Title: A Different View
Author: Jaded (opheiladrowning@hotmail.com)
Rating: PG
Category: New Republic
Keywords: Luke and Mara, Romance
Summary: Luke laments lost love to a patient Mara, only to find it
again, staring him right before his very eyes.
Disclaimer: These are the wonderful creations of George Lucas, and Tim
Zahn. Ah, and B. Hambley too since she did create that Callista chick
and I mention her.

Author's Note: No plot. No blood (sorry kids!) but plenty o'
characterization if that's what floats your landspeeder.

"A Different View"
by Jaded

He saw her coming but did not move from where he sat, perched precariously
close to the cliff's edge. She took her time--almost a leisurely pace. He
sensed that she was trying to come off as indifferent, but her eyes betrayed
her. Her focus was trained on him, not straying from his face for one
moment as she side-stepped rocks and shrubs to get to where he was.

Before she reached him, he turned around, swinging his legs over the cliff,
staring out at the wilderness. He heard her boots stop directly behind him.

"You expect me to catch you if you fall?" she asked, amused.

He didn't turn. "Wouldn't it be more characteristic for you to want to
shove me over the cliff, Mara?" he replied.

She moved to sit besides him. He felt her thigh brush against his as she
sat down with him, overlooking the jungles of Yavin IV. "Only if you want
me to." She shrugged, staring ahead. "But don't tempt me." Out of the
corner of his eye, he saw the slight upward turn of her lips into a knowing
smile. They sat in a comfortable silence before she spoke again. "Nice
view," she said with a snort.

"It could be better." He turned and looked at her, the reddish-gold aura of
her hair reflecting the setting sunlight. Her features seemed to blur
before him, as if he had never before seen her truly. He shifted. "I just
came up here to think."

"You've been doing that a lot more than usual," she remarked. "And not
doing too much to guard it. I can hear you screaming half-way across the

"So that's why you're here?"

"No," she replied sarcastically. "It's because I can't resist your charms
and I have to be near you whenever possible." She suddenly tensed and
visibly struggled to compose herself. "Of course that's what I'm here," she
recovered. "We are friends, aren't we?"

"Definitely," he said, taking her hand. By habit, she retracted it and
tried as smoothly as possible to transition into a more comfortable
position. Leaning back on both palms, she propped herself up with her arms.

"So you okay?" she asked.

He sighed. "About as expected."

"I would say worse," Mara commented honestly. "You like tired, Luke.

"That's because I am." He picked up a small stone and hurled it into the
canyon below. The sound of the impact echoed around them. Gesturing, he
said, "That's how I feel. Little stone, big noise. It's echoing through me
and it won't go away. She just left me." Luke held out empty hands. He
couldn't bare to say her name as his whole body screamed of despair.

"Then she's a bigger fool than I thought possible," Mara told him, a note of
bitterness creeping into her voice.

Luke seemed more pained by that comment then comforted by it. Mara almost
reached over to hold him, but restrained herself. It was not her job to act
as a substitute to temporarily erase the memory of the woman who had just
left. She would not cheapen his feelings like that. She would not cheapen
herself like that.

"I think Callista did what she thought was best for her, and you know Luke,
whether or not she meant it to be that way, I think she did what was best
for you, too."

"How is that?" he snapped.

She pursed her lips. "She had a lot of baggage. If she stayed she would
never have felt right being with you, especially considering her history.
She was once a Jedi Knight--to be without the force, it must have been like
being a deaf musician. A bird without wings. No matter how much you two
loved each other you could never fill that void."

"We could have made it work. It didn't matter to me if she couldn't touch
the light side of the force."

"Did it really, Luke?" She sighed warily, her body swaying slightly against
the breeze. Her head bobbed closer to his. "People don't exist to complete
each other," she told him, still uncharacteristically gentle. "When you
love someone, you don't fill up the empty spaces. You should compliment
them and make them better and stronger people."

He seemed not to hear. "She said she loved me and she left me. I doubt you
don't know what it's like to love someone and have them--have them ignore
your feelings in return. To leave you in this wretched state!"

Mara looked as though he had slapped her across the face. The pained
expression dissipated quickly though and was replaced by a mask of pure
calm. She pulled herself up over the cliff's edge and moved to leave.

"I didn't come here to have a conversation on love and despair with you,
Skywalker. And I didn't come here to have my confidence, or for that matter,
my intelligence insulted. I came here because you are my friend and I wanted
to be there for you if I could. Obviously, I'm not wanted here." Her eyes
flashed like daggers.

