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Beyond - Legends ~Things Fall Apart~"50 Titles" L/M AU **Chap 4 Jun 30th!**

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Irish_Jedi_Jade, Mar 7, 2016.

  1. Irish_Jedi_Jade

    Irish_Jedi_Jade Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Title: Things Fall Apart
    Genre: AU L/M
    Synopsis: Just after TTT, Luke and Mara realize that there’s something going on between them…but things don’t go as planned, and they are left wondering if love really is enough.
    A/N: So I got the title above as part of the 50 Titles Challenge, and it was pretty much the perfect one for me. I’ve been really going through L/M withdrawals since TFA came out, and so I had to write this…with all the things that I love about them. This fic is unabashedly going to have all the “cliche” things I love about many L/M stories…not because I’m stealing them, but because I love them (don't judge!). Be prepared for angst folks, but I promise there will be “toe-curling-mushiness” as @nyota’s_heart would say….and good feelings too =)





    “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 up 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’ve decided.”
    He turned and walked away across the Palace roof. Mara turned to gaze out at the lights of the city again, the cool metal of the lightsaber pressed against her hand. Luke’s lightsaber. Probably one of his last links to the past … and he was giving it away.
    Was there a message in that for her? Probably. Like she’d said, subtlety wasn’t one of Luke’s strong points. But if that was why he’d done it, he’d been wasting his time. Her last link with the past had been broken in the Mount Tantiss throne room.
    Her past was over. It was time to get on with the future. And the New Republic was that future. Whether she liked it or not.
    Behind her, she heard Luke open the roof door. “Hang on a minute,” she called after him. “I’ll come with you.”

    ~Timothy Zahn, Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy III: The Last Command



    A smile lit up Luke’s face as Mara walked towards him, and she could sense the spike of joy, and a tiny bit of surprise in his Force sense. She allowed him the tiniest of smiles as he held the door open for her,

    “Thought I’d run from the challenge, did you Skywalker?”

    He shook his head. “I wouldn’t dare even think that.”

    She grinned to herself in the safety of the stairwell’s shadows. Her hand still tingled strangely where he had touched it, but she pushed that away as she rubbed her fingers over Luke’s lightsaber—no, her lightsaberas it swung from its clip on her right hip. It felt different but…a good kind of different. A familiar type of different, but definitely something she could get used to. She let her fingers lightly run along the smooth contours of the hilt as she went, acquainting herself with its features.

    They descended the stairs in silence, and came back into the main corridor. Mara could hear the noise spilling from the room, angry shouts and raucous laughter. She sighed, thinking of the enormous amount of work it would take to get the disparate fringe groups to work together, never mind the fact that it was probably impossible.

    Well, nothing’s going to happen if you just stand here, Jade. Squaring her shoulders, she prepared to leave the safety of the empty hallway…and was stopped by a gentle hand on her arm. She turned, as the hand squeezed encouragingly. Skywalker, with the faintest pink tinge to his cheeks, smiled at her in his infuriatingly earnest way.

    “If anyone can do it, it’s you, Mara. I know you’ll do great.”

    And while Mara wanted to bristle and tell him of course I can do it, idiot, and it’ll be more than great, it will be both impressive and effective…the words died on her lips as she caught a flash of something she didn’t quite know how to categorize from his Force sense. It was a tangle of what could only be described as admiration, encouragement, and…care. Not concern, because she could tell Skywalker genuinely did believe she could do it, but she could sense that he was trying very hard to not let her see how much he believed it. Her hand began to tingle again, where he had touched her…and try as she might, she couldn’t help but notice how blue his eyes were.

    “Thanks.”

    With that singular word, which seemed to be the only thing she could think of to say, she pulled out of his gentle grasp and stepped into the fray.


    ~**~

    Time passed, and the slow work of rebuilding progressed. Luke remained on Coruscant at Leia’s request to assist with the efforts, and he found himself doing everything from flying supply runs, to advising on reconstruction plans, to even the occasional diplomatic negotiation with someone who either wanted to either get in on the reconstruction or skip out on it.

    Tonight, however…the New Republic required him to get a haircut, take a shower, and wear something that wasn’t his standard black tunic and pants. Fortunately, he had a sister who had a reputation for having a fairly decent fashion sense. She had taken pity on him apparently, and a courier droid had appeared with a pressed and ready outfit. Luke removed it from its protective wrapping and asked the Force why Leia had to be so…royal. But considering his choices were black everyday wear, workout clothes, or the outfit Leia had chosen…he decided on making his sister happy.

    Donning the outfit, he adjusted it as best he could to balance apparent style and comfort. After ten minutes, he gave up and relinquished himself to a night of clothing-induced misery, and headed out, only a little late. He flew his speeder with the roof down, arguing with himself if he started sweating, he’d ruin his frippery. But he smiled as the wind blew on his face and the lights of the city stretched out in front of him.


    ~//~

    Mara strode into the banquet hall, already feeling a headache coming on. She had spent all day in negotiations, with only enough time to dash home for a shower, and dress with no time to spare. She looked around the room, hoping Karrde would have arrived equally as on-time she had. Spying him in the back of the room, she walked to the bar, ordered a drink, and made her way back to the only person in the room she didn’t want to kill.

    “Looking lovely as always, Mara.” She smiled tightly to her employer, accepting his compliment.

    “I had the feeling a flight suit wouldn’t be the order of the evening.” He smiled, sipping his brandy.

    “Exactly why I knew you’d be good at this—excellent perception and decision making skills.”

    Mara rolled her eyes, but felt herself begin to relax as she discussed with Karrde the progress the Smuggler’s Association had made in the recent months. He told her about several ships that had been retrofitted, and she nodded appreciatively at the price at which he had managed to get the work done. The room began to fill with guests, but thankfully not many of the smugglers with which she spent so much time had seen fit to drag their formalwear out of storage for the occasion, and thus were not in attendance.

    The only way to describe Lando’s entrance to their conversation was to say he swooped in. He even managed to make his short cape flourish artistically around him, making the metallic lining glitter. Mara rolled her eyes, and began taking larger sips of her whiskey as Lando’s stream of flattery, frippery, and nonsense began to flow.
    “Mara, you look like a summer storm—absolutely incredible! I don’t know how someone so lovely can….” She looked blatantly at Karrde, hoping Calrissian would get the point. Sadly, he didn’t, continuing his blabbering with an air of legitimacy that made her want to nothing less than punch him. Instead, she contented herself with downing her drink.

