Moment of Decision
By: Rhea Jediknight
Disclaimer : We make no claim on the Star Wars copyright. We have not nor ever will make any money from the sale of this story. This is written with the intent to support the fan base and not in an effort to make money. This work is based on characters and situations that are owned by George Lucas and Lucasfilms Ltd and Timothy Zahn.
Chapter 7 - Conclusion
Their journey down from the roof was littered with stolen kisses and frantic embraces as Luke hurried her towards his goal. At one point, he had stopped and pushed her against a wall, the hardness of his body pressing into hers making no secret of the fact that he wanted her very much.
Finally, they reached the entrance to the springs. Mara hesitated at the entrance. "Luke, I don't have a suit."
"You won't need one," he muttered clearly at the end of the Jedi Master's famed patience and guided her inside. "I don't have one either."
Mara stood as Luke picked up the sole continually burning sconce. He lit the others until the cavern flickered with the dancing lights of the flames, reflecting off the water as it swirled and bubbled in the pool.
"This is perfect," she murmured softly. "Absolutely perfect."
"No, that's you, Mara." He moved in front of her and placed his hands on her cheeks, drawing her face towards him. They kissed slowly and deeply, learning the taste and texture of each other's lips with a thoroughness that left them wanting more. "You're perfect."
Luke stepped back, an enigmatic smile on his lips and
raised the shirt over his head, leaving his chest bare. Mara's mouth went dry
at the sight of his perfectly sculpted physique, and sank down upon some stone
steps leading down to the pool. He kicked off his boots and then stopped. He
sat down next to Mara and raised an eyebrow, "You just going to watch?"
"Well…" she drawled. "I was enjoying myself." Mara said, smoothly, but she took pity on his growing embarrassment and took hold of the tab to her zipper. She pulled the silver jumpsuit down the length of her body. She wore very little underneath. His eyes grew wide as he watched her strip with an elegance and confidence that was incredibly enticing. Mara shrugged out of her clothes and took a step towards the water. "Are you joining me?" she continued moving down the steps until she had immersed herself in the warm bubbling spring.
Luke stood like a man turned stone. The sight of Mara, naked and wet was almost too much for him.
"Luke," she summoned, her voice low in her throat.
His heart hammering in his chest, Luke tore off the rest of his clothes and dashed down the steps into the water, grabbing hold of her smooth, slippery body and fastening his mouth over hers in a fierce kiss of desperate hunger. His hands travelled all over her body, caressing and stroking her until she was pleading with him to put her out of her sweet torment and make her his. He moved through the water until he sat on the bottom step, the water lapping round about his waist.
They gazed at each other; the sight of their wet, naked bodies was both surreal and arousing. Just a day ago, they were just friends, now they were about to make love.
"Please, Luke," she
whispered. "Make love to me now. I can't wait any longer. Please," she begged.
Luke groaned, his flesh was on fire for her. The pressure was almost too much to bear. The Force swelled around them. Their barriers dropped and they shared the incredible physical sensations with the other, as well as their love. With a muffled oath he lifted her out of the water and placed her on the blue blanket he had miraculously managed to bring down from the roof.
Between frantic kisses, Mara
managed to mutter. "The Jedi… got to… shield…" Her hair had come unbound from
its neat plait and surrounded her in a mass of riotous curls, her pale body,
tipped by dusky pink and framed by its vivid colour. As lost to sensation as
his lover, Luke managed hastily to erect a barrier shielding them from the
other Force sensitives on the planet.
"Force, Mara. You feel incredible." Luke gasped as the Force broke in waves against them, blinding them with euphoria. Mara collapsed on Luke, replete.
They lay in a state of satisfied exhaustion listening to their breathing slow and the beating of their hearts return to normal. Luke's hands began to move against Mara's back, caressing her.
She raised her head and kissed the small mark she had left on his shoulder. "Sorry." She said slightly abashed.
"Don't be." Luke assured her calmly. "You can do that to me anytime you want. It shows that you've marked me as yours."
"And you're quite happy about that?" She chuckled, the small movement causing her to tremble against him, the movement of her breasts making him to regain some of his ardour. Mara's eyes widened as she said, "Again? After that… you're ready again?"
"I… think so…"
"I know men like to brag
about their stamina but you're not like that. You're the real thing." Mara's
eyes darkened. "All man."
Luke flushed, but there was the sound of male satisfaction in his voice when he spoke. "Not if you don't want to. I don't want to hurt you and believe me Mara. I'm very happy to be yours." Mara found that her insides were turning to liquid again. He only had to touch her and she was ready for him.
She moved against him and Luke responded instantly.
"I love you, Mara!" he cried as he shuddered to completion in her arms.
you," her answering call.
They remained in the cavern making love until nearly dawn. Mara had missed an early evening class, and she and Luke had both missed supper but no one wondered much about their absence. Despite the Jedi Master's hastily erected shielding, there was no doubt in the minds of Luke's staff what he was up to with Mara Jade. Strange warm ripples of sensation in the Force would sweep through the Academy building from time to time. Corran Horn assured the others that she was receiving private tutelage from the Jedi Master himself and tried to ignore the knowing smiles.
"And about time too." Kyp sniggered.
"You'd better not say anything like that to either of them," Corran warned.
"Yeah, I know. I'm not Jade's
favourite person and she would gladly make me one with the Force prematurely."
Luke woke Mara up with a kiss grinning broadly at her momentary disorientation. They were on his bed in his quarters at the Academy. Mara vaguely remembered returning there very late last night or was it extremely early this morning? She found that she didn't really care. "I have to make an appearance; I can't expect Corran to continue to teach all my classes."
"You afraid they'll figure we've been up to something?" Mara asked teasingly. She sat up, realizing that he was fully dressed and ready to depart.
