This was originally written for the Love Letter challenge, but I thought I'd post it out here to see what people thought of it
Title: Yours Forever
Characters: Luke Skywalker, Mara Jade Skywalker, Ben Skywalker
Timeframe: A couple years after "The Unifying Force"
Summary: Luke leaves Mara a very special note...
Author's Notes: I was never very good at writing Luke and Mara in character, which resulted in me writing a lot of J/J and J/K fics. But I felt that those might be a little outdone at this contest, so I went back to L/M, my all time favorite couple. I'm terribly sorry if I get the characterization off, but I was trying to show the more intimate side of Luke and Mara's relationship. Often in the books their romance is very sparse. But there has got to be a spark in there somewhere, and I tried to show it here.
As slow as possible, Luke finally pulled back and stared hard into the green-jade eyes of his wife. He saw a small tear in the crook of her eye and he had a feeling that she had been trying to hold that one little tear back all week. Their kiss must have triggered something. It wasn't often that even Luke saw Mara Jade Skywalker cry, but every time it did, it broke his heart.
"You don't have to do this," Mara said forcefully, her eyes never leaving his. "You've done enough for them already."
Luke tried to smile, but considering the circumstances, that would be a good way to get Mara angry. Instead, he lifted his hand, caressing her cheek and wiping the one tear away. He noticed that no more had fallen.
That's my Mara, strong to the end.
"You know the answer to that, Mara. We've been over this."
Her bottom lip twitched just slightly, one of those things that only Luke could see, and her eyes dropped to the ground.
Another bout of pain tightened across Luke's chest. The answer had been so simple when they had called him for this mission. But as the minutes ticked down, both he and Mara felt a growing amount of apprehension, but both knew that it was Luke's duty to go. Neither of them were very young anymore, but Luke was still the ranking Jedi in the galexy and the best man for the job.
He slid his hand down the side of Mara's face and gently lifted her chin up so that she was looking at him again.
"It'll be alright, Mar," he whispered, in the most comforting voice he could find at the moment.
She studied his eye for a moment before replying. "How do you know?"
Luke leaned forwards and kissed her forehead. Leaving his lips close to her head and resting his cheek on her hair, he inhaled her scent, trying to capture it in his memory. Six weeks was a long time to be away from each other.
"Because I love you..."
He felt her relax a bit, but only a bit. He also felt her protective instinct kick in.
"You know I'd kill you if you died on me..."
Luke managed a smile this time and pulled back a bit so they could look at each other again. He saw that she still had not shed another tear, but that was expected. After all, this was Mara Jade. But tears were not needed for her to convey her fear. Her eyes were filled with it, and through their bond, he felt her silently wishing he would stay.
"Then I don't have anything to worry about."
The Jedi Master leaned forward for the last time, capturing his wife's lips in a kiss. This one lasted much longer than the last, and it had much more meaning behind it.
This time as he pulled back, Luke turned around right away, trying to make the parting quicker. He took a step towards the door and keyed it open. Just before stepping out, he turned back around and saw that Mara was still rooted to the spot.
"I love you," he said softly, and without waiting for more, he stepped out the door and heard it hiss shut behind him. As he stepped away, he heard her silently call through their bond.
I love you...
Mara saw the door hiss shut and finally let a tears burn in her eyes, the furniture and walls becoming blurry as they fell.
He was gone...he left to go on another crazy mission, just like he had so many times before.
So why did it bother her so much? Her; Mara Jade, Ex-Emperor's Hand, ex- assassin, part-time smuggler, Luke Skywalker's wife, Ben Skywalker's mother...Never in her life had she expected to be here. Some pansy wife crying because her husband went on a trip. But now that this was reality, she felt a lot more empathy for all the other wives of the world.
But then, not everyone was married to Luke Skywalker. And that was a feat in and of its self. So she had to give herself some credit.
Collapsing on the couch, Mara reached over to grab a tissue and felt her hand brush across something else on the small table by the loveseat. Blinking in surprise, Mara turned and saw it was a small rose. A white rose.
Luke was the only one who knew that Mara like white roses, or any kinds of flowers whatsoever. Such blackmailing details of her life were kept to herself, and to Luke. Her hand shook slightly as she reached for the rose, grabbing, at the same time, the small piece of flimsy that lay beside it.
