The Wedding of Luke Skywalker
By Ash Darklighter
Disclaimer: The characters and situations in this story are the property of Lucasfilm Ltd. I am not making so much as a credit from this endeavour. Thanks to the girls as usual. Without you this story would be nowhere.
Luke checked on the meal simmering gently in his oven. It would be a while before it was ready so he decided to continue the work his sister and Mara had started. He picked up a box of bedding material and headed towards one of the smaller bedrooms. This was to be a room for his niece and nephews when they came to stay. 'What about a child of your own?' the little voice murmured in his head. Luke gave a sigh. Could a child be in his future? He pushed this hope as far away as he could. A child of his own to love and protect was a dream he'd relegated to the realm of wild fantasy.
Mara was certainly returning his kisses but did she love him? He gave a wry smile. Of course she loved him.
He'd been so close before and then his dreams had disappeared. He was never quite good enough. Gaerial Captison had loved her home, her people and her duty more than Luke. Jem had died before he had really been able to find out if there had been hope of a relationship. Callista had said she loved him but it wasn't enough for her. Her so-called love for him wasn't enough. In the end, she had loved the Force more than him. Luke admitted to himself that, of course, he was frightened. Yes, Mara loved him, but was she ready for all the excess baggage he carried with him? Luke Skywalker, farmboy and Jedi Master – the two were part of a single whole – indivisible and absolute. Mara had to accept and love all of him or his life would fall apart once more.
Perhaps this was one of the reasons that he was holding back. Han was partly right. Mara wouldn't wait for Luke to make up his mind forever. But he wanted to make sure that he had done everything in his power to court her the way she deserved. He wanted Mara to know that he didn't just want a sexual relationship with her. Luke wanted it all – the marriage, the home and the family.
He quickly surveyed the empty bedsteads and the piled boxes. There would be plenty of time to set this up when the need arose. At least everything was in the right place. Even his heart was where it belonged – Mara held his heart, even if she didn't know that it was hers. He grinned - she knew perfectly well how he felt about her. His grin faded. What Mara didn't know was that Luke could not wholly trust her not to break his heart. He wandered out onto the balcony that ran round the upper floor and stared down into the central atrium. This place was too big for one person. 'If Mara stayed here with you - it would be absolutely perfect.'
"Stop it!" Luke spoke aloud, trying to banish the insistent inner voice. He walked towards his small study and pressed the door release. More chaos. Luke waded his way past more boxes to his desk. Clearing some books off his chair, he sank into it and gazed around at the mess. He let a smile cross his lips as he picked up a couple of things and shoved them absent-mindedly in the pocket of his pants. Already he'd set his most personal items on the polished crimson greel wood shelving. A piece of crystal from Tatooine, holos of his family and even one of his Jedi students, were already in place. He slid his drawer open and gazed at the holo of Mara he kept hidden. Making a decision, Luke picked it up and added it to the shelves with the others.
Flicking a switch on the desk, Luke faced his monitor. "Barris?"
"Yes, Master Skywalker?" The friendly face of the guard shimmered into place on the screen. "What can I do for you?"
"I'm expecting Jedi Mara Jade. When she arrives, send her straight up."
"Yes, sir. I would do that in any case. You had already cleared her for the Jedi Centre at all times."
Luke grinned. "So I did." He could read the guard's casual curiosity. 'Even when she arrives in the middle of the night.' "Tell her that I'll be in the Meditation Room."
Luke cut the connection and ran nimbly down the stairs and out into the corridor. He was alone in the centre. Most of the remaining Jedi had returned to their lodgings for the night. He walked through the carved, inscribed doors and immediately the peace and beauty calmed his still troubled soul. His face lightened and his shoulders lifted, the strain beginning to seep away. He moved to a cupboard and opened it. Inside was a sound system and a selection of discs. Luke selected a piece of soothing orchestral music and inserted the disc into the machine. Immediately the comforting strains filled the room. From his pocket Luke pulled a small tub of wax polish and a soft cloth.
Kneeling down, he began gently to rub the contents into the wooden flooring in small, slow circles as the music swirled about his ears and the coloured lights created by the sun hitting the stained glass windows danced to the sound.
"I thought I'd find you in here."
Luke opened his eyes. He hadn't been aware of the passing of time. He stared at the small tub of wax - the container was practically empty, the floor gleaming with extra warmth.
"Hey, Skywalker! You receiving me?"
"Loud and clear, Jade." Luke peered at Mara through his overlong fringe. She was dressed in her customary attire of black leather jumpsuit; her red-gold hair loosely plaited falling over her shoulder. She looked beautiful.
"I sensed you were with me," he said, lifting his face to receive her gentle kiss. "I just didn't realise you were so close." He gave a little shrug, his eyes falling away from her shrewd green gaze. "There's always a part of you with me," he added softly.
Mara's expression gentled, losing the brittle edge that was so much a part of her outward protective shell. "As you are with me," she said. She lifted her head and stared around the room. "It's almost finished."
"Yes, it is." Luke dug the cloth into the tub and began rubbing the last of the polish into the floor. "Nearly done."