A wave suddenly hit her. Blinking, she looked down. *I'm sorry,* was his
thought. She shivered at the way he was able to talk to her through the
force. Only the Emperor . . .

"I know what it's like to love and not be loved back," she muttered, not
knowing or caring if he heard her. She slid back down next to him but her
head was turned away. "Don't doubt it."

She wondered for a moment why she had let his comment slide so easily, why
she had accepted his apology without another word.

*You're getting soft, Jade,* she observed, *Or at least towards certain
farmboys,* a voice in the back of her mind chided.

"You think I'm over-reacting?" he asked.

"Maybe a bit, but most people would find that pardonable considering the

"Most people, but not you?"

She shrugged. "Is it really my opinion that matters here?"

"I've always valued your opinion and judgement, Mara. As an ally and as a

"I'm touched." She smiled through a grimace, not really sure what to make
of the new track their conversation had taken. "Anyway . . ." she trailed.
The wind blew a portion of her hair over her eyes and she let it sit there a
moment before she considered moving it. Lifting a hand she was suddenly
startled to find that it was seized by another, and awkwardly at that.
Looking up, she saw that Luke had been moved by the same impulse and had
reached over to brush away the red-gold hair that had obscured her face.

They were frozen in that position and for some reason, Mara felt locked into
a strange, comfortable stillness, his hand cusped over hers. She dropped
her hand as though it were a hot coal and stared at Luke Skywalker. She
searched his eyes and expected to find embarrassment, but what she saw was
not that but rather a tentative fear and a white-hot flash of unmistakable
desire. She realized then that his hand, removed of hers had found
residence on her face, and the stark contrast between the well-worked
roughness of his skin against the smoothness of her cheek threw her
violently back to reality. She drew back as if burnt, fumbling away
abruptly and nervously, forcefully putting a space between them as she
inched away from him. However, there remained a cloud of tension between
them two-feet thick.

Mara tried to swallow but her mouth had gone dry. She didn't dare look at
him, so they waited in mutual silence for a little while before Luke offered
the next word.

He could have said something, anything else to diffuse the potentially
explosive situation they had gotten themselves into, but he did not veer off
course. Instead he said her name and in a voice so broken and full of
everything that had been left unspoken between them in the years they had
known each other, that it shattered every single wall she had built up. It
was a sonic boom rattling through her and it left her feeling for the first
time in a long time, completely vulnerable and bare to the world.

"Mara . . ." he said it again, this time with more insistence that he look
at him. Then he took her by surprise. A sneak attack. He opened up his
emotions to her and she could not resist his pull.

His hand came to touch her face again, and this time she didn't pull away.
They were a welcome coolness against the heated flush of her skin. He bit
his lip and she mirrored his nervous tic. "I . . ." he started, his face
hovering closer and closer to hers.

"No," she murmured, but making no effort to support her protests. "No,
Luke," she repeated in barely a whisper.

"I know," he soothed, pressing his forehead against hers, "I know." Then
with both hands he cupped her face, checking her eyes with his and following
each flicker of her pupils. Without another word he kissed her gently,
full on her lush mouth. Then he drew back and Mara felt the briefest
flicker of disappointment wash over her, but then he kissed her again on one
side of the mouth, than the other, making her forget the momentary regret.

He stopped and searched her again, gauging her reaction. A stab of fear
shot through Luke as she remained blank to him. The fear that he had gone
too far and somehow destroyed anything they could have been to each other
coursed through him. It hit him now that it was the same ache he had always
felt around her, but had pushed into the background.

But Mara silenced his doubts. Though she knew better, something told her
she had no reason not to do what she did next. She slung her arms around
him, and pressing his body close to hers, Mara Jade kissed Luke Skywalker
back with more passion than she thought she had ever been capable of.

Within seconds they were tearing at each other, lips dragging on lips,
bodies twisting to form to the other. Mara felt flooded with a delicious
heat that filled her from head to toe. She was light-headed and enjoying
every second of the sensation. She could not have enough of his touch, and
him, not enough of hers. Time had stopped for them and on the cliff Luke
and Mara seemed to be making up for the lost passions of their difficult
youths. Her hands ran up and down his back, feeling his muscled back
through the fabric of his Jedi robes. One of his hands curved to touch the
base of her neck, his fingers tangling themselves into her hair.

Finally out of breath, they reluctantly broke apart, but their faces
remained touching. Their lips were only centimeters away, anticipating the
next kiss. Then between shallow intakes of air they kissed again and again
and again until Mara lifted her head away and placed it against his chest.
It didn't take much deducing that his heart was beating as wildly as hers.

