|I, Mara Jade
Author: JediMara77 PM
Mara Jade faces the hardest struggle of her life as she trains to be a Jedi while trying to come to terms with her past as the Emperor's Hand. She didn't count on a blue-eyed Jedi Master with issues of his own becoming the biggest challenge of all.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Mara Jade & Luke S. - Chapters: 26 - Words: 86,676 - Reviews: 118 - Favs: 119 - Follows: 53 - Updated: 01-30-11 - Published: 11-22-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6496883
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Song for this chapter: Marchin' On, One Republic
A/N: Song for this chapter: Utopia, Alanis Morissette
"Dammit, Ganner!" The loud voice screeches across the training room, making me press my hand to my ear in protest.
"Sorry, Wurth. Guess you're just not fast enough for me," Ganner Rhysode goads his friend, smirking as he twirls around his lightsaber in victory.
"Enough, children!" I admonish them, preemptively silencing their eternal protests that they're teenagers, not children.
"Did you see that, Jedi Jade?" Ganner asks a little too eagerly. I sigh and rub my face with my hands; the boy is extremely talented, there's no doubt about that, but he has an ego the size of Coruscant and I hate to feed it any more than necessary.
"Mmm-hmm," I murmur, and of course Ganner takes that to mean that I'm giving him all the praise in the galaxy.
"Ha, see, she thinks I'm awesome!" he exclaims.
I ignore Ganner and instead clap my hand on Wurth Skidder's shoulder. "You're improving every day, Wurth. That was a very good effort," I tell him.
The boy refuses to meet my eyes. "Not good enough," he sulks.
Ganner literally struts by, still twirling his lightsaber. I whirl on him and he stops dead in his tracks. Under my glare, his blade immediately retracts back into its hilt. "Sorry, Jedi Jade," he gulps.
"What have I told you about your overconfidence, Ganner?" I sigh.
"It is my biggest weakness," he recites.
"And yet you still insist on prancing around like a Twi'lek dancing girl whenever you win a duel."
"I'm sorry," he mumbles.
I sigh again; Ganner is a good kid, but that's exactly it—he's a kid. "Don't apologize, Ganner, just do better next time, okay? Remember, the moment you think that you're going to win is the moment an opponent can swoop in and beat you.
"And you," I turn to Wurth, "you let him see that you thought you'd been beaten. How do you expect to win a duel if you have no confidence that you can beat him?"
"I know, Jedi Jade. I'll do better."
"Good, now let's see you try again." I take a seat on one of the benches as the two boys continue their sparring practice. They start out calmly enough, but soon their hormones get the best of them and they start trying to outdo each other, both vying for the attention of Octa Ramis, who sits across from me, watching their duel with interest. Of course, the boys don't take any notice of the way she favors their friend, Miko Reglia, and sits closer and closer to him every day.
"Dammit, Ganner!" Wurth yells again, as his lightsaber goes flying out of his hand, and Ganner once again begins to strut around the room. Placing my head in my hands, I'm suddenly extremely grateful that Luke and I are leaving soon for Coruscant.
The boys start yelling at each other again, this time bringing Miko into the fray, leaving Octa to sit alone watching the chaos. She meets my gaze and rolls her eyes. I smile back at her, and then before I can jump up and throttle the boys, I hear a throat clear from behind me. "Tough class?"
I turn around to see Kyp Durron leaning against the entrance to the training room, his long hair pulled back from his face and a smirk on his lips. "You know how they are," I say, pointing my thumb at the three rowdy teenage boys.
Kyp chuckles and walks over to me. Since my return to Yavin IV, we have reached somewhat of an understanding. We are not the greatest of friends, and I doubt that we ever will be, but at least now I'm able to admit that he is a valuable asset to the Jedi Order. And to his credit, he always comes to my assistance whenever my students get too out of control, and treats me with a level of respect equal to what he shows Luke.
"Yeah, they remind me of myself at that age. Don't worry, you can go now—I'll handle them," he tells me, his green eyes twinkling mischievously.
"Thanks, Kyp," I reply gratefully, rising to my feet to say good-bye to my students, and feeling giddy with the anticipation of crushing their hopes and dreams for their next several classes.