For a moment Mara watched him carefully continue with his task and then knelt down on one knee, her hand stilling the circular motion of Luke's hand by resting on top of it. "Come on," she whispered. "It's finished now."
He stared at the perfection of the room and gave a slow nod. "It is." Luke caught her hand with his own and stood up. "I've made us something to eat," he said prosaically.
"Come on then… Feed me."
"As my lady commands," Luke said with a touch of whimsy brightening his blue eyes. With a last look around the octagonal room, he shut off the lights and the music and let the door swing closed behind him.
The meal was good, eaten as it was in the intimacy of Luke's kitchen. The wine he'd procured from somewhere complimented the simple casserole perfectly.
Luke placed their plates in the dish recycler and turned to watch Mara just sitting there, sipping her wine and looking as if she totally belonged. She recounted a funny story Karrde or one of the smugglers had told her. Luke must have made the appropriate response but he couldn't have repeated the tale to anyone. He dutifully laughed in what he hoped was the right places. Instead of focusing on her words his fascinated gaze was sending messages to his brain - a detailed inventory of her flawless, creamy complexion, the way her eyes tilted at the corners, how her hair curled away from her face, and the light catching the many subtle shades of red and gold. He saw she was gazing at him quizzically, waiting for some sort of response from him. "Go on."
"I've finished. Were you even listening?"
"Sure," he lied.
Mara's expression was dubious. "You were several galaxies away."
"It's nice seeing you this relaxed," he said, changing the subject. "I thought we were never going to get our friendship back."
"Is that all it is… Luke?" Mara's voice deepened on his name, a husky sound emerging from her throat. "…a friendship?"
"We have much more than mere friendship, Jade," he answered carefully. "We always have."
Mara sighed. The answer was deliberately non-committal. It wasn't good enough for her, but something in Luke's shuttered sense indicated that he thought much more of her. She knew that he did. Mara would swear on her own life that Luke Skywalker loved her deeply. "I couldn't bear it, if I'd lost you," she told him honestly. "I think we do have more than friendship." Her eyes darkened to the colour of the evergreen trees on Yavin. Her lips parted, her small pink tongue darting out to moisten them.
His eyes caught the movement and grew wide, instant arousal colouring their cobalt depths. Mara immediately stared down at the table, shaken despite herself. 'How could he do that to her with a single look?' she thought. "I'll help you clear up," she offered briskly.
"It's done." He poured some more wine into her glass.
"I insist." Mara stood up and came to stand next to him.
"Everything's done," Luke murmured, gulping slightly. She was so close and he could smell the perfume she favoured. It was so uniquely… her.
"There are dishes to wash."
"They're in the recycler. I'll do them later."
"If you're sure."
"I am. Now…" Luke swiftly changed the subject. "You've been in the den?" he asked.
"The gallery above the lounge," he explained.
"I saw it when it was empty but Leia was having things placed up there when we left for lunch."
"It's not quite ready but it's there or thereabouts. It's the only place we can relax at the moment."
Mara almost disagreed but Luke had been almost skittish about their time alone and she didn't want to alert him to her plans – not yet.
Luke picked up his wine glass and wandered out of the kitchen towards the beautiful formality of the largest room in the apartment. "This is a little austere at the moment. I have some things on order."
"It's not really you."
"Not yet, no. It needs a woman's touch."
"I'm sure Leia will help you out," Mara said, her heart thudding loudly in her chest.
Luke stared at the floor as if he was memorising the pattern of the cream tiles below his feet. "I wasn't thinking about Leia," he mumbled.
Mara took a deep breath. She had to keep her concentration but it was difficult with the things that Luke was saying.
He headed towards the back of the room where a simple wooden staircase spiralled upwards. "This is really for guests - upstairs is for close friends and family."
Mara followed him up the winding stairs and grinned as Luke's old furniture came into view, arrayed into a comfortably pleasing arrangement along with the holovid, music discs and a top of the range entertainment system. "I can see that this is where you're going to spend your time."
"I like it up here," he admitted. "It doesn't feel so big and empty."
Mara stared at more boxes stacked in a corner. "I thought you didn't have that much stuff," she murmured as she sank into a large overstuffed armchair.
"So did I, but people keep bringing me things and I rescued a lot of my books and data discs from storage." He placed a disc into the sound system and the restful strains of an Alderaanian-style classical piece wafted around them. For a while there was silence as they both sat and sipped their wine. Mara could feel the Force beginning to shimmer between them and what had seemed so innocent no longer did so. She was aware of Luke Skywalker as a man and she wanted him for a lover – her only lover for the rest of her life.
It was time she made her move – there would be no better time to seduce him. Mara hoped he would be receptive to her advances. If she waited any longer, Luke would have finished his wine and offer to walk her home.
She'd had enough of practically clawing her furniture in half with frustration every time he left her. Luke was hers and she was about to make that fact abundantly clear. He was not in charge of this operation any longer.
