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Beyond - Legends Unholy Matrimony | Lando/Mara, AU, humour | Fic-gift for UltramassiveUbersue

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Chyntuck, Jan 5, 2024.

  1. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Title: Unholy Matrimony
    Timeframe: At some point after the Legends Thrawn trilogy
    Continuity: Legends AU
    Genre: Humour
    Characters: Lando Calrissian, Mara Jade
    Length: One-shot
    Challenge response: This story was written as a gift for @UltramassiveUbersue for the 17th Fic-Gift Exchange. Her request was: a story in Legends – Beyond featuring Mara/Lando, either AU romance in which they’re happy together, or a sham marriage with a whole lot of drama and/or bickering.

    Ubersue, I hope you enjoy this story! This was a challenging request for me, because I’m not much of a shipper and I never dabbled in multi-shipping before, but I did my best to do it justice. Happy 2024!


    Unholy Matrimony

    “This is a stupid idea,” Mara grumbled under her breath.

    “Just smile,” Lando whispered between clenched teeth. He gave the assembled holoshills his most dazzling grin. “We’ll be fine. Trust me.”

    She gazed at the crowd before them. Most of the sludgenews outlets she was familiar with broadcasted only in the Imperial Remnant, but she knew for a fact that New Republic Intelligence kept an eye on all of them. She could only hope that General Cracken would see this ridiculous wedding for the desperate gambit it was and that he’d send a team to extract them from the mess they’d found themselves in – a mess for which Lando was entirely responsible.

    “This had better work, Calrissian,” she growled as she plastered her most vapid smile on her face. “I hate to think that I may die as Mrs. Calrissian just because you screwed up so badly.”

    * * *

    Three days earlier

    The assignment was simple enough: go in, make contact, get out. Lando had volunteered for it because Socorro was his homeworld and he was impatient to see it free of the clutches of the Empire. Mara had been less than enthusiastic, but she couldn’t deny that her presence as the liaison of the Smugglers’ Alliance would help soothe some feathers – the anti-Imperial movement on Socorro was led by self-styled traders who were eager to restore their access to the less-than-legal galactic market – and she had reluctantly agreed to come along. That was her first mistake.

    Her second mistake was that she’d allowed Calrissian to take care of preparations on his own. She had work to do, for kriff’s sake. The fledgling Smugglers’ Alliance couldn’t go on standby every time she got sidetracked with one of these missions, and while she didn’t really want to be a Jedi, her training sessions with Skywalker allowed her to develop valuable additions to her skillset. But she should have known that Lando would come up with a half-baked scheme that didn’t stand a snowball’s chance on Mustafar; and now, as they hurtled towards the planet with their engines disabled and TIE fighters still taking potshots at what was left of their ship’s shields, she was all too aware of the fact that she should have asked what the plan was before leaving Coruscant.

    At least Calrissian was able to activate the repulsorlifts and bring them to a somewhat smooth landing instead of an uncontrolled crash into the mountain range that bordered the Doaba Badlands. As a matter of fact, he managed to take a sharp turn behind a cliff and manoeuvre the ship between a large boulder and the entrance of a cave, out of sight of their TIE pursuers who flew straight over them.

    It was an impressive move, Mara had to give it to him. What she found far less impressive was the winsome smile he gave her as he rotated his chair towards her. “You’re welcome,” he said smugly.

    Her eyes blazed. “Your contacts betrayed us,” she snarled. “Your fake transponder code was so lame that the Imps sliced it on the spot, and we just got shot down in the middle of a desert. What do you think I should be thanking you for, precisely?”

    Most people were wise – or prudent – enough to tone down their bravado in the face of Mara’s ire. Lando wasn’t one of them. He leaned back in his chair and started ticking items off his fingers. “We’ve reached our destination. We know the precautions we need to take. We know the Imperials are in all likelihood ready for a crackdown after our arrival. We’re still alive –”

    “We’re alive until the Imperials get hold of us,” Mara retorted in dangerously clipped tones. “We have no idea what they’re planning to welcome us, we have no idea who we can trust among the people you were supposed to have screened before we arrived here, and we’re nowhere near our destination.” She tapped a key on the console to bring up a map of the area. “It’s a two-day trek across the hills to Vakeyya.”

    Lando shrugged. “Closer than coming all the way from Coruscant,” he said genially. He stood up and extracted two heavy grey cloaks from a locker. “Here you go, enough to blend in with the volcanic ash and the local fashion trends.” He gestured towards the boarding ramp. “Shall we?”

