Title: Whisper Your Weakness
Rating: M, for sexual situations and violence, including rape
Summary: Luke and Mara impulsively begin an affair. Just as Luke thinks his dreams might be coming true, his worst nightmare comes to life.
A/N: Warning to those who aren't already familiar with this story...it deals with some pretty intense situations, although I don't believe they're any more graphic than your average R-rated movie. The nonconsensual sex is also M/M, or slash, so be aware. I'll give warnings on each chapter as they are needed. Also, words in bold are Force talk.
Luke Skywalker sat in the back booth of his favorite café on Coruscant, sipping a mug of hot chocolate as he read the datapad in front of him. He had been so excited when he had found it in the New Republic Library, but he now realized he had gotten worked up over nothing. Ever since Yoda had told him to pass on what he had learned, Luke had been searching for the means to do just that. He knew next to nothing about the ways of the old Jedi and when he had seen that this datapad had promised to reveal the 'secrets of the Jedi' he had felt a thrill go through him.
He should have known better. The authors of the datapad were obviously no more Jedi than he was a protocol droid. He couldn't help but smile at some of the outlandish ideas that the authors attributed to Jedi, not the least of which was the ability to walk through walls! Luke certainly wished he could do that as it would have come in handy at several points in his career.
He was chuckling softly to himself as he read when an obnoxious sound assaulted his ears.
He looked up at the sound of a voice calling his name and grimaced when he saw Mara Jade walking towards him with an evil little smirk on her face. Not that he was displeased to see her, not at all. In fact, his heartbeat did a funny little skip at the sight of that red-gold hair. What displeased him was the fact that she had just shouted his name loud enough to wake the dead in a crowded café in the middle of the lunch rush.
Luke liked this café because they made the best hot chocolate on Coruscant and he loved to come here and sit and read or watch the people going by. It was rare that he had downtime and he appreciated it when he did. Normally, he used the Force to gently turn away any interest in his direction, but Mara's shout had taken care of that quickly and he could already hear the murmurs begin.
"…the Luke Skywalker…"
"…didn't know he was here…"
"…shorter than he looks in holos…"
"…think he'd sign an autograph?…"
Mara continued to smirk as she slid into the seat opposite him. He glared at her for a moment.
"You did that on purpose," he accused in a somewhat sulky tone.
"Did what?" she asked, her eyebrows rising in a perfect, and completely false, gesture of innocence.
He sighed and let the glare fall away. She was totally unrepentant so there was no need in getting worked up over it. "Never mind."
"Supposedly the secrets of the Old Republic Jedi order, but I don't think they're talking about the kind of Jedi I know," he said with a self-deprecating grin.
She gestured for him to hand her the datapad and he did so with a smile, waiting for her reaction to the ridiculous claims it held. He didn't have to wait long and his smile grew broader at her derisive snort. Then he tensed as he realized what was about to happen. One would think that after nearly twelve years of this, he would eventually get used to it, but somehow that never seemed to occur.
The first one brave enough to approach was a young human boy, probably about fourteen standard years old. He shifted his weight nervously and Luke let him work up the courage to speak.
"Master Skywalker, sir?"
"Umm, Master Skywalker, I was wondering how you get to go to your Academy, sir. I think I have the Force, too."
"What's your name?"
Luke managed to bite back his sigh as he gently probed the boy's mind. "No, Collin, I'm afraid that you don't," he said as softly as he could.
"Oh." The boy's whole body seemed to droop in disappointment. By this time, Mara had looked up from her reading and was watching the scene curiously. Luke felt the need to comfort the young man in some way.
"You don't need the Force to serve the Republic, Collin. A great many of my friends who are not Jedi do many wonderful things. You have to find your own gifts." He reached out and squeezed the boy's shoulder in encouragement and gave him a smile. Collin seemed to brighten a little at that and nodded as he walked away, dreaming of special talents he might possess.