"You ready to go home?" Luke asked as the piece of music came to a close. He'd felt something shift between himself and the beautiful woman sitting opposite him. He wasn't sure what it was but the air was charged with electricity. They knew each other's moods so well and could pick up on the slightest change – the slightest difference in the way they felt. 'So why did it take me so long to realise how much I loved her?' he asked himself for about the hundredth time. "You're not ready to go home," he stated quietly.
Mara stood up and walked towards Luke where he sat on the sofa. "No," she said. "I'm not."
Luke raised an eyebrow and felt a slight flush begin to stain his cheeks. "Oh."
Mara sat down close beside him and watched as he shifted nervously.
She'd reasoned with Leia that her seduction of Luke couldn't be advertised in big glowing letters. A seductive outfit would destroy her element of surprise. So she'd dressed in her form-fitting, black leather jumpsuit as if this was just a normal meeting between two old friends, comfortable enough with one another not to dress up. The leather hugged and accentuated her figure in a positive way. She knew from his reactions over the years that Luke liked her wearing it and it wouldn't arouse his suspicions. Hopefully she would arouse something else instead because beneath the leather she was wearing his gift.
Mara reached out and took the glass of wine from his hands and placed it on a low table beside her own glass.
"Mara…" Luke slowly lowered his hand, his gaze caught in the intensity of her green gaze.
"Ssh" she said as she leant forward and covered his mouth with a kiss. The kiss was gentle and non-threatening. Mara felt Luke relax into it. She drew back with a smile. "It's just a kiss, farmboy."
"And very nice, too," Luke quipped, still not suspecting her full intent.
Mara stretched out her hand and trailed it across his cheekbones finally tracing the shape of his mouth. She shivered as Luke kissed the tip of her finger. They stared at each other for a moment longer. Mara kept her barriers in place but allowed him to see the regard that she felt for him. She didn't want Luke guessing that she was determined to stay. He would have to run her through with her own saber before he would get her to leave him tonight.
No, Mara decided with an inward smile. Tonight Mara Jade and Luke Skywalker would take their friendship to a new and far more intimate level.
Carefully, keeping things light, she shifted closer and replaced her finger with her lips. Her mouth opened and Luke's eager tongue darted inside. He leant towards her, his hand moving to her shoulders and sliding possessively around to toy with the loosely braided hair hanging down her back. Mara clutched at Luke's strong shoulders, feeling the muscles underneath his shirt shift restlessly at her touch and pressed herself against his body. Suddenly, things weren't light any longer. Her pulse was quicker; the air around her seemed filled with unspoken desires. Her mouth shaped to his, tongues probing, each stunned by the response that they drew from one another.
The denial had only made their desire for one another much stronger – much more powerful. Tension wound between them. Mara felt her body change as she pressed her softness against his hardness. She could feel her breasts swelling beneath the black leather, her silken clad nipples rubbing against the stiff fabric. 'Sith! She wanted him.'
Mara's fingers began to travel, desperately seeking the fastenings to Luke's shirt. She had to feel his skin. She would burn alive if she did not.
"Mara…" he gasped breathlessly. "We must stop…" But his shoulders twisted, helping her remove the garment and Luke Skywalker shrugged out of his shirt letting it fall to the ground.
"No," she whispered, pressing against him, her arms winding around his neck, rubbing her leather clad body against his naked muscular chest. "No stopping. Not tonight." Their mouths joined together once more, the hard demand of their lips asking and receiving.
"Stars!" Luke muttered as Mara's head tipped back allowing him access to the soft, creamy length of her neck.
"I need… you… to…" Mara closed her eyes and let out a groan.
Luke's body tightened at the earthy sound.
"Luke, I need… you to… touch me," she finished in a rush. "Please touch me."
The Jedi Master stared at the woman in his arms. They were lying full length on the couch, his shirt lay in a crumpled heap on the floor, his belt was off and Mara's hair had freed itself from its braid and tumbled gloriously around her shoulders, the straps of her jumpsuit beginning to slip revealing her smooth skin. He couldn't recall any of it happening because he'd been so caught up in the feelings between them. Her face was flushed, her eyes closed and her breathing loud in the still room. Mara opened her eyes and they were the deepest, clearest green he had ever seen them.
"I need to feel your hands on my skin." As she drew away from him she fumbled for the hidden fasteners and started to undo her suit.
"I don't want this to be just… Mara, we shouldn't… We haven't… talked…" He stopped as she leaned over and kissed him. "Oh, hell!" he swore, a tremulous smile gracing his lips as her hands feathered lightly over his shoulders and chest. Luke began babbling. "Force, I want you. Just keep doing that. We don't have to… talk… right at this moment." His lips found hers again and the sweetness of them made his libido go into hyperspace. Luke drew back a little, breathing heavily. How they had reversed positions, Luke couldn't recall.
Her eyes glistened into his as her hands returned to their job of undoing her fasteners. "Luke, no talk - just action. Show me how you feel. I don't need the words any more."
He swallowed the rest of his words as her skin was revealed inch by inch. Finally, he couldn't bear watching it any longer. She was too slow and his hands pushed hers out of the way - fumbling for the zip. Any thoughts of propriety and courting her slowly vanished. Luke Skywalker lost his grasp of prudent rationality and began to do what his intended bride had wanted him to do for days.
