Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters and I'm not making any money off this.

Warning! Major character death to follow...

Author's note after the fic.

The trek through Myrkr's dense jungle had taken its toll on both of them, whether Mara wanted to admit it or not. Luke was leaning back against the thick trunk of a tree, closing his eyes to get a tiny bit of rest. Mara was pushing them hard, and he found himself again wondering what her story was and why exactly she hated him so much.

Naturally, he'd run into a lot of people over the past several years who hated him, but never had anyone's enmity seemed so very personal. He cracked one eyelid open to take another look at her. She was one of the most beautiful women he'd ever seen, but her anger was so strong, he could almost feel it without the Force.

He sighed quietly, closing his eyes again, knowing that he should try to get some rest. They were still at least a day and a half from Hyllyard City and the terrain wasn't likely to improve any. Luke had just managed to slip into that first layer of drowsiness when Artoo's frantic squeal had him leaping to his feet. A vornskr had come out of nowhere and was pinning Mara down to the ground. Luke could see the grimace on her face as she struggled to reach her blaster.

Instinctively, Luke screamed the bellowing call of a krayt dragon, just as he'd first heard Ben Kenobi do several years ago. The vornskr turned sharply at the noise, and then did the last thing that Luke would have expected. The vicious creature left the prey he had on the ground and charged the one that was standing before him.

Luke had just enough time to mutter one of Han's Corellian curses before the animal crashed into him. He threw his hands up, but without any kind of weapon, and trapped on this Force-blind planet, he was utterly defenseless. A helpless cry of agony was ripped from him as the vornskr's claws sank deeply into his chest, puncturing his lungs and nearly piercing his heart. The creature's mouth filled his field of vision and he closed his eyes, waiting for the teeth to sink into his throat.

Before that could happen, he heard the hum of his lightsaber and a flash of green neatly decapitated the monster. Luke looked up at Mara standing over him, breathing heavily and bleeding from several scratches on her face and arms. She didn't say a word as she reached over and grabbed the headless body of the vornskr and pulled it off of him. Luke cried out again as the claws were pulled from his chest.

The pain was unbearable and all he could do was lie there weakly, knowing that he was bleeding to death, but unable to even find the strength to raise his head.

"That was really stupid of you, Skywalker," she said as she knelt beside him, inspecting his wounds.

"Just…doin' what…a Jedi…does," he murmured.

"I didn't need your help. I had it under control," she snapped. She ripped off the edge of his tunic where the vornskr's claws had torn the material and pressed it over the deepest wound. Luke wanted to tell her not to bother. He knew it was no use, but he somehow didn't want to admit it to her.

Mara frowned at him and said quietly, "We're miles from any kind of medical attention and you can't access the Force."

Luke barely nodded at her, silently wishing that she would shut up and let him die in peace. Every nerve ending in his body felt stretched taut with torment and he had to fight down the bile rising in his throat.

"You're going to die, you know," she said matter-of-factly.

"Thought…what you…wanted," he gasped and now his vision seemed to be fading in and out, almost like a comm unit that wasn't working properly. All he could see of her was a haze of red hair, punctuated by her intense green eyes.

"Yeah, well, I had counted on doing it myself, not leaving it to some stupid animal."

"S-sorry…to dis-disappoint…" he broke off as a jolt of pain washed over him when Mara pressed down harder on his wounds. A strangled moan escaped his lips and he coughed suddenly, surprised to feel warmth gushing out of his mouth.

Oh gods, oh gods, I'm going to die! Sudden panic assaulted his senses and Luke began to hyperventilate. There had been many instances in his life when he'd brushed the edge of death, but now, this time, he knew it was inevitable. And he was scared. He was alone on a Force-forsaken planet with a woman who despised him. He'd always known that he would join his father and Ben in the Force one day, but what if he was unable to since he couldn't touch the Force as he was dying? Oh gods, I don't want to be alone, please don't let me be alone!

Sudden panic assaulted his senses and Luke began to hyperventilate. There had been many instances in his life when he'd brushed the edge of death, but now, this time, he knew it was inevitable. And he was scared. He was alone on a Force-forsaken planet with a woman who despised him. He'd always known that he would join his father and Ben in the Force one day, but what if he was unable to since he couldn't touch the Force as he was dying?

"Calm down, Skywalker. You're not helping yourself any," Mara's voice said from somewhere above him.

Desperately, his hand came up and grasped hers tightly where it covered his wound. "Don' leave me…don' let…die alone," he said thickly, forgetting in his web of anguish that she hated him and was probably happy to see him suffer.

Mara stared down at the man who had ruined her life, the man who had taken everything she cared about away from her. His face was pale and his gaze kept going in and out of focus. He was trembling uncontrollably and she knew he had to be in an extraordinary amount of pain. For some reason, it didn't give her as much satisfaction as she'd thought it would, especially when it hit her that he'd basically sacrificed himself for her.

