Author's Note: I am not a fan of Mara Jade, seeing as she is a standard comic book heroine. But I enjoy writing her character. Does that make me a hypocrite?
This piece of fluff is dedicated to skywalker05, because she would never otherwise have a Luke/Mara story dedicated to her.
As per usual, all flames will be returned to Mustafar at the expense of the sender.
by Argenteus Draco
Ben was now a little more than a month old, but this was the first time Luke had left him alone with Mara. For five weeks, he'd insisted on being around to help, especially when Ben was in his most demanding moods. He still feared for Mara's health. "You rest," he'd tell her. "I can put Ben to sleep."
But now it was getting to the point where he needed rest. He relented to Mara's insistence that she could handle the infant – after all, she'd gone through labor, hadn't she? – and turned in for an early night.
He was awakened an hour later by Ben's crying, and he could feel Mara's distress through the Force. He wandered back into the living area, half expecting to find some chaotic scene.
Instead, he saw only his wife, holding their son as she paced the room; the same situation any father might find. Luke allowed himself a small smile. When Mara turned and saw him there, leaning against the doorframe, she scowled.
"Think this is funny, do you, Skywalker?"
"Only a little." He crossed the room to stand next to her. "What's wrong?"
Her expression softened, then slipped back to worry. "He won't sleep. You don't suppose he's sick, do you?"
Luke shook his head. If anything were wrong with Ben, he would know. " May I?" He started to lift the crying infant from Mara's arms. She hesitated, but eventually let him go.
"I've tried everything," she said, a hint of defiance creeping into her voice – did he think she was incapable of calming her own child? "He's fed and changed, and his pajamas are clean. I was rocking him, but that's what started him crying. What else am I supposed to do?"
Luke considered this as he tried to sooth Ben. "He usually likes being sung to."
Mara stared incredulously. "You can't be serious… I don't know any songs. At least, none that would be appropriate."
Luke looked up again. "You mean you never heard any lullabies? I refuse to believe it."
"Remember where I grew up, Skywalker."
"Oh, right." Luke looked down at Ben; he'd stopped crying now, but his eyes were still watery. "Well, come here then. I'll teach you."
"Teach me?" Luke gave her a warning look, and she lowered her voice again. "I'm not a singer."
"Neither am I. But trust me, he doesn't care." He made his way over to the room's single chair and sat down, very gently shifting Ben so that he could cradle him more comfortably. When they were both settled, Luke motioned Mara over, and she knelt on the floor next to him.
"Alright, Skywalker," she said. "Work your magic."
Luke smiled, and began.
"The Dragon has escaped our imaginations…"
It was an old song, one he'd learned from his Aunt Beru. He wasn't sure where she'd learned it, although he had asked once, because he'd wanted to know the language it was originally written in.
"…He roams in a forest of shadows, where the flowers peek out in the darkness, and the creeping vines reach for the trees…"
Ben was blinking tiredly now. Luke leaned back against the chair. Closing his own eyes didn't seem like such a bad idea right now.
"…How sweet they smell, how soft to touch. How brightly the single horn shines in the distance."
Mara nudged him gently. "Come on, Skywalker. Looks like it's time to put you both to bed."
Still humming softly, Luke rose and carried the now soundly sleeping Ben back to his crib. He looked over at Mara, and was shocked to find that, for the briefest moment, she looked close to tears.
"What's wrong now?" he asked, sitting down on the floor next to her and putting his arm lovingly around her shoulders.
"Nothing," she responded, not meeting his eyes.
"You know better than to lie to a Jedi."
Mara took a long, measured breath before responding. "He's my son, and I don't know how to take care of him. All those little things I never knew… What if he grows up, and I've never been able to be a mother to him?"
"You worry too much." Luke pressed a kiss to her forehead. "You need your rest. I'll stay here if he needs me."
"I'm not tired, Skywalker," she said indignantly. "And I don't need–"
"Of course you're not." He stood, holding her hands in his own. "Come on. I'll sing you a lullaby."