The passion exploded as desire streaked through them. Pure sensation raced through their bodies as their hands and mouths began to try to cover as much skin as possible. Mara's mouth kissed her way across Luke's muscular chest. He wanted her and this time she was certain he would go through with it. Mara pulled back from her soon-to-be lover and stripped the black leather suit from her body, leaving her in nothing but a set of jade-green silk underwear.
Luke thought his heart had stopped.
For a split second there was total silence. The Jedi Master gazed at the woman he loved and reeled under the onslaught of her emotions as she let her shields crumble away. His face went red and then pure white as the perfection of her slender body was revealed clad only in his gift. With a tortured groan, his maleness swelling uncomfortably in his pants, he reached for her. Lifting her into his arms, Luke carried her to his bedchamber, dropping her hastily on the bed, whereupon he stripped his pants from his legs and lowered his aching form over hers.
He had imagined her wearing his gift. He was human after all. She looked better than even his feverish dreams had promised. He could see the tips of her hardened breasts under the jade silk. Luke uttered a moan as his shaking fingers teased across the peaks of her silk covered breasts. Mara arched off the bed, keening. She ran her hands over his sculpted chest and down his tight, flat abdomen until she came to the barrier of his skin-skimming black undershorts.
"Mara!" Luke shuddered, his breathing ragged. Making a supreme effort he twisted away from her and lay on his back. Mara frowned in the darkness of his bedchamber, her mind wondering why he'd moved away, and her body crying out for his welcome weight upon it. Luke tried to calm his racing heart and out-of-control body. This was not the way he had planned their first time together but a certain beautiful green-eyed, red-haired minx was making it almost impossible not to yield to his overwhelming desires. A memory of his brother-in-law's words came to him. "Do something. 'Caution' is not a word I'd use in conjunction with you, kid. Or are you… frightened?"
A soft light snapped on and Luke lifted his head only to wish that he hadn't. Looking at her didn't cool his ardour.
"What is it?" Mara asked, her voice surprisingly steady.
"I want you," he murmured huskily. "I had planned exactly how I would court you – how I would make you mine. But this is going so fast."
"No," she disagreed. "I refuse to go home and lie in my bed alone dying to be in your arms all night, dreaming about the touch of your lips and hands on my body. I ache for you," she said forcefully. "It's going just as it should. I want you, too. I want your arms around me and your body in mine. A kiss at the end of the evening that only leaves me wanting more is not enough. I want more – I want it all. I want you." Mara's voice was resolute – she had to make him see that she was in deadly earnest. She had to make him lose that damned control of his. He was close – so close.
Luke's eyes darkened to almost navy. "If I take you now, I'll never let you go. Mara, you have to understand that. I couldn't bear to lose you."
"I don't want to go. I want to stay here with you or be wherever you have to be in the galaxy. You won't lose me. I promise."
"Why?" His heart was written clearly across his face for her to see and Mara could have cried at the pain he was trying to keep from her.
She searched his gaze and then finally whispered, "Because I love you."
There was silence and she saw the tension seep out of his body. Luke brushed away the single tear that trickled down his face and Mara saw the most wonderful smile light up his features. "I knew that you did," he said huskily and reached for her. "When you came back to me, I knew that you loved me. I just didn't know if you realised that was how you felt." Luke rubbed his face against hers. "I'm not an easy man to love."
Mara fell into his arms and for a moment they just lay together wrapped together as tightly as they could, letting the hurtful words and the misunderstandings ease with the welcome warmth of the other. "I would disagree, farmboy. You were too easy to love. So I denied my feelings, told myself that it was an infatuation - nothing more." Her eyes darkened. "I was wrong. What I feel for you is the real deal."
Luke let a finger drift slowly over the swell of her breasts, down over her smooth flat abdomen, tracing the indentation of her navel until he reached her panties. He felt the muscles under her skin contract at his touch and could feel her anticipation of his next move.
Mara shook her head trying to clear it from the warm fuzziness that overcame her and, sliding from the bed, stepped into the pool of light letting her fiery red-gold curls surround her. "Wait," she said.
Luke waited, trying to calm his racing pulse. He sensed that she wasn't leaving him and tried to relax.
Mara stood in the light of the single lamp, her hair gleaming, framing her in its fiery splendour as she began to rotate her hips and sway in time to the melody she was humming. Luke recognised it as the one they'd danced to together at the Jedi Reception. She undid the clasp on her bra and let it fall to the floor, her shapely rose-tipped breasts open to his hungry gaze. Luke lifted himself up onto one elbow and stared open-mouthed as she slipped the jade silk panties down her legs and, totally unselfconscious in her nudity, moved gracefully back towards him.
"Stars, Mara," Luke managed through stiff lips. Hell – everything was stiff.
"I'm not going anywhere but here," she said in a husky voice.
"You're not?" Luke was annoyed with himself when his voice cracked.
"No." Mara eased herself onto the bed and moved over to the wide-eyed Jedi Master, taking in the hopeful stare he tried to hide. "I'm not."
