Luke sat in a gilded chair near the open doors of his balcony overlooking the swarming lights of Coruscant, his hand resting idly on his lightsaber handle cold, hard steel...just like he should have been he thought.

Yet still he was too much like his lightsaber, the smallest motion could suddenly ignite his spirit brilliant and bold. That spark of life was still there in him despite all that he had been through, deep down he was still the same farm boy from Tattooine. He had taken his doubts about his dark identity to his father, who advised him to bust his insecurities and think no more on it, that it would lead them all into great peril. Leia, his twin sister on the other hand had told him that there was no fault in who he was, for it laid the foundation for the man he is today.

She insisted that he cling to his origins, not push them aside. Even for the greater good? He thought, certainly his small sacrifice would mean nothing next to those who had sacrificed their entire lives. Say goodbye to the farm boy and become the true sith everyone already thought he was.

He sighed heavily knowing that his father could feel his thoughts, he shifted in his chair and knew that wherever his father was he was surely disappointed in him now. This pained Luke very much, he had come to respect his father very much. He smiled recalling that day, it had all begun to simply on Tattooine...rescue the Princess...

FLASHBACK::

"Only a master of evil Darth." spat the aged Obi Wan to his former padawan, their sabers ignited at one another menacingly.

Vader's mechanical breathing picked up, true he was younger and stronger that his old master but Obi Wan was still very skilled he slowed and said, "You are mistaken about that Obi Wan. You should have trusted me." the sincerity Obi Wan sensed in Vader's voice made him falter only for a moment to look to his distant left and see Luke and Leia watching their exchange with rapt attention.

Obi Wan replied, "More lies!" Vader raised a gloved hand and the storm troopers standing surrounding them began to choke simultaneously then one by one they all fell to the floor. Then the doors surrounding the four of them sealed shut locking them all inside together.

Vader deactivated his blood red lightsaber and threw it to the side. Obi Wan however refused to lower his weapon, but his mein went from cool anger to complete bewilderment when Vader removed both black gloves, one hand was mechanical as it

had been since they attempted to best Count Dooku the other however was a normal hand, uncharred flesh, no scars or marks perfectly whole and strong as Anakin's hands had always been.

The hands reached up behind his helmet and in a whir of air it came loose. Obi Wan deactivated his lightsaber and almost lost his balance completely when Anakin's blond hair tumbled into his blue eyes. Obi Wan whispered in shock, 'Anakin? How?" Anakin nodded and said, "Patience Obi Wan." He regarded the two confused teenagers and said, "They too deserve to know the truth but it is a long tale and I must tell it in my own way."

Luke was floored...Anakin? That was his father's name! Could it be? The same sandy blond hair, same blue eyes...but everyone Obi Wan, his Uncle Owen they had all told him that his father was dead! What other lies had he been told? And most importantly was it possible that his man in disguise was his father? Anakin felt Luke's overwhelming distress and turned to him as Luke walked hesitantly forward, as Leia grasped his arm trying to pull him back. Their eyes met and in a moment Luke knew, not only was it possible... it was true.

END FLASHBACK

The stars above Luke's head seemed to glitter ominously as he regarded that day, that moment. True, Vader's choices had shaped his life up until that moment almost five years ago. But now, he thought, my choices are my own, he certainly would not let his father stand alone in this fight.

It was time to put the doubts and fears aside and become the man he was meant to be. It would not be an easy path to take, but there it was lain before him. Like his father before him,Luke would take up the challenge and walk it.


Ugh...it was early...Mara despised being up so early, but a summons from the Emperor does not wait for one to rise leisurely. She propped herself up on her elbows and looked around at the new quarters that Palpatine had "gifted" her only last week.

Her other quarters had been hers since the Emperor had brought her to the palace they were small but adequate she had all she needed she was of course more than a guard but certainly not a high member of society.

She had everything she needed as the Emperor's hand...but this? She recalled her conversation with Palpatine..."

FLASHBACK

"Why do you look unhappy with my generosity?" Mara stammered unsure about how to proceed, "Not at all...I find it...unnecessary."

The sith lords topaz irises blazed in anger, 'I will deem what is necessary Mara Jade! You WILL move into the larger suite and I am quite certain that you will be HAPPY there! Is that in any way ambiguous?" Mara paled in fear and replied quickly, "Certainly not Excellency. Thank you.:"

FLASHBACK ENDS

Mara regarded the room again, her bed was massive it's heavy black velvet canopy blocked out nearly every bit of light, and Mara found the satin and silk bedding to be far too fussy for her tastes.