"So this is what I've been missing," Luke murmured fiercely against the
red-gold aura of her hair. His grip on her tightened feverishly and he
kissed on the forehead. Closing her eyes, Mara sighed contentedly against
him, allowing herself this briefest flicker of peace. Because decidedly in
her mind, she knew that this was merely a fantasy, and one so
heart-breakingly wonderful that it was inevitable that it would eventually
fall away into ugly reality.

Feeling her tense, Luke lifted her head to see her face. Then he noticed
that her eyes were moist. "Mara?" he asked, choking in sudden fear.

Her eyes, dark and intense fluttered open and she calmly looked into his
inquisitive blue eyes. Without a word she kissed him again, long, slow and
lingering. A kiss to store up in memory in just in case this was a fleeting
thing. If it was the only time. She didn't need it so much as wanted it, a
bittersweet memory to recall in her quieter moments if this time with him
was just going to be a detour in the journey of life.

He didn't want to stop kissing her, but he had to know if something was
wrong. Looking at her again, he noticed that her almost-tears had
evaporated against the heat of his skin against hers. "Mara? Have I done
something wrong? Have I hurt you?"

She pushed away slightly and addressed him, letting a laugh fall off her
lips. "No, you haven't hurt me." Mara let him see the happy spark in her
eye to assure him that he had done things almost *too* right. "No, on the
contrary, but . . ." she hitched. "Luke, you were just lamenting Callista
not five minutes ago. And then this . . ." An involuntary red rose in her
cheeks and made him smile faintly. "We have to admit we are more than just
friends." He reached out to touch her face, but drew it back hesitatingly.
But she pulled his hand back and kissed him on the fingertips. "I've always
had this inkling of something between us, but I've been denying it, as
usual." Mara sighed heavily. "And as welcome as this is," she continued,
brushing his blond locks from his forehead, "I don't want to be some
consolation prize to someone you might love more." She couldn't bare to say
Callista's name right now. "I won't accept being second best, as much as I
may want this." Her voice dropped to half a whisper. "As much as I want

When Mara finally broke away from him, Luke's senses, which had gone
supernova, calmed, and his focus began to shift, narrowing to a four-by-four
foot square of existence that encompassed what was now most immediate and
most dear to him in the whole universe.

Mara's feelings on the other hand, could not be called so pleasant. The
initial flush of excitement had given way to a thoughtful, more logical
somberness, but as more and more time passed and more and more silence
remained hanging between them, this feeling mutated into nervousness and
anxiety, laced with the slightest pinches of dread.

Her gaze flickered questioningly to his face--one that had haunted her for
so many years and in such different ways. What was it now that he felt?
She could no read the story behind those blue eyes. Mara Jade felt her
heart sink suddenly to her stomach, and all the joy that had flooded her in
those intense kisses and those amazing touches, faded with a jagged breath.
Mara had the sickening sensation that she was about to regret expressing
those feelings that she had not fully understood herself until they had
manifested themselves in that unguarded moment of passion.

Angry at herself now for being so frank and vulnerable with him, she berated
herself for giving in so easily and taking advantage of the situation,
especially when she full-well knew the state of his emotions.

*But he kissed you first* the voice in the back of her head reminded Mara.
*And when you kissed him back, he was more than willing.*

True, she thought, and composed herself a little more, erasing away the
self-flagellation. Straightening, she revived her old self from the ashes
caused by the inferno that she and Luke had created.

Mara tried to sound as disdainful and collected as she always did, but she
had the feeling Luke could still hear her edge of fear in her voice. She
cleared her voice. "This isn't really the appropriate time to fall into
Jedi meditation." Mara looked at him, feeling her heart constrict ever-so
slightly as she pushed him away a little more. "So are you going to say
anything, Skywalker? Or should I take the cue and leave?"

Luke seemed not to hear at first, lost in his own thoughts, but when he
realized the implications of what she was saying, and saw her move away, he
jumped, almost falling off the cliff. Her arm shot and grasped his tightly.
They locked eyes and the pain in Mara's heart returned. "Mara!" he said,
his voice choked, but nothing else followed.

"Hey, Luke, it's really okay," she said, but Mara wasn't sure if she really
meant it. She realized then that he had not let go of her hand yet, and
that she had not let go of his. She hadn't noticed until she had looked. A
perfect fit, she thought distractedly as she loosened her grip, letting it
slide away from hers. She didn't miss the glimmer of disappointment that
washed over his face. "What just happened between us--it wasn't right."