"Unless you want me to go?" Mara arched a red-gold eyebrow quizzically.
"I… er thought you weren't leaving under any circum…" Mara's lips closed over a flat male nipple, her teeth lightly grazed across the sensitive peak and the words died on his tongue. Luke's eyes closed and his head tipped back on the pillow. "Mara…" Luke's mind gave in and joined his body. So she wanted to stay? Good.
Mara leant over him, sensing his rising excitement - his willingness to help her achieve her utmost desires, and began to ease the black undershorts from his well-honed body. Luke lifted his slim hips and let her slide the material down his legs. Luke couldn't believe how quickly he'd become aroused but he should have known. He suspected that just a single touch was enough to inflame him.
"I love you, Mara," he managed to say, his eyes telling her that he was indeed speaking the truth. "That was… indescribable." They lay entwined in each other's arms, gasping as their heartbeats returned to normal.
Luke dropped a soft kiss on her tangled red-gold curls and slid from the bed. "Back in a moment, love," he murmured and moved to the 'fresher. Mara lay stunned - almost unable to move at what she'd just experienced. Making love to Luke was like nothing she'd ever experienced in her entire life. Perhaps that was another reason she'd hidden her own desire for him from herself for so long. Mara grinned to herself with smug satisfaction. He'd ruined her now for any other man. She was his and she loved him. It was that simple.
Luke reappeared in the doorway from the fresher. Mara studied him as he returned to her side. Again, she marvelled at his physique. He was a well put together man and he had made love to her passionately, making her lose all her inhibitions in his arms. She hadn't considered that he would have been so committed to her pleasure but she should have known. The bed dipped as he sank down beside her.
He gave her a glance from heavy lidded eyes and Mara felt the familiar ache grow deep within her, ready for his possession once again. How could he make her feel like this so fast?
"Please," she murmured. "Oh, please."
Luke lost count how many times he and Mara made love throughout that long evening. He knew the Force linked them together even stronger than it had before. They were aware of each other on so many different levels it was truly incredible. They had been perfect together. Eventually exhaustion took over and they drifted off to sleep still wrapped closely in each other's arms.
Mara was the first to awaken, the sun pouring through the high windows and splashing the room in golden beams. Memory returned immediately and she couldn't help the satisfied smile that curved her lips. Mara felt like a well-loved woman, aching delightfully in places that assured her it hadn't been one of the most erotic dreams she'd ever experienced. This had been real.
Luke turned a little and muttered something. "Mara…" His hand fumbled until it encountered her naked body, his hand closing proprietarily over a rounded breast. His calloused hand found her nipple and rubbed. Mara's eyes widened as streaks of fire ran through her entire body. She peered at the sleeping man in amazement. He was still asleep – the sithspawned Jedi was sound asleep. A wicked smile crossed her face and her eyes sparkled spring-green in the morning sunshine. She snuggled closer and began to nip gentle little sipping kisses over his skin, her tongue laving his flat, brown male nipples until they, too, stood to attention.
His hand moved quickly to trap her chin, lifting her head until she could see into sleepy blue eyes, astonishment stirring in their depths. Mara stifled the yelp she'd been about to emit. She hadn't sensed him awaken.
"It wasn't another dream." Luke's voice was hoarse with shock. "We… You and I…"
"You had dreams this erotic? I'm impressed, farmboy. There's hope for you yet." Mara pulled herself up to lie beside him, her head tucked into the curve of his neck. "No dream," she said. "This was real. We made love."
"More than once," Luke said smugly, male satisfaction easily identifiable in his voice. "And I'm still alive?"
Mara turned her head and closed her teeth over his earlobe, nibbling gently. She would allow him his moment of triumph. "I think so."
He turned to face her, struggling to get his arm out from under the white quilt. "It's real." His expression was full of wonderment as he came fully awake and the blue eyes that Mara loved so much began to sparkle. Crushing her to him, Luke began to kiss Mara frantically. "Force, Mara. You have no idea how much I love you. I can't believe you're still here," he said into her hair, crushing her against him.
"If it had been left to you, farmboy," Mara's voice was caustic despite being kissed continually and attempting to return the salutes tenfold. "I would have been dumped at my apartment with nothing but a measly peck to keep me going."
Luke paused and lifted his head to glare into her green eyes. "I do not peck," he muttered irritably.
"Wasn't much better," she returned airily.
"I thought you were clinging to the doorframe the last time I walked you home."
Mara's mouth dropped open. The devious, twisted, sith-spawned, sand-swallowing, gravel-boring sandworm knew. Luke took advantage of her nicely opened mouth and thrust his tongue in, kissing her with all the relish he could muster.
"Mmmph, Luke!" Mara protested weakly.
Luke pulled his head back to meet her gaze. "Yes, my love?"
"Why did you stop? Kiss me," she demanded.
"As you command, my lady."
The comlink went off loudly.
"Ignore it." Luke mumbled into the valley between her breasts. "I'm in the middle of something important."