"I'm so sorry to interrupt this very lively conversation," I cut in, my voice rising above their shouts and catcalls, "but I'm afraid I have to leave now for my trip to Coruscant. Jedi Durron will be overseeing your training classes while I'm away."
Their audible groans are music to my ears as I turn away and pass by Kyp, giving him a high five on my way out the door.
An hour later, Luke and I are sitting in the cockpit of the Jade's Fire, on our way to Coruscant for the celebration of the signing of the peace treaty between the New Republic and the Imperial Remnant. After Luke and I returned from Nirauan, we learned that Fel had no idea what Pestage had been up to, and was very eager to keep the Empire of the Hand isolationist for the time being. The peace talks stalled a bit while Bastion tried to change Fel's mind, but he continuously refused, and eventually Grand Admiral Pellaeon convinced the Moffs to go ahead with the treaty. How he was ever able to do it, I'll never understand. Perhaps it was something he learned during all that time he served Thrawn.
Once we enter hyperspace, Luke leans back in his chair, stretching and opening his arms to me. Wordlessly I rise from my chair to sit on his lap, laying my head on his shoulder.
Through the Force, I sense his growing amusement. "Hey, I never asked you before. How was class?"
I glare at him. He looks down at me, smiling innocently.
"How did you ever convince me to take on those three?" I ask, narrowing my eyes at him.
"You're the only one who could handle them, Mara," he chuckles.
"Nah, he's just as arrogant as they are. He'd probably end up punching them."
I burst out laughing at the thought. "I don't think that would be such a bad thing!"
"Perhaps. Speaking of Corran, will he be at the ball?"
"Yes, then he has some leave and wants to come to the Academy to help with some of the newer students. Tyria, too."
Luke nods, pleased by my news. My gaze lingers on him for a moment, still in awe of how far he's come in letting people help him; of how much the Academy has flourished under his leadership, as opposed to his control.
"I still can't believe that we're signing a peace treaty with the Empire," Luke murmurs.
"I know," I admit. "At the back of my mind, I always expected that a new threat would emerge from somewhere, and that the galaxy would be thrust back into another conflict. But I guess the peace is real now."
Luke is quiet for a moment. "Yes," he murmurs. "It's nice. Just you and me."
I throw him a look. "And an entire Academy full of Jedi apprentices."
"Yeah, them too."
We grow quiet again, and suddenly I'm aware of anxiety building up within Luke. He avoids my gaze, his arm inside his robes, moving slightly, as if he is holding something in his hand.
"All right, what is it?" I ask, leaning back to examine him.
"What?" he replies innocently.
"Please. Something's been bothering you since we got on the ship. Now spill it."
He grimaces. "You did warn me that you'd get really good at that if you became a Jedi, didn't you?"
"Yeah, and that was even before all that Force-bond stuff happened, so now you're really screwed, Skywalker. Spill it."
He takes a deep breath. "Here," he says, removing his hand and handing me a black velvet box, one that looks all too similar to the box that held the necklace I still wear every day. "I got this for your birthday."
I stare at the box. "But my birthday isn't for weeks, and I told you not to get me anything!"
"I know, but I couldn't stop thinking of the last ball, when the only jewelry you had was that necklace, and I wanted you to have something nicer to wear this time around."
I begin to protest, because I don't need any other jewelry; my necklace is more special than anything else he could ever buy me. But then I open the box, and I once again lose the ability to speak.
Sitting inside the box is a ring that perfectly matches my necklace. But this piece of jewelry is most definitely not from a Coruscanti market.
I gently remove the ring from its slot and turn it over in my hand. The band is silver-toned, just like the chain around my neck, but I know that this metal is far more precious than plain silver—perennium, I think. The stone itself is identical in both cut and color to the one around my neck, but I can tell just by looking at it that this stone is not at all commonly found.
"I found it on Ilum," Luke tells me, once again reading my mind. I stare at him in disbelief.
"Ilum?" I gasp.
He nods. I remember his trip off planet several months ago, when he went to gather Adegan crystals for some much-needed training lightsabers, and I stayed behind on Yavin IV to watch over the Academy with Kam and Tionne Solusar.
