SEVERAL WEEKS LATER…
"Let no one here doubt the wisdom of the force…may the force always be with you both and in your life together."
Kam stood before them but Luke and Mara only had eyes for one another. As the weeks dragged by slowly they'd spent every possible moment together, and soon came to realize that there was no mistaking this for a fluke. This in fact, was the real thing.
As the stone clicked together between them seamlessly, the crowds cheered.
Kam pronounced happily, "May I present to you, Luke & Mara Skywalker. Luke you may kiss your bride."
Mara smiled, and Luke stepped forward taking her happily into his arms both of them having a hard time not smiling from their sheer joy as they kissed.
They walked arm in arm back down the row of Jedi who created an archway with their colorful lightsabers.
Tionne met them first, "Master Skywalker, Knight Jade Skywalker. My sincerest congratulations, I know that you two will be very happy together."
Mara hugged the fair haired woman, "Thank you for all of your help Tionne, it was beautiful."
Leia teased within earshot, "I think I had a little to do with it too!"
Mara hugged her new sister in law while Karrde shook Luke's hand, "I didn't think it was possible to see her so happy Skywalker. She looks more joyful than I have ever seen her. Well done."
Luke admitted, "I feel the same way Karrde. Thank you for being here today to support her."
The information broker nodded, "Of course. It was my pleasure. Mara…"
Mara turned to her former boss and he congratulated her with a warm embrace, "I am very proud of how far you have come. You be a good wife to him now all right?"
She nodded smiling, "I will. Thanks for everything Karrde, if you hadn't told me about what was going on with him. This day never would have happened."
Karrde smiled shooting a knowing look to Han, "Oh I think it would have eventually. You have some very insightful determined allies on your side my dear. Be well Mara, I'll be in touch."
"You're leaving already?"
He gave a wry smile, "Never a dull moment with me. You know that."
Mara smiled back at the man who was much more than an employer to her, "I do. Clear skies."
Before Mara could get misty about Karrde leaving Luke whispered in her ear, "I am dying to get you out of here! Shall we head to our waterfall later?"
Mara smiled brightly, "The waterfall? I thought we were going off planet for our honeymoon?"
Luke rose his eyebrows, "That's what I told everyone. They'll never know if we sneak over there and spend a few days. Then we can be completely alone."
Mara frowned, "Sleeping on the ground, in the sand for our honeymoon? Farmboy you should know better!"
Luke smiled knowingly, "I do."
Mara looked at him quizzically, "You're not making any sense! You get a tent or something? Are we sleeping on puff cots?"
Luke kissed her shoulder, "I'll show you later. Right now we have some socializing to do. Then…Mara Jade Skywalker I'll have you all to myself."
She beamed taking his hand, "For the rest of your life."
After the toasts were given, and everyone warmly thanked Luke led Mara towards their special hideaway. Mara scoffed, "Luke, I'm in a wedding dress!" she gestured to the simple but elegant garment, "I can't go tromping through the jungle!"
Luke sighed, and without a word swung her up easily into his arms.
She yelled, "Luke! What are you doing!?"
He laughed, "You're not tromping through the jungle I am."
She laughed, "Can't we go change our clothes first?"
Luke sent her a wry smile, "Nope."
She wrapped her arms around his neck, "Are you gonna carry me the whole way?"
Luke shrugged, "I really don't mind."
Mara rolled her eyes, resting her head on his shoulder, "Suit yourself."
She was quite comfortable, she trusted Luke implicitly and the gentle rocking of his footsteps was slowly lulling her to sleep.
Luke knew that she was dozing off, he didn't want to wake her. It had been a very exhausting but wonderful day. But he knew that they were getting close to the waterfall.
"Mara…sweetheart? Mrs. Skywalker?"
She groaned softly, "Yeah?"
He stretched his neck to kiss the top of her head, "We're at the brush, I'm gonna put you down now okay?"
She nodded and stretched as her feet hit the ground.
He took her hand, "Mara…after we came here the first time and you agreed to marry me this spot became truly magical to me."
Mara smiled, "Me too."
"I know. That's why I wanted to give you a very special wedding gift."
Mara looked at him quizzically, "Are you giving me the place?"
Luke chuckled, "No. Well…not quite."
He lifted the brush and heard her gasp as she walked through.
"Luke! How did you do this!?"
He smiled brilliantly at her, "It took a little bit of doing."
Before them up on the ledge, just on the crest of the rushing waterfall was a beautiful house built perfectly over the water to not to disturb its natural order. It was designed so the waterfall looked as though it was rushing effortlessly from the home itself.
Mara shook her head, "Luke…it's beautiful, and it's perfect!"
Relief washed through him, with Mara one could never tell what she would think. Life was always an adventure with her.
"Shall we go see our new home Mrs. Skywalker?"
She took his hand as he led her over the rocks to their new home. It was nestled so neatly into the surrounding foliage and water that it was grand without being overstated. Clearly he'd been doing a lot more than she suspected while she was planning a wedding. No wonder he hadn't wanted to come to their spot!
He had actually used the water to lay out magnificent grounds, everything was incorporated into the jungle seamlessly.
He opened the door and let her walk in first, she gasped.
