This is my FIRST Fan Fic, so please be kind. Now that I got the nerve to post my story, reviews are welcome. English is not my mother tongue, so also be kind about this. I decided to write in English as a way of practicing and becoming more skilled in this language. My mother tongue is Spanish - Just is case you were wondering. Thank you for reading and enjoy!
I do not own Star Wars. The following characters belong to George Lucas and Timothy Zahn. I'm just borrowing them to write my story. Some characters might be of my own inventive. I'm not making any profit out of this whatsoever. I do this only for the fun of it. I'm a Star Wars fan of many years and I'm only writing what my imagination has wanted to happen to the characters in this amazing universe.
I know the first three movies by heart - Episodes IV, V & VI. Not too fond of the prequels. I haven't read all the literature on Expanded Universe, so please forgive any plot changes.
THE DARKNESS HAD STARTED TO DISPERSE. The indigo sky and dimly lit starts were still showing, giving their last good bye to the ending night. The ship came down on the landing platform, the one distinctive structure among the denseness of the jungle. The quiet, the stillness of the first hours of the morning softly waned as soft and distant noises from waking life forms could be heard.
The ramp of the Jade's Fire came down and Mara Jade – fierce red hair blowing in the soft wind, stepped out the ship and walked down it. A robed figure waited at the end of the platform. It was not him, the one she came to see.
"Welcome to Yavin IV." Streen greeted slightly bowing his head.
"Hi Streen." Mara greeted back ignoring the protocol. HE wasn't here. Why hadn't he felt her presence?
They headed down towards the main buildings. The massive stone structures of the Massassi now held the head quarters and training facilities of the Jedi Order.
"The shipment came in early. We weren't expecting it until one more standard week." Streen pointed out walking alongside her.
"You needed the supplies badly, didn't you?"
"Oh, yes," he assured her. "But we could have waited for them, though. To come in with the regular cargo."
"Well, then consider yourselves lucky that Karrde holds your Jedi Master in such high esteem," Mara said with her usual coolness "Were is he anyways?"
"Master Skywalker is meditating."
"Meditating?" that didn't explain it, "Thought most people should be sleeping at this hour." she gave Streen an inquisitive look.
"He's in the Main Gym, but he's not to be disturbed at the moment. I can show you to your quarters in the mean time, so you can get cleaned up and rest for a while. Maybe join us for breakfast later on? I suppose you're staying." Mara pressed her lips together at his insinuation. "At least until the cargo is unloaded and your ship is ready to go?" Streen added. "That should take most of the day." She relaxed a bit.
Mara didn't like this. What was with Skywalker ignoring her like that, having one of his subordinates to meet her? Weren't they beyond that?
"I think I'll see Master Skywalker now. Thank you." and she headed to the Main Gym, ignoring Streen's reasoning about why the Master shouldn't be interrupted. Not that it made any difference.
She reached the Main Gym's entrance and put her hand on the door panel, it silently slid open.
She walked into the room, the door closing behind her, and stood there for a moment. What an atmosphere! A golden glow was starting to bathe the walls and columns as the first rays of early morning light crawled into the large room, coming through the tall large windows and high ceiling domes. It was if like Yavin IV's jungle became one with this sole space, the quietness, the stillness… No wonder he liked to meditate here at this particular time of the day.
No sign of him, although she could feel his presence clearly in there. She gave a few steps forward and noticed a hint of movement in the mid section of the room. Almost lost in the vast chamber, a white clad figure and a humming gleaming white-green blade moved softly, slowly, like in a graceful dance. He wore only a pair of white loose pants, almost waltzing on bare feet.
"Feeling comfortable today Skywalker? And wearing white for a change!" Mara thought to herself, afraid of speaking out loud and so breaking the spell he seemed to cast with his lightsaber dancing.
He didn't seem to notice her at all.
Mara watched as Luke moved with and unhurried pace, quietly, almost delicate, executing every movement, every lightsaber combat stance, with incredible accuracy and expertise. No wonder he was so feared and respected as a swordsman. If she could only manage to achieve half of Skywalker's skill. She hadn't yet. Not that she lacked the ability, she just hadn't put the time into it, but this was about to change. That's why she was here now.
