Han and Leia sat on a low landing, almost completely obscured from view by large sweeping trees. They could still see the twinkling lights of the balcony and the slow moving forms of Luke and Mara. Han smiled wryly in the low light and took Leia's hand asking, "Don't those two know what a wedding night is for?" Leia looked at the high balcony and smiled, "The indisputable proof that they do is in Mara's stomach." Han chuckled, "True."
She stood, releasing his hand and walked to the edge of the water which lapped gently against the stone dock, he followed and pulled her tightly into his arms, she closed her eyes and sighed softly fitting her head neatly into his chest he pressed his cheek against her glossy hair and said quietly, "I wish it was our wedding night."
Her eyes snapped open and she pulled back quickly to look at him, 'Really? I mean...what I mean is...really?"Han laughed, "Hey, do you think a guy like me is gonna blow his chance with a woman like you? Come on."
Leia's tiny brows knitted together and she asked incredulously, "Is this you proposing?"
Han shrugged, nervousness breaking through his tough exterior, "I'm a simple man Leia, not a big romantic like your brother is. I suspect that you know that." Leia smiled and laughed a bit, Han continued, "I know that in a million billion light years that I could never deserve you. But I've talked to Anakin, and he's given me his blessing."
Leia blinked rapidly, completely astounded "You're serious about this." Han nodded, "I am. I love you Leia. I never want to be without you by my side again. I don't have the kind of money that Luke has but I swear I'll get you the ring that you deserve, you'll never want for anything in your life and I promise that I'll be the best husband in the galaxy to you. Will you give me that shot?"
Leia could barely breathe, her heartbeat thundered in her ears, this was it! This was the moment she had longed for from the moment she realized what she felt for Han Solo vastly surpassed any infatuation she had felt before.
Could she be the wife he deserved.? She had never really thought of it that way. Could she make him happy? Could she wake up every day next to him and still love to see his crooked smile?
Yes...she felt it. She knew it with every fiber in her body. It had been there all along.
She smiled brightly, "Yes Han, I'll give you a shot." She flung herself into his arms and he lifted her off the ground, his anxious drumming heart finally slowing back to it's normal pace in time with hers.
Padme sat on the bed with Anakin brushing her long chestnut hair, and laughed asking her husband who lie in the bed reading behind her, "Anakin? Can you feel all this?" He smiled and put down the holopad, "Yes, they're really projecting." Padme replied, "It's so overwhelming, like a fog of just...bliss, from all of them!"
Anakin agreed, "Seems like Han found his courage. Good for him, I'm used to the feeling from Luke and Mara but it's nice to feel Leia's happiness too." Padme shook her head, "The force must be really looking out for us Anakin. I mean, think about how this all could have ended. Very easily we all could have been killed." Anakin nodded distractedly, "Very easily. We were lucky. For now."
Padme reclined and laid on Anakin's chest asking. "What's wrong?" Anakin sighed, "I don't know - I just keep thinking that there is no way that the Empire is going to slink off into the night easily. Sure Palpatine is gone, but his mantel still exists and as long as it does someone could take it up. I know we haven't seen the last of this."
Padme nodded silently. She knew he was right. It wasn't in the character of people in power to merely relinquish it without a struggle. She sighed and said, "Whatever it is we have to be ready." Anakin wrapped his arms tightly around his angel resolving, "Let's just worry about it tomorrow okay? Tonight, we'll just be grateful." She smiled at him and kissed him deeply and he reached out with the force to turn out the lights refusing to break their embrace for a moment.
They danced long into the night, far past when everyone else had gone to bed. Luke spun Mara gracefully to the soft romantic music. She felt so wonderful in his arms, it was the one place she felt at home and she relished in the feeling. He smiled and chuckled softly.
Mara pulled back from his shoulder where she had rested her head and asked, "What's so funny?" he smiled and replied, "I was just thinking about the first time we met." Mara laughed, "And why is that funny? As I recall it wasn't a happy experience."
Luke agreed, "Hmm, but I never told you what I thought of you that first time did I?" Mara smiled, "No, you didn't." Luke moved to her cheek and said, "I saw that long firebrand hair, that skin tight jumpsuit and your breathtaking eyes and I was shocked that someone so beautiful spent their days with a decrepit, disgusting, pitted old geezer. You made it very difficult for me to think anything beyond the jumpsuit."
Mara laughed and Luke asked, "What did you think of me?"
She sobered almost immediately, "Yeah...you probably don't want to know that." Luke chuckled, "That bad huh?" Mara laughed, "Hey! In my defense all I knew about you is that you were Vader's son, and I certainly wasn't overly fond of him." Luke laughed, and moved Mara gracefully against him again, recalling the day they met...
