossed the soggy ration bar into the trash and poured out the thick, oily caf. “I’m going to go get dressed.” Ezra didn’t know why he should be in any hurry, though; the sooner he got going, the sooner they’d be leaving Merkesh. He made his way to his cabin, where he sat on the edge of Zeb’s bunk, staring at nothing for a while before putting on his clothes.

    A noise from the hallway brought him out of his lethargy. Meryan Ranga was there struggling with a pair of suitcases. The librarian was a slight woman, not even up to Ezra’s chin, and she looked even more flustered than usual as she tried to drag the suitcases towards the ramp. The twins flitted around, playing tag over Chopper’s head while he muttered dire things in an electronic undertone. Little Nathen clung to his mother’s skirts, further hampering her efforts. The old-fashioned spectacles Meryan wore were sliding down her nose, and she blew a wisp of blonde hair out of her face in frustration.

    “Hey, let me get those for you.” Ezra darted out of his cabin and picked up the larger of the two bags.

    “No, it’s alright.” Meryan tugged the other away from him. “You’ve been too kind already.”

    “It’s okay, really,” he insisted. “I don’t mind, and you’ve got your hands full with the kids.”

    She reluctantly surrendered the second suitcase. “Thank you.”

    The bags were more awkward than heavy, even though they contained all the Rangas’ possessions, everything they’d been able to bring with them when they’d fled from Coruscant. “No problem.”

    “Elsi! Dewi!” she called to the twins who were now trying to climb over Chopper to tag each other. “Leave that poor droid alone and get over here. We have to catch our shuttle now.” Meryan frowned as the girls, giggling, tagged their brother and all of them ran past her and Ezra down the Ghost’s ramp. She sighed and hurried to catch up. Ezra followed with the suitcases, while Chopper trailed behind, his muttered suggestions for the twins making Zeb’s cargo hold plan seem reasonable.

    “No, I mean it,” Meryan said once they’d caught up with the children. “Thank you. Not just for the bags...for everything. I heard what happened to Linel Blye, and I heard how you drew the bounty hunters that were looking for me away. I don’t know how I can ever repay you.” She looked away, straightening her spectacles, and continued softly. “I’ve been a terrible mother, holed up in my cabin like a brush-mouse while you took care of them. A real coward. What will my children think of me, running away and letting everyone else take the risks?”

    “You’re not a coward.” Ezra wished he had a hand free so he could pat a shoulder or touch her hand, something to let her know he didn’t think any less of her. Not everyone was meant to be a Rebel and she’d done the best thing for her family. He edged reassurance into his words instead. “You told the truth. You left your home, and you trusted a bunch of strangers to get you all the way across the Galaxy to start a new life. That all seems pretty brave to me.”

    She laughed bitterly. “It wasn’t brave. What choice did I have? I had to keep them safe.”

    “Right...and that’s what your kids will know about you. That their mom gave up everything for them. Because nothing’s as important as family.” Now it was his turn to look away, trying again to not think about his own parents and how they had given up everything to do what was right. There were no easy choices, and not everyone could make the same ones. Maybe someday, no one would have to.

    They’d reached the shuttle terminal; Sabine and Zeb were already there, stationed to monitor the entrance, loitering as unobtrusively as a two-meter tall Lasat and a purple-haired Mandalorian in multicolored armor could. Ezra handed the suitcases to the porter droid as the tinny overhead PA system blared “StarSpeeder shuttle flight 217 for Beltooine, with connections to Lythos, Mallordian, and Bondan is now departing.”

    “Oh! That’s us! Kids, come on.” Meryan rustled in her belt satchel and pulled out their tickets, the identicards with their new names, and a datacard. “Thank you, Ezra. It’s good to know there are still people like you out there.” She surprised Ezra by hugging him and then handed the data card to him. “Here--the file on Lord Tion’s occupation of Ralltiir. I know you’ll get it where it needs to go.”

    Nathen flung his arms around Ezra’s knees and hugged him tightly. “I gonna miss you, Ezwa!”