    The burning tingle had barely faded from the back of her throat when Skywalker stumbled into the room with the telltale air of someone who knows they’re late but is desperately hoping nobody noticed. She noticed his hair looked like he had flown in a windstorm, which contrasted strongly with his fashionable attire. He walked towards Leia, who was resplendent in an ivory gown, and Mara smirked inwardly at the look on her face as she glared at her brother.

    Lando had apparently learned to exist without needing oxygen, because he had not stopped to take a breath, and his stream of babble continued unabated. She rolled her eyes at Karrde, and pushed past the two of them.

    “I’m getting a refill.”

    She headed towards the bar, wondering why Skywalker had caught her eye like that…but reminded herself that the only reason he was so interesting was because Lando was the only person in the entire fracking more annoying than he was. Squaring her shoulders, she brushed the wayward idea of what it would feel like to smooth down his hair…

    And collided with him.

    Years of training meant she didn’t tumble to the ground in a heap…but that training hadn’t prepared her for Luke Skywalker to grab her protectively to keep her from falling.

    “I’m so sorry, I don’t—oh, Mara!” The excitement in his voice made her roll her eyes as she pushed away. “I didn’t realize you’d be here!” His eyes took her in, and Mara felt a small blush rise to her cheeks and tried to push it away. She had selected one of her more…exciting dresses. Generally she tried to wear things that let her blend into the background, but tonight for some reason she had felt like enjoying her clothing.

    The dress clung to her and showed off her trim form, sleeveless but with a high neckline, the back dipped moderately low, draped with gathers. It was black, with a pattern that looked like an exotic seaweed stitched on top in muted gold tones. It did not sparkle—the former Emperor’s Hand did not sparkle!—but rather shimmered mutely as she moved. It had a slit up the side, not too high, but enough to be intriguing. She hadn’t had time to style her hair extensively, so she had simply parted it deeply to one side and pinned it off her face, allowing it to dry into its natural waves. Luke’s eyes took it all in and she wondered at the flutter in her stomach…so she distracted herself by examining his outfit with a critical eye—it was certainly not his normal wear. A dark navy shirt with black cuffs, leading up to a high collar, straight black pants, over which he had a knee-length tabard of a royal blue. The overall effect was significantly more distinguished than anything she had ever seen him wear, and it brought out the color in his eyes.

    “Well, I’m an official Liason, remember? I have to keep up appearances.”

    His blue eyes flashed with something, and he grinned a lopsided grin.

    “You certainly do, Mara.”

    She narrowed her eyes. “Was that a complement, Skywalker?”

    The grin turned into a smile. “An attempt.” He looked down and fidgeted with his tabard, smoothing it nervously. “Since I crashed into you, will you let me apologize by proving I can actually move without gross navigational error?” He held out a hand, “Dance with me?”

    Mara considered the hand. “I feel like I’m risking my life…” She placed her hand in his, already regretting her lapse in judgement.

    He gave a self-deprecating shrug as they reached the floor and he pulled in. “Two years ago, yes, it would have been. But on top of picking my clothing for me, Leia’s also taught me to dance.”

    She grinned at him as they moved easily, his steps surprisingly light and his sense of rhythm and timing excellent. “I guessed you didn’t pick that out yourself.”

    He shook his head as he gently pushed her out to twirl under his arm, guiding her around gracefully before pulling her back in. “Of course not. I tried once to dress myself…on the ceremony on Yavin IV, after, well…you know.” She was surprised as she felt a flash of embarrassment. “I walked out and Han gave me a look, but didn’t say anything. I thought—being an idiot—that he was impressed. We walked down the long isle to Leia, and the look she gave me…I thought at the time that she was proud of me….but it turns out she was trying to not laugh.”

    Mara looked at him quizzically. “Was your outfit choice really that awful?”

    Luke flashed her a curious look, “You’re telling me you’ve never seen the holos of that day?”

    Shaking her head, Mara rolled her eyes. “I don’t spend my time looking at holos of you, Skywalker. Sorry to destroy your imaginings of what you think I do all day, but it isn’t that.”

    He rolled his eyes, “I didn’t mean it like that, Mara. I just mean…well, I guess I should count my blessings you’re one of what seems like three beings in the Galaxy who haven’t seen it. I had picked out a relatively decent outfit, but at the last minute I decided it was too…boring. So I grabbed a jacket and dashed out, and…apparently electric yellow doesn’t look good on me.”

    Laughter bubbled up uninvited as Mara imagined the man dancing with her in electric yellow. She momentarily rested her head on his shoulder as she fought to rein in her mirth, and then looked back at his face.

    “How electric?”

    His smile was an easy one—clearly he either didn’t mind being laughed at, or he had already been laughed at so many times he didn’t care. “Umm…imagine a color about six shades lighter than Lando’s cape lining….and you’d have it.”

    She shook her head at him, imagining. “Gods, that would look horrible on you. I’m guessing it made your hair look positively acidic.”

    “Definitely wasn’t one of my best looks.” He twirled her again, and she found herself glad to be dancing with someone who could both have a conversation and actually keep up with the dance at the same time. “But I think it’s obvious that you’ve far outdone me.” His smile lit up his eyes, making them sparkle in a way that had nothing to do with the color of his outfit, and as the song ended, he brought her around and dipped her gracefully. “You really are absolutely beautiful.”

    She was so surprised at the sincerity in his words and his Force sense, that she could do nothing but stare up at him for a long moment. But then he brought her back up, and pulled away holding only her hand, and gave her a formal bow. She curtsied back, court manners automatically filling into the void his complement had created.

    “Well…thank you.” That was all she could say, and before anything else could happen, Leia appeared and whisked him off, smiling briefly at Mara before beginning to yammer in his ear. As Mara walked off the dance floor in the opposite direction, she was left wondering at the feeling in her stomach. It had twisted slightly as Luke had let go of her hand and left with his sister, and to her chagrin, she couldn’t decide if it was because she was happy to see him go…or reluctant to release him.