Luke waggled his eyebrows at her. "I think our last time together caused so many ripples in the Force, I'm surprised they haven't come to investigate by now. They will know."
"Luke!" Mara said. "I thought you were shielding?"
"I tried but I think some of the emotions got through. They were pretty powerful feelings." He blushed profusely. "They're pretty perceptive; I guess they realized that we weren't in any danger."
Mara inspected the blond man, who had tipped his face away in embarrassment. "You're pretty cute when you blush, Skywalker."
"Aw, Mara!" he muttered his face reddening even further.
"I would have thought you were used to comments like that. Being the most eligible bachelor in the galaxy?"
"I'm not eligible now." Luke wanted to move her attention away from his looks. He grinned audaciously at her, meeting her gaze. "You look even better in the flesh, if I might say so. Perhaps I should make a rule that Mara Jade shouldn't wear clothes when alone with the Jedi Master."
"Luke Skywalker!" This time Mara blushed.
His skin tone was returning to normal, and she could feel his cheerfully good mood. She didn't think she had ever been happier in her life.
Luke chuckled, "Just as I thought. Your blush gives your entire body an enticingly rosy glow."
Mara slapped at the quickly retreating Jedi and missed.
Luke pointed to a spot on the floor beside the bed. "I never had time to return your bag from the trip to the Ruins to you. I think you should find a change of clothes and anything else you might need."
"I'll manage." Mara muttered, still smiling at this bolder Skywalker. On the surface, he was as cool and composed as glass, but she had discovered an entirely different man last night; a discovery, which she enjoyed thoroughly. Who would have thought that Luke could please her in so many ways?
For the rest of the day, Mara relaxed and continued her recovery. Eventually she grew restless without Luke. She wanted his presence with a hunger she hadn't realised she possessed. When finally she went to find him, she discovered that he was still in the middle of instructing a class. He stood at the head of a bare room with a relatively small group of students seated facing him. The students' eyes were closed, as Luke guided them through a memory exercise. Mara knew the Jedi Master was aware of her the moment she neared the group of Jedi but did not falter in his task. She took a deep breath, wondering why she felt so nervous and stepped inside. As the door hissed shut, Luke met her eyes immediately, and she could feel the heat of his blue gaze across the room. His inattention did not go wholly unnoticed by the students, but they did not open their eyes. They waited patiently for the Master's voice to instruct them on the next stage of the process. Realizing that she was in danger of disrupting his class, Mara gave him a slow, warm smile and retreated.
The minute she was gone, Luke found it next to impossible to focus on the remainder of the class. Her presence called to him so strongly. He inadvertently instructed the students to repeat the previous step, and then after realizing his error, quickly corrected their course. None of the students were particularly surprised when the Jedi Master called the class to a close ten minutes early.
Luke Skywalker went in search of Mara, sensing her presence in the vicinity of the outdoor teaching arenas. This exterior training area consisted of a series of droid attackers as well as physical challenges in which a student could test their endurance, speed, strength, and Force skills. Although, no one suffered serious injury in the course, it was highly unusual to escape these trials without suffering at least a few stinging blaster bolts.
As he neared, he could hear the distinctive wine of blaster fire and the crackle of its interception by a lightsaber. He didn't sense anyone else in the area, and was both mildly annoyed and proud that she had decided to activate the tests alone. He knew she was not one to seek approval from the other Jedi for her successes, nor was she likely to request assistance from someone in order to oversee her actions in the arena. Still, he worried about her. She'd been through quite an ordeal in the past few days and although she was fit and healthy, he would have preferred if she'd refrained from such activities for a day or two longer.
Luke was mesmerized by the swiftly moving lightsaber, controlled with uncanny skill in the beauty's hands. She was dressed in a black short sleeved jumpsuit, which clung in all the right places. The shine of the faintly metallic, made her red-gold hair gleam in the afternoon sun. The image of her expertly fluid motions and vivid beauty was a lethal combination from which Luke was not immune. He knew Mara could sense his sudden proximity, but she did not acknowledge him as she quickly sliced a large battle droid into a smouldering ruin. Luke winced at the smell and the knowledge that he would have to order another replacement.
She turned to smile at him. Her chest moved with the effort to regain her breath, and her hair was slightly disarranged, curling lightly around her face. His heart swelled with love for her. A low grumbling noise emerged from a metal panel in the rocky ground, as another droid wheeled itself into place, poised and ready to initiate another series of attacks. Luke slapped a switch on the control board, shutting down the program.
"Hey!" Mara protested.
"I already have to replace one battle droid; I didn't really want to requisition another."
"Three, actually." Mara said proudly, her mouth twisting slightly. She nodded to the pile of smouldering metal he had originally thought to be part of the obstacle course.
His eyes grew wide and then he chuckled. "Trying to bankrupt the Jedi Order, Jade?"
"Care for a rematch?" Mara asked playfully, swinging the blue lightsaber blade in a circular arc in front of her.
"And risk breaking my winning streak?" Luke smiled, stepping onto the proving ground so that he was just a few feet away.
"Oh come on. Is that a hint of fear I sense within you?" Mara teased, but a glint in her eye allowed Luke to see that a part of her was serious.
"Please, Mara. I don't want to fight you." Luke said. His pride was still stinging from the knowledge that he had lost concentration; her very appearance in his class had made it almost impossible for him to bring the lesson to its conclusion. Yoda's tests of concentration were nothing compared to dealing with the effect his emerald-eyed Jedi had on him.
"Oh but I do." Mara lowered her blade and peered at him contemplatively, "I still have to prove that I can best you in a saber fight. By your cheating that last time, you robbed me of my victory."
"I did not cheat," Luke burst out indignantly.
"That's debatable," Mara said slowly, her hands smoothing suggestively over the handle of her saber.