    * * *

    By the time they reached the outskirts of the planetary capital two days later, Mara was in an absolutely foul mood. At Lando’s insistence, they’d given the Ndowi settlements a wide berth in order to avoid detection – which was a fair point, but it also meant lugging around an inordinate number of water bottles that they refilled every time they found a well. Worse, the Doaba Badlands were M’onnok territory, and while Calrissian was a fairly good shot with a blaster, he was useless in a fistfight. Again, he’d been adamant that she shouldn’t use her lightsaber, and he merely sat on the sidelines while she dispatched the semi-sentient predators one by one. The twitch at the corner of his mouth told her that he was enjoying this far too much.

    The worst part was that they walked straight into a trap when they entered Vakeyya. Calrissian had insisted that they needn’t sleuth around anymore, that they would just blend in with the crowd, but they had no sooner taken a few steps in the main road that they were surrounded. A group of men in Imperial uniforms materialised out of nowhere and pointed their blasters at them, and it was all they could do but surrender. For the umpteenth time since they’d left Coruscant, Mara swore that from that point onwards, she would trust her danger sense over Calrissian’s bombastic claims.

    The only silver lining was that their captors only knew her as ‘Trader Jade’ and were apparently unaware that she had been the Emperor’s Hand – which, together with their appearance, confirmed to her that they were not true Imperials. They were rather scruffy-looking, their uniforms were threadbare and many were unshaven. As far as she could tell, they did represent the authorities, or what passed for authorities, on Socorro, but in all likelihood they were merely one of the planet’s many criminal gangs, and they were only loosely affiliated with the Empire. Chances were that the request for New Republic support had come from other gangs that were hoping to escape the yoke of their rivals.

    She was examining the hoodlums’ formation as they discussed how they would hold a public execution for the traitor who had sold out to the New Republic and gone respectable, and assessing her options to fight her way out of the situation when Lando stepped forward, apparently unruffled by all the talk of their imminent demise. “I demand my Right to Matrimony,” he said calmly.

    It took Mara a moment to process what he had just said over the heated debate that began among their captors. Some saw right through Calrissian’s gambit and insisted that he and his companion should be executed on the spot; others were adamant that traditions had to be respected. Before she could fully understand what was up, it had been decided that she and Lando would be wedded the next morning and that their execution would be postponed for a week; and the gang of not-Imperials had dragged them to the local detention centre and thrown them unceremoniously into a dank cell.

    As soon as the door shut behind the guards, Lando came to sit at her side and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. She shoved him away brutally.

    “Just pretend,” he whispered. “I bought us time.”

    She gave him a withering glare. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

    He placed his arm around her again. “I’m not. These are my people, I know their customs. This’ll work. Trust me.”

    * * *

    After the gaudy wedding ceremony – seriously, how Calrissian could claim to be a galactic arbiter of elegance when his home planet was a third-rate flea circus, Mara had no idea – the first day of their marriage went very much as could be expected under the circumstances. The holoshills were eager to interview Socorro’s most prodigal son and his bride, and they spent the day answering questions from tabloids about what their plans for the future would have been were they not sentenced to death. Calrissian accepted any and all news outlet requests, and Mara could see his point – after all, the more broadcasts, the more likely NRI would notice one of them – but she couldn’t shake off the impression that Lando was secretly enjoying the attention, and that he was dragging her in front of the holocams to bask in what glory he could find before the end of his days.

    The second day was similar to the first, and Mara’s fury only grew. She wasn’t sure what exasperated her most, the media’s ridiculous questions or Calrissian’s even more ridiculous answers; but she knew that, at some point, someone would pay for this travesty, and Lando was the obvious choice

    On the third day, Mara was sitting through yet another interview, zoning out Calrissian’s blabber to the journalist, when a new question caught her attention. “Do you intend to demand your Right to Issue?”

    “Excuse me?” she blurted.

    “Our Right to Issue, darling,” Lando said easily. “If you were to become pregnant this week, we would be granted a reprieve until the birth of the child.”

    At this Mara’s eyes narrowed. “Now you’ve got to be kidding me.” Lando kicked her under the table, reminding her that she should play her part. She stood up. “If you’ll excuse me,” she said, composing herself, “these are private matters that I’m unwilling to discuss on the HoloNet.”

    The guards escorted her back to her cell, where Lando joined her a few hours later. “It’s not a bad idea, you know,” he said teasingly. “The Right to Issue is even more revered than the Right to Matrimony in these parts. You and I could –”

    She glared laser bolts at him. “Don’t even think of it, Calrissian. I may not be able to fight off the entire town and escape, but I can certainly kill you before your Imperial compatriots get there.”

    * * *

    The fourth, fifth and sixth days were very much like the first three, although Mara found a guilty pleasure in seeing Calrissian running out of poodoo to tell the holoshills. As a matter of fact, he was beginning to appear distinctly uneasy; like Mara, he obviously expected that the New Republic would have sent a rescue party by now, and he was starting to worry that they had been left to their own devices and that the game was up.