If it had stopped there, Luke might have been okay, but it seemed that Collin only opened up the floodgates and in a matter of moments, the tiny booth was surrounded by people, all of them talking at once and questioning Luke about everything from what it was like to blow up the Death Star to if he knew how to fly, and if he did, could he take them for a ride?
Mara sat there and watched incredulously as Luke tried to deal with it all. He was being polite to everyone, but she knew him well enough to note the tension in his jaw and the strain around his eyes. Did he have to deal with this all the time, she wondered? Of course he does, you idiot, he's Luke Skywalker for Sith's sake, she berated herself. Hmmm, maybe her little joke hadn't been too funny after all. Well, she had gotten him into this; she supposed it was only fair that she got him out of it.
She stood up and, in an incredibly loud voice, said, "All right, citizens, the Jedi Master sincerely wishes he could speak with each one of you, but he has pressing Jedi business to attend to. He thanks you all for your support!"
The crowd paused as one, shocked to hear such a booming voice coming from such a small package. As she spoke, Mara had taken Luke by the arm and was firmly pulling him out of the booth and up the aisle of the café towards the door. He followed her unresistingly and, truth to tell, he was looking at her in astonishment just like the other patrons. Before the crowd quite knew what had happened, the Jedi Master and his companion were gone.
Once outside the café, they moved up the street, Luke still looking at her in amazement. "Wow," he said simply.
"You're welcome," she said, a little smugly.
"I didn't mean thank you. I knew you had a big mouth, I just never realized how big it really was."
She gaped at him, and then abruptly punched him in the chest. He staggered back a couple of steps, but he was laughing the whole time. "You only did that because you felt responsible for starting it in the first place!"
"Yeah, well…" She had the grace to look a little sheepish. She looked over his shoulder towards the café they had just departed. "Looks like a couple of your admirers don't give up so easily."
Luke turned to look and saw two young men step out onto the street and look around searchingly. He quickly turned and took Mara by the elbow, leading her around the corner. "Come on, we'll go to my apartment."
The two of them walked quietly beside one another on the way to Luke's apartment which was only a few minutes away. Luke couldn't help reflecting on his relationship with the woman at his side as they did so. It was a little over five years now since he had first met her, since he had been on the business end of the blaster she always carried. That they could be friends at all was an amazing thing, but even more astonishing was the fact that Luke would consider Mara to be his best friend.
In some ways, he was even closer to her than he was to his twin sister. Mara, as much as she resisted the idea of becoming a Jedi, was more attuned to the Force than Leia was, and so she probably understood Luke better than anyone else did. Mara understood about the Dark Side and the struggles that he faced daily with the demons that still haunted him. And yet…she had never judged him.
Even after the horrible mistake he had made on Byss, she had never abandoned him. Luke had sensed her disappointment, but she hadn't turned her back on him. Then there was the whole fiasco with Callista…he ignored the pang of hurt that always pierced him with just the thought of her name.
Mara had always been there when he needed her, after Byss and after Callista, when he'd wanted to do nothing but crawl into a hole and die, and she'd never even said 'I told you so' to him.
Five years since they had been involved in the Thrawn crisis and somehow, she'd become as important to him as Han, Leia and the children. And now, these last six months or so, he couldn't seem to stop thinking about her…
"Are you gonna unlock the door, Skywalker, or stand here lost in thought all day?"
He looked at her, startled, and realized they were standing at the front door to his apartment building. He flushed and hoped they hadn't been standing there too long, but judging by the amused smirk on her face, it had probably been a couple of minutes.
"Uh, right, sorry," he muttered as he unlocked the door and stood aside to allow her to enter ahead of him.
There was a companionable silence between them as they rode the turbolift up to his floor. Luke's thoughts again pondered the relationship he had with Mara. He had been devastated when Callista had left him and had been sure that his heart would never mend. Lately, though, he had begun to wonder if that was the truth. He had been having thoughts and dreams about the beautiful red-head that one didn't have for someone who was just a friend.