The whole front of the house facing the waterfall was a wall of crystal clear transparisteel revealing the sparkling night sky glinting off of the dark water; Luke had even added several lights around the water hole to illuminate it at night for them.
In the middle of the house was a column conservatory that went from the top of the house which was two stories deep into the earth. Mara looked down inside of it and looked at Luke who answered, "It goes behind the waterfall, there were caverns back there so I made the conservatory go underground so we can explore them."
Their was a great spiraling staircase wrapped with ornate delicate railings. The ceilings were high and the rooms large and airy, it cooled the home effortlessly
Their furnishings had been moved from their apartment in the academy but the tans and neutrals they favored suited their new home perfectly.
Mara took a deep breath and moved to the window running her fingers along the cool surface; slightly overwhelmed…she had a home. At last. She'd never had a home before, nothing that was truly her own. There were places she had lived but never anything that was hers…he'd given that to her.
More than just his name, he'd given her a home!
He'd given her everything, his love and support, his devotion and his loyalty.
"You've given me the same thing." He whispered behind her.
She turned and he added, "I always longed for more, standing on a dune looking out at the horizon…wishing that my life would begin. It never did. Not until you came into it. Now, all I want is you. Master Yoda said that I was reckless, that I craved excitement and danger. He was right. But now…the only excitement I want is the life I have with you, the only danger I want is the kind you'll save me from."
She smiled at him and he continued, "I wanted to do this, for us. You gave me a home too. I am no longer reckless, I have too much to live for."
She hugged him tightly willing her eyes not to well up in happy tears. She sighed, "Thank you Luke. This is the fourth most wonderful thing you've ever given me."
Luke laughed pulling back to look in her eyes, "The fourth? Really? This has got to be number one. I mean I know I gave you a lightsaber but this is a much bigger deal. I had to call Leia and have her help me purchase the land, then find builders..."
Mara shook her head, "No that's not what I meant. There are three other things that you have given me that are infinitely more precious."
He stared at her waiting for an explanation and she took a deep breath and began, "You gave me your heart, and it was hard for you to do because it was broken. You also gave me the freedom to be myself, and to finally trust someone enough to bear my soul."
Luke ran his hands up and down her arms, and she put her hands on his chest.
"And the other?" he asked
She looked at her hands and could feel his heart beating underneath them. His strong, steadfast heart…
She swallowed, "The other…is…"
She couldn't fight the hot tears in her eyes anymore, "The other…is…"
She grasped his hand and moved it, over her chest, down her stomach and to her abdomen, "Here."
Luke gave a little gasp, "You mean…you mean…"
She finally met his eyes, "I found out yesterday. Cilghal told me."
Luke's own eyes glistened, "Mara…how?"
She raised an eyebrow and retorted dryly, "How?"
He rolled his eyes, "Okay not how…but maybe…ummm…wow?"
Mara nodded, "Definitely wow. I didn't even realize what I was sensing until she pointed it out."
Luke reached out in the force until he felt the small life, a perfect blend of his and Mara's force signatures.
"Wow…" he was rendered speechless.
Mara felt a bit of apprehension, "This is okay right?"
Luke's eyes snapped back up to hers, "Yes! Oh force Mara…" he hugged her gently, "Yes, this is more than okay this is wonderful. More than I ever imagined!"
She clung to him greedily, laying her head on his shoulder. She had been in a torment the last day deciding how she felt about this new development. Would it hinder her? Would she come to resent her baby for curbing her independence?
She inwardly cursed herself for thinking such things…this new life was a blessing, one she had never seen coming and she was infinitely grateful. She'd never had a family, and now she did. She had a husband and a home, and a baby.
Luke was awestruck...who got everything they wished for on one day and even things they didn't think to ask for. Mara was his wife, and she was carrying their child! How did one get to be so lucky? He had a family, his beautiful wonderful wife and their child...his child...force...
He whispered, "I've given you something, and you have given me something too. Thank you Mara, for trusting me, for saving me, for loving me all of it. For the things you've done, the things that you do and the things you will do, thank you."
Mara kissed him, then asked softly, "Saved you? When's the last time I saved you?"
Luke smiled warmly, "You saved me from Callista remember? If not for you…I don't know what would have happened."
Mara's eyes sparkled at him with unshed tears, "Stupid hormones, well…you are immensely welcome. I would always save you Skywalker."
Luke kissed the tip of her nose, "Right back at you Skywalker."
Mara rolled her eyes, "Oh that's right. I'd better watch that from now on."
Luke laughed, "No more 'jedi' insults either."
Mara smiled brightly, "I can still call you farmboy."
Luke embraced her again, "Yes, that you can."
Leia looked at her own children, quietly sleeping. Jacen was draped over the arm of the sofa his datapad just beyond his fingers reach where he had dropped it on the floor. Jaina reclined next to him into the soft cushions and was daintily snoring, Anakin was nearly face down on the floor.
Leia chuckled, Anakin could always sleep wherever and whenever...he got that from his father.
She moved to the other room when her com link chimed noisily.
"It's Luke...Mara too. So I guess it's the Skywalkers."
Leia could hear their laughter and almost wanted to roll her eyes at the sweetness of newlyweds. Almost.
"How is everything going? I didn't think to