"I was hurrying about, trying to gather as many crystals as I could find before the weather turned really bad, and then I stopped in my tracks," he explains, as he takes the ring and places it on my finger. "This one crystal caught my eye—it seemed different from the others, a slightly different shade of green—and it was just like when I saw your necklace back in the market on Coruscant. All I could see were your eyes staring back at me."
"And you had it made into a ring?" I ask in disbelief, still unable to process the enormity of this gesture.
"Yes," he replies, as I stare at it, entranced.
Time stops as his thumb begins to gently caress the side of my hand. I watch his ministrations, but then he forces my chin up to stare into his eyes.
My eyes widen at his request. I break into a huge grin and glance back down at the ring on my finger.
"So…this is an engagement ring?" I ask, forcing myself not to laugh.
Luke nods, shifting nervously underneath me.
A very naughty idea runs through my mind, and, of course, I cannot resist. "That's very devious of you, getting me to put it on before even asking the question."
"You've definitely been hanging around me too long, pulling tricks like that."
"I mean, it's like you just assumed I'd say yes or something…"
"…And you know what they say about people who assume—"
This time, he is the one to cut me off, with an amorous kiss on the mouth. Even through his kiss, I still pretend to protest. It's just too damn fun to tease him.
Slowly, he pulls away, grimacing at me. "You're not going to make this easy for me, are you?" he growls.
I gently place my hand on his cheek. "Master Skywalker, when have I ever made anything easy for you?"
He shakes his head in exasperation, and then removes the ring from my finger. Slowly, he shifts my weight so he can get up from the chair. Then he kneels down in front of me and takes my hand in his, before looking me straight in the eye.
"Mara, will you marry me?"
I stare at the ring in his hand, my expression turning serious. Normally, I would never give up teasing him so quickly. I would consider myself honor-bound to make him sweat some more. I would try my best to make his life difficult. But suddenly, all of that seems pointless. Luke has seen inside my very soul. He knew my answer before he could even ask the question.
He knew my answer back in a cave on Nirauan.
I allow him to place the ring on my finger again, and laugh at myself as a tear comes to my eye. "Yes," I tell him. "I will."
I stand on the roof of the Imperial Palace, regarding the bustling traffic below, once again smiling at the thought of those beings going about their lives without any sense of regard for the larger universe. At one time, I longed to be one of those people—just a normal woman going through my daily life with no complications.
Now, everything is different. Now, I am Mara Jade Skywalker, someone's wife—Luke's wife.
No, I definitely do not want to be anyone else at this moment.
Yet, here I am, once again shying away from the crowd and the obligations of my life. I do not know why this place has called to me again; I am happier than I have ever been. Maybe I am here because I realize that things have come full circle. Maybe I am here because it was in this place that my new life began. Maybe I am here because I have finally learned to appreciate peace and quiet more than anything else in the galaxy.
With my Luke.
I hear the door open behind me, and then he is there, as he always is. I don't look back at him as he approaches. I do not need to.
He stands close to me and reaches out to take my hand, which now displays two beautiful pieces of jewelry, indicating that I am his, forever. We stare out at the skyline together, breathing in the cool Coruscant air. After several moments, he breaks the silence. "I thought I'd find you here."
"Am I that obvious?"
"You are to me."
I give him a sly smile, then turn back to look at the darkening sky.
"What's wrong?" he asks.
"Nothing," I reply. "I'm just thinking."
"Lots to think about?"
"You could say that again." I meet his gaze. "I don't have any regrets, if that's what you're worried about. It's just…sometimes it's crazy to think of all that's happened."
"I know what you mean."
"But I know that it's right."
"Me, too. So, why are you here?"
"I just wanted some peace and quiet, I guess. Your sister sure does know how to throw a party," I laugh, thinking of the very drunk and rowdy Rogues making fools of themselves in the ballroom right now.
"That she does," he agrees. "Are you sure you're not out here because you're avoiding your promised slow dances with every member of Rogue Squadron?"
"Very funny. If you remember, I didn't make that promise, it was CorSec, and I'm still going to kill him for it."