Luke had a slight suspicion that she might feel the same way, as he'd caught a few interesting stray thoughts from her once or twice, but he'd never quite found the courage to bring the subject up with her. He dreaded the thought of broaching the subject and finding out that he was wrong. He didn't think he would be able to stand it if he lost her friendship.
This time, he made certain that he wasn't so lost in his musings that he didn't notice when the turbolift doors opened in front of them. Once they were in his apartment, Luke invited her to make herself comfortable in the living room while he fixed them both a cup of tea. He added the touch of mantoo honey to Mara's that he knew she liked.
He paused a moment, considering the fact that he knew such a relatively intimate detail about her, and yet there were so many more intimate things he didn't know. But he wanted to. He found himself wondering what color underwear she was wearing.
Skywalker, what are you doing in there?
Her voice in his head made him slam his shields down on those other thoughts quickly. He hoped she hadn't picked up on them.
"Daydreaming again," he said as he walked into the living room and handed her the cup of tea. She looked at him a little strangely, but didn't comment. They sat and talked as they drank the tea, Mara telling him about her latest trade run, Luke telling her about how things were going at the Academy.
"Why are you on Coruscant right now, anyway?" she asked curiously.
"I've decided to take a few months off. A sort of…sabbatical, I guess you'd call it. Kam and Streen have things well in hand there and I keep in touch with them every few days."
"Everything all right with you?" Mara asked, eyeing him carefully. She hoped this wasn't about Callista. She had thought he was past that.
"No, it's not about Callista," he said, somewhat annoyed.
She frowned at him. "Stay out of my head, Skywalker."
"I'd have known you were thinking that even without the Force, Jade," he retorted. "But no, it's not her. I'm just…tired, that's all."
She decided not to push the issue and let the subject drop, for which Luke was grateful. He didn't want to have to tell Mara that she was part of the reason he'd decided to take a break. She was wreaking havoc with his concentration lately.
She picked up the datapad on Jedi history off the table in front of the sofa and turned it over in her hands. "So what's the deal with this?"
"Oh, I was just hoping to find out a few things about the old Jedi Order. But even I can tell that some of the stuff in there is way off base."
"Why are you worried about how they did things back then? Seems to me you're doing all right."
"Yeah, turning to the Dark Side was really evidence that I'm doing all right," he said sarcastically.
"Hey, you turned back and not just anyone could have done that! Everyone makes mistakes. I'll bet even the old Jedi Order made mistakes."
"I guess," he muttered. "So when are you going to come and finish your training?"
She groaned in frustration. "Give it up, Skywalker! I don't have the time for all that mystical mumbo-jumbo."
"Now you sound like Han," he snickered.
"Watch it," she growled.
He stood and, picking up her cup, carried it with his own to the sink. He rinsed them out and left them sitting in the basin. He walked back into the living room and stood looking down at her contemplatively.
"What?" she asked warily.
"I think the reason you don't want to come finish the training is you're afraid," he said softly.
"What?" she shrieked and stood to face him, the anger rolling off her in waves. He almost took a step back at the force of it. "I am not afraid of you or anyone, Skywalker!"
"I didn't say you were afraid of me. I think the one you're afraid of is yourself, of failing." That did it. He stood there quietly as she began to curse him in languages he didn't even know. He thought about giving her the 'anger leads to the Dark Side' speech, but he worried that she might renew her vow to kill him if he did. Maybe he should just let her get it out of her system.
Rarely did he manage to get Mara worked up to this state. Oh, sure, they argued a lot, but this…this was a whole new level. Luke would never know where he got the courage to do what he did next. He just knew that standing there, seeing her in all her raging glory, her green eyes shooting sparks and that beautiful red-gold hair like flames around her head, he wanted her more than he had ever wanted any woman in his life, Callista included. He could no more have resisted his impulse than he could have refused the Force itself.