    Ezra patted the boy’s head. “Yeah, I’ll miss you, too.” It would, at least, be a lot quieter without the kids around…

    The twins, suddenly subdued now that they were leaving, looked at him with huge, teary eyes. “Will you come visit us?” Elsi--or maybe it was Dewi--asked.

    “I’ll do my best.” He knew how unlikely that would be, but right now the Rangas needed encouragement more than truth. “You kids be good, okay? Listen to your mom and stick together."

    The girls nodded solemnly as Meryan scooped up Nathen and nudged them towards the shuttle’s ramp as the PA repeated its message. “Goodbye, and thank you again!” she called as they boarded.

    ------------------------------------------

    A flurry of activity surrounded the ship before takeoff-- last-minute passengers hurrying to board, luggage droids tossing bags into the hold, and pit droids finishing their maintenance sequences. Finally, the doors clanged shut and the droid crew scuttled away as the takeoff platform raised the shuttle into position, rattling the entire terminal. The shuttle’s thrusters roared to life. Ezra shaded his eyes with one hand as he watched it ascend into the cloudless blue sky and disappear from view. He hoped the Rangas would be safe out there and find happiness in their new life.

    “Bwaa!” Chopper prodded him emphatically. “Bwwaa bwaap bwop!”

    “I know, I know,” Mission accomplished; time to go. Time to leave. Chopper hurried off, never happy wherever he was, and Ezra followed, heart sinking and feet dragging. All the plans he’d concocted last night for returning to Merkesh clamored at the back of his brain, insisting they were reasonable, they might work, really! He could come back...or maybe he didn’t have to leave, at least not yet. Wasn't something always malfunctioning on the Ghost? Maybe he’d have time to sneak back to the café and see Mara just one more time before they left…

    Too soon his lagging steps brought him back to the Ghost. Kanan, Hera and Chopper were already there waiting at the top of the ramp, and Zeb and Sabine were right behind him, even though they’d been the last to leave the terminal. “You go any slower, you’ll be moving backwards.” Zeb said as he jostled past Ezra onto the ship. “What’s your problem, kid?” Sabine sighed and poked Zeb sharply on one brawny bicep as she passed. “Oh…” Zeb looked sheepish as he rubbed his arm. “Yeah.”

    Hera came down to meet Ezra. “You did a good job today.You really stepped up with” she said taking his arm. “Are you ready to go?”

    “Sure,” he lied, and let her steer him gently up towards the Ghost. “Ready as I’ll ever be.” Maybe that was the truth, though. Ezra wasn’t sure he would ever be ready for this to end. But he’d never forget a single minute of the time he’d spent with Mara. He’d never forget her.

    *Ezra!*

    He thought he’d really lost when Mara's voice burst into his melancholy thoughts. He froze, halfway up the ramp, and then heard her voice aloud, too. “Ezra! Wait!” He turned with a start.

    Mara was really there, dashing across the tarmac towards the Ghost. She was wearing a sky-blue tunic belted with a sash embroidered with silver stars; her red-gold braids formed a circlet around her head. Ezra tried not to stare. How could she look more beautiful each time he saw her? She stopped at the foot of the ramp, waiting.

    He heard Zeb whistle behind him. “Nice going, kid.”

    Ezra’s brain finally kicked into gear at that and he ran down to her.. “Mara! What are you doing here?” No that wasn’t right... “I mean, I didn’t expect to see you…”

    She smiled, cheeks flushed and a little breathless.“I came to see you off. And… I have something for you. To replace the one the bounty hunters broke.” Mara reached into her belt pouch and pulled out a comlink. Ezra recognized it as an SW-95, and a new one at that. It had a range longer than most comlinks its size, almost 2000 kilometers with good conditions, and it wasn’t exactly cheap. He started to protest, but Mara pressed it into his hands. “I...um, made a few modifications to it, so it can transmit via HoloNet relay and not just use planetary signals--don’t worry, it’s encrypted according to Bothan SpyNet protocol, so no way the Empire can intercept the transmissions.” That part was pitched for the ears of his eavesdropping crew mates and delivered with a bold glance up at them But her eyes met Ezra’s and her smile was only for him as she added, “And...my comm code's already programmed in, just in case you’d…”

    “Yeah!” It came out like the startled yelp of a nek pup. Ezra winced. “I mean, yeah, thanks.”