Luke felt his face flush as unbidden images of passion sprung into his mind. "If it was a life or death situation, the battle is not lost or won until one of you cannot rise again. You of all people should know that. Never underestimate a beaten foe, Jade."
Mara knew he was right, but her innate desire to prove she really was his equal rose. "What can I do that would convince you to duel with me?
Luke smiled and he responded incapable of remaining remain impervious to her good humour. "You're pretty creative. I have faith in your ability to come up with something."
Her delicately arched eyebrows drew together in consideration, then her expression relaxed. "What if I say that you can have whatever you want if you win?" Mara's voice was low and suggestive.
Luke's eyebrows rose, one corner of his mouth tipping upward in a smile. "Oh really?" He started to caress the hilt of his lightsaber as if pondering her offer. "Sounds intriguing. And what do you get if you win?" Luke inquired.
"I get to demand anything I want from you."
Luke couldn't pass up an opportunity like this, to be able to exact anything from her. Even if he lost, just knowing what she would want of him, was incredibly enticing. "Anything?"
"Anything," she repeated.
"That is very tempting," he agreed slowly.
"Is the deal sweet enough?" she asked, her tongue darting out of her mouth to delicately moisten her lips.
Luke's eyes darkened to navy as they fastened on her soft, ripe mouth. "It's certainly sweet."
"Take it or leave it." She ignited her saber, the blue blade stretching upwards.
Luke's eyes narrowed with intent. "It's a deal," he said clearly.
It was only after the words were out that he wondered, deep in the shadows of his heart, if Mara had planned this in order to flee him. She would never escape him; their destinies were entwined for ever. Then the doubt nurtured by years of loneliness crept in - supposing they weren't destined and he'd been wrong about this? What would he do if she won, and then demanded that they go their separate ways? Luke told himself that she would never do such a thing, but the dark side was always present feeding on his fears. He would have to trust in Mara and the Force that this eventuality would never come to pass. He would have to find a way to banish these fears forever and then he knew what he would ask from her. Suddenly the game was not a game any longer. Suddenly, for Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade, it was life and death. In a moment his decision was made. There could be no going back.
Luke grabbed her, holding the lightsaber safely away from them, and kissed her passionately. He wanted to claim her, impress upon her that they shared a destiny, to remind her of his love. Her mouth opened under his, accepting his tongue as it duelled with hers. Mara's lightsaber dropped from her hand and rolled away, the blade extinguishing itself at the loss of its owner. Luke's hands gripped her shoulders tighter and tighter as he pulled her hard against his body. Then with a suddenness that was shocking, he let her go.
"What was that for?" Mara asked breathlessly when he pulled back, feeling the intensity of his emotions.
His eyes were dark, the feel of his warm breath caressing her cheek. "I just thought we should seal our deal with a kiss." Luke answered seriously. A lock of his dark blond hair had fallen across his forehead, his face was composed. She could see his transformation from farmboy to the Jedi Master. Mara was faintly troubled by the solemn tone the Jedi had adopted. He was treating this as a serious match. She bent to pick up her abandoned lightsaber attaching it back on her belt.
"Luke, perhaps this isn't such a good idea. . . ." She began, confused at the emotions she felt coming from her lover. "I mean…"
"Having second thoughts, Mara?" Luke inquired, "Afraid that you won't win?"
She shook her head, and he stepped back his hands going to his belt and unfastening it. The belt dropped to the floor with a dull thud. "This is just a practice duel… Luke?"
"Is it?" Luke stripped off his Jedi tunic leaving his sculpted chest bare.
Mara's mouth went dry at the sight. He really wasn't playing fair, damn the man. Her impulse to duel was quickly overcome by a far more potent desire. She wanted to caress the muscular, firm expanse of tanned flesh displayed to her hungry eyes until he capitulated. He was going to have to curb this habit he had of removing his shirt at every opportunity. How was Mara expected to fight off the legions of woman who would be overcome at the sight of his toned, muscular chest? "Luke… this isn't…"
"You want to concede?" he taunted, a sly, sexy smile covering his well shaped lips. "Don't think you can win – is that it?"
She could never resist a dare and his challenge awakened her fire. "Sithspawn!" Mara cursed, her saber flying off her belt and into her hands.
Luke assumed a fighting stance. He ignited his green blade, and watched her, his face intense. Mara was uneasy about the air of determination surrounding the man. He smiled slightly, in an effort to reassure her. This only served to put her more on her guard. Something had got him all fired up.
She shifted her balance, reaching out to the Force, her natural competitiveness determined not to be bested by the Jedi Master. Luke waited for her to make the first attack. She paced slowly toward him, at an angle. He moved to maintain a certain distance between them. The slowly circled around, regarding each other. She stepped forward, he stepped back. She grinned at him, unwilling to do what he expected. She wanted him to make the first move.
"Why, Skywalker, I never knew you were such a good dancer." she said humorously.
He exhaled, but she could sense a slight lightening in his mood. "We've had lots of practice over the years dancing around each other, don't you think? I had to learn fancy footwork just to keep up with you. Dancing and fighting," he shrugged. "Good footwork is important for both."
"What is it? What's really going on? You don't fool me, farmboy. Something is brewing in that sneaky little mind of yours" Mara muttered. "We don't have to do this, if you don't want to."
At these words, Luke narrowed his eyes and lunged at her. "'Sneaky little mind,' Jade. I'll show you who's sneaky. I thought you were the one who said "All's fair in love and war. " Mara blocked the attack expertly and they began to duel with a controlled fervour.
The sun was high in the sky; the students were still in the various buildings immersed in classes. The two lone Jedi duelled until their clothes clung damply to their bodies, sweat running down Luke's naked chest, their breathing was laboured, and the drumming of their hearts almost drowned out the deafening sound of lightsabers crackling with each impact. Never had a man and a woman been so evenly matched.
