A/N: This was written for a challenge in which Luke/Mara/Ben must celebrate a holiday. It's my first attempt at something remsembling humor...please be gentle, LOL. And, of course, George owns it. Thanks for reading and kudos to anyone old enough to remember the "Yub Nub" song. ;)
Three year old Ben Skywalker shifted on his father's lap and gazed through the Jade Shadow's main viewport. "Wha zat?" he asked, pointing to the trees rising below. It was probably the hundredth time he'd asked "wha zat?" in the past hour, but at least this time it wasn't about the same red button on the console.
"That's Endor," Luke answered. Holding his son close, Luke wondered if he would ever be able to explain everything that had happened on and above the sanctuary moon all those years ago, but he guessed this was as good a time as any. He patted Ben's knee and adopted his best story-telling voice. "Every year, we come to Endor for a party to celebrate the Rebel Alliance's defeat over the evil Emperor. You'll get to meet the nice Ewoks here. They helped Aunt Leia and Uncle Han fight the stormtroopers," Luke said enthusiastically.
"Then they ate the stormtroopers," Mara mumbled with a mischievous grin from the pilot's seat.
"Oh, now," Luke shot her an exasperated look, motioning to Ben with a nod of his head. "Don't be silly, Mommy. The cute little Ewoks wouldn't do that."
"Ewoks hewp daddy?" Ben looked quizzically at his father.
"Well, yes. But then daddy had to go…" Luke paused. That part of the story could definitely wait a few years. "Daddy went to talk to grandpa."
That's one way to put it, Mara sent him through the Force. They shared a knowing glance. Some of the events surrounding the destruction of the second Death Star were painful, at best…for both of them.
"Ewoks hewp mommy?" Ben asked.
"Um, no." Luke slipped back into story-telling mode, "Mommy was…talking to a mean old lady called Ysa-"
Mara interrupted him with a cough, "I don't think he needs to know that name."
"Right," Luke agreed.
Mara reached over to brush a crumb from Ben's cheek, "Mommy was busy, sweetie."
That's one way to put it, Luke thought to his wife, who flashed him a wry grin as she started the landing cycle.
Flying low over the treetops, Mara maneuvered the Shadow over a large clearing and landed next to the Millenium Falcon
The Skywalker trio arrived in the Ewok village to find the Solo family gathered outside the main hut, already adorned with honorary tribal ornaments. "That's a nice look for you," Mara indicated the small animal pelt perched on Han Solo's head.
"Laugh all you want. You're next," he flashed his trademark lopsided grin. "They have a whole special ceremony for people who join the tribe by marriage." As if on cue, Chief Chirpa appeared, waddling toward Luke and Mara as fast as his stubby legs could carry him. "See?"
Luke knelt and placed an arm around his son. "Ben, this is the leader of the nice Ewoks we told you about."
The little boy's eyes grew round as he backed away slowly. "Don't be afraid," Luke reassured him. "He won't hurt you."
Ben turned and buried his head in Luke's shoulder, whimpering. Three more Ewoks appeared, eager to greet one of the famed heroes of the Day of the Great Battle. Ben's whimper turned into a quivering moan as he wrapped his arms around his father's neck. Luke stood, patting his son on the back, "Shh, Ben. It's all right."
Wicket, who had been promoted from scout to tribal counsel after the events of the Great Battle, appeared and wrapped his arms around Luke's leg in enthusiastic reunion. Little Ben Skywalker, horrified by the creature now attached to his father, began to wail in protest.
As if answering a beacon call, Mara emerged from the main hut and made her way through the growing crowd of fur. A tiara, woven from the bones of unnamed animals, perched hilariously atop her head and undoubtedly contributed to the mood with which she greeted her husband.
"I think he's afraid of the Ewoks," Luke murmured, bewildered.
"You think?" Mara answered sarcastically, the sound of her child's shrill cries piercing her nervous system and traveling down her spine. "Come here, baby," she reached for Ben while Luke tried unsuccessfully to detach yet another determined ally from his leg.
Friends and family surrounded the unhappy child, offering animated words of comfort. "Aw, don't cry," Leia cajoled. "Is he sick?" She asked innocently.
"No," Mara answered, pausing to inspect Leia's homespun split-skirt outfit and wonder what the Sith her sister-in-law was wearing. "He's just scared."
Lando, accompanied by his wife, Tendra, approached, confident in his ability to calm Ben down. "Hey, little guy. It's okay. You're hungry, aren't you?"
Mara shot him a withering look, "He's not hungry. He just doesn't like the natives."