She stopped her musings and gave her whole attention back to him, who still hadn't given any signs of noticing her presence.
"How odd." Mara thought, frowning to herself.
He kept working with his lightsaber. His foot work was impeccable, still keeping the slow, rhythmic movements. The humming of the lightsaber and his calm breathing being the distinctive noises of the moment. There was more to it, Mara noticed. He was sweating, and the moisture on his body added a sparkly glitter to his tanned skin accentuating the shapes of his body. What a nice body that was. Who would think that Skywalker would hide toned strong muscles underneath those Jedi robes? Mara was staring at him, unable to take her eyes off his lean body. Watching every body muscle move, stretching and contracting as each exercise progressed. It was… almost sensual.
"Just stop it. Would you?" Mara scolded herself, "What are you thinking?"
Of course Jedi could have muscles. They not only took care of their minds, but also their bodies. She was pretty fit herself. And knowing Skywalker, with his dedication to his Jedi Order and the perfection he wanted to achieve so badly, it was no wonder he would keep himself in such a good shape. She just had never noticed it, that was all. But what a nice surprise it was. A smirk showed on her face.
"Stop it! He'll notice!" Why was she acting like this? Maybe all that space travel had taken its toll on her already. She was just tired. Yes, that was it. Plain exhausted.
Luke had closed down his lightsaber now. Standing still in the middle of the room, eyes closed. Suddenly he leaped forward stepping on one of the walls. Then pushing himself sideways he started leaping from column to column in an upward spiral, climbing to the top of the room. When he reached de top, he pushed himself backwards into the emptiness, in a horizontal movement. Reaching the middle he stopped and suspended himself there, like laying on a soft bed made of air, arms and legs spread open. And he laid still, floating. Mara held her breath in astonishment at what she was just witnessing.
He was levitating way up there, she just never knew it could be done like that. With a swift, sudden movement Luke pulled himself up and forward and changed his position to a standing one, with his arms still spread open, but his legs close together. And he stayed there in his new vertical position, the light coming into the room gleaming on him. It felt like time and space had stopped like in a holo picture. After a few moments he turned his palms upwards and started his descent.
He left himself gently float down until his feet touched the ground. He relaxed and opened his eyes. The room was full of daylight now he noticed, and then…. the presence… HER presence! He looked sideways and there she was, standing a few meters away, with a strange look on her face. She wore an expression he couldn't quite read, now that she had instantly put up her mental barriers. Oh, how did she love to do that to him.
Luke walked towards her grabbing a towel and a robe that lay on a small table near by and setting his lightsaber there. Mara watched him approach. Stars! He looked even better this close!
"Hi Mara! You're early!" greeted Luke drying his face with the towel.
"Yes. I've been told," she snorted "So, this is what you call meditating?" she pointed out, obviously aware that what she had just witnessed had nothing to do with meditating and trying to hide the awe in her voice.
"Sort of." Luke answered giving her a lukewarm smile, ignoring her sarcasm and noticing Mara's veiled reaction to what she had just witnessed.
"That's what I would call raw use of the Force." Mara composed herself.
"Not raw," Luke pointed out "A controlled handling of it I would call it."
"Mmmh…" Mara grunted in disapproval sitting down on one of the mesh stools near by. "Be careful of not leaning too much on the dark side when you pull out tricks like those!" she finished, half scolding him, half worrying about him, half trying to make it sound like casual conversation.
"I don't call on the dark side to do this," Luke said feeling like he was being accused of something while putting on his robe. "That's why is so hard to do, if I were to pull on the dark side I could do it with a simple snap of my fingers. Since I'm NOT doing THAT, it pretty much takes all of my attention and energy to be able to do it. That's why I didn't sense your arrival. When I try this sort of new exercise I can only be there, right in the moment, my full use of the Force focused on it. I have to disconnect myself from everything around me and that's why I only do it when I know that I'm in a perfectly safe environment," he explained. "Not that it will be like that once I master it." he finished with a chuckle of self pride.
"See, that's what I'm talking about. You're bragging! You were like flying out there! You're doing this for personal gain and satisfaction."
