Disclaimer: George made them up. We make them better.
The meadow lay in a rippling sheet under the night sky, shadows and shimmering iridescence chasing each other over swells of dark green. There was no moon, but the stars were scattered thickly and cast a silver glow nearly approaching daylight. It was very silent. Somewhere, a brook muttered its hushed litany; nearby, a whispering breeze created dips and eddies in the grass. No other sounds broke the utter peace of the night. It was perfect.
Nearly too perfect, like a picture, or a dream…
For a bare instant, the light played tricks with Luke's eyes and it seemed as if the stars trembled. A sudden, irrational fear leaped up his spine…
He laughed softly at himself, and the stars settled firmly into place. There had to be limits to a person's paranoia, even his. Nothing could take this night away from him, not war, not duty, and certainly not his overactive imagination. Closing his eyes, he breathed in the clean, cool scent of the meadow. It was perfect, and what was wrong with that? Shouldn't every honeymoon be perfect?
"Mara," Luke murmured. "Have you ever seen so many stars?" She did not answer, and he glanced down at her still form sprawled beside him. She could have been a part of the night, curves of her body blending with surface of the meadow; softly fluttering green dress melting into the green of the grass. Only her hair and her face stood out. Her hair, loose across the grass, red-gold brilliance splayed through the shadows. Her face, staring up with half-closed eyes, pale and luminescent in the starlight.
Force, his wife was beautiful.
"Mara," he whispered again, reaching out to trace the curve of her cheek. "Mara." Her skin was cold and very soft. Shifting slightly, she muttered something unintelligible. He moved his hand up to her hair, running callused fingers through the tangled locks. "What was that?"
She turned her face to him slightly, eyes fluttering in an attempt to stay open. It had been a long day, he knew. From now on they'd cut back on the marathon sightseeing.
"Luke." Her lips formed the word with effort. She must truly be exhausted, Luke thought. They might have to stay out here all night if she couldn't make it back to the speeder. But that was no hardship in a place like this.
"What is it, Mara?"
He frowned. "I can't hear you." An idea struck him. Sliding one arm under the arch of her neck and the other beneath her knees, he scooped up her tired body and held her close, leaning his head to her hers. There must have been condensation already settling; her cheeks glistened dewily with wetness. "I'm listening, my love." She sighed, a long, weary exhale that chilled his face. Her eyes opened. They focused, not on him, but somewhere past his head and very far away.
He was slightly annoyed now. Why wouldn't she speak up? "What is it you're trying to say, Mara?"
Slowly, the shining green slits of her eyes traveled back from wherever they roamed, piercing him with unnerving intensity.
"I forgive you," she breathed.
But she had fallen asleep.
Behind him, he heard swishing footsteps; someone was coming. He twisted his head around to see who it was. Half-way through the turn, he stiffened. He knew that Force-presence.
It was his sister.
Leia floated gracefully over the grass in her white senatorial gown, serene and lovely as always.
"Hello, Luke," she greeted him.
"Leia," he said, surprised. "How did you find me?"
An odd look crossed her face. "Where else would you be?"
Luke closed his eyes in frustration. This was not working out like he had wanted. On top of Mara's strange behavior, Leia had to hunt him down, probably to settle some absolutely urgent crisis.
"Not that I'm not glad to see you, but come on, Leia. I'm a little tied up right now." He nodded, indicating Mara's sleeping form in his arms. His sister looked decidedly puzzled.
"She's dead-tired," he explained.
"Dead-tired." Again, the strange expression in her eyes. "I see. Luke, we need to get out of here. Come on. I have a shuttle waiting."
He looked up, confused. "We're not scheduled to leave for another two weeks, you know that." Brother and sister stared at each other for a moment in mirrored incomprehension. Suddenly, a gust of wind blew past Leia, tugging her skirt out in front of her. She stared down at the pristine white swirls of material. And then back at him.
"This is how you see me, brother?" She laughed harshly.
"I don't know what you mean." But something told Luke that he did, and for the second time that evening, a strange, foggy fear seized his heart. He wanted desperately for Leia to be gone and leave him alone—even to look away would be relief. But he could not. Bending from the waist, she reached down and tore a handful of grass from the ground, rich brown earth falling in clumps from the roots. She smiled at him…and in slow, deliberate circular motions, rubbed the stems into her skirt. Hard.