Ben continued to cry, alternately pulling his mother's hair and digging his fingernails into her arm as he attempted to climb over her shoulder in a frantic ploy for escape.
Iella Antilles appeared at Mara's elbow. "Are you sleepy, Ben? I bet your mommy and daddy didn't put you down for a nap. Is that it?" she cooed. Mara wondered if she should form a line for those who sought to console her inconsolable child.
Ben, abandoning his climb-over-mommy's-head tactic, threw himself backwards with all his might, only to be caught by his mother centimeters from the ground. "He had a nap," Mara answered through gritted teeth, fighting to keep the bucking, twisting child from hitting his head on the ground.
Behind them, Luke managed to disengage himself from his furry fans just in time to hear the familiar snap-hiss of his wife's lightsaber. "What are you doing?" he asked incredulously, trying in vain to raise his voice over Ben's wailing.
Mara turned to him, green eyes glazed in desperation. It was the look he associated with her most frustrating encounters with their strong-willed son – a look that Palpatine himself would have feared. The hopelessly tangled tiara hung sideways from her head and Mara lowered her voice to a sinister purr, "Ben hates the Ewoks, Daddy. There's only one thing to do." Her eyes flashed, "Mommy must kill the Ewoks…."
Luke grimaced, lifted Ben from her grasp and pretended to ignore Jaina who, well acquainted with her aunt's irreverent sense of humor, was doubled-over in laughter against a tree trunk.
The banging of tribal drums distracted Ben long enough for Luke to lower him to the ground and smooth his sweat-soaked hair. "There we go," he soothed. "Listen. They're singing."
"Yub nub, eee chop yub nub,
Toe meet toe pee chee keene
G'noop dock fling oh ah. "
It was more than the little boy could bear. Terrified, he bolted down the walkway. "That's it. I've had it," deactivating her lightsaber, Mara clipped it to her belt and took off after him.
"Where are you going?" Luke called after them.
"For a walk!"
Mara steadied Ben as he climbed over a tree trunk, leading them as far away from the Ewok village as possible. He babbled about his surroundings, pausing every so often to point and ask, "Wha zat?"
They were admiring a particularly colorful shrub when Ben stopped unexpectedly and looked up, tilting his head thoughtfully. "What is it?" Mara asked quietly.
Ben smiled and turned, making his way toward an opening in the trees. Mara followed, grateful for the stillness of the forest and its calming effect on the formerly frantic child. They arrived in a clearing peppered with fragrant yellow flowers. Ben squealed in delight and began to hop playfully through the knee-high blooms.
Mara looked around at the familiar glade and startled when she realized it was the same clearing where Luke had burned his father's remains.
"Hey, you two," she turned to see Luke emerging from the trees with a questioning look. "I didn't think you would remember how to find this spot."
Mara shrugged, "Ben led us here. It was strange...like he knew where to go."
They smiled at their son who was alternately picking flowers and chasing petite flitterflies. Suddenly, Ben froze in his tracks at the sight of an Ewok emerging from the opposite side of the clearing. Turning to his parents with a panicked expression, he started running towards them only to stop abruptly halfway across the glade. Peering at the tree line, he leaned forward slightly, as if listening.
"See?" Mara whispered. "That's what he did on the way here." She followed his gaze but could see nothing but foliage.
They watched in confusion as Ben smiled brightly, turned to face his nemesis and inhaled a deep breath. Luke and Mara winced, expecting a scream. Instead, Ben stuck out his tongue and blew the offending native a slobbery insult, "PPPBBBTTTHHHH!"
The Ewok yelped and ran back into the forest. Ben looked back over his shoulder to his unseen inspiration and laughed. Scooping up a handful of blossoms, he ran to Mara and held them up, "Dees for you!"
Mara knelt and embraced him, "Thank you! They're beautiful." Luke ruffled his son's hair, squinting into the trees, as the breath of a familiar presence seemed to brush past him.
An explosion in the sky caught their attention and the three of them looked up to see X-wings streaking overhead, fireworks lighting up the sky in their wake. Ben's eyes popped wide as his mouth dropped open in awe, "Wha ZAT?"
An hour later, Luke and Mara lay on their backs in the middle of the clearing as the fiery display above them came to a close. Ben had covered his parents in yellow flowers and was now snuggled between them, asleep.
Luke spoke quietly, "Long way from an Imperial prison, isn't it?"
Mara smiled, "About as far as it is from a Death Star." Reaching for his hand, she turned to face him in the dusk, "Happy Endor Day, Luke."
He squeezed her hand in return and wrapped an affectionate arm around Ben, "Happy Endor Day."