But it was the sheer size and opulence of the room that overwhelmed her. The expanse beyond a mere bedchamber, to a sitting room, to one of the most elaborate freshers Mara had ever seen with a marble tub big enough to fit herself and at least half of the Imperial army!

The whole room was wall to wall marble, the floor blanketed with ornate, costly rugs, the walls with lovely landscapes painted from the wilderness of the outer rim. Mara's simple clothing and imperial uniforms looked completely comical next to the opulent gowns they now hung beside.

She laughed at the frivolity but was deeply uncomfortable here, the most disconcerting thing of all was she did not know why these ridiculous "gifts" were suddenly being bestowed upon her. She had done nothing different in all the years she had been year she was a loyal and faithful servant to the Emperor but he had shown her little favoritism before.

So why? Why the sudden luxury? The gowns? The sudden changes? And the most nagging question of all...why was she suddenly moved from the atrium of the Imperial Palace to the same secluded wing that housed the Skywalkers...

The mechanical Vader had been there since Mara could remember, then his issue Luke and Leia burst on to the scene some two years ago. Both with amazing connection to the could feel them in a rudimentary way, she had raw skills with the force but had never had the opportunity to expand upon it. Leia seemed to be the more docile of the twins, she rarely used the force and was away from the palace a great deal. Mara was never informed where she went or why, not did she truly care to ask. But Luke...he was something different altogether.

He had such a rare power the likes of which Mara had never sensed before, certainly more

powerful than Vader, Mara had wondered how he would match up to the Emperor but quickly put those thoughts out of her mind lest either of them pick up on them.

She zipped up her black jumpsuit with some indignance, better to get all of it out now before she was summoned before the Emperor. She still had long faint scars down her back from the last time her temper flared in his presence. He had deemed her punishment instantaneous and used his force lightning. She had flared in impudence at Luke Skywalker usurping her place at his side and that he could not see it. His retribution had been swift, cruel and unbearably painful.

Mara flinched at the memory of the searing pain and said quietly to herself, 'My own fault."

A brief glance in the mirror said that she looked presentable, her long shining brazen red hair was loose and flowing, her green eyes intense with anxiety. What could the Emperor possibly want her for now? After the odd behavior and his sudden generosity?


"Mara Jade." the Emperor's rasping voice rang out, Mara knelt before her master in reverence staying silent. The Emperor asked, "Are your new rooms to your liking?" the sharp tone in his voice alerted Mara to tread carefully and she replied, "very much Master." The Emperor nodded his head and said, "Then Mara Jade, I have another gift for you." She fought back a heavy sigh and her brain almost exploded with "What now!" She remained silent and swallowed down any temper she may have mustered. The Emperor motioned and Luke Skywalker stepped forward. Mara's eyes flared in anger, surely the Emperor knew she detested Luke, why was she called in audience before him to receive Luke? Luke for his part refused to meet Mara's intense glare and looked at the Emperor instead, knowing what his plan was. Palpatine continued, "Your gift will be the honor of being Luke Skywalker's bride."

Mara stared at the Emperor in shocked silence. Her mind was a cacophony of screams, 'What? This cannot be happening? Why? I am going to faint..." The Emperor taking her silence as acceptance pressed on, "The wedding will be in two months time. Until then I suggest that you two spend some time together. You will still be at my bidding Mara Jade, but unless I call for you, you will now answer to Luke. Do you understand?"

Again only in her mind Mara Jade could hear herself, "Understand? How could I understand this? You're all but selling me like a droid to this provincial pup of Vader's!" She cleared her throat and said in a tiny choked whisper, "yes master." The Emperor sneered at her and said, "Luke, see your affianced back to her chambers." Luke offered his hand to Mara to assist her in rising, then seeing her expression pulled it back. 'Good idea', Mara thought if you want to keep that hand.


They walked in silence, Mara still flabbergasted by what had just happened, truly not accepting that she was awake. Luke beside her in quiet concentration, this was certainly a complication his family's plans could not go on with Mara Jade in the midst of all of them. He must find some way to keep her at bay, while still obeying the Emperor's mandates. Was the Emperor suspicious? Had he made some kind of error alluding Palpatine to their designs? He glanced at Mara who had seemed to go catatonic. Deep inside Luke gave a little huff of wounded pride, what was so wrong about being married to him? But then he was pulled back into the reality of this problem, how was he going to manage this?