"No, I'm not! Mara, please," he sat down next to her "If trying to extend my knowledge of the Force might appear to you that I'm relying on the dark side then tell me, how am I supposed to teach others what The Force is if I don't experience it myself? If I don't experiment with it? Not that I've had much help in my own training, with so many teachers I've had around." he finished with a hint of sarcasm and sadness in his voice. After a small pause he vehemently continued "I'm not doing this for personal gain. I'm doing it because it has to be done. I'm not harming anybody, not myself in doing so. And I'm not certainly using the dark side, maybe at times just touching some points in between light and dark, but I can handle that."
"Yes, I know!" she rolled her eyes. "You've had to teach yourself most of what you know, if not everything! But still…"
"Don't worry Mara," he interrupted "I won't turn to the dark side".
She kept silent for a few seconds. "That's what you said when that dreaded clone showed up, and then started dabbling with the dark." Mara said slightly showing some anger and fear in her voice. Luke shivered at the mention of Palpatine's clone.
"I didn't turn to the dark side then, and I don't plan to do it any time soon," Luke answered in a firm tone of voice "Or ever".
"Fine." Mara said, letting it go. For now.
They sat there for a moment, staring at each other. Luke turned with a sigh, silently looking away through the windows.
"I brought all the stuff you needed. You have to thank Karrde for getting them in so fast." Mara started in a casual way, letting her feelings wash away. "He says hi, by the way."
"Thanks." Luke said simply, still looking away. He turned to face Mara, sensing there was something there "And?..."
"And…" she was going to say it! "I took leave from work… and I'm planning to complete my training." she finished.
Luke's face lit up.
"Good! Great!… That's… fine!" When in space he thought he was going to see this day! He tried to compose himself after the shock Mara's news had given him. "We'll start right away," he was all business now "I'll arrange with the regular instructors…"
"You're doing it again!" Mara interrupted quite upset.
"What am I doing again?" Luke asked a bit confused.
"Farmboy, I didn't come here to train with other Jedi. I came here to be trained by you. You are the best and you are the one I want to be trained by."
That took Luke completely by surprise. Mara Jade admitting that she wanted to receive his training was quite a shocker.
"Oh!" he managed to say "I just though…"
"Thought what, Skywalker?"
"Well, just thought that getting trained by different teachers would give you a more rich experience. I didn't know you weren't O.K. with it. You should have told me…"
"I'm telling you now."
"And…" this was going to be hard to say, "I also thought that, since we don't seem to agree most of the time, we would have been saving ourselves a lot of arguing if we didn't spend time training together." There, he had said it.
She looked at him straight in the eye.
"Well, it seems like arguing time is up." she smiled.
"Fine with me." he said with a mixture of relief and eagerness. "I'll do the arrangements. It will be my pleasure to finish your training Mara." He finished taking her hand.
"So, how's it gonna be?" Mara asked releasing her hand from Luke's soft hold.
"Well, we'll be dedicated to your training full time, from dawn to dusk. If it's not too much for you." Luke told her in an amused, challenging tone.
"It's not." She calmly answered. "Is it for you?" Mara challenged back.
"No." Luke slowly shook his head and smiled at her, he was never going to see the day when he just won one on her. "It's set then." He simply added.
"See you tomorrow Skywalker." She smiled back at him, stood up and walked towards the door.
"That's why you didn't stay before, right? Having different teachers…" he called out.
"Yes, in part." She answered simply without turning. "And you, ignoring me."
"We'll do it different this time." he assured her.
"We'll start early." Luke called standing up, his open robe letting his skin show.
Mara turned and gave him a quick up and down look.
"Can't wait." She gave him a roguish smile and left the room leaving a puzzled Luke behind.
What in the Force had just happened? Luke wondered while changing his clothes once in his quarters. What had made Mara Jade change her mind about her training? She seemed so reluctant to finish with it and suddenly she had changed her mind. Well this was Mara, always unpredictable Mara. And she wanted to be trained by him and only him. His heart was racing, and not precisely out of exercising.
He would worry about this later. For now he still had a full day of work ahead of him, starting with his early morning run. He headed outside the buildings and made his way into the awaking jungle.
To be continued…