She laid the rose on her lap and held the flimsy in front of her, her hands shaking as she read the words on the front.
Mara's eyes drifted shut and she blocked the tears that threatened to come. Her bottom lip quivered as she opened the note without looking. Opening her eyes, she saw that the handwriting was shaky and many words were crossed out and written again, as if he couldn't make up his mind what he really wanted to say.
My Dearest Wife,
I know what you're thinking, and I completely agree. Luke Skywalker is not one for love notes.
Mara had to smile at that. She and Luke had teased each other numerous times about how unromantic they both were. But despite the lack of it, their marriage had lasted.
And I also know that, by now, you might have some inkling as to why I am writing this.
Mara couldn't stop the tears. She did know what was coming, but she had to keep reading.
We've both felt it, but that is not the moment I want to dwell on.
I want you to know, Mara, that I love you so much. I meant what I said all those years ago, right as I woke you up from your trance so we could get out of the cloning chamber. I love you. I love you so much it hurts. Our love is even more special because, by the time I had met you, I had basically given up hope of loving someone.
Luke had told her that, about 3 years into their marriage he had admitted that to her one night. She remembered that as the first day in her life she actually remembered shedding a tear. Luke was so good to her. How had she ever deserved him? She knew she had done nothing. It had all been Luke. Luke and his farmboy kindness to her had drawn them together.
You brought so much into my life Mara, more than I could ever put into words. You gave new meaning to my life as well, knowing that there was someone out there that I could depend on, even if she had tried to kill me once or twice.
She grinned at his playfulness. One of the things she loved most about him was that he, unlike everyone else, had never judged her for her past. She would be forever grateful to have known someone like him.
You also blessed me with a family of my own. Ben is beautiful Mara, and you are the best kind of mother to him that I could ever imagine. He's told me several times how much he wants to be just like you when he grows up. I want him to be like you too, Mara. He's almost 5 now and he's so strong in the force, but so careful at the same time. I can only imagine that the girl he will marry will be exactly like you.
Mara's thoughts momentarily drifted to her young son who was still asleep in his bedroom down the hall, gearing up for his Jedi training that would start in less than a week. She turned to look at his closed door and lightly kissed his presence with the force. She loved him so much, despite his childish tantrums that came on and off. Luke never knew that every day she thanked the force for letting her give Luke a son.
And now Luke might not ever know...
Maybe I'm just being paranoid, or maybe I'm just exaggerating, we may never know. But even if nothing does happen, I think you deserve this note anyway. I don't say it as often as I should, so I'm saying it again: I love you, Mara. I love you with my whole heart, with every fiber of my being. I love you.
I feel so blessed that you chose me.
Here, Mara saw that he had crossed out the word "Love", replaced it with "I Love You", crossed that out and replaced that with several other things till it simply said,
Mara could sense Ben waking up and coming out of his room, but she did not turn as he started walking towards her. Apparently sensing her somber mood, he kept silent as she read the last words:
I will never leave you.
Mara's sadness and fear radiated out from her. She couldn't stop it, even if she had wanted to. She was stuck here; unable to prevent the inevitable that she knew was going to happen sooner or later.
The tears sprang into her eyes and fell down her face. The letter dropped from her hands and landed on her lap next to the rose. As she held her face in her hands and wept, two small arms wrapped around her neck, bring her into a hug and she felt a presence, very much like Luke's reach out to comfort her. Ben still was not very talented in controlling the force, but one of the things he could do well was comfort his parents in times of trouble. He was their savior, even at his very young age.
"Mommy, are you sad?" he asked in a sleepy voice.
She wrapped both her arms around him and pulled him into a tight hug.
"I just miss daddy, sweetie. He left on a trip this morning."
Ben pulled back and looked at her with a confused expression. His face reminded her so much of Luke that she could not stop the tears.
"He'll be back, mommy. Don't cry, he'll be back."
Those simple words from her child seemed to drain the anxiety and fear out of her, and all at once, Mara felt herself relax.
He would be back. He said that he would never leave me.
She smiled sincerely at Ben and brought him into another hug.
"Thank you, sweetheart...thank you..."