Mara arched her back as his lips trailed up the slope of her breasts and suckled at one of her nipples. The com continued to sound. With a disgruntled exclamation Mara reached out with the Force and plucked Luke's comlink from off the floor. "Yes?"
Luke dived under the bedcovers and groaned. "Not now."
"Was that my brother?" Leia questioned, hearing the muffled comment and the sound of what could only be bedsprings creaking.
"Yes, that's him," Mara replied cheerily. "Did I sleep much? No, he kept me awake most of the night."
There was a howl from beneath the bedclothes. "Mara! That's my sister!"
"Things went well. The plan worked?"
Luke could hear his sister's voice quite clearly.
Mara ignored him. "Oh, I would say it was successful," she replied
Luke slithered out from underneath the quilt and grabbed the comlink from Mara before she could say anything more. Mara was a dangerous woman at the best of times and added to his sister. The idea of it was just plain scary.
"Hello, Leia?" he questioned carefully.
"Good morning, brother."
"Mara stayed over, I take it?"
"He needed persuading," Mara called.
Leia chuckled. "I'm expecting you both for dinner tonight and Luke…"
"Took you long enough." The com unit clicked off. Leia was gone.
Luke blinked bemusedly. "What was that all about?" he asked into the embarrassed silence.
"Leia told me to seduce you and I agreed with her," Mara muttered her face flushing.
"She told you to what!"
"Seduce you." Mara slipped from beneath the covers and walked to the 'fresher door. Luke's avid gaze burned into her as her nakedness delighted his senses.
Luke was speechless. His own sister had told Mara to…?
"Care to join me?" Mara beckoned.
Luke needed no second invitation and raced after her, lifting his love off her feet and into his arms as he carried her into the 'fresher.
They spent the whole day together just relaxing, talking and making love. Luke could barely allow her further away from him than an arm's length. Mara couldn't believe the difference a declaration of love for one another could make.
"I love you, Luke," she told him.
"I love you, too. I never really thought this could ever happen." He hesitated only for a moment and then called for his faithful little droid. "Artoo!"
The rotund astromech rolled from the study into the den, his domed head whirling around.
"You know what I want, Artoo."
The droid tooted a scale.
"Yes, Artoo. It's time. You going to wish me luck?"
The droid blew a raspberry.
"Thanks," Luke muttered. "Nice to know I have such strong support."
Luke walked over to the little droid as Artoo opened the compartment in his domed head. Luke fished out a small, dark red box from within. With a quick prayer to the Force for guidance, he placed the box in his pocket. "Mara…"
Mara had wandered outside onto the balcony leading from the den and was enjoying the late afternoon sunshine. "I'm out here."
Luke walked towards her and took her slender hands in his. "Mara… I guess you know what I'm going to ask you but I need to know. You are aware that I love you. It's always been you I've loved. Perhaps not the way I do now. My love has changed and grown. Since the moment I first met you, I've known that you were special. Will you…" He cleared his throat, his blue eyes huge in his handsome face. "Will you marry me?"
Mara gulped. Of course she knew he was going to ask her but it still came as a surprise when she heard him say the words. She lifted their joined hands and kissed the back of his. "Yes." It was easy after all.
Luke swept her into his arms and kissed her thoroughly, releasing her flushed and laughing. He pulled the box from his pocket. "A betrothal gift."
"You didn't have to…" Mara said as she watched him open the box.
"Of course I did. It's not every day one agrees to get married…"
"To you?" Mara joked.
"Of course to me. You agreed and I'm not letting you back out of it." Luke laughed. He had never felt such happiness.
He slipped the ring from the box and held it out to her.
Mara gasped as the fiery stone caught the sunlight and almost appeared to be a living thing. "A corusca gem. Luke, it is beautiful."
"It is… but then it will be shamed by your beauty." Luke winced. He couldn't think of witty things to say, so he said what he believed. She was beautiful – the most beautiful thing in his galaxy.
Mara gave a husky, mocking laugh to ease his discomfort. She sensed he was very close to the edge. He had loved her for so long. She would never have believed it before but now that she did, Mara could have wept for the time they had wasted. She lifted her hand and tenderly pushed his hair off his face. "Smooth, farmboy. Who would have thought it? Lando Calrissian maybe, but Luke Skywalker…?"
"I'm speaking the truth. I do not lie. You are beautiful."
"Oh, Luke." Her voice changed, grew soft and warm. "I'm not beautiful."
"You are," he insisted. "I'm a lucky man."
"I think I'm the lucky one, Luke."
He slid the ring onto her finger. "I have a matching betrothal necklace made from the same jewels."
"They are truly amazing." Mara marvelled at the ring. "But I don't need these."
"Yes you do. I want people to know that we're finally together." His voice diminished to a whisper. "Like we should have been years ago."
Mara stared at the flickering blue and green colours with the hint of passionate red lurking in the stone's depths. "I've never seen a corusca gem with those particular colours at its heart."
"No, me neither."
"It's somehow apt," she murmured as he placed a simple chain around her neck with the single stone elegantly set.
"Meant to be," he whispered as his lips descended. "My love."
"I've heard nothing from them," Leia complained to Han as she set the last piece of crystal on the dinner table.