Finally, she opened her palm; the grass tumbled down in a crushed, matted green mass.
But her skirt still shone pure white.
Luke began to tremble, and he clutched his wife closer to him, burying his face in her hair. Leia stepped closer.
"Look at me," she commanded. Shaking, he obeyed—and cried out in fear and rage. In that split second, Leia changed. The hazy glow surrounding her fled, and in its absence, blackness crept rot-like over the flowing folds of her dress. Her hair slithered from its soft twist to fall sleek and severe to her shoulders. Her gentle mouth twisted in a blood-red sneer. Her round cheeks sunk to reveal sharp, sculpted cheekbones. And most terrifying of all, her eyes, her tender brown eyes…
Her eyes smoldered with a sickly yellow gleam.
"Luke," she said, and he shuddered at the deep, almost demonic timbre her voice had taken on. "Leave her. We must go, now, or it will be too late."
He wrenched his eyes away and looked up.
The stars were trembling again.
"No!" he cried out hoarsely, and thrust out a hand as if to hold them up. Mara's head lolled limply from his arms. Momentarily distracted, he reached down to support her…
And the sky tumbled down into the meadow.
Dark Lord Luke Skywalker found himself huddled on the floor of his throne room in the Death Star, cradling the pale corpse of a woman. His sister stood over him, coldly majestic.
He screamed again.
The Lady Leia frowned at him contemptuously and called the two fallen lightsabers to her hands. With twin hisses she ignited them and considered at the matched blades, scarlet and blue light spilling out across the deck. Lord Skywalker closed his eyes to block out the glow, sobbing.
"Our father's blade," Lady Skywalker observed. "Kenobi trained her with Anakin's own saber. Ironic. I wonder if he thought she actually had a prayer of success. I suppose in all likelihood she might have—if not for you. Congratulations, brother. You have defeated the last of the Jedi." She fell silent; her brother's gibbering sobs echoed brokenly in the quiet. Curling her lip in distaste, she extinguished the lightsabers and clipped them somewhere in the depths of her black robes.
"To think she actually tried to redeem you."
Lord Skywalker glared up at her fiercely, bleary eyes burning.
"I loved her," he snarled.
"You killed her," she shot back. He did not deny it, and his gaze drifted listlessly to the viewport.
"She made me kill her," he murmured. Thrusting out with the Force, he reached into the battle with his mind, gauging the currents of victory and defeat. "I just wanted her to join me and face her destiny. She wouldn't. She made me kill her." They were losing. Imperial and Rebel forces just barely matched each other right now, but in a few moments the tide would turn. The Death Star would be no more.
"Come," Lady Skywalker said again. "There is little time." Lord Skywalker stared down at the white, cold face of his beloved…
And marveled at how beautiful she was in the starlight.
Leia gazed down at him, her young, sweet face full of strange pity. The breeze swept past her again; a few strands of chestnut hair tugged loose to fall on the draped white hood.
"Have it your way," she said regretfully, and with a last, impassive glance, glided away into the darkness of the night. Luke watched her go.
Briefly, he wondered again how she had found him. Oh well; they were alone now.
Shifting Mara's body so they lay side by side in the grass, he sighed deeply in content. Silent peace filled the air once more, and the stars twinkled brightly overhead. There never had been a night so perfect…
He must have fallen asleep. When he opened his eyes, some of the stars had faded; dawn was approaching. In anticipation, he rolled over and turned his face to the east.
A thin, harsh line of radiance seeped up from below the horizon. Smiling, he watched as it spread across the sky, billowing heat and orange-red light above his head. His smile did not waver even as the light rained blindingly down. Even as the grass shriveled away in the blast. Even as his skin began to tingle in the first whispers of agony.
"Look, Mara," he said, gently shaking his sleeping wife. "The sun is rising."
A/N sighs I really, really like do like Mara. She just ends up dead in everything I write. Chalk it up to school stress—when the pressure's on, something has to give! So I kill Mara. Then I'm okay.