In truth Mara felt catatonic, surely she must wake up soon...any time now...

They came to a dead end, and Luke asked softly, "I'm not certain where your rooms are, but I think we must have passed them." Mara blinked several times and looked around in surprise and replied, 'Yes, I don't think this is the right floor." Luke laughed and said, "Ok, do you know where it is?" Mara took a deep breath still reeling and said, "Yes, I believe so."

They stepped into a lift and went to the highest floor Luke said, "Ah, we are on the same floor. I didn't know that you lived up here." Mara stammered, 'I umm...I didn't until last week. The Emperor gave me new quarters..." Suddenly it was all blazingly clear...he had meant her to be Skywalker's wife, to be part of the Sith inner sanctum, to be one of them and...Mara bit the inside of her lip furiously...to carry on their line. She would NOT! That was one thing she could control, she would never sleep with Luke Skywalker...ever. If only out of spite, that she could at least be in control of one aspect of her life.


When they finally arrived at Mara's door she felt as though she was going to be sick and Luke looked like he couldn't wait to get away from her. He struggled finding the right words, 'Well, I suppose we will be seeing one another. Do you have plans for tomorrow?" Mara shook her head and Luke continued, "I was going to practice dueling with my lightsaber would you like to join me?" Mara blinked rapidly and said, "I'm not very skilled with a lightsaber." Luke smiled his blue eyes shining and said, "Come then at dawn, and I will teach you." If Mara had been in her right mind, if she had not just had the shock of her life she would have told Luke Skywalker just where to put his "lightsaber lessons" as it was all she could manage was a nod. Luke looked unsure of how to leave her, he simply bowed his head awkwardly and backed away from her before he turned and walked briskly away.

Mara walked inside feeling relief that this was indeed her room, as she had still been unsure as they stood outside her door. She sat hard on the plush sofa and said aloud to herself, "What am I going to do? How can I be Luke Skywalker's wife?"

Luke rushed to see his father, who had read the entire ordeal through Luke's mind. In his father's private chambers Vader could remove the cumbersome suit and be merely Anakin in his son's presence. Luke walked in and shook his head at his father who raised both hands in a futile attempt to calm his son, "Luke, I know. Don't worry you can shield your mind from her. We will find a way around this...complication."

Luke bit on the last and said, 'Complication! Father, I've just been told that in two months that I will have a wife, and that the wife will be MARA JADE! The EMPEROR'S HAND! Now! When we are so close to achieving our goal, the goal you have strived and sacrificed everything for. I have jeopardized our plans. I should not have come here."

Anakin motioned for Luke to sit beside him, Luke complied and Anakin said, "You had to come here Luke, I could not have done this without you. I thought I would have achieved this particular goal long ago, but I could not do it on my own. He was simply too powerful, I would have been killed and it would have all been for nothing. I stood by and watched the empire commit heinous acts. I watched them destroy your sister's home by Tarkin's suggestion while she stood helpless at my side and in unbearable pain and could say nothing. You, Luke you have made all the difference. You and I can defeat him once and for all and restore the galaxy to its former glory. Yes, this is a problem but we will find a way to defeat it."

He smoothed his sons unruly hair and Luke looked at his father and said, "I don't have any idea how I am supposed to go through with this convincingly. I have convinced everyone here that I am the perfect consummate sith, heartless and cruel, but now? Is it possible for me to lie completely to someone who will be so close?"

Anakin's head snapped up and asked, "Who said that she will be close to you? Palpatine has ordered this marriage and it must happen but that doesn't mean that you have to be a loving and attentive husband to a woman who would just assume shoot you than look at you. The ceremony will take place, but this will change nothing. Do you understand Luke? The Emperor strategically placed one of his best assassins in your hands, to watch you closely. But she cannot be trusted Luke, I know in your good heart it is your instinct to treat all women with kindness and respect, but keep in mind who this is...a very extension of Palpatine himself."

Luke stared at the floor for several moments, "That's very difficult for me, I can feel how good she really is. He's polluted her, if we could change her mind..." Anakin stood and yelled, "No Luke! We are too close to risk everything! Mara Jade was raised here in the palace, I ripped her from her home and brought her here to be the Emperor's Hand. She will always be loyal only to him. Remember that son, she will not be our ally, for the moment she will only be in our way. It's up to you to ensure that she doesn't stay that way."