"And this..." the Emperor's rasping voice announced, "Is Mara Jade, Emperor's Hand." Luke's eyes clung to the scarlet haired scowling assassin. Her tight black jumpsuit clung provocatively to her womanly curves. Her ruby hair fell in bountiful waves almost to her waist, her eyes though narrowed in discernment were sparkling green. Luke was gripped with a sense of urgency - he had to know her, he had to talk to her and be around her. There had to be some way.
Mara was used to this reaction from men, she often used their lust for her to her utmost advantage. But this was something else entirely. It was as though this boy could see straight through her. He was force sensitive obviously, she could feel his presence clearly. She was reading his body signals, his respirations had increased, pupils dilated it was obvious that he wanted her.
She sighed quietly, and Luke lowered his gaze courteously, and remembered what he was here for. He pulled his shield firmly into place and shifted a hard glare back at Mara - still blatantly staring but eerily now, as though he were sizing her up.
She felt the challenge blast through her. She fumed, she should have known that any brat of Vader's would be a kriffing sith. 'Let him bring his best game to the table and see who comes out on top.' she sneered
Her eyes fell on the brown eyed young woman who stood on the other side of Vader. Mara nearly laughed at the faint force shield she felt coming from her. She wanted to say, "Trust me girl, if I cared about your secrets I could get to them." But she remained silent, a haughty grin slowly passing across her lips. 'Damn right.' she thought bolstering her own ego.
The Emperor picked up on her disdain and dismissed her quickly lest she say something to jeopardize his new servants. "You may go now Mara Jade." she bowed and sent a sharp look to the trio of Skywalkers and stalked toward the door confidently.
Luke's eyes followed the beautiful assassin out of the room. She felt his gaze and sent a scathing look his direction and he flinched. Luke knew that distraction, especially one that looked the way she did was a weakness and made a mental note to simply forget her.
She moved quickly outside of the door and found herself completely unnerved, she shook it off as best as she could, 'No way is this happening. No way.' was her only thought.
Luke laughed, "No way huh?" Mara poked him in the ribs, "Forget her?"
Luke pulled her close, "Well, I'm glad we got over that foolishness."
Mara nodded moving easily against him, "Me too. Even though we almost died to do so. By the way do we have to say that Palpatine brought us together?"
Luke grimaced, "No I'd rather not. I'd say the force brought us together. It clearly was meant to be, and would have found a way no matter the circumstances. My life wouldn't have been right without you."
Mara smiled, agreeing by pressing her lips against Luke's neck then sobered and said "You know...it won't always be this perfect Luke."
"Do you? Because sometimes we'll fight."
"I can be very stubborn."
"Very true, so can I."
"And I have a bad temper."
"Yes you do."
"There could be a lot more instability in the galaxy."
"I'm certain of it."
"Another threat just as bad as Palpatine could come up."
"We're going to be parents soon, that puts a lot of pressure on us."
"Yes, that's inevitable."
"At some point we will drive each other so nuts, that I may want to kill you."
"You wouldn't be Mara Jade Skywalker if you didn't."
Mara snapped, "Luke! Aren't you scared at all about what could happen? We just overthrew the Empire, we got married, and we're having a baby! That should be enough to cause you some kind of apprehension!"
Luke stayed quiet for a moment, and merely felt her delicate form moving in sync with his. Recalling how they met, was just further proof that this day was a miracle. She was his wife. He could think it, but still not truly believe it.
There was nothing he wouldn't do for her, he knew that everything she had said was true but she had forgotten one indisputable fact.
"Of course I'm scared Mara. But you've left out one thing. Yes, I'm certain that all or most of those things will happen, but whatever we face - we face it together. We're stronger that way, yes our son will present us with challenges, but also he will bring us insurmountable joy. Threats will rise, and we will face them together. Yes, we will fight but it's only because we're strong people with strong ideas. But through all of that I will love you more than anything in the galaxy and I refuse to live a life with you in fear. Wondering what thing will come at us next, always trembling about what could come around the corner. My advice - bring it on. We'll face it together. I will cherish and live in the moment with you for the rest of my life. And I will never stop being grateful for every moment spent with you - whether we're fighting someone else or one another so don't be afraid."
Mara felt her strength bolstered by Luke's statement and leaned her head on his shoulder and said, "Ok, then I promise to not be too awfully bad tempered if you promise to tell me when I am and then duck quickly if I can get my hands on anything to throw at you. And I promise to live in the moment with you, love you always and be grateful."
Luke moved back and took her face tenderly into his hands, and kissed her deeply sending through the force a resolved, 'me too'
Thank you to everyone who read and enjoyed the story. I am already working on a sequel it will have a different title so keep your eyes peeled for it. See you soon! Love, Eradyne