    ~//~


    Luke’s palms were sweating as he reached for the comm station’s controls. Standing, he stood and bounced lightly on his heels. Jedi Master or no, nothing could prepare anyone for asking Mara Jade anything…especially when she was not interested in what he had to offer. But he couldn’t get her out of his head. The way her dress had clung to her, yet had only accentuated her beauty without displaying it openly. Her dancing had been light, fluid…sensual. But more than that, she had been a good partner…not many people could carry on an enjoyable conversation, and dance as elegantly as she had. But what kept flitting into his mind in the week since the formal evening was the way her head had fallen on his shoulder when she laughed. The way it had fit so perfectly, the way she had seemed to fit with him so well.

    He dropped to the floor and began to do pushups. Up, down. Up, down. Movement always seemed to help his mind to push through to clarity…and clarity seemed to escape him when considering Mara. On the surface, his desire to spend more time with her made him question his sanity. Up, down. Up, down. Only two months ago she had sworn to kill him, had told him that to his face! And since then…she had apparently sworn off dreaming about his murder, she had taken to a difficult job with flying colors, and she had actually danced with him! She had listened to his idiotic story about his horrible clothing choices, and had even laughed at him without making him feel like the wet-behind-the-ears farm kid he was. Up, down. Up, down.

    Standing, he took a deep breath. There was nothing wrong with wanting to spend a bit of time with her, if she’d allow it. After all, they had been through quite a bit of excitement together, and that sort of thing generally made people form bonds, strong bonds sometimes. Perhaps that was the reason he couldn’t get her out of his head—but his Aunt Beru had always said the best way to confront a problem was to take it head-on. And that’s what he was going to do.


    ~//~


    Mara’s comm station beeped, and she grudgingly left the warmth of the post-shower refresher and made her way to the intrusive noise. Being sure to narrow the field of view to just her face, she flicked it on, “Jade.”

    “Mara! How are you?”

    She was surprised to see one of the most recognizable faces in the galaxy staring at her, but his smile was what made her narrow her eyes.

    “Fine, Skywalker. What do you want?”

    His smile remained, but took on an uncertain tinge.

    “Well…I was thinking about something. It occurred to me you’re a strong, independent woman, who could easily break my neck with just your pinkie. And I am a moisture farmer who just happened to be the son of the galaxy’s favorite mass murderer, which means I have abilities with the Force.”

    Mara rolled her eyes.

    “Thanks for the overly-simple summation of our respective skills. Your point?”

    Now he definitely looked uncertain…and more than a bit bashful.

    “Well…I was thinking maybe we could trade.” She stared at him—she had been expecting him to ask her to train with him ever since he had given her the lightsaber. But a trade?

    “You want me to teach you hand-to-hand? Seriously?”

    Luke nodded a bit too vigorously. “I guess I just realized that without the Force, I’m a bit…less than proficient. And I want to make sure I’m ready for anything. Maybe if I knew some of what you know, I could have escaped from you on Myrkr. Not“—he added hastily—“that I’m upset with how it turned out, by the way.”

    She considered him for a second…and then another. It amused her to watch the subtle fidgeting that took over as the time stretched out. She wondered if he’d start checking to see if the connection had dropped soon…but then took pity on him.

    “One lesson, Skywalker, and if you don’t impress me, we’re done.”

    His smile was wide and boyish, and she could see the competitive glint in his eye.


    “Deal.”
     
  2. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Well. When you get into a relationship with farmboy, you probably are.

    I enjoy the "snap" Mara has in this (the emperor's hand so does not sparkle :p ) and how Luke is both self-deprecating yet cocky.

    I am eager to see how you make this one different from other LM post-TTT fics. I'm all on board the angst train!
     
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  3. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Yes L/M, they are the perfect couple
     
  4. Demendora

    Demendora Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Apr 9, 2010
    Oh!How I missed my babies! TFA kind of broke my heart,so I desperately need LM dose!
     
  5. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh, Irish! Have I mentioned how chuffed I am you're back? And this. Oh, it's like candy. Ghiardelli caramels to be precise. [face_laugh] I'll be watching this with sheer delight!
     
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  6. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Terrific! I love the banter, the fashion hits & misses, the snark - all wonderful. This is such a great point in their relationship, where they are tentatively exploring possibilities.

    Great cameos too, of Talon, Leia and Lando.;)
     
  7. Annia Piet

    Annia Piet Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Feb 7, 2015
    Ah, I just love L/M stories in this time period! This has a really enjoyable, light hearted tone so far - it's nice seeing our characters be able to relax and just enjoy themselves for once!
     
  8. JediMaster_Jen

    JediMaster_Jen Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Love this!!:) I adore stories of L/M in those tentative first steps of their relationship. You've captured them beautifully.
     
  9. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Oh dear. It's been a few months since I last read a classic L/M fic like this one. As Nyota said, it's like eating candy -- the candy you grew up on, to be precise. It has that sweet taste you can't get enough of :)

    This was absolutely lovely -- the characterisation, the banter, the way you built the tension between them step by step... There were some lines in there that had me laughing out loud (the glitter or lack thereof, the description of Luke's Yavin outfit), plus, Lando!!! The whole scene with him was hilarious, but also very, very Mara.

    Now I'm waiting for the angst. With a beginning like this, something has to go wrong at some point... [face_devil]
     
  10. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Go raibh míle, míle maith agat! (Ban)dia dhuit!

    Even though I am sitting at the computer with chills and streptococcal pneumonia, my first ever (!), I am quite cheerful now. You write a wonderful Luke, sweet and charming. Mara simply has to fall for him. Lando should be kicked out of the picture totally.
     
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  11. Ewok_Slayer

    Ewok_Slayer Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Nov 24, 2004
    Wonderful! They are my favorite couple!
     
  12. Irish_Jedi_Jade

    Irish_Jedi_Jade Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Replies: A BIG thanks to everyone for reading!!!! [:D]

    Thank you friend!!!!! I am glad you picked up on all those things, because they are some of my favorites about L/M in this time period too! [face_love] I'll do my best to try to surprise you!

    They're definitely my favorite couple!

    Glad to be in the L/M withdrawals boat with you!!


    Oh thank you darling! Glad to be back too, and to see you're all still here too!!

    [face_blush] High praise from the Practically Perfect one! Thank you so much--it's one of my favorite points too. So many possibilities!