"Did you expect to?"
Leia straightened a napkin. "I suppose not. It would have been nice."
"You spoke to Mara this morning. She was still with him."
"I think they were still in bed, actually. I heard the springs give." Leia's dark eyes twinkled. "So, encouraged by what I heard, I went ahead and spoke to Kam this morning."
"I spoke to Kam. About performing Luke and Mara's wedding ceremony."
"Leia, honey…" Han stopped and ran his hand through his hair. "Leia, honey," he repeated. "Don't you think you were anticipating the bowcaster bolt?"
"Kam said it made a lot of sense. He's been worried about Luke."
"Worried in what way?"
"Luke wasn't sleeping or eating on Yavin."
"He can occasionally neglect to look after himself - if he has other things on his mind. Which he does ninety-eight percent of the time."
"They love him like we do and were really concerned about him. Luke did his usual and shut them out. They thought he was shielding them from a catastrophe of galactic importance."
"Typical." Han grimaced. "But he would not have kept that from them. They more or less run the Jedi Academy on Yavin, now. Luke is away more than he is there."
"But Kam said that when Mara was there as a Jedi, with the Jedi at the Knighting Ceremony, Luke's whole aura was different. He said that there was just something about Luke and Mara together – they shared this special closeness."
"They do," Han agreed softly. "Just like we do."
"I was so used to seeing them together that I never thought they could be more."
"It's never easy to see what's right under your nose. He's been in love with her for years."
"He didn't want to tell me."
"That's true. Luke only told you, Leia, because you would not stop until you got to the truth. But he did tell you. It really wasn't anyone's business but his own. The kid should be allowed to have a private life, sweetheart. You know that Luke tries to keep his personal life… personal."
"But I worry so much about him."
Han's warm eyes crinkled at the corners. "I know and he loves you for it as do I. Actually, I just love you."
Leia beamed at him. "Luke once said that I was worse than an Imperial interrogator." The smile faded a little. "I could tell he was upset. I don't like to see him unhappy."
"I would second that," Han said with a smirk on his handsome face. "The Imperial investigator part."
"Nerf," replied Leia, the smile still on her face.
"Did you tell Kam that Luke hadn't yet asked Mara to marry him?"
"I think I mentioned it."
"No point in creating a lot of fuss over nothing. Mara has been told to get Luke to the appointed place and time or I was going to strap them both to ysalamiri nutrient frames."
"I think there's more of your father in you than you let on," Han muttered darkly. "But it's a good threat. Might even work."
"And what did you say to my brother, flyboy? I can't trust you not to stick your hydrospanner in the works."
"I told him that Mara wouldn't wait forever. If it had been Lando, he would have acted much quicker. Lando would have snapped Mara up much quicker if she'd even looked in his direction and still might. As long as Mara is single, Lando thinks he has a chance. "
Leia kissed him. "Did I ever tell you that you were a genius?"
Han grinned. "At one point last night I think you did - when I brought you to a climax for the third time…"
"Han Solo!" Leia's indignant voice cut him off before he could say any more. He raised and lowered his eyebrows suggestively.
The door chime sounded.
"That will be them." Leia checked the table, counting the silverware for the final time and then glanced at her reflection in the hall mirror as she went to greet her guests. Threepio was shuffling slowly to the door. Too slowly for Leia who could feel her brother and Mara waiting. She could feel his happiness. She brushed impatiently past the golden protocol droid.
"Sorry, Threepio," Leia apologised, not sorry in the least, and pressed the door release.
The door slid aside to reveal Mara and Luke standing hand in hand, their faces shining with happiness and love. Han came up to stand behind his wife, placing his hand on her shoulder. "Well, kid," he said, grinning widely. "I can see things have changed."
Mara held out her hand, the ring sparkling on her finger, matching the betrothal necklace at her throat. "He asked and I said yes."
"You feeling all right, Jade?"
"I still have my blaster and, yes, I'm marrying him." Mara's death glare only lasted for a moment. Right now, she would have hugged Palpatine himself.
"I'm so happy for you both," Leia sniffed, trying to keep the tears at bay.
Luke turned to Mara and dropped a kiss on her soft, red lips.
"You gonna keep them standing in the hallway, sweetheart?" Han asked, watching his brother-in-law gaze into Mara's eyes.
"Oh, do come in." Leia was bubbling over. Her beloved brother was happy and that was all that mattered. She threw her arms around the couple and hugged them. "Congratulations to you both."
"Aw, hell!" exclaimed Han, feeling left out. "Congratulations, kid." So this was the sentimental stuff. He'd been like that all through the years. Luke was happy. Han gave a shout and joined in the celebratory hug.
The atmosphere of peace and total happiness wasn't lost on Luke Skywalker as he waited in the centre of the meditation room. The sun shone through the stained glass windows creating rainbow effects of different colours over the polished wooden floor.
Luke stood in a dark green suit edged with silver embroidery at the cuffs and lapels, a dark green shirt underneath. Leia thought she'd never seen him look as good until Mara appeared in a pale green shimmersilk gown, every curve lovingly accentuated, and then his face lit up as if a thousand candles had been illuminated.
