Authors note: I fixed more errors in part two, which were again pointed out by REV042175. Unless it is discovered I left out a huge chunk of this orI decide to sponaneously write another part, this will remain as it is now posted, no matter how many mistakes Rene notices. -) (that's a joke, if you couldn't tell) Thank you to Rene and Kazzy, who so far are the only people to review despite the fact that the first part of this got over fifty hits before it even made its wayto the main page. Thanks guys,I appreciate the reviews and I hope this final part lives up to expectations.
She held the lightsabre in a tight grip. Unsure why, she felt as if the weapon was giving her strength. Not that she needed it. She wasn't even in any trouble.
The rooftop was windy and Mara Jade let the breeze blow around her. It was a bit cold, but she found that suited her more often than not. Tonight was no exception. Frustration, anger and longing coursed though her and the cold was helping her stay grounded. Ordinarily she had no trouble controlling herself but recently that task had become more difficult.
Despite the cold wind, the sabre felt warm to the touch. It fitted well in her hand,even though it wasa little on the large side. It had, of course, been made to suit the grip of a rather tall man. She sighed at the thought. Who knew one day she'd own Darth Vader's old lightsabre? Yes, it was from a time before he'd been Vader and yes it had changed hands a few times since then. Still, the irony was disconcerting.
The access door swung open and Luke stepped out onto the rooftop. She knew it was him even with her back turned. He was impossibly easy to see in the force.
"What do you want, Skywalker?"
His voice was soft, pleasant. "I just wondered about you."
"I'm fine." The words 'go away' died on her lips. She truly had meant to say them, they just wouldn't come out.
Not having been refused, he joined her at the edge of the building. Oddly unable to tolerate the silence, she asked, "Why."
"Why did you give this to me?" It was only one of a million questions she had been thinking recently. She held out the sabre to him and he took it from her grasp. She fought a sudden urge to tighten her grip so he couldn't.
He turned the hilt over in his hand thoughtfully. It showed several more scratches now than it used to, though Mara had obviously cleaned and polished the metal. A million thoughts ran through his head as he considered the question. He'd given her a 'why' at the time, but she apparently didn't feel that was the only answer. It wasn't. "I don't know. It seemed like the right thing to do. I haven't regretted it for a moment, so it must not have been too bad a choice."
Mara snorted and he placed the cylinder back on her palm and closed her fingers around it. It was still warm and she shivered involuntarily.
"Are you cold?" His voice showed concern and she shook her head, the annoyed comment she had thought to make dying in her throat.
Turning back to the view, she ignored him for several moments. A question she'd asked herself far too many times recently bubbled to her lips. "What's next?"
"What do you mean?"
Sith girl, what are you doing? She managed not to look startled at her own comment. Recovering from her shock she said, "What did you come up here for?"
"You're leaving again, aren't you?"
"The day after tomorrow." She glanced at him sideways and raised an eyebrow when he didn't continue. "Is that it?"
He shook his head slowly. "No, but I'm not sure I should ask my second question while you're armed."
He managed to keep the grin off his face for a full minute while she just glared at him. "Not funny farmboy. You forget, I'm always armed."
"Alright," he took a deep breath. "I wondered if you would go to dinner with me tomorrow night? I hate eating alone and I... Well, I'd like to see you before you go."
The question was both shocking and expected. Mara didn't know if she was disturbed, angry, or glad. Oddly enough, she was leaning toward glad. The closer she got to that emotion, the warmer the weapon felt. Holding it in front of her, she looked at the metal suspiciously. "Why would you want to see me? I'm the smuggler who wants to kill you."
"I trust you, Mara." The comment was said easily, almost as a jest. She guessed it was, sort of. But he was also sincere, something that might have terrified her if Mara Jade was one who could be frightened.
"I have to give you credit for persistence, Skywalker, but your death wish cancels that out." Her voice was wry and slightly amused.
He didn't respond right away. Instead he stepped closer, as if daring her to make good on her threat. He was now standing at the very edge of the rooftop, only inches from her, though she didn't turn to check his position. "You know, you're not the first one to accuse me of having a death wish."
This was an unexpected turn in the conversation and Mara was not sure how to respond. He was serious, she could hear it in his voice. When she turned to look he was staring straight out. He wasn't looking at her, as she had thought he would be.
"I never have, though. I have never wished for death. Three times I thought I was about to die, but I never wished for it."
His gaze was vacant and she knew he was not seeing the scenery. "The first time was on Hoth. I was lost and injured in the cold and I nearly froze to death."
Mara could not take her gaze off his face. Luke Skywalker had rarely spoken to her of himself. She had rarely felt he needed to. He was so straight-forward - obvious - that she hadn't needed to ask.
"The last time was on the second Death Star, when the Emperor nearly killed me."
That brought back memories she didn't need and she pushed any residual anger as far from her mind as she could. Her voice was almost a whisper when she spoke. "Why are you telling me this?"
His eyes darted to the side and she saw both pain and humor in them. "The second time, was when I lost that lightsabre. That time, I came very close to wishing for death. I had reached the point where I thought anything would be better than where I was, what I was feeling. I was as frightened as a person can be and I almost wished for death."
He turned to look at her now. His eyes were earnest and she hesitated to know why. "But even then, I was not a frightened as I am now."
Mara tried to brush it off. "Relax, I said I wasn't going to kill you, Skywalker."
"I'm frightened because I want to tell you how I feel and I'm afraid you don't, won't, return those feelings. I care about you, Mara, and I want you to know that."
She did not answer at first. She had thought the statement would put her on edge, make her angry. It didn't. Oddly, it left her feeling comfortable. She smiled at him and the expression wasn't forced.
"I can handle dinner tomorrow... Luke."