"But it wasn't wrong either," he countered in a clear voice, standing up to
face her.

She squeezed her eyes tight. No, it most certainly wasn't wrong, she
thought. Quite the opposite in fact--it had felt more right than anything
had felt in her life since the fall of the Emperor. Maybe in her whole
life. A gust of wind ruffled his blond hair and he suddenly looked so young
and innocent to her. Was this what he looked like before the war had
changed him? Before it had changed them all?

A little unnerved, she spoke. "I wouldn't take that kiss--" she blushed so
slightly and embarrassed, forced it away, "those kisses away for the
universe, but it's the wrong time for this to happen. You're still on the
rebound, Luke, and I'm not going to take advantage of you."

"I don't mind if you do," he said with a small smile.

"Be serious," she chided, but privately delighting in the compliment. "You
know what I mean."

"Well, it wouldn't say that it was all on your side, but I do understand
what you mean, Mara." His face became cloudy. "You're right.
Callista--that's still hanging over me like a cloud, and I have to let that
pass before I can really move on with my life. Or at least with that part
of it." Nervously, Mara watched his arm move out towards her and he finally
rested his hand on the small of her back. In a bold gesture, she took a
step towards him and looked at him with full, green eyes. She heard his
sharp intake of breath.

"I'm glad to hear it," she said. "First steps are always the hardest, but
they're also the most important." Her hand moved up to brush his cheek,
almost forgetting herself.


"Yes, Luke?"

"If now, if I can't be part of your world . . ." he hesitated, wanting to
word it just right, "will you at least let me be in your orbit? Will you
wait for me until I'm ready?"

She kissed him on the forehead and wiped away the look of helplessness that
had overcome his face. Her lips twisted into a grin. "I've waited this
long, haven't I?" Mara made it a question so that she would not have to be
help accountable for an answer.

In response, he pulled her close and lost himself in her nearness. She took
in his familiar warmth--breathed in his familiar smell. They each told
themselves that this, right now, was purely platonic, so they did not have
to break apart. So for a minute, they did not.

At last, Mara pulled away, afraid that if she didn't break the contact now
that she would have to stay forever. Reluctantly, he let her go.

She threw her hair back and appraised her once old nemesis. *Now something
completely different,* she thought to herself. He looked so thoughtful--so
serious. She would have to change that.

"And to think I once tried to kill you," she said with a shake of her head.
That illicited a smile.

"Still regretting that change of heart?" he shot back.

"Oh no," she said, grinning, "most definitely not."

Smiling, Luke reached out for her again as though it were the most natural
thing in the world. With a measure of control, Mara shot him a warning
glance. He frowned and seemed to admonish his hand as though it were
possessed of a mind of its own.

He looked at her sheepishly, blue eyes twinkling. "Can you blame me?"

"If only I could," she replied, resignation and regret streaked throughout
her voice. That tone soon fled and was replaced by a more playful one.
"Hey, just remember, rubberball, no rebound, okay?

He sighed, his eyes not leaving her face. She felt a tingling sensation
shoot through her body again. "Yeah, I remember."

"Time is the best medicine to heal your wounds, farmboy," she said
knowingly. Then Mara winked at him. "And getting to know your problem

"I think I know of a better cure than time," he murmured mysteriously.

"Oh? What would that be, Master Skywalker?" Mara arched an eyebrow.

Luke countered with his own look, levelling her with his gaze, his whole
soul presented to her in that face. It was unnerving. Finally after a long
pause, he answered. "I'm looking at it right now."

Mara felt a smile form on her face, but tried to twist it into a frown. It
came out as a half-grimace. Sniffing, she recovered, rolling her eyes at
Luke, attempting to look unphased. "You know, Luke, if you keep talking
that way I'm going to start thinking that the real Luke was replaced by
another evil Luuke clone. That, or Lando's somehow taken over your body.
Either way, I'm going to have to kill you, and this time, I really mean it."

The sun, which had slowly been progressing closer and closer to the horizon,
had kicked into high speed and was now dipping fast into the landscape. A
shadow crossed his face as the orb of light fled from the sky behind him.
Mara frowned. He wasn't angry or annoyed, was he? She licked her dry lips,
and waited. Nothing I'm not used to, she thought dryly, but his unreadable
face; his silence, was getting to her. Of course, it was a well-proven fact
that Luke Skywalker could always get under her skin, and would always get
under her skin. And now, she had finally acknowledged to him, and to
herself, that he was now making a beeline straight to her heart, and she was
prepared to let him through whenever he was prepared to take that step. But
not before he was truly ready.