    So glad you share my love!! And they'll enjoy themselves...until I totally mess their world up! [face_skull]

    Thank you so much!!! I also love this time period [face_love]


    Thank you so much!!!! ^:)^ I was hoping someone would laugh besides me! Your instincts serve you well...things can't stay sunshine and butterflies forever!!

    I am so sorry you were sick, and I hope by now you are much better! [face_coffee][:D] I'm so glad you like my Luke. I always felt that he was truly a gentleman, but also has a fun, playful side to him. And totally agree with you on Lando!!

    Yay!! The world needs as many L/M lovers as it can get!!!


    Thank you again to everyone for reading!!!! [face_love][:D]
     
    Chyntuck and AzureAngel2 like this.
  13. Irish_Jedi_Jade

    Irish_Jedi_Jade Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Things Fall Apart--Chapter 2
    (For the 50 Titles Challenge)
    Previous Word Count: 2,946/Current Chapter Word Count: 2,618/Total Word Count: 5,564
    A/N: Luke and Mara exchange lessons in-between their busy lives. EDIT: Big thanks to Briannakin for the Beta! You're the best [:D]



    ~//~


    Luke stood outside the training room where he and Mara had agreed to meet, and considered the small window in the door with a quizzical expression. It had been covered over with what looked like a workout jacket and a piece of utility tape. He wondered if Mara had brought a legion of angry ex-Imperials to ambush him to their first class. She had said that if he wasn’t impressive, she’d drop him…

    Pushing it open, he poked his head inside to see nothing so terrifying. Only a fool wouldn’t be terrified of her, though. The thought entered his head like a breeze and he smiled to himself as she looked up at him, standing from a deep stretch.

    Hair braided back from her face, it hung in a tail down to her shoulder blades. Dressed simply in formfitting pants and a sleeveless top, her bare feet seemed incongruous to the look on her face.

    “You know, Skywalker, I’ve seen a lot in my time, but nobody has ever willingly placed themselves in my line of fire. You’re either suicidal or manically interested in self-defense.” Her eyes held a mixture of disdain and distaste.

    He grinned, ignoring her ire and set down his small workout bag before bending down to remove his shoes.

    “No. I just know what I’m good at, and this isn’t one of them. Besides, why not learn from the best when she’s here on Coruscant and—I’m betting—has a lot of frustration to work out.”

    She rolled her eyes then, before tossing him a roll of tape. “Just because I am the best doesn’t mean I’ll go easy on you. Now, tape up.” She picked up another roll and began to expertly apply it to her hands. Luke did the same—albeit less proficiently—and then dropped them to his sides.

    “Well? What’s first?” He half pointed to the entrance, “And what’s with the door?”

    She held up a warning hand.

    “Ground rules, that’s what’s first.” She fixed him with what he had mentally named “The Mara Stare”: equal parts condescension, irritation and contempt. “What’s up with the door is that I don’t like people walking by and distracting me when I’m doing something. Rule One: no using the Force. Period. If I catch you so much as softening a fall, I’ll lay you out and we’re done. Rule Two: I will know if you’re going easy or pulling your punches, and I’ll let you imagine how I feel about people not doing their best. I won’t be holding back on you, and I promise you aren’t going to hurt me. Rule Three: if you can’t take losing, leave now.”

    He opened his hands in a conciliatory gesture, “Fine by me.”

    Only then did she grin, and took a step back, bouncing lightly on the balls of her feet, her hands mirroring his at her side. He was struck by how petite she was—something easy to forget because what she lacked in size she made up for in fire and grit. “Good. Then let’s see what you can do.” The smile on her face was feral, like a jungle cat sizing up its very small prey. “Try and take me down.” Luke eyed her uncertainly, and she started to glare at him again. “Remember rule two. Do your best, Jedi. I promise you won’t break me.”

    Bending his knees, Luke rushed at her, keeping his center of gravity low.

    The last thing he saw was Mara’s grin.


    ~//~
    Almost two hours later, Luke thumped onto the mats and decided he liked it down there. Stars swam in front of his eyes for a moment, only to be replaced by the face of his none-too-gentle instructor.

    “Giving up?” He shook his head as he sat up, both to clear the ringing in his ears and to answer her question.

    “No….but are breaks acceptable?”

    She almost smiled as she sat down in front of him, graceful as a dancer. “They are. I think you could use a break for a couple days. I’ll give it to you, Jedi, I honestly didn’t think you’d last this long.”

    He grinned. “So does that mean you’re not going to dismember me and dump me in a gutter as a hopeless prospect?”

    Little hairs shivered and swayed as she shook her head. “No. You’re actually not as bad as I thought you would be. Your instincts are good when it comes to responding to a situation—you just have…ineffective reactions. But that’s alright—I can work with that.”

    Rolling his eyes, he reached over and grabbed his water bottle from his bag and took a long swig. “That’s probably the most tactfully phrased thing I’ve ever heard you say.”

    She rolled her eyes. “Don’t get too cocky, farmboy. You have a long way to go.”

    He thought back over the lesson…he had rushed her the first time and she had neatly stepped into his attack, turned him inexplicably around and dumped him flat on his face. His next several attempts he made had resulted in nearly the same thing, with only the position he ended in changing—on his back, on his face, sometimes with his arm twisted painfully or with her knee pressed against his neck.

    After a few more abortive attempts, she began showing him how she was stopping him—how to move just enough to deflect a motion rather than confront it, how to use someone’s musculature and mobility against them, and how to use the vulnerable points of the body. They would alternate—her showing him step by step how she would stop his attack, and then switching places so she would attack him, and seeing if he could replicate the steps himself. This was where she had proven that she was not only capable herself, but a surprisingly good teacher, oftentimes freezing mid-motion to adjust his form or show him a better way to do something. He had successfully deflected her attack one time, and felt pretty proud of that accomplishment.

    Standing and stretching, he took another swig of water and pushed sweaty hair from his eyes.

    “So, I’m hungry. You want to clean up and then grab something to eat?”

    She eyed him for a moment. “Is this your roundabout, low-threat attempt to extend your time in my presence?”

    “Nope.” Picking up his bag and towel, he smiled as he headed towards the door. “I’m going to go get food regardless. I’m just saying you you’re welcome to join me.”

    “And where is this place you’re going, regardless?”