Stupid Jedi. As if I needed you to save me, she thought angrily. And yet, he had, and without a second thought. What kind of man gave up his life for someone who hated him and would love nothing better than to see him dead?

Mara sat watching him die, frozen in a sort of daze, uncertain what she should be feeling or doing, when he grasped her hand and asked her not to leave him, not to let him die alone. She swallowed as she saw the fear in his eyes and was mildly shocked that she didn't feel the contempt that she might have.

Amazingly, she found herself reassuring him. "I'm not going anywhere. I'm right here."

"Good…good," he breathed and his eyes closed briefly. When he opened them again, he'd gained a bit of coherency and he held her gaze. "Do me…favor?"

"I didn't kill you myself, Skywalker, don't you think that's enough of a favor?" she asked sardonically.

He laughed weakly, ending on a gasp as his eyes glazed with pain again for a moment. When he was able to focus once more, he looked up at her. "Tell my sister…love her…and 'm sorry."

Mara couldn't see herself going up to Councilor Leia Organa-Solo and apologizing on behalf of her dead brother, but Skywalker didn't need to know that. She gave him what he wanted to hear and said, "Yeah, I can do that."

He sighed and said softly, "Thank you." For several minutes, he lay there, eyes closed, his breathing becoming more and more shallow. His grip on her hand tightened as he muttered, "S'cold. Why's…so cold?"

Mara didn't tell him that he was cold because he was losing blood at an alarming rate, merely squeezed his hand a little tighter, and wondered if she were losing her mind. This man was her enemy, the one being she'd thought she would be pleased to see die in front of her eyes. But somehow, he'd become not so much her enemy in the last few minutes, but a fellow soldier, and the least she could do was give him a bit of comfort as he died.

Skywalker had grown still and Mara thought for a second that he was gone, when he opened his eyes once more. Instead of looking at her, though, he was staring intently at a point beyond her shoulder. Suddenly, he smiled and Mara was taken aback at the serenity in his expression. He lifted his free hand and reached towards something that she couldn't see.

"Father…missed you…so much," he whispered and Mara couldn't resist taking a little peek over her shoulder, almost expecting to see someone standing there, but of course, there was no one. Skywalker was no doubt hallucinating.

The arm fell and Skywalker's face went slack, all expression leaving him. His eyes dimmed and Mara listened as four tiny gasping breaths came from him. Then, with a rattling exhale that sent a chill up Mara's spine, Luke Skywalker breathed his last.

She was surprised to find tears pricking at her eyes as his hand slipped out of hers and rested on his chest. Shakily, she lifted her hand to his face and gently closed his eyes. Finding herself sniffling, and appalled that she was, Mara swiped her hand over her nose and looked up at a mournful bleep from across Luke's body.

She'd forgotten about his droid. Mara rose to her feet, muttering under her breath as she did so. "Damn Jedi."

She walked over and lifted her pack to her shoulder. Realizing she still held Skywalker's lightsaber in her hand, Mara hesitated before walking over and lying it carefully on his chest. Sentimental idiot, she silently chastised herself.

"Well, come on, droid. We still have to get out of this jungle," she said.

The astromech tooted furiously and shook his dome back and forth negatively. Mara sighed as she understood the droid wasn't going to leave. Fine, I can make it to Hyllyard City on my own, she thought stubbornly.

Resolutely, Mara headed towards the edge of the clearing, but was unable to resist turning to look one more time at the mess she was leaving behind. The droid was wobbling back and forth in agitation beside his fallen master, pitiful electronic sounds of grief coming from it.

Mara paused as an odd feeling of loss swept over her, as though she'd lost something precious without ever having the chance to truly know it. Somberly, she turned and headed towards Hyllyard City.

So, why did I write such a terribly depressing story? Well, it all started when I tried to make people think I'd killed Luke off in another story I'm writing. Unfortunately, nobody believed me! Course, they were right...I hadn't really killed him off in that one. But I got a little miffed when they said I could never kill Luke Skywalker seeing as how he's my favorite character. So, I got to thinking...could I do it? Kill Luke off permanently? No clones, or dream sequences?

Well, then along came this contest over at SSB (a Yahoo group I'm in) where the ListMom had us send her short fics, which she posted with her own e-mail, and then we all had to guess Who Wrote This Fic? Here was my chance! I could write the nasty fic killing Luke off and fool everyone at the same time! And I must've done pretty good at it, cause only one person guessed that it was me. Hehehe! So, I've killed Luke Skywalker, but I can say in all honesty that it was really hard and I'll never do it again...well, probably not, anyway! ;)