    One corner of Mara’s smile quirked upwards. "Oh, this model has another feature you might be interested in; it’s got a built in mind-holo-cam. Very handy on missions. Let me show you how it works.” She turned the comlinks over in his hands. “Here’s the lens; you just push this button to take the holo.” Mara leaned in close to him, and held the comlink out at arm’s length. “Smile! Then tap here to view the holo….” She pressed another button and a small holo of them hovered above the comlink. Ezra thought that while Mara, of course, looked perfect, he mostly looked surprised. But she nodded. “Not bad,” she said, handing the SW-95 back to him. “Now you try.” Ezra held it the way she had, and leaned in next to her again, but before he could take the holo, Mara held up a hand and pulled out her own, matching comlink “Wait, let me get one, too. Okay...three, two, one…Smile…”

    Zeb told him later that he’d looked like a pole-axed bantha when Mara had turned and kissed him--to the music of Zeb’s hoot, Sabine’s applause and Kanan’s sigh, as well at the humming of the Force. Looking at the holo, Ezra had to say that the comparison wasn’t entirely inaccurate. The bantha might have had the same look of wide-eyed bewilderment, though he doubted it would have had as goofy a smile...or looked quite as pleased. And even though he looked like a real moof-milker, somehow the holo was really kind of perfect. It was so...Mara. Their time together had been full of surprises--from the moment he’d seen her in the Café until that last kiss in the holo.

    Ezra smiled to himself as he looked at their holo, bobbing above the comlink. As perfect as the holo was, the comlink was even better. With it, he had a way to reach out to Mara across the stars, wherever he was, until he could make his way back to her. And he would; the promise he hadn’t dared make her, he made to himself. Somehow, someday he’d come back. It was a wild hope, but after all that had happened and all they’d been through--bounty hunters and bar fighters, nosy Imps and irate parents--he wasn’t giving up.

    There was a tap at the cabin door and Ezra almost yelled at Zeb to go away until he realized that his cabin mate would have just barged in. He hopped down from his bunk and answered the door.

    Hera was there, holding a plate with a sandwich and a water bottle. “You didn’t eat breakfast and you didn’t come out for lunch. I thought you’d be hungry by now.”

    He was, actually, now that she mentioned it. He hadn't even remembered lunch; he’d been too wrapped up in thoughts of Mara. “I thought you didn’t like us to have food in the cabins,” Ezra said as he took them from her.

    A smile touched her lips, and she shrugged. “I’m making an exception for today. Try not to get crumbs in Zeb’s bunk.” Hera leaned against the doorframe, arms crossed over her chest. “You know, Kanan and I had a very interesting chat with Doran and Raissa while you were upstairs with Mara.”

    “Oh?” ‘Interesting’ sounded like it could mean any number of things, from “we discussed the influence of the Jedi on Old Republic art” to “we spent the whole time talking about your shortcomings and how to keep you away from their daughter.”

    “Mmm.” Her smile curved up at Ezra’s careful inquiry, and there was a playful gleam in her eyes that made Ezra wonder what she was up to. “Doran and Kanan actually have quite a bit in common, and I was thinking…Yavin isn’t that far from Merkesh, Galactically speaking. It might be good for Kanan to have another Jedi to talk to sometimes.”

    “Kanan…” Ezra repeated slowly.

    “Of course,” Hera agreed, but her lekku signed “no” and twitched they way they did when she was trying to keep from laughing. She turned to go and called back over her shoulder. “We’ll be coming out of hyperspace soon; don’t stare at Mara’s holo all night.”

    Ezra watched her go with a growing sense of wonder. Kanan might be leader of the Spectres, but Hera was still the captain. And she’d just provided a reason to go back to Merkesh that Kanan could hardly argue with. A slow grin stole over Ezra’s face. He couldn’t wait to tell Mara. They were coming out of hyperspace, which meant the comlink could send and receive signals…

    He reached for the comlink, then stopped. Maybe it was too soon to comm her. Wasn’t that one of those unwritten rules of dating that men were always getting in trouble for? Calling a girl too soon made you look desperate or like you thought she didn’t have anything better to do than sit next to her comlink waiting for you. He didn’t want to look too eager to talk to her, even if he kind of was… So how long were you supposed to wait before calling? And who made up all these stupid rules, anyway? Hera knew more about these things than he did, and hadn’t she pretty much told him to call?