    His smile was infectious. “It’s a little place downtown that the Rogues and I go sometimes. They have a killer stew, and I feel like I could use some protein.”


    ~//~
    Sliding into the booth, Luke grinned at Mara as she looked at the seat and table dubiously. Pulling a napkin from the container, she swept some crumbs from the seat before settling in.

    “So far, I’m not impressed, Skywalker, though it’s absolutely living up to what I expected from a bunch of pointy-headed starfighter jocks.”

    He rolled his eyes. “I suppose I’m glad to not disappoint?” The serving droid arrived, and they ordered their meals, and then Mara gave him an appraising look.

    “If the food is as bad as the atmosphere, you’re dead, farmboy.”

    ~//~

    Humming as he put his dishes in the cleaner, Luke smiled to himself. It had been three days since he had seen Mara last, and he was looking forward to seeing her. The days had been filled with meetings, committees, and various other tasks that apparently were vital to setting up a government. He wasn’t sure how Leia managed to stay so focused on what she was doing in the moment, while handling five other things perfectly. His sister certainly had gifts he didn’t possess. The door chimed, and he used the Force to press the release as he called out,

    “Come on in, I’ll just be a minute.”

    Stepping lithely into the room, the door whispered shut behind her as she set her bag down in the small entryway. Mara took in the surroundings in a moment, and then her cool green eyes settled on him with a look of wry amusement and a sprinkling of disdain.

    “Always eating, Skywalker. Someday you’re going to look like Jabba.”

    Drying his hands, he turned to her, smiling with that irritatingly earnest look of his. “I’m sure your lessons will prevent that. What have you been up to lately?” Reaching down into a cupboard, he retrieved two glasses and began filling them with water from a pitcher.

    She shrugged. “Meetings, negotiations, a few threats, some dirt-gathering. Pretty boring stuff, but not a lot of progress to show for all that frustration.” She took the cup he scooted across the counter to her and took a sip. “So what’s the plan for today?”

    He moved to the living area and sat down on the floor, cross-legged, and she followed. “Well…is there anything in particular you want to work on?”

    “Is that an excuse for shoddy lesson planning on your part?”

    Laughing, he shook his head. “No, I just don’t want to be accused of not being sensitive to my student.”

    Fixing him with a bored look, she grinned wryly. “I don’t think anyone’s ever thought of me as sensitive…and that’s not starting today.” Tossing her brilliant hair over her shoulder, she rolled her head around, stretching out the muscles in her neck.

    He smiled—Mara Jade never did anything by halves. “Let’s start with some focusing techniques. Close your eyes….”


    ~//~
    After the morning and part of the afternoon had slipped away, they decided to call it quits. Mara stood, stretching out sore muscles that protested her choice to not move out of her cross-legged position more often, and she grimaced.

    “Well, this was fun. I’ll see you in the gym tomorrow, right?” He nodded, and she caught a flash of something in his eyes, but she dismissed it as a trick of the light. “See you then.”

    “Are you hungry?” That look was back, and she realized it was earnestness mixed with a bit of hope. “I could make us something to eat. I’ve got some dewback steaks marinating.”

    Mara threw him a suspicious look. “Did the word marinate really just come out of your mouth, Skywalker?”

    He blushed a bit. “If you haven’t noticed, I really like to eat.” He ran a hand through his hair, the blonde strands falling back into place like rows of wheat. “So I kinda learned how to make things I like because it’s not as expensive as ordering out every time I was hungry. Leia helped me get the basics down.”

    This was a side of Skywalker she hadn’t considered—domestic, but with a thrifty side. She supposed that came from his roots as a moisture farmer. That couldn’t have been a wealthy existence.

    “Fascinating. But I’ve got things to do, people to kill, that sort of thing.”

    “Surely you need energy to do all those things, though?” The earnestness in his eyes was overtaken by what could only be described as a puppy-dog cast, and Mara had the strong urge to punch him. But something about it stopped her. There was such a lack of guile in him—Luke was straightforward, honest, exactly what he seemed, and that was something that she hadn’t experienced a lot of in her life. People were usually working angles, hiding a covert agenda. But not Luke—he was nothing but honesty, which meant right now he wanted to make her something to eat.

    “Fine. This isn’t going to be a huge, five course meal right? Because if you need a sous-chef, I’m not the person to pick.”

    He shook his head, happiness lighting up his features like a sky full of fireworks. “Nope. It won’t take long at all, I promise. You just relax.”

    She stood awkwardly as he moved to the kitchen and began puttering around, pulling things out of the cooling unit, turning on the cooker. Deciding that she could make this a working lunch, she moved back to the hall to grab her comlink and datapad. She had several messages and communications on her datapad, including…

    “Shavit.” She sat down at the counter on one of the high stools. “I’ve got to make a call, Skywalker.” He nodded with a cheerful no problem and continued what he was doing. Picking up her comlink she dialed. “Aves? Of course it’s Mara, who else would have my comlink code? Now what is this about you buying Verpine 2.0 hyperdrives?” She listened for a moment. “Well, that’s a marvelous idea, except that they don’t work with the shipment of paralight’s that we got from SoroSuub last week, so unless you want to explain to Karrde why you blew an ungodly amount of credits on very expensive paperweights, you need to go back to your buyer and convince him to give you the ones you actually ordered.” More silence. “Just remind Naasko that we have three more orders fragged out with him, and it would be easy to transfer our business to Grady’s people if he’s going to be a half-wit like that.”

    Cutting the call, she swiped her hand over her face.

    “That sounded fun.” Glancing up, she saw Skywalker looking at her with a concerned expression while stirring something in a pan.

    “If you think that was fun, you clearly have no idea what fun is.” She set down the comlink and began to massage her temples. “Aves is really great at negotiating and making deals, but he just doesn’t have the technical knowledge to back it up, which gets him into situations like this sometimes.”

    Luke’s voice was a bit tentative. “I didn’t realize you knew so much about hyperdrives. Most people either think all the parts come packaged together, or that they’re all interchangeable.”

    She looked at him from under the fringe of her hair where it had fallen over her hands as she massaged the tension away. “I guess there’s a lot you don’t know about me then.” His face took on a look of surprise and a bit of hurt, and she sighed. “I was a hyperdrive mechanic for a few years, back before I started working for Karrde.”