    On the afternoon of the sixth day, one of the not-Imperials turned up in the middle of an interview. “Time for the dress rehearsal,” he said without preamble. “Get up and let’s go.”

    He shackled them again and took them to a speeder that led them to Vakeyya’s main square. A platform had been built in its centre, with two large pillars on either side. “So this is where it’ll happen,” the man explained. “You’ll be tied to the pillars; we captured two M’onnoks, one for each of you. I hope they go for you and not for the crowd. Last time didn’t end well.”

    Mara ignored Lando’s enthusiastic questions and requests to make the event even more grandiose and studied the area. Despite their scruffy appearance, their captors had proved to be nothing but professionals; their skill at keeping their prisoners in check would have made the ISB pale with envy, even in its heyday – but there had to be a way out, there always was. She was reaching out with the Force to check how well the pillars were fixed in place when it happened.

    A group of passers-by dressed in the same drab grey garments as everyone else suddenly shed their cloaks, revealing New Republic commando uniforms. Within minutes, they had knocked out, stunned or shot every goon in the vicinity, and they were dragging her onto an avenue. A U-wing swooped in overhead and came to land amidst the screaming bystanders, and she and Lando were bundled away.

    It took her a few moments to blink away her astonishment as the U-wing soared into the sky. She turned to look at the man sitting at her side only to find herself facing Crix Madine. “You’re welcome,” he said a little too smugly for her taste as he removed her handcuffs.

    She massaged her temples. “It took you long enough.”

    “Oh, we’ve been here since Taungsday. We happened to be in the area when Cracken heard news of your upcoming marriage on the HoloNet. We actually arrived in time to be present for the ceremony.”

    Mara stared at him in disbelief. “You’ve been here for an entire week, and you only made your move now?”

    The general’s face was impassive, but she could see that he was working hard to suppress the twitch at the corner of his mouth. “It’s New Republic policy to respect local customs and traditions, even on non-member worlds,” he deadpanned. Yes, that was definitely the beginning of a smile. “Besides, we couldn’t possibly disrupt a newlywed couple’s honeymoon. Now, Mrs. Calrissian. What can I do for you?”

    “Wipe that expression off your face, General,” Mara retorted acidly. “And get me a divorce.”
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_laugh] Very unique! Hilariously plausible! [:D]
  3. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Force Ghost star 5

    Dec 21, 2016
  4. ConservativeJedi321

    ConservativeJedi321 Force Ghost star 6

    Mar 19, 2016
    This was such a cursed premise, but one that had me ROFL from the first line.

    I fully expected this line of questioning to end in violence. [face_rofl]
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2024
  5. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Chosen One star 10

    Mar 26, 2001
    Madine’s non-interference was the best part of all of this, closely followed by right of issue.
  6. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    This had me smiling. Mara and Lando married and going through all of this. Death avoided by the commando's and Madine. But now a divorce?
  7. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Nov 7, 2022
    Thank you so much, @Chyntuck! I love it! [:D]

    Sounds about right! [face_laugh]

    I love how you contrast their approaches to problem-solving. Mara is very practical, whereas Lando comes up with ridiculous schemes really shouldn't work but somehow manage to. She's used to fighting her way out of trouble, and he talks his way out of it.

    I want to read these trashy GFFA gossip rags!

    DUDE, NO! :oops:

    You know he's getting scared if he's even suggesting it... although a faked pregnancy could them buy some time...

    Of course Lando wants to die in style!

    [face_laugh] Oh, Crix. You're such a troll...

    This was a really fun fic, and you captured what I think makes these characters such a great foil and an entertaining pairing. Kudos to you for stepping out of your comfort zone; you pulled this off so well that I wouldn't have known if you hadn't mentioned it! :)
  8. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Interim Tech Admin star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    What an excellent opening bit of dialogue that does a wonderful job capturing these two characters!

    This was such a delightfully Mara line.

    This was hilarious and dramatic, but at the same time my inner historian was pleased with the realism of the Right to Issue, since in the real world, many societies would grant women who pleaded pregnancy a stay of execution until her baby was born. So it felt plausible that a Right to Issue could exist and be taken so seriously on this world.