    Ezra decided he’d never been very good at following rules, anyway.

    The comlink pinged as he reached for it again.

    “Ezra? Are you there?” The sound of Mara’s voice lit up the Force.

    “Hi, Ace...I was just thinking about you…”
     
  16. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    What a fantastic finale! And not only that, but a great tie-in to your other story, Ever After!

    Ezra's ideas of coming back to Merkesh run from dangerous to absolutely idiotic, but lack of sleep and racing mind can be a sign of many things - luckily, in his case, it's true love. And funny enough, Chopper and Zeb are the first to notice his woes - the typical teasers, perhaps in some case even trolls. Until Hera comes up, I think they're really, really giving him a hard time!

    I am sure that Zeb didn't mind at all. But I am also sure that this is a special portion, for Ezra only.

    I am glad that the Rangas departed safely. :) :) :)

    And the very ending is wonderful. Romantic in all possible ways. Mara comes around and gives Ezra a commlink, which he later uses to call her. And it's all very cinematic, like one of those running to the airport scenes in chick flicks...but much more believable.

    Also, scr3w the rules of dating! You call somebody when you need them. And no space!parents on either side can stand in the way of true love. Right? Right!
     
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  17. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Such a sweet ending to the Beginning of Marzra. [face_love] Ezra is so dejected and down at the start of this chapter, and who can blame him—he too is feeling that there is likely to be no "ever after" for him and Mara, just as we know she's simultaneously feeling in "Ever After" (and yes, once again, very cool dovetailing here). But it's such a tribute to his better nature that he doesn't let it keep him from being such a wonderful helper to the Rangas—to helping Meryan with the luggage, accepting her appreciation graciously, and offering such fantastic words of encouragement. Meryan's kids will certainly remember her bravery and be inspired by it—and I bet at least the older two will retain some fun memories of “Ezwa,” too. And of course, there is no one, absolutely no one, who knows the importance of family better than this Loth-rat-turned-Spectre-Six—and I mean that! (And now that I have finally seen the episode where he expresses that sentiment—outspokenly to [hl=black]his commander's dad's face[/hl], I know just how strong the conviction behind it really is.)

    I love the total transformation of Ezra’s mood in the final section. One moment he’s trudging all sad and dejected back to the Ghost, knowing that all his clever “what if” plans for sneaking a final goodbye are pretty much futile. But in that magic moment when she returns—radiant in that sky-colored outfit with the starry belt that I’ve got to imagine has some symbolic import ;) —the spring immediately comes back to his step and the gleam to his eye. And then—yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is indeed a GFFA kiss selfie! Or two! [face_love] Zeb and Sabine can tease all they want, and Kanan can sigh all he wants—if the Force is humming, that’s all we need to know that it’s All Good. :D

    Kudos to Hera for being so supportive—yes, there’s a lot of scolding and bad-copping that goes with the title of Space!Mom, but there’s also WADS of sincere love and understanding. Sure, she and the Blaynes probably did say at least a word or two about the frustrations of raising force-sensitive Space!Teens (in between discussions of the influence of the Jedi on Old Republic art, of course :p ). But she’d have to be made of marble not to know just how much this meeting meant to Ezra. Their “ever after” is made possible in large part by her motherly understanding, and as a mom myself I consider that awesome. (As for Mr. “Jedi must not know emotion,” well, he’ll come around, I’m sure. :p )

    Of course I’ve already remarked elsewhere on the cool way “Ever After” dovetails with this chapter, but heck, I’m remarking on it again here. :p It’s beautifully fitting that both this story and that one end with their first long-distance communication attempt, signaling the new phase their relationship is about to enter. Not to mention that it’s rather cute to see the boy angsting over “dating rules” for a change! :p

    Wonderful wrap-up—thanks SO, so much for sharing this story and introducing us to a sweet, very different couple who totally deserved their Best Original Relationship win. =D=
     
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