As athletic as she was, Mara wasn't used to fighting for so long with another Jedi at the peak of their fitness. Everything she tried he matched. In desperation Mara used the Force to toss some mechanical droid fragments at Luke. 'Let's see how you deal with a little extra distraction, Skywalker,' she thought. The jagged edge swiped at his arm, and he turned just in time to avoid injury and knock it away with his blindingly bright green blade.
Splitting her concentration like this was a mistake, Mara was still not practiced enough to recover and continue to maintain her defence against the skill of the Jedi Master. He gradually began to gain the upper hand in their fight – grinding her down little by little. Mara gritted her teeth and concentrated harder. This was like no other fight she'd ever had with Luke. He was fighting to win as if it was life or death for them both. Mara had never until now seen how truly accomplished Luke Skywalker was with a lightsaber and up until this moment she had thought that she could beat him. Now she wasn't so sure. All those times they had sparred in the past, Luke had not been fighting to his full capability. A burst of anger rushed through her, making her aggressively careless. How dare he!
Luke panted heavily. His feet danced nimbly across the ground, saber flying in an intricate series of slashes, cuts and thrusts until he had backed her against a duracreet wall. Mara considered Force jumping to the top when suddenly her feet were yanked out from under her with the Force. She fell heavily, her lightsaber flying out of her hand.
She swiped the damp tendrils of hair from her eyes and gazed up at Luke with reluctant admiration. He bent down to help her up, but his lightsaber remained lit, waving it at a safe distance but no less menacingly. It was clear that he was making sure that she acknowledged that he was the victor in this contest. There would be no chance to sneak the victory from him.
"I concede – Luke," she said.
Luke considered her words for a moment and then nodded. The green blade of his lightsaber fizzled out. He stepped in towards her.
"You have become a Jedi Knight of a true and rare calibre, Mara Jade. I'm proud of you."
His face was disturbingly close to her own, his mouth just a hair's breadth away. Still filled with adrenalin from their duel, the pounding of her heart became almost unbearable. Mara felt her body flush in response, her desire for him filling her veins, making it difficult to think straight. Luke pulled her upright, gathering her against him, so that the length of her soft body was pressed intimately against the hardness of his own.
Mara cleared her throat, finding it difficult to speak. "I have to hand it to you, Skywalker. You're good. You are very good indeed."
He smiled, but did not release her.
Mara wriggled a little in his grasp and Luke tightened his hold. She gave him a narrow green-eyed glare. "So what do you want from me?"
Luke paused and she could see that he was thinking. She couldn't read his thoughts but was aware when he had come to a decision about something. "First I'd like to ask what you would have requested if you were the victor in our duel."
Mara raised an eyebrow, and said, "I don't know if I should tell you."
Luke's expression became closed. His eyes narrowed and his voice sounded almost desperate. "Please Mara, I need to know."
She didn't understand the reason behind the abrupt raising of his barriers, but she had felt his sudden pain. He seemed to have become suddenly remote. There was something going on here that she didn't understand. He was hiding his feelings from her and she didn't like that. She'd decided already that she didn't want him to hurt inside any more. She wanted him to be happy, damn it! She wanted him to be happy… with her. What was wrong with Skywalker this time? He was keeping something from her. Mara decided to be honest with him, all teasing aside. Perhaps if she was totally open with him, then he would tell her what was still worrying him.
Placing her hands on either side of his face, she gazed deep into his blue eyes. "I was going to ask that you leave Yavin with me in the Jade's Fire."
"L… Leave!" he stuttered. It was clear that Luke hadn't expected this turn of events at all. "You mean, leave here and travel with you… in the Jade's Fire?" he repeated stunned. "Leave with you?" It wasn't what he'd thought she'd say at all. "Do you really want that?"
"I just said that I did." Mara's heart sank. She'd known that she was asking too much and her courage wavered but something kept her tongue explaining. "I've been putting off Karrde and the organisation for too long, I have a job to return to. Karrde gave me the break and I have obligations I need to fulfil before I can take my place as a proper Jedi of the New Republic." Her bright head drooped. "I would have liked you with me." She lifted her head and her green eyes blazed into his. "Well . . . that and I have this fantasy that involves making love with you here and now…" She sighed dispiritedly, trying to keep unaccustomed tears at bay. "But since I didn't win, I guess we'll have to just work on some levitation exercise or something instead." She peeped up at him and felt his emotions shift.
"Oh, I don't know," Luke drawled. "Both sound good to me just now, especially the latter." He relaxed and smiled warmly, his barriers fading. "I do love you, Mara Jade," he said awe and wonder in his voice. "I love you so very much," and then kissed her fiercely. She responded ardently. How could she not? She heard the sound of his lightsaber hilt being thrown aside. By the time the kiss ended, Mara was not even sure that if someone asked for her name if she could answer them coherently. Luke smiled somewhat proudly, and she had the distinct impression he was entirely aware of her current state and was quite pleased with being able to affect her so deeply. It showed Mara that Jedi Master's were not above a bit of macho posturing like the rest of the male population.
Mara tried to be angry with him, but couldn't summon up the necessary fury. To be honest, she enjoyed the feel of him too much to begrudge him his pleasure at knowing how she felt about him. She could feel Luke's response mirroring her own and if they continued it wouldn't take too much to imagine her own fantasy being fulfilled this very moment. Already he had dispensed with her belt and the fastenings to her jumpsuit were partly undone.
"You haven't told me what you want yet." Mara asked, pulling back slightly in order to better view his face.
His blue eyes searched hers, moving over her flushed features, to her slightly parted lips. He leant forward kissing her gently and his eyes clouded over.
"You do love me, don't you Mara?"
