(A/N – The title is taken from Stephen King's "The Stand" – it was also the subtitle of said same. As usual, King creeps his way into my thoughts as I write…)
A green wedding dress is supposedly a Corellian tradition, according to the 'Official EU' (as I found out during my literary travels) but the remaining traditions and practices are my own.
A Season of Rest
"Merest breath, said Qoheleth, merest breath. All is mere breath." – Ecclesiates 1:2
Luke stood on the roof of the old Corellian enclave, relishing the warmth of the setting sun on his face. The only thing missing was his soon to be Bond Mate, Aubé, who had steadfastly insisted that they spend the last three days before their wedding apart.
"It's tradition, Luke," she'd told him coyly. "Just in case either the bride or the husband-to-be wanna become after-burner dust instead of getting Bonded."
Luke had arched an eyebrow, even as he enveloped her into his arms. "Second thoughts, Nails?" he'd asked, barely touching the base of her spine and relishing the shiver it evoked from her. "Tired of me at last?" The tone had been light, but his eyes burned with intensity.
Brown eyes widened. "By the Goddess, NO!" she had exclaimed in horror, and then her voice dropped to a near whisper. "I just want you to… I mean… your sister… the new child… I mean…"
Luke's hand dropped protectively to her still flat belly. Although the pregnancy was only a few months along, he could feel the life-force radiating there, and it filled him with an inexplicable joy, but still, her fear - her insecurity saddened him. He longed to find the words that would make it all go away. Words that had the power to belay all fears, to cure all the ills of the Galaxy, but all he had were these…
"I love you, Aubé Canaille – soon to be Skywalker," he whispered, drawing her closer. "I love you, and our daughter Pem, and our lost son, Tamillan, and our soon to be child. I want you to be my wife, Aubé, and that's all there is to it… if you'll have me, that is…"
"IF?" She countered, laughing now. "How about when?"
"Pem's asleep already," he murmured, the touch becoming a caress. "And three days is a long time to go… well, to go without… How about now?"
Now it was Aubé's turn to be surprised. "Again?" she asked, already playfully tugging at his utility belt. "We were already late for first meal, and now going back to bed so soon after last feast? What will my family say?"
Without a backward glance, the bedroom doors closed behind them as Luke lead her through. "Probably that we're in love…"
They had spent nearly half a season after her brother's most recent brush with the Dark Side of the Force becoming re-acquainted, and healing both physically and emotionally. Nearly nine years had separated them, but even in this brief amount of time they had spent together, the time apart had proven meaningless. He loved her, and she him, and in the end to Luke, that was all that mattered.
Now, at the first light they would become truly one.
It would be a small private affair, with only Aubé's family and their daughter Pemberian in attendance. He knew that Leia would be saddened, hurt, and even a little angry at being denied a chance to stand with him during his bonding to Aubé, but he wanted this moment be theirs and theirs alone. In her last communiqué, Leia had urged him to come 'home' to Coruscant wanting to share news of her own, but Han had countered in his usual nonchalant way that even if Luke remained on 'that Gods forsaken planet' until the end of the season, he would still arrive in plenty of time for the 'surprise'.
He didn't need to be a Jedi Master to know that Leia and Han were expecting.
The thought made him smile. "The Force must have a sense of humor," he'd mused to himself at the time. "All that time, we'd been so careful. We both knew another child was in our future, perhaps even more. Just not five months after our first reunion…"
Aubé had been hysterical. "How could this have happened?" she had demanded of her Healer family. "Luke and I have both been on repressors! His is good for a standard year at least, and coupled with mine, this just isn't possible!"
"Possible or not, dear sister, you are pregnant," Kay'leb said with a wry grin. "Perhaps it was when you two slipped into the Bacta Room?"
Aubé's eyes flashed in anger, and her mouth fell open, but before she could retort, her brother fired off another quip.
"Now dear sister," he said with a grin. "More of that, and less of the other, and perhaps you wouldn't be in such a delicate position! Or was it ever that delicate to begin with?"
"Kay, I may be pregnant, but I can still clean your blind-arsed blaster shields!
"Enough!" their mother Kampher - a Healer in her own right, in a rare display of temper had snapped. "Aubé, it is apparently the will of the Force that you and Luke's family grow sooner than you would have wished! It's a time to rejoice, not to fear!"
"But Mother!" Aubé had cried. "Our Bonding! We planned to have it next month! And then we were going back to the Core together and Luke was going to oversee the reconstruction of the Temple! And… And…"
"And we still will," Luke, who had been sitting quietly aside spoke up at last. "This doesn't change anything."
"But it does a little, my beloved daughter," Kampher smiled, taking her daughter's hand. "Other than the fact that we might have to let your dress out a little, I can't let you leave Corellia until I deem you and the baby safe for space travel."
Aubé only heard the last. "Let my dress out? Oh by the stars! I'll look –"
"Beautiful," Luke whispered in her ear. "Just, beautiful…"
"Pay-pa?" Luke's firstborn daughter tugged gently at his sleeve. "Grey-pa said it's time…"
Luke smiled, and looked down at the small gathering below. On the left, there stood Schurke Canaille, Aubé's father, who in his role of the Magistrate would legally bind their union. Kampher, his wife, standing for the Jedi Masters would bless them through the Force.
On the right, Kay'leb and his bond mate Toa, as Healers would finally bond them, and make them one at last.
Finally, he allowed his gaze to return to the center. There his bride to be stood, her pale green dress catching the first glorious rays of the Corellian dawn. Not taking her eyes from his, she shyly ducked her head as if to say, "I'm ready – are you?"
Luke grinned, and made his way down, only hesitating at the very entrance of the Temple.
"Nearly twenty years of death, and war, all come to an end at last," he thought. "Today not only marks the end of the season, but the start of a new season for the Skywalkers. Our history will no longer be written in blood, but in joy in peace. At last, our own Season of rest…"
And with a lighter step than he had felt in years, Luke stepped forward to begin his new life.
"You are now Bonded. One life, one family, one love…
From now until the shadows chase the last of the starlight away…"