    He definitely perked up at that, and smiled a grin that could only be described as giddy. “Really? I had no idea!” He set down a plate of food in front of her—a dewback steak that had a surprisingly nice sear, some mashed tubers and a vegetable medley. “What do you think of SoroSuub’s new inertial dampener design?”

    They discussed that topic—as well as Incom’s new design for the X-Wing, Mon Calamari’s latest battle cruiser, and ways to fix a Thorsen field driver in-flight—while they ate. Mara was surprised at both the fare and the conversation. The food was simple, but seasoned well and cooked with precision, and Skywalker had a wealth of both knowledgeable and fervent opinions on all things mechanical. She found herself actually enjoying the meal, and was surprised when her data pad beeped at her that she had a meeting in thirty minutes.

    “Sithspit, I’ve got to go. Thanks for the food, Skywalker.” She reached for her plate to hand it to him, just as he reached for it. His hand settled over hers, and that strange tingling sensation skittered over her for a moment. Pulling her hand away, she picked up her things and headed towards the door, wondering at the feeling, and trying just as hard to ignore it. “See you tomorrow.”


    The door slid closed, cutting off any reply Luke might have given…and she hurried towards her speeder, trying to convince herself she hadn’t had that much fun.
     
  14. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Ahh! I love seeing them in the "beginnings of friendship stage" and you capture it so well!

    You may or may not have just kickstarted my muse.
     
  15. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Oh, Irish!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    What am I gonna do with you? [face_dancing] [face_dancing] [face_dancing]

    That was simply scrumptious! The learning curves - the little surprises on each side: I had more fun than I expected (the informal meals and conversation) blended with what was that sensation? ;)

    Luke is a gorgeous combo of honesty, get what you see, which I adore in anyone I know, and I like to eat and know how to fix things [face_laugh] A total keeper IMO [face_laugh]

    Mara - she's just totally in character and I love her more - like discovering her in HTTE all over again. How cool is that?!

    ^:)^
     
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  16. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    “Always eating, Skywalker. Someday you’re going to look like Jabba.”


    That is impossible! He would, could never look THAT way!

    Thanks for the next humorous update of our two love birds! :D

    Liked the tough training session and all the yummy meals described in-between.

    And believe me or not, since Monday I am ill again. With the same nasty buggers! I wonder who brings them to the kindergarten all the time. There should be a streptococcal scanner or something.

    It is the first time in 19 years that I got that sort of pneumonia. Now it is the second time in a row! :mad:

    At least fan fic writers like you are around: funny & witty. Better than any "Blackadder" or any "Father Ted" episode could ever be!
     
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  17. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    love the banter between them and the teasing. Luke a Hutt[face_laugh] after eating things like marinated steak [face_rofl]
     
  18. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    I absolutely love your portrayal of Mara at this stage of her life. She's still very rough around the edges, it's good that she somewhat softened her approach to teaching by the time Jaina became her padawan ;)

    And then there is foodie Luke, which is my preferred Luke. Though that zinger about Jabba the Hutt is a crack!fic waiting to happen.

    Lastly, great, great idea to have them bond over ship mechanics. An unexpected "romantic" conversation if there ever was one :D
     
  19. Irish_Jedi_Jade

    Irish_Jedi_Jade Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 2007
    I would LOVE to read that fic!!!! [face_laugh] Tell your muse I'll send her brownies if she cooperates and gives me a story! [:D]

    Thank you dear!! I'm glad you enjoyed it--and yes, "learning curves" is what I'm going for. Relationships are always so complicated, but if you're not looking for it, I think that it makes it easier. Mara definitely isn't looking for it...and yes, I love hungry Luke!! Hugs!!!

    Thank you! I'm glad that you enjoyed it. I also can't see Luke letting himself go (or Mara for that matter!) which is what made me chuckle as I wrote that. I hope you feel better!! Kiddos do bring some exciting bugs with them...I feel your pain. Allergies had me laid up all day today. All I could do for half the day was lay in bed with a pillow over my face breathing through my mouth. Feel better soon!!! [:D][face_coffee]

    I imagine Mara likes the finer things...but has never marinated in her life. And I can see Luke taking the time to figure something like that out. Glad you're enjoying it!! Thanks for reading!

    Thank you friend!!! Indeed--she is very pointy right now ;) I also LOVE foodie Luke, so I couldn't help but slide that in there. I think Mara could cook if she wanted too...she's just never seen reason to...I doubt there are many things she is incapable of doing, if she sets her mind to it! And haha...romance comes in many forms! I can see the two of them actually forming the basis of a friendship (which may grow into something more!) based off a few surprisingly honest and enjoyable conversations. Besides, I've always hated when one of them was written as more interesting, powerful, or talented than the other. I think they both have different sets of skills, but neither are "better." Thanks for reading!!
     
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  20. Irish_Jedi_Jade

    Irish_Jedi_Jade Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Things Fall Apart--Chapter 3
    Chapter Total: 2,466 words
    Challenge Total (so far): 8,030 words
    A/N: Well, I feel like I've officially got my groove back. Now, since I've said that I'm sure DWB will come careening into my head like a crazy person and there goes all my writing for the month! But, I'm determined to get my taxes done tomorrow, so I figured I may as well devote today to finishing this, right? :p Anyways, I wanted to show a bit of Mara doing what she does in her work with Karrde and the Smuggler's Alliance. I figure, she has to be good for Karrde to make her his #2...and I wanted to show a bit of that. Plus there's a bit of introspection to move things along. It's a long chapter, so forgive my blabbering on and on. A big thanks to Briannakin for the lightning-fast look over!! [:D]



    ~//~

    Glaring at her terminal, Mara stabbed her fork into her noodles and twirled them around into a little bundle that she slid into her mouth.

    “Shipping is how much? Sithspit, I can fly there and back on premium fuel for less, you idiots.”
    Fingers dancing along the keys she began to look for other suppliers, and a predatory grin twisted her lips as she found what she was searching for…but then she saw who the advertisement was listed by. “Who is…Zzilian Crombo?” Moving to the holocomm station, she punched in the number one-handed as she looked at the suppliers inventory listing. The connection tone pinged annoyingly, but then the Coruscant Communications logo dissolved into a male Twi’lek’s bulbous forehead and light green skin. Mara’s eyes widened slightly, then narrowed.

    “Zzilian Crombo?”