"Of course I do," she answered slightly bewildered at his serious air. "I've admitted it and I can't take it back. You can feel through the Force what you mean to me. I have no reason to lie, farmboy. I love you."
His gaze returned to her brilliant green eyes and he said, "I can't hold you to your promise…"
"We struck a bargain. I said you could have whatever you wanted from me if you won and I meant it. It is a matter of honour between us. We are equals, Luke."
"But what I want isn't trivial, nor is it small. I do not know if I have the right to demand such a thing of you, especially as we are equals."
Mara blinked worriedly. The Jedi Master was looking most uneasy. What did he want from her?
"I cannot insist on this, not matter how much I want to…" he continued warily.
"A bargain is a bargain," Mara asserted strongly. He thought she would run out on a deal, did he. Well he would soon know that Mara Jade paid her dues.
Luke swallowed, took a deep breath and pulled her snugly against his body. "Marry me," he murmured so softly that she almost missed what he had said.
"What?" Mara asked incredulously.
"Marry me. That's what I want." He took another deep breath. "I want you."
"Me!" she squeaked.
"I'll leave Yavin with you, I'll go wherever you want, but I want you. I want all of you. I want your hot temper to keep things interesting, I want your passion to liven my nights, I want your ingenuity and intelligence to balance my tendency to make rash decisions. I want your love and your support. I want your red hair and green eyes for our children, and I want you to be my wife for the rest of our days."
"You sure this isn't another one of your 'rash decisions'?" Mara asked, still in shock at the nature of his request. The suspicion that he had been fighting for his life became a certified fact. "You can be terribly impulsive. I don't know if I want to inflict red hair and green eyes on our poor unsuspecting children."
"I've never been more certain of anything in my life." His grip tightened on her arms. "But I want you to marry me because you love me as much as I love you. I don't want you to agree to this because of a lost duel. If you don't love me enough, then it can't happen. I don't really care what colour hair and eyes our children have as long as they are our children. Yours and mine." He removed his arms from around her and walked away.
"Luke!" Mara snapped. "Stop walking away from me." As soon as he had removed his hands from around her, a terrible sense of loss and loneliness had invaded her being.
"I'm not." His voice was so quiet that Mara had to strain her ears to hear it. "I don't want to embarrass myself when you tell me your answer is 'no'."
"How do you know that I didn't let you win?" Mara asked, impishly and watched as the Jedi Master stopped, whipped around and stared hard at her, his eyes boring into her soul.
She walked towards him and eyed his bare chest hungrily. He was all man and he was hers. "I want you with me, but I thought your heart's desire…" her voice lowered huskily. "Would be you and I making hot, passionate love…" She moved closer. "I thought that what you wanted most in the galaxy would be me in your arms and since it is exactly what I want…"
Luke gulped audibly but pressed on. "You're right, Jade, but its not enough for me. I want more than an occasional lover – you deserve better than that and I want you permanently."
"Worth throwing a fight for, I think."
Luke blinked, but a small smile began to form on his face. "Oh come on, Mara. I've never known you to throw a fight in your life."
"You're right." She conceded. "And I never do anything that I don't want to do. Well… not anymore. You won our duel fairly." He was serious. Totally and absolutely serious. Luke Skywalker wanted Mara Jade for his wife. He had to be insane – she wasn't wife material.
"So you'll marry me?" he pressed. She hadn't said no and she was teasing him, His heart threatened to beat overtime.
"Can I think it over," she teased, her green eyes sparkling.
"Say yes and then think about it," Luke urged grinning.
Mara's eyes began to sparkle into his. "I don't know, Skywalker," she shook her head. "It's a big decision in a woman's life. It has to be considered, mulled over, cogitated…"
"Mara!" Luke was beginning to look a little desperate. "I'll beg if I have to."
"It can't be made in the heat of the moment."
Luke's face fell. "I understand." He took a step back and gave a funny, courtly little bow. "Take whatever time you need. I will await your decision."
Mara's heart jumped into her throat as the pain threatening to overwhelm her lover hit her and suddenly her taunts didn't seem so funny. "I only meant that I have to consider all my other offers to see which one best suits me," she whispered.
"Mara Jade," Luke growled and pounced. "What do you mean by that?" A small smile played around the edge of his mouth as he pulled her against his body. "The best fit?" Luke asked and began to nuzzle one of the sensitive points on her neck.
"Well," She drawled with a gasp, eyeing him speculatively as he drew back a little. "We fight all the time."
Luke straightened up, and said heatedly, "No we don't."
"We don't… Oh."
Her eyebrows rose and he smiled realizing he had fallen right into her trap. "Okay, maybe we fight from time to time." He conceded. "Means that we are both strong and passionate individuals. No one is dominant in our relationship. We are true equals."
"We're not anything alike."
"Oh, I don't think we're so very different." Luke protested. "But differences can be good. We compliment each other. I want to compliment you all the time." His hands ran over her body and Mara moaned softly.
It's our differences that keep us interesting."
"True," she dipped her head consideringly. "We have our Force abilities and our hot tempers in common." She agreed, hiding a smile.
"Mara," Luke groaned. He couldn't protest without seeming to validate her claim but he had to try or 'do'. Then again this was Mara, so 'trying' was part of the job description. "I am a Jedi Master. I am calm, rational…"
"With no patience and a hot temper, which you try to hide behind all that Jedi rubbish you like to spout at me. But you are my best friend." Mara smiled, "And I am attracted to you, there's no denying it."
"What is it, Mara? What's bothering you?" Luke asked, his face anxious.
"I don't know. I just need to be sure that you really want me."
"You don't still doubt me? I know my own heart and I want you. I love you."
"Maybe its time that you proved it. Show me you want me." She smiled slyly and Luke finally understood her game. She was clever, his love. She had him so tied up in knots of her making that he would never get free and he would be happily entangled for the rest of his life.
