Garqi, six weeks after the Camaas Document Crisis

She had never seen him as a hero. She had not grown up with ideals. She had looked down upon the world, not up at it with moist eyes, because it had always been so close to her.

She engendered strange thoughts in him. Half of him watched her—her dancer's body in the black sheath dress, how her scarlet hair flowed over her bare shoulders almost too perfectly, almost inhuman. And half of him was frightened by her.

Their footsteps gently clinked on the gray stone paving of an outdoor restaurant. The tables on the patio were set in clusters like delicate, fungal fairy-rings; the smell of the sea came from below the rocky shore the restaurant overlooked. When they reached an unoccupied table—and there were plenty, but both of them gravitated toward a place where they could both look at the sea and watch the patio's entrances—Luke pulled Mara's chair out from under the table for her.

It felt in the residual mind-meld like a little Mara doppelganger was wandering about in his head. She said, to his politeness, fear. She had never grown used to kindness, and men treating her formally gave her the distinct, illogical impression that they were setting her up for something. Either pride or fears made her expect everyone to want to harm or seduce her.

She sat, the yellow sun glinting white off of her eyes.

He sat opposite. The restaurant prided itself on having crisply-dressed sentient waiters, not droids, so that instead of ordering immediately from a computer, the diners would have some time to talk. Quaint, but entertaining.

He cast his eyes over her, over the woman whom he had asked to marry him, and she looked up suspiciously from under her eyelids before switching the expression, as one would exchange a mask for their face of skin, to coy.

They had spoken of tourist things on the way to the restaurant, of the sea and the slightly violet-hued sky, of the wide fields. She seemed reserved now, though, and the conversation had never gone anywhere else than touristy. Luke had had too many dysfunctional relationships, but he knew that the most true one ought to be like a friendship, never with a lack of communication or perhaps rather with a comfortable silence—never with an awkward silence which brought up thoughts of past dysfunctional relationships.

He asked her, "Are you faring well?"

She said, "Sure."

He waited a moment before daring, "You aren't acting…sure."

"I am, Skywalker, I'm fine. You don't have to resort to probing questions. Aren't we supposed to be one in the Force?"

"Do you mean—I'm not going to read your mind without your permission."
"Why not? You can."

"It would not be polite."

"Polite, as if that matters in the real world, as if the politicians—"

"Mara, I don't want to argue."

Down she came from almost-pounding the table to seriousness with an edge of the sort of humor which leads bullies to convince the geeks to trust them. "We're not arguing, we were debating."

"No…I think that was an argument." I felt conflict in the Force.

"The feeling of galaxywide conflict can defiantly not be used to judge the ones from friendly debates."

"I don't believe in friendly debates." It felt the same. "War arises from debates."

And you grew up in war.

He had been attracted to her confidence, to her fiery spirit, in the heat of the battle of Nirauan. What he had been learning as they had started to get to know each other in relaxed settings, though, was that she was always fiery. Always comfortable in conflict. It made sense, knowing that she had been raised by Emperor Palpatine…

…and Luke Skywalker had been raised in the mundane world without wars and factions, with peace he sometimes misinterpreted as boredom. He would not choose to return to those days; the Force was worth almost anything. But then—

Love took a small, winding trail in his life, like a canal beside the river of galactic-scale war and family. His first love, he could now admit without blushing even inwardly, had been Leia. He had felt so much for the warrior princess from Alderaan, so that when it was revealed that she was his sister, and he actually had time to stop and think about it by itself, without embarrassed, disgusted silliness, an emptiness had been left.

He had tried to have it filled. He had tried to be like other men, to seek solace with a woman's love. Always, though, he was turned back—not away necessarily, but back, back to the emptiness. At times he filled it at the Force, and at times he found no void there.

It sounded ludicrous and unrealistic when he told people that he could count on both hands the women who had made him think they were in love with him, only to try to kill him or worse.

Jedi Master, he thought, does not equal man.

Once Akanah Pell intrigued him with nonexistent information about his mother and made him feel sorry for her before the charade was revealed, Luke Skywalker had become a diamond in the Force. His power increased, and his humanity died. Only when he remembered to notice it did he feel any regret. Psychologists and logic agreed that no one who had gone through what he had could remain emotionally standard.

He looked at Mara and smelled the sea, his thoughts as swift as the stars seen from hyperspace.

He felt hot and uncomfortable under his black cloak.

"Mara," he said. Her eyes flashed, powerful emotion, as powerful as that revealed in mortals in the face of death.

He had asked her to marry him after a dose of Force meld and during the possibility of death by flood.

He stoically supposed that it was the Jedi equivalent of making such life-shaking decisions under the influence.

"Skywalker."

Sometimes he hated to be reminded of his family name.

He spoke under his breath. "Do you know why the sky is blue, Mara Jade? The sun reflects off of water particles in the atmosphere, and blue is the wavelength it reflects. So when you're looking at a planet from space, if it's blue, that means there is oxygen in the atmosphere. Humans can breathe there.

"If the sky is green, the air is toxic to us.

"Nothing can live on a planet with a jade sky."

The void was filled. Without any emotion, he walked away before the waiter arrived.

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A/N: If this story is not what you expected by the time you get to the end…you should've checked the genres. Flames from shippers will be given to Fire Lord Ozai so that he can be happily destructive. Thanks for reading. Know that this was the result of a bad day and is nothing like my usual work.