Leia and Han took their places behind the happy couple as Jedi Master Kam Solusar led them through the ceremony.
Kam and Luke were unsure how Jedi had married in the past or even if most of them had married. Kam thought it was rare but he was married and appreciated the companionship and comfort such unions gave. Tionne was also newly pregnant with their first child and the hope for a child strong in the Force to which Kam could pass on Jedi wisdom learned, was wonderful. It was a little too soon to tell but Tionne was certain this would be so.
Kam gazed at Luke, his face serious, blue eyes intent on the woman he loved. Mara Jade, her hair cascading down her back in a wild fall of red-gold curls, stared at Luke as if he was her only chance of salvation.
They gripped each other's hands tightly as they opened their minds totally to one another. Kam had given them each a piece of crystal each which had been fused together into a single piece between their hands. The Force had given its approval to the match. Luke and Mara knew that the Force had seen their love for one another.
Kam turned to the assembled company of family and close friends as Luke and Mara turned to each other and kissed.
"Ladies and gentlebeings, may I present Luke and Mara Skywalker. Husband and wife."
Luke couldn't tear his eyes from his wife's face. His vision had come true and he suddenly realised that if he had never had this dream, he would have always loved Mara from afar and never trusted to love her as they both needed and deserved. The one thing he had given his life to was the Force and that had again shown him the way.
"I love you, Mara," he whispered as he dropped soft kisses on her face, not caring how many members of the Jedi or Rogue Squadron saw him do it.
Mara blinked away tears of joy. She had always loved Luke in some form or other but had never recognised the feelings for what they were. She did now. "I love you too, Luke."
After a dinner and reception in the Imperial Palace which Leia had insisted upon, Luke ushered Mara out of the Imperial Palace ball room and headed home towards what had once been his father's home and now was his. Luke smiled. Was theirs.
"Flowers for your bride, you must buy." The voice was again eerily familiar. "Loves them she does."
Luke stopped and turned to see a wizened old man in a booth with a bucket full of white lilies.
"I beg your pardon?"
The old man cackled.
He didn't look like anyone Luke had ever seen before but the voice…
"Your lady, loves flowers like these, she does."
Mara's face blushed a soft rose as she gave him a glance from the corner of her eye. "I do," she said. "You gave me these."
"After I kissed you for the first time."
Mara nodded. "And I gave you these…"
"After our argument," Luke finished and digging in his pocket located some credits. "Here," he said, handing the money to the old man, who handed Mara a large bunch of the white lilies.
"Thank you," she murmured. "These are beautiful."
"A good match, son of Skywalker," the old man commented sagely. "Your name will live on. The way of the Force is not a solitary one."
Mara and Luke froze as they turned away and Luke swung back to face the flower seller. "How did you…"
The old man had gone.
"Luke?" Mara tugged at his sleeve. "What is it?"
"Something strange. I'll explain it to you as we go home." He pulled her close and kissed her hard. "Thank the Force, I found you in time."
"I love you."
"I love you, too."
Somehow the spirit of the long-deceased Jedi Master, Yoda, dragged himself back to the spirit plane where he existed. This had been difficult but worth it. His last and greatest pupil had endured much in the name of the Jedi and for the Force. He would never have admitted to Luke that he was owed some happiness by life but he had gone out of his way to make sure that Luke gained his heart's desire. Luke had sacrificed much to make the name of Jedi return to the galaxy.
Mara Jade deserved as much, also. If the previous generation of Jedi had discovered the threat Palpatine really had been, Mara's fate would have been very different.
He knew he had been discovered as he'd inhabited the mind of the old flower seller. The man would remember none of it and would have parted with all his stock to a tidy profit. Yoda smiled to himself as he remembered the expression on Luke's face. He had never seen the boy so happy.
It was time for the next generation of the Jedi to be born.
Mara nestled close to Luke, tucked warmly inside the quilt, her head on his shoulder, replete in the aftermath of their lovemaking.
"You're telling me that the old flower seller was Yoda?"
Luke ran his finger up and down her bare shoulder making her quiver with need. "Well, yes."
Mara opened her mouth to argue and then thought again. "You're probably right."
Luke grinned. "Shall we get started on the next generation of Skywalkers, wife?"
Mara began to caress her husband's naked chest, making him gasp. "If you're… up to it," she murmured.
Luke groaned as her touch wrought magic throughout his body. "Oh, I think I can just about manage," he muttered as he began to rain kisses over her face, down her neck and finally kissed the taunting peak of each rosy tipped breast.
"That's good," Mara stuttered.
"I love you," Luke said as his body began to move with hers.
"I love you, too," Mara replied, arching her back as his mouth closed over a nipple and bit gently. "We've had the wedding; we can work on a child."
"It may take us some time and we will probably need a lot of practice."
"I think…" Mara's voice turned breathy. "I can live with that."
There were only the sighs of lovers as their Force sense mingled with one another. This wedding was truly blessed by the Force. The wedding of Luke Skywalker heralded the beginning of a long and happy marriage.