"And how, my love, am I supposed to do that?" Luke gave her a predatory grin. He was not about to refuse the challenge she was subtly placing before him.
Mara was surprised by the fierce determination and the feral gleam that shone in his eyes. The lightsaber duel had been one thing, this was another battle Luke would win to both their satisfactions. Without even realizing that she had moved, she found a wall pressed against her back. She gave him a saucy smile. "You're the Jedi Master… uh… improvise."
He dropped a chaste kiss on her parted lips. "You want me to prove that we share more than simple attraction." His voice was low in his throat making the woman in his arms quiver with need. "Fine. I can do that" His breath scorched her cheek as he gently bit her sensitive earlobe. Mara shuddered with pleasure. This was not the Jedi Master of the Academy, nor was it the simple farm boy from Tatooine. This was Luke Skywalker, the man who was both and more. He was also the man who was determined to win Mara Jade. A part of him knew that she was teasing him, but another part could sense the hesitation deep within the beauty's heart and mind. He took a step back and waited until she opened heavy lidded green eyes and groaned.
"Touch me, Luke," Mara pleaded.
He wanted to vanquish the last vestige of her doubts and he could feel her need calling to his own, making it difficult for him to think rationally. "I'll tell you what," Luke's voice was a mere whisper. "All you have to do is tell me to stop and I'll free your from our bargain." He bent his head towards her brushing his lips against her neck with great deliberation.
"Do you doubt my ability to resist you?" Mara asked with great difficulty, the words coming out in quick gasps. "I can, you know… ohhhh!"
He chuckled and pulled her against him, moulding their bodies together. She gasped as she felt him against her and he continued to kiss down her body, moving along the length of the exposed skin of her ever widening neckline. "Had enough yet?"
"I'm thinking… ohhhh, Luke! Please…"
Luke knew that he was playing a dangerous game, but he couldn't seem to help it. He prayed she would not tell him to stop just out of pride or sheer stubbornness. "What about if I do… this?" He began to kiss down her neck.
Luke kissed back up over her breast and found the corner of her mouth. Leaning into her, he ground his hips into hers. "I can stop any time." He was lying, the more he touched her and tempted her, the less control he maintained over his own body.
Mara seemed to consider it, but realized that she never wanted him to stop touching her, kissing her… making love to her. She never felt so good, so alive than she did in his arms. What had started as a joke, a sort of game, had turned into something more. "Stop and I'll run you through with your lightsaber," she panted.
"Whatever my lady wishes."
She said huskily. "I knew I could get you to agree to my fantasy."
Mara felt the waves of his humour wash over her and he said, "I intended to, the moment you confessed it to me. It's also one of mine."
They no longer communicated with words, losing themselves in the sensations of touch and the exquisite pleasure they found in each other's arms. Luke began to peel the jumpsuit from her body With his voice catching in his throat, Luke traced the rounded globes, watching as her dusky pink nipples stiffened to hard peaks of desire.
"Well?" he demanded, almost
unable to speak himself.
"Well, what?" Mara moaned as he continued to tease and touch her body.
"Are you going to marry me?" His pants felt impossibly tight around his groin, but Luke was adamant that he would get an answer. He almost died as her hand reached out towards his manhood, still enclosed in constricting black cloth. "No, my green-eyed beauty," he murmured. "Not yet. You are not going to get past me that way."
"This is not fair, Luke… Stars!" she breathed heavily.
He leaned forward and began to rub his body against hers. She was weakening he could see it, as her eyes became unfocused and finally closed, her mouth opened to gasp for oxygen. Luke moved his mouth to hers and kissed her senseless. Kiss after fevered kiss was exchanged between them, the temperature growing hotter and wilder. Mara's hands began to claw desperately at the fastenings to Luke's pants.
"Mara!" Luke's voice was almost stern as he wrenched her to arms length. This was so hard but he had to do it. His entire life was at stake. Her eyes opened, almost black with passion.
"Yes, Luke," she sobbed, suddenly, unable to withstand the growing pressure of her own fiery need. "Yes, Luke I'll marry you. Force, I'll marry you. I love you so much."
The air left his lungs in a rush and weakly he lay back, pulling her protectively into his side. "My love," he whispered protectively. "Yes!" He sent a wave of joy into the air.
Stunned by what had happened Mara lay quiescent against him, her passion of a moment ago forgotten until Luke tipped her face up to his and the fire in their souls started again. This time there would be no stopping them.
Mara could feel Luke reaching
out to her through the Force. After a minute hesitation, Mara let her barriers
drop. Not just the surface barriers that normally protected her casual thoughts
from being intercepted by other Force wielders, but her deepest more private
shields. All her thoughts, memories, feelings, everything that comprised her
character were laid bare for him. She withheld nothing, revealing her forgotten
sorrows, her remembered triumphs, her secret shame at her past, as well as her
deep and abiding love for Luke.
Luke was surprised and greatly humbled by this gift. Without hesitation, he joined her in this state, dropping his barriers. Mara saw the pain at the loss of his family on Tatooine and the shock at discovering his father was Darth Vader. She saw the responsibility he took upon himself to do good in the galaxy and how his spirit was weighed down by all the wars and strife. She twisted uncomfortably at seeing his pain when Callista departed from his life never to return.
Luke said in her mind *That's all in the past* and he encompassed her
spirit in his never ending well of love. She saw how complementary their souls
truly were, how they fitted so neatly together and how their combined light
banished the shadows from the darkest corners of their being. She saw how her
presence in his life lightened his load, how his heart was full of her.