Then he laughed, and relieved, Mara let out a breath she hadn't realized she
had been holding. Then he cleared his throat, armed with a question that
was dangling on the tip of his tongue.

"Yes?" she drawled, a mischievous glint dancing in her eyes.

"Ah. . ." And with that single syllable, Mara felt herself flood with a
strange, tingling sensation. That was the Luke she knew, and although the
charming and intensely passionate Luke she had gotten to known not too long
ago was not unwelcome, the honest, almost still-shy and naive farmboy was
the Luke that she really . . .

". . . Lando?" He gulped.

Mara blinked up. "Run that by me again?"

He seemed more nervous, almost unsure about repeating the question. "So the
rumors about you and Lando . . ." She noted that he was shifting his feet.

So he hadn't been completely oblivious to her all this time, she thought,
and the feeling of past bitterness filled her. But instead of feeling
resentment she felt a last wave of regret sweep through. Maybe the last. A
smile touched her face, wavering but still tightly controlled.

For a moment, Mara considered toying with him, but changed her mind, going
into an entirely different direction than her character would normally
dictate. *Or the direction that everyone else in the entire, blasted galaxy
would expect from you,* the voice in her head reminded wryly.

So where she would have teased, she instead was straight-forward and
serious. Where she would have stood firmly in place, she stepped towards
him, almost close enough to touch nose to nose. Mara held Luke rapt in her
gaze, and she found herself unable to rip her eyes from him for even a
second. Reaching out, not even bothering to look because she just knew that
her hands would automatically slide into his, Mara and Luke felt their hands
touch and felt fingers instantly twine together. She squeezed lightly and
parted her lips to speak.

Lifting their hands together, Mara pressed them over her heart. She looked
at him fondly. "That's just what they were. Unfounded rumors with no
basis." She looked up towards the sky, thinking. "Now if Lando has said
otherwise . . ." The tightness in his face eased and the small wrinkles
around his eyes did a disappearing act.

"I wouldn't want to be Lando."

"You have no idea how glad I am to hear that," she laughed.

"Not as glad as I am to know that those things weren't true," he admitted,
inclining his head in embarrassment. "I'm ashamed of it, now that I think
about it." The flecks of color in his eyes swam. "It wasn't any of my
business . . ." he trailed off.

Mara touched his hands to her lips chastely, but their combined reaction
still caused a significant ripple in the force. "No, Luke, don't be ashamed
of it. I'm actually . . . flattered, that I meant enough to you . . ." She
pursed her lips, the words coming faltering out of her mouth. "What I mean
is--knowing that you're still capable of feeling jealousy, it makes you that
much more to me. It shows that you're still human." She stroked his face
with a hand she freed from his grasp. "A beautiful, flawed man who can
still change and grow. One who teaches as he learns, and learns as he
teaches." A deeper note of tenderness crept into her voice. "Who with his
faults is more perfect than the most faultless of men."

And ultimately, she thought to herself, the only man who could break my
heart with one look, and the only one I would forgive for doing so.

A strange look suddenly overtook Luke's face, and his shift of emotion could
be felt through the force, a wave and not a ripple this time. Had he heard
her thoughts? And had she wanted him to hear them? Perhaps she was
over-doing it on the grand confessions today, she mused. Hadn't this all
started out simply as a conversation? How had it come to this?

*It was bound to happen sometime* the little voice said again, but this time
she wasn't sure if it had been her own voice, or Luke speaking to her
through his thoughts.

"I always had a strange feeling that our fate was somehow bound up together
in the force," he said reverently. "But I had no idea that we were somehow
predestined . . ."

"To be with each other?" she finished. "It's a beautiful thought, isn't

"Do you believe it?" he asked. Mara saw his lips twitch slightly in

"I do," she said thoughtfully, "I do now."

Standing so close together, she could feel him move before he actually did.
He wants to kiss me again, she thought faintly as she turned her head so he
only could kiss her cheek. Lips touched skin and she felt him lingering
there; felt a breath dance across her face like the wind brushing against
the rock of the cliff. Flesh remained against flesh when he spoke again,
low and husky. She shut her eyes and let the sound envelope her.

"Oh, Mara."