"I'm sure you are," he chuckles, leaning in to gently kiss my cheek, "but you'll have to beat me to it." I smile and lean against him, closing my eyes and slipping my arms around his waist.
"I love you, Mrs. Skywalker," he murmurs into my hair.
"Jade Skywalker," I correct him.
"I love you, Mrs. Jade Skywalker."
I let out a soft sigh. "I love you too, Luke."
We stand there for long moments, swaying in the soft breeze. In the distance, a large holoscreen flashes through news headlines. I let out a cackle as a holo of Luke and I comes on the screen. "Oh Force…they've already got holos from the wedding! What in the galaxy did I get myself into?"
"I ask myself the same thing every day."
I slap him hard on the stomach. "Nice. Come on, we should get back inside."
"Wait," he stops me, holding on to my arm.
I give him a curious look. "What, do you have another lightsaber to give me or something?"
"Not quite," he grins.
"Huh?" He pulls a green stone from inside his jacket in response. I glance at it, my eyes narrowing. "What's this?"
He runs his fingers over my engagement ring. "I wanted to give you something on our wedding day," he explains. "The stone in your ring came from this crystal. I…I thought you should have it."
I stare at it, still transfixed. I don't need this; I already have a lightsaber—the one that Luke gave me, here, several years ago. "But…why?" I sputter.
"Because you deserve to make your own," he replies. "You've earned it. You should have done so as soon as you became a Jedi Knight."
For a moment I stand completely still, almost unable to breathe. I open my mouth to protest again, but I close it before I can speak. Hesitantly, I accept his gift, closing my hand over his. I stare at the crystal for a second, realizing what this means.
"You know, I never thanked you," I murmur, still mesmerized by the crystal. "For never giving up on me," I continue, answering his unspoken question.
"Yes," he runs his finger over my ring again, "you did." Then he lifts up my chin and places his lips on mine.
After a few moments, he pulls away and smiles at me conspiratorially. "Now we should get back inside. Everyone probably thinks we've run off to some cleaning closet or something."
I raise my eyebrows at him. "Don't give me any ideas, Master."
"That's for later," he laughs, running his fingers down my neck suggestively. He pushes back a stray lock of hair and turns to go back inside the Palace, but I remain in place.
"You coming?" he asks.
I shake my head and lean on the edge of the roof. "You head inside. I'll be there in a bit."
He nods and kisses my forehead. "Don't keep me waiting too long."
As he walks away, I glance back down at the object in my hand—my very own lightsaber crystal. While I have been a Jedi Knight for over a year now, I never once felt the desire to go through the trial of constructing a new lightsaber. Sometimes, in the dead of night with nothing but my thoughts for company, I wondered if my hesitance to do so was one last vestige of my old feelings that I didn't deserve to be a Jedi. Since I never went through that last trial, I never had to confront those old fears and doubts, and see if they still existed. But now, staring at the crystal in my hands, I realize that those fears and doubts are indeed long gone, conquered forever in a cavern on Nirauan.
So I will do it. I will construct a new lightsaber, and truly live up to the promise I made when Luke gave me his first weapon, and I swore to both him and myself that I would one day become a Jedi. It is only fitting, for I am now his wife—a promise I never thought I would ever want to make, or would ever feel deserving to make, if Luke was finally able to conquer his fears and ask me to be with him forever.
I smile as I think back on his words to me: Don't keep me waiting too long. Even when I did, he never gave up on me. He always had hope. He always does.
Behind me, I hear the door to the Palace open once again. "Hang on a minute," I call after him. Luke turns around and smiles at me—a smile that holds all the promises of hope for our future.
I take a deep breath.
"I'll come with you."
Well, that's it, folks—happily ever after! :)
I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to read and comment on this fic. If you've enjoyed it, I'd love to hear from you!
It has been an absolute pleasure to write this fic. The Luke/Mara relationship holds a very special place in my heart and I hope that I have done it justice. I also hope that I have done justice to the wonderful, amazing character of Mara Jade, without whom I would not be a Star Wars fan today.
Thanks again for reading, and may the Force be with you, always!