    This was a marvelous reveal that had me laughing. [face_laugh]

    And a perfectly Mara line to end the story on! Well done=D=
  9. Findswoman

    Findswoman Fanfic and Pancakes and Waffles Mod (in Pink) star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    Wow! :eek: This was a challenging prompt indeed, and I have to agree with @ConservativeJedi321 ’s description of it as “cursed" (and I mean all that as a compliment, @UltramassiveUbersue ! :D ), but you really took it and ran with it and found a way to make it completely convincing! And I think a big part of that was that you found a way to make the whole sham marriage thing actually a cultural element—and one that, however infuriating the whole experience must have been for Mara, ended up saving her life. And but of course it becomes a huge media circus, and of course Lando is absolutely loving every minute of the attention and tries to fish-story his way through it all until he runs out of fish stories! As frustrating as the whole thing was for Mara, watching Lando grope and grope for new dirt to tell the holoshills must have had its amusing side, too. And what’s extra hilarious? When the cavalry finally arrives in the form of General Madine and his troops, we hear that they have been “shipping it” all along—noninterference my ear! :p But if Madine knows what’s good for him, he’ll honor that last demand from Mara! (That is indeed a perfect last line—which I believe is a category on the Reading Challenge! ;) ) The snark and bickering are, of course, first class from start to finish, and everyone is bang-on in character—which is no surprise from you, of course. :) Well done with a wacky and difficult premise, and thanks so much for being part of the gift exchange! It truly is never the same without you. =D=
  10. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you all for reading and reviewing! I'm doing a few replies now before I lose track of things and let this story sink to the depths of the boards.

    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha @Cowgirl Jedi 1701 @earlybird-obi-wan Thank you! I'm glad this story made you laugh; I'll freely admit that I went through an untold number of fits of giggles while writing it :D

    @ConservativeJedi321 Thanks! "Cursed premise" sounds just about right :p
    Which, as you can imagine, is an option I considered at multiple points while writing this [face_mischief] but I thought it unfair that anyone else than Lando should fall victim to Mara's ire...

    @DarthIshtar Thank you!
    Heh. As I'm sure you can imagine, the most challenging part of writing this was to figure out ways to one-up what had happened in the previous section every time. Madine as a prankster somehow turned out to be my only way out after a while.

    @UltramassiveUbersue Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed this story. I've read so much awesome Lando/Mara from you, both dead serious and humorous, that I wasn't too confident I could write something you'd like reading.
    [face_laugh] Yes, I think that one thing that makes Mara and Lando great foils is that he walks straight into the minefield without realising, or at least caring, that it's a minefield...
    Which is why Lando is such good buddies with Han, isn't it? They both just come up with tall tales to talk their way out of sticky situations, whereas Mara is much more practical-minded.
    Actually, I think you should write them and feature them in one of your stories. That sounds right up your alley!
    [face_laugh] So. When I was writing this, one option I considered was to alternate between Lando and Mara's POV, because showing that Lando is 1) scared that his tall tales won't work this time, 2) enjoying teasing Mara and 3) a bit star-struck at the idea that he's actually married to her could have been a lot of fun. I gave up because there's no way I could finish the story on time if I went for something so complex, but I may or may not re-write the lot from Lando's perspective at some point :p
    Of course he does! He's also probably hoping that all this talk will give him an opening somehow...
    Who would've thunk?

    Again, I'm glad you enjoyed your gift. Thank you for the challenging (in a good way!) prompt, and all the best for 2024!

    @devilinthedetails Thank you for the detailed review! Writing the typically-Mara lines for this story, such as “This had better work, Calrissian. I hate to think that I may die as Mrs. Calrissian just because you screwed up so badly.” and “Wipe that expression off your face, General. And get me a divorce.” was, as you can imagine, highly entertaining – as a matter of fact, once I'd settled on the idea that they got married to escape a death sentence, the last line came quite naturally :D
    Hahaha! My inner historian also needed something to provide this story a semblance of verisimilitude, although I have to say that this RL practice of giving a stay of execution to pregnant women is something that I find extremely barbaric – it's essentially telling a death row inmate that their child will be an orphan as soon as they're born. But the description of Soccoro on the Wook didn't make it sound like the most civilised of planets, so it fit rather well for my purposes.
    Heh. You wouldn't know from his portrayal in profic, but Madine actually has a sense of humour :) Thanks for reading!

    @Findswoman Thank you! It took me a while to figure out a reason why Mara would agree to a sham marriage, and I came up with a number of options that I ended up rejecting because they didn't feel like something Mara couldn't argue against, but the cultural element on Lando's homeworld felt about right, and it allowed me to let him take the lead – and, as you said, turn the situation into a media circus, because when does Lando not enjoy a circus? And I did consider having Mara spring into action to take out some of the goons, and "mistakenly" throw a few punches at Lando too, just as the cavalry arrived, but I didn't want to take away from the fact that Madine was "shipping it", as you so very aptly put it. And while I'm sure that Madine will honour that last demand from Mara, I also suspect that there will be an awkwardness in their interactions from this point onward :p Thanks again for the review, and thanks so much for hosting the fic-gift exchange. It's one of the signature challenges of these boards, and the JCF wouldn't be the same without it.

    Thanks again to all readers, reviewers and lurkers! If you stopped by here, I hope it helped you begin 2024 with a smile.
  11. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    @Chyntuck [face_rofl] [face_batting] Yes, this story from Lando's POV would just be over the top hilarious!