    The being on the other end of the line nodded, and she could only describe his expression as sheepish. “Not what you were expecting, I’m sure.

    She merely tilted her head to the side and gave him a cool stare. “Most things aren’t. That’s not a Twi’lek name, but of course you knew that when you posted your advertisement.”

    Now he definitely looked sheepish. “Not many of my people prefer commerce over enticement like I do. Since our reputation is usually one of…manipulation, I have found it advantageous to speak for myself, rather than allow my name to speak for me.”

    One red-gold eyebrow lifted in surprise, but that was all the reaction Mara allowed to seep onto her face. Her comlink buzzed on her desk, but she ignored it. “So. You can get those motivators to the Obroa-skai system by next week for six thousand?”

    The sheepish look was replaced by one of restrained confidence and excitement tinged with a desire to prove her confidence well-placed. “Indeed.”

    “Your prices are cheap. Why?”

    “Well, two reasons.” He held up a finger. “One, I fly alone, in a heavily-slaved ship, so my overhead is low. Second, I know that I’m an unknown commodity; I’m hoping to prove myself to Talon Karrde’s protege, so I may find further employ.”

    Now Mara really was surprised, but this time it did not show on her face. Her comlink buzzed again, and her eyes flicked to it and she briefly thought about hurling it against the wall, but elected to continue ignoring it.

    “That’s a fascinating bit of information, Crombo. I can’t help but wonder where you came by it.”

    He shrugged. “My people may not be, shall we say, entrepreneurial, but they are well-traveled. Sometimes in those travels, they find out…tidbits.” His face was a picture of contrition and innocence, except for his eyes. The glittered below lowered lashes, and she saw something that might be good, old-fashioned ambition to lift himself out of hand-to-hand living. Or, she reflected, it could be something a bit more dangerous.

    Flipping her hair over her shoulder she decided to show him two could play at that game, but if he delivered, it’d be worth it.

    “Well, if you get those motivators there on time, you will certainly prove yourself. I’ll send you the rendezvous information.” She lowered her eyes for a moment before looking back at the display like it held a hissing charnoq, and she held the remote that would electrify its cage. A small, menacing smile played out on her lips, and she allowed all the weight of her years as Hand to leak into her gaze as she leaned a bit closer to the receiver. “But remember that little piece of information you put together, and remember that if it’s true, then I am second-in-command of the galaxy’s most powerful smuggling group. And we have people everywhere.”

    Cutting the connection, she picked up her comlink—that had just finished its third round of buzzing—and grinned tightly at the idea of dismembering whoever it was who thought calling Mara Jade repeatedly was a good plan…

    “Am I interrupting?”

    Looking up, she saw sparkling blue eyes under a mop of sandy blonde hair as the galaxy’s only Jedi poked his head from behind the open doorframe.

    “How long have you been standing there?” She glared, irritated that she hadn’t noticed.

    “Long enough to know that I should never try to wrangle information out of you.” More of him appeared. “May I come in?”

    She sighed and nodded, turning back to her data terminal and beginning to get the information together to transmit to Crombo. “What do you want, Skywalker? Nothing better to do today but interrupt people with a real job?”

    He plopped himself in the chair on the other side of her desk, and a stray thought flitted through her head—I need to get rid of that thing. If there’s nowhere to sit, maybe people won’t stay as long.

    “I work every day for your information.” He took her comlink from her desk and twirled it around in his fingers. “You know, if you would pick this up, you’d know that I was actually comming to ask you for your help.”

    She gave him a sideways glance as she continued typing. “That was you, huh? Now I’m very inclined to say no to whatever you want, but let’s hear it.” Finishing the last few lines of instructions, she clicked send and then turned away from her terminal, folding her hands and focusing the totality of her attention on the former moisture farmer in front of her. “As you can imagine, my time is not cheap.”

    He grinned at her. “I know. But I figured you’d enjoy this, so maybe you’d give me a discount?” She simply continued staring at him, and he reddened a bit and the words tumbled out. “See, I was trying to fix my X-wing. After, well, after the circumstances that led to me meeting you, Republic mechanics replaced my hyperdrive but…they didn’t really…well, it’s not how I would have done it. So I was trying to re-install it and I’m having some problems, and I thought maybe you wouldn’t mind helping me?”

    She forced her gaze to remain exactly as it had been before he started talking. That normally made people squirm, and Skywalker was no exception. “Don’t you have Solo for that, farmboy?”

    Looking down, he ran his hand through his hair before giving her a bashful grin. “He’s off-planet, which is kind of why I ask. Han is great with the Falcon, but the way he does things is a bit…unorthodox, and we don’t quite see eye-to-eye all the time.” At that, his face turned positively hopeful and it made Mara sit back and roll her eyes.

    “How do you know I’m not a maverick mechanic like your half-respectable brother-in-law?”

    He shook his head. “I know you’re not. I’ve seen the way you work, and you’re the methodical type. Which I am too, sometimes. I just can’t quite seem to get the transistor to line up, so the feedback loop—“

    Holding up a hand, she stopped him. “I’m also better at things I can see, Jedi. I’m busy now, and you’ve already taken up enough of my time that if I charged you for it, I could buy myself an X-wing.” She made a shooing motion with her hand as she turned her attention back to her data terminal. “I can come by once I’m done here, around 1800. Now get out of my office.”

    Unexpectedly, the hand that she was using to shoo him away was taken and wrapped in a calloused, but soft grip. Her head shot up, but before she could snatch her fingers away, Luke stood, bent down and pressed a courtly kiss to the back of her palm.

    “What are you doing, you idiot?” She felt the hair on the back of her neck rise up, unwillingly, as blood rushed to her cheeks and she snatched her hand from his grasp.

    “Saying thank you! My sister is a princess, remember?” She stood quickly, but he danced out of reach, light on his feet from years of lightsaber practice. He smiled with a mischievousness that surprised her, and backed away with hands held out in a supplicating gesture, defenseless.

    Then he dashed out the door as she hurled the offending comlink at him.

    ~//~
    Bending, Mara retrieved her comlink—a bit dented but otherwise no worse for the wear—and made sure the door locked behind her. Sitting back down, she turned her mind back to what she had been doing before his interruption.