In this joined state, their passion grew so much that it became impossible to deny. They removed the last of their clothing eager to be joined in body as they were in spirit. When their bodies became one, it was exquisite. As each one could not only feel their own reaction, but the intense pleasure of the other. Their hands clutched at each other, their breaths co-mingling, they moved in the sweet, seductive dance together as wave after wave of desire and euphoria pulsed through them with each thrust. They struggled to retain this heightened state of pleasure, but were unable to resist the siren call of completion. When the pinnacle came to them, they screamed in release, stunned by the raw power of their joining.
They eased out of their mind link, but retained a part of themselves inside the other. They were joined irrevocably in the Force, their bond solidifying into an unbreakable current connecting two souls.
"Luke," Mara murmured huskily. "Did we really just make love out in the open, in the middle of a training area?"
"Yup," he said smugly. "In the open, without worrying about interruptions or… anything."
"Stars!" Her green eyes opened wide with amazement. "We did."
"Do you think anyone noticed?"
"Hopefully not. If you were shielding correctly"
Luke's face was a picture. "Shielding? I think I forgot."
"L-u-k-e!" she said, exasperation in her voice.
"I love you."
Two days later
The sound of an aggravated
astromech droid caught Luke's attention as he hurried to change after
completing his classes for the day. "That sounded like…" He changed his course
to investigate, thinking for a split second it was R2D2, but the pitch was
slightly off. When he rounded the bend, he saw Corran
standing on a maintenance platform beside the droid socket of his X-Wing.
The Corellian swore and the droid let off an impassioned stream of electronic invective.
"Need some help?" Luke asked amused when he recognized Whistler, Corran's droid echoing the curses in whistles and snorts. "What kind of language is that, Whistler," Luke remonstrated.
Whistler made a rude sound
disgustedly. Biological life forms really had no idea how trying they could be.
"It's the damned droid coupler. Somehow it's out of alignment so that Whistler can't interface with the ship." Corran ground out through clenched teeth.
"Let me take a look."
Corran hopped down to allow Luke access to the socket. The droid swivelled his head a couple of times as if considering Luke's fitness for the task.
Luke peered into the socket and pursed his lips. "Hmm! This happened once to Artoo, but I've never seen a coupler so misaligned. What happened?"
"Whistler decided to do a couple of upgrades by himself… on his own… without consulting me." Corran eyed the droid wryly.
The droid twittered indignantly.
"Yeah, well, it was fine when I left." The Corellian retorted, "Don't look at me if Mirax gives you a memory wipe for making me late."
"You're leaving Yavin?" Luke glanced at Corran curiously.
"Yeah, I didn't intend to stay as long as I have."
"My thanks for giving up time with your family, Corran. You know you are always welcome amongst the Jedi on Yavin. You're one of us." He glanced at his friend out of the corner of his eye. "I'm going to be leaving too." Luke took a tool and adjusted the droid coupler.
Corran was surprised; he had thought that things were going well between the Jedi Master and Mara Jade. Either they had a blow out fight or the New Republic had recruited Luke to do another mission for them. Either way, it spelled troubled for the ill fated pair. He hadn't seen them since the other day, when he'd left them staring at one another. He had felt various flashes of intense feeling through the Force, but hadn't stopped to analyse them. Something within him thought that the Jedi Master and the Jedi woman deserved some sort of privacy to sort out whatever problems they had. If he was right about whatever ripples the pair had been causing, then he reckoned they hadn't had many problems or been getting a lot of sleep. When he rendezvoused with Mirax, Corran had a similar, intimate plan. He had been too long away from his wife.
"Looks like the coupler is burned out." Luke said as he continued his adjustments to ship. "These x-wings have power, but you push them too hard and something's bound to break."
"Yeah, I know. You need a
certain amount of finesse when you handle these babies." Corran
"If the power surges through the system without maintaining a balance with the main motivator and the Servo Actuator, it burns them up."
"Too much power? From someone who has been on idle for years you sure seem to be the expert at flying full throttle."
"We are still talking about ships here right?" Luke inquired. I still fly, although not in combat these days. I get enough combat on the ground." He met the Corellian's light green gaze.
"Were we ever? How is she?"
"Mara?" Luke turned back to the ship, attempting to hide his expression from Corran's shrewd eyes.
"No, Mon Mothma… Of course Mara."
"She's fine. We're both fine."
"But you're leaving here?"
"So is Mara." Luke supplied nodding his head
"She's planning on leaving too."
A sly smile slipped across the Jedi Master's face.
Corran studied Skywalker and then quickly reassessed the
situation, "With you?"
"Actually, I'll be going with her, in the Fire."
"So I take it things worked out between you and Mara?" he asked tentatively.
Luke turned his attention back to the ship, unable to hide the broad grin that spread across his face. "I think that'll do it. Try it now, Whistler."
The droid extended his arm into the coupler and twittered happily when he successfully connected to the x-wing's computer.
"You fixed it!" Corran crowed.
"I'm pretty good with machines," Luke murmured. "That's what I did before I joined the rebellion - fixed things for my uncle. I was a rotten farmhand, but I could fix things and fly."
pressed. He hadn't forgotten his past life as a Corellian Security Force
officer either and Luke's diversionary tactics were not going to work on him.
"Come on, Luke. I'm not asking for intimate details. As your
friend… as a friend to you both. I'd like to know."
"I'd say that they're going pretty well." Luke finally conceded.
Corran smiled, "I kind of figured things had improved
between you two when shortly after you . . . reunited after your trip . . .
half the student body requested a leave of absence to visit their loved ones."
Luke looked confused for a moment and then blushed furiously. "Oh, stars! I did forget to shield."
"Relax . . .Master. I'm certain that most everyone with the exception of Kyp and myself, have not realized the source of their sudden . . . urges. I overheard a few students say they're homesick, they miss their spouses, that sort of thing."
"I guess I'll be working on reinforcing my shields." Luke said wryly. "I get the feeling that I'm going to need to."
"I don't know if you can shield that kind of emotion."
"If we're going to be amongst
Force strong beings we're going to have to learn to."
Corran grinned at Luke's discomfited expression. Things must be pretty passionate between them, but that wasn't a surprise. "Where is she right now?"
Luke closed his eyes and a smile crossed his lips. "Harassing Tionne about using the com centre. She wanted to contact Talon Karrde before we left and I have a couple of administrative details to arrange before I'm free to leave. To be honest, I've been here so little over the past year that the Academy has been running quite well without me. There's not that much for me to organise. However, they will miss your input, Corran."
"I'll come and teach the odd semester when Mirax wants to go travelling without me."
"Strong women need their own
space," Luke said wickedly.
"And we ended up with two of the strongest. So . . . .?" Corran prompted. "I can keep my mouth shut. I won't go blabbing."
Luke regarded him solemnly, but knew the Corellian Jedi deserved to know more. "Things are going very well," and then dropped his head and began examining his boots with a strange intensity. "She's agreed to marry me." Cautiously he peered up and met Corran's slack-jawed expression of shock.
Corran recovered quickly. "You take your time, boss in telling me the important stuff. Well, for someone who's been sitting idling at the starting line for ten years, you certainly made a quick finish. I'm glad for you, Luke, I really am."
"Thanks Corran. That means a lot to us both."
"You deserve it, Luke."
"I don't know about that, but I love her."
Corran clapped him on the shoulder. "That's all she wants, you know."
"I know." Luke gave the x-wing the once over. "When do you go?"
"In a couple of hours. I'm waiting for Mirax to send me her co-ordinates after she's made her next hyperspace jump. I'll rendezvous with her then."
"Come on, let Whistler do your pre-flight checks. After the mess he made of those upgrades he should redeem himself quickly."
The two men grinned at each other and headed for the Comm. Centre.
Approximately One year later
"I can't believe you wanted to spend our first anniversary on Yavin," Luke muttered as his wife touched down smoothly on the Academy landing pad.
"Where else would we have spent it?" Mara began shutting down the power.
"I don't know. There are millions of planets in the galaxy."
"But none of them quite like this one."
"They are all different," Luke argued.
"But I didn't realise that I was in love with you on any of them, now did I?" Mara tipped her face up expectantly for the kiss she knew Luke would drop on her sweetly smiling mouth.
Luke's lips lingered on hers. "I guess not. Why didn't you say earlier you wanted to spend out anniversary on Yavin. It's perfect." Love shone from his blue eyes. This wasn't the tired, tense man of a year before. This Luke Skywalker was much more relaxed, quicker to laugh and to all who knew him well – he appeared to be happy.
As for his wife. Mara was only slightly less fierce, still intense with the things that mattered and protective of her husband with the determination of a krayt dragon. But she was warmer and she too, laughed more.
They had both been determined
to take this time out of their busy schedule to celebrate their anniversary
properly. The last year had been hectic with numerous joint missions as well as
the occasional solo mission. Although the brief separations were often
difficult, their joyful, passionate reunions more than made up for their time
apart. They had learned much about each other in the last year, and they
continued to grow closer with each revelation.
The galaxy was a dangerous place, but together they strived to make it safer both for themselves and for future generations. Lately, Luke had been having a recurring dream of children, with each repetition growing in clarity. He saw a sandy, blond haired boy with dark emerald eyes and a girl with Mara's vibrant hair and bright blue eyes. When he shared the content of his dream, or vision with Mara, she just smiled secretively. He wanted children desperately but would never presume to foist his wishes upon his wife, but he knew that Mara wanted children too and so he hoped that one day...
They exited the vehicle and were immediately greeted by a solemn faced Kyp, "Master Skywalker. Jedi Jade."
Mara could not contain a snort, unwilling to accept Kyp's humility as truth.
Kyp's eyes darted to Mara's and a slight smile appeared on his lips.
"Jedi Durron," Luke replied, mentally encouraging Mara to do the same.
*Skywalker, I find him false,* she thought, but she bowed so low as to be insulting and said, "It is an honour to be greeted by such an esteemed personage as yourself, Jedi Durron."
When she rose she felt a slight wave of annoyance from the Jedi and then he retorted in response, "Nice ship you have there, Jade."
"You should see the anti-theft system. It comes equipped with a lightsaber wielding owner with a grudge."
He had the sense to look ashamed, "Did I ever say I'm sorry for stealing your ship? I'm not the same person that I was."
Mara seemed about to tell him where he could take his apology and just what he could do with it, when she caught Luke's eye. She smiled and said grudgingly, "That's okay. People change. You do that again however, and you'll have to invest in a whole new wardrobe complete with biomechanical parts."
Luke got a distracted look on his face and turned to Kyp, "Where is everyone?"
"I sent them on some training exercises . . . on the far side of Yavin."
"So who's here."
"Just me, but I'm on my way to Coruscant. Sightseeing." The way he said the last, they knew that he was not really going to Coruscant, but they didn't pry.
"So you're saying the Academy's deserted?" Luke asked, somewhat incredulous.
"Well, there's the occasional droid to keep things running. Consider it an anniversary gift."
Mara smiled warmly, "You know, Kyp. You're alright. I'll cancel that bounty I put on your head as soon as we get to our room."
"Wouldn't want to inconvenience you." He said with a slight smile and made his way to a small transport vehicle.
They watched him get inside, and stood on the platform for awhile after his ship disappeared into the sky.
"Who would have thought it?" Mara asked.
Luke smiled and said, "Yeah. You know what that means don't you?"
"Yeah, no fighting for that last cup of caf' in the galley, no answering annoying administrative questions from Tionne, no projecting flying mynocks over my head."
"And no one at the mineral baths." Luke said suggestively.
Mara smiled and said, "Lead the way, Master."