She blinked, her eyelids heavy, her lashes wet. Time seemed not to have
passed. The sun had not yet set, but remained wavering on the edge of the
horizon like a hallucination. The clouds on the jungle moon of Yavin had
turned a silvery-gray and clung to the sky like lovers desperate to part.
But Mara could still see far--miles and miles beyond the treetops to
long-forgotten temples. It was a view that seemed to stretch towards
infinity. Looking out, Mara felt a cool, almost drugged sensation that made
her think that peace lay out there, and all she had to do was reach out.

Luke brushed his lips against her face again and she drew in a sharp intake
of breath at the pleasure. Her eyes flickered to the sky again. To where
peace lies, she thought. Then her eyes fell on Luke, softened and then
opened wide and honest. And to where love lies, she smiled as she wound her
arms, which had curled around his neck, tighter.

"Luke," she finally sighed. "I never want to leave this moment." She didn't
realize then that she had spoken this aloud.

"Then stay," he asked, his voice impassioned; heart-broken because he knew
her answer.

Mara gently guided him away, her lips swollen with unused kisses. "We've
been over this," she attempted, humor cracking through her voice. "I can't.
Anyway," she grinned, "if we--if we continue on this path, you have to
remember, there are other force-sensitive people on this rock. I don't
think we could hide the disturbance."

"Are you going to leave me?" he asked quietly, still serious.

She pursed her lips and then touched index and middle finger over his heart.
"I've always been with you, Skywalker. When you earn my trust and gain my
loyalty, I'm there for the long run. So the answer is no, I'm not going to
leave you. Unless you want me to."

He reached out for her and this time she took his hand and held it tight.
"Then don't ever leave me, Mara."

"I'm glad that's your answer," she said warmly. "I was hoping as much.
However," she said, looking at the encroaching darkness, "I'm actually going
to have to leave you now, unless you're willing to follow me."

"To the ends of the galaxy."

"Ah, yes," she whispered almost to herself, "to the end." Then her voice
grew louder. "Actually, I suggest we head back to the Great Temple. As
beautiful as the view is up here, it's getting dark and there are some
nasties in these jungles at night that we should avoid."

She let go of his hand and ran ahead. Jogging in place, she waited for him
to catch up. "I'll race you to back," she called playfully. He stretched a
little bit before he nodded back to her.

Running backwards, she stumbled over a rock. She recovered with a dancer's
grace, making it look as though she had simply been taking a bow.

"Catch you if you fall!" he yelled.

Mara paused and smiled full with her eyes. "You already have, Luke," she
said simply. "You already have." She turned her body, letting her eyes
stray on him before turning her head away too. "C'mon Skywalker," she said,
throwing a look back, "can you take me on?" Then she shot off ahead,

The day was turning to the blue of night as he took off after Mara.
Hurdling through brush and rock, Luke remained calm, and this allowed a
menagerie of thoughts to trot through his mind. Mara Jade. Her name alone
set off fireworks inside him that he hadn't know existed, but how glad he
was to know it now.

He thought about how he had let Callista, how he had let everything else,
overshadow her. But there she was still, after all these years, emerging
out of the eclipse, a constant. And she would wait for him, he thought with
a happiness that was hard to hold. He would have to return the favor and
make it a short wait.

To anyone watching, Luke and Mara would have been blurs of motion crashing
through green, but to each other, they had never looked clearer or more
focused. Running side by side, they fell into harmony with their stride.
Mara cast a sideways glance toward Luke. For a long time she had seen him
beyond the role of master or man, but to what, she hadn't been able to
pinpoint. Now she was sure, though. He was Luke, the brightest star in her
sky, and Luke the world that she would not mind living and dying in.

It might have been a trick of the eye, the light playing off something, but
as Luke returned her look he thought she looked as though she appeared to
glow. There was an aura of light around Mara, and to him, she was bright
enough to obliterate the sun and dismantle the stars. He considered--it
could have been the force at work. Or maybe it was just him. Because
before his very eyes, in those minutes with Mara, he suddenly saw the world
in a different view. He now saw Mara in a different view. Both views more
beautiful than words could describe. And he did not try. He didn't have

Two figures darted through the jungles of Yavin towards the towering
Massassi temples. The students at the academy felt a stir in the force that
was more like a sound. They shook it off and continued on their way, but
not before they had been touched by this change.

But there had been a sound. Beneath the cries of the nocturnal birds there
was the sound of laughter and of joy, and it rang clear and true, the sound
of the force coming closer to balance as another piece of puzzle clicked
together. Where underneath the impartial skies, two destined to be, emerged
from their two separate paths and merged into one, and continued on their
long journey, together.