    The terminal blinked, informing her it needed to install critical updates and would restart in 30 seconds. The timer blinked down, and Mara stood with a muttered curse. Seems everything wants to get in the way of me being productive today.

    Standing, she picked up her noodles and turned away from her terminal as it began its shutdown. With a huff, she blew out her breath as she thought about the list of things that she needed to get done that day, and how she couldn’t do any of them until her terminal finished its little jaunt down update lane.

    Skywalker’s face as he asked for her help came to her mind, uninvited. She thought back over the conversation, at the feeling that simmered to life in her heart as he asked for her help. Was it happiness? Excitement? Certainly a bit of surprise—it was rare that someone sought her out for a task that necessitated companionship. After all, her reclusiveness was well-known and more then enough to keep most beings at arms’ length.

    But not him.

    The past swirled around her like the glossy wings of a midnight-flecked avian, encompassing her with memories. The Coruscant skyline faded away, replaced by a well-remembered room.

    The metal was smooth as she dropped to one knee, the floor’s coolness seeping through her jumpsuit. Her hair fell over her shoulder as she bowed her head, and a twinge of misgiving rippled through her—her Master preferred her hair back, out of the way.

    “Rise, my child.” Moving to her feet in a single motion, she stood and squared her shoulders. Piercing eyes stared out at her from under the shadows of his cowl, and she saw a coveted smile twist his lips. “Always ready to carry out my will…such an excellent Hand.”

    “Whatever task you need completed, my Master, I will see it done.” Mara’s voice was strong and assured, and her body fairly hummed with anticipation.

    “There is a young Rebel named Skywalker. He will be at the Hutt’s palace on Tatooine in one week, to try to rescue some of his compatriots. You will be there…and you will ensure that Skywalker meets his end.” Mara nodded once, a sharp gesture. His voice sounded in her mind, silky and familiar. “You must not fail me, my child. This task is important to me.”

    She permitted herself a tight smile, and answered in kind. “Then it is important to me, Master.”

    The throne room swirled away, and she was in a rusted speeder, sand flying as she flew away from Jabba’s empty palace, the sail barge fading into the distance. She felt the anticipation in his words, the assuredness that she had completed her task, and anger gripped her heart as she silently told him of her failure.

    Never before had she been defeated, her objective snatched from her grasp even as her fingers closed around it. Regret filled her—she should have taken the shot in the throne room, her life was worth nothing if not in the service of her Master—anything to have avoided this moment. The words she had never heard before and had never wanted to hear echoed through her mind despite the galaxy’s span between them.

    So you have failed. I am disappointed, Mara Jade. Disappointed indeed.”

    Bile rose in her throat as the words settled into the maze of her thoughts, the endless tunnels and channels that he had taught her to keep all others out…and that kept his voice IN.

    Her thoughts skittered past the mission on Svivren, her discovery that she had been fooled by Dequc’s ploy…and then to that awful moment when she had seen through the Emperor’s eyes. Never before had he shown her images, let her see with his eyes. But now she saw twin blades flashing above him, as his murderers approached. Vader, tall and menacing, his red blade glowing like fire and blood, and the smaller figure of Skywalker. The prey she had failed to catch, advancing on her Master with his blonde hair glimmering in the dim starlight. They lifted their blades…

    The command was a half-remembered artifact now, failing to thunder through her mind with its old compulsion. The skyline returned, glittering before her eyes, reflected sunlight glinting off the buildings like diamonds on a chain. She remembered the way the command had brought with it pain, anger, fear, hatred…but now she felt only an aching betrayal.

    Even if she hadn’t believed what Skywalker had said at face value…his story coupled with her knowledge of the events surrounding it made the truth in his words incontrovertible. Besides, he really wasn’t one to lie, even when it wouldn’t really matter. She hadn’t stopped much to think about the fact that she had spent the last three years on a baseless vendetta…dwelling on the past wasn’t much her style. But it stung as she remembered her single-minded conviction—that her belief was based on a lie.

    Once again, her thoughts turned to the tow-headed source of all her upheaval. Skywalker had been nothing but kind to her, ever since he had opened his eyes that day on Mykyr. His voice had been soft, understanding as he had shattered her world on Wayland, telling her the truth of what had happened over Endor. She thought about the way he had calmly offered himself in exchange for the lives of his family—and for her life—to C’Baoth.

    She sighed…Skywalker might be a trial to endure, but he was a better person than she would have given him credit to be. His insistence on spending time with her was inexplicable, but she realized he was probably the closest thing to a friend she’d ever had.

    Friend.

    The Emperor’s Hand had never had time for friends, much less the inclination towards making them. But Mara Jade? Perhaps she had time for such things.

    She wasn’t sure if friends was the word for what they were. Was it friendship that made her skin tingle when he touched her? Was it normal for her stomach to do a strange flip whenever she saw him? The terminal beeped as it completed its power up sequence and she sat back down. She pushed the thoughts away and sat down. Maybe if she really worked, she could make it to the hangar in time to show Skywalker a thing or two about hyperdrives.
     
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  21. Briannakin

    Briannakin Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Feb 25, 2010
    I just love how capable Mara in this. We don't often read about 'smuggler Mara", so I really enjoyed this.

    But, I also love how Mara is just Mara.

    And, yeah, tomorrow, I might have to figure out a way to make Luke a Hutt for you.
     
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  22. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Mara's business and thoughts so really Mara. I love her and how she is reacting
     
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  23. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Once more Skywalker's sweetness enchants me as much as it does Mara. Well written, hilarious to read here and there, even though Mara manages to stay her professional business self.

    The history with the Emperor was interesting to read.
     
  24. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    I'm really enjoying these looks into the evolving relationship between Luke and Mara. The martial arts lessons, the conversations over food (lots of food), the comments back and forth, they all add such realistic depth and dimension to their connection. I like best the way that you've shown that Mara is a competent, intelligent woman all on her own., such as her handling of Aves's near-disaster order, her knowledge of the different types of ships, and her negotiations with Crombo.

    The flashback to Mara as Emperor's Hand, and the first time she saw Luke, was really well handled and added a nice element to the story as we see how her memory and first thoughts of Luke have changed. :D
     
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  25. JadeLotus

    JadeLotus Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 27, 2005
    This is like the best kind of comfort food - old school L/M that really shows their friendship and lets us see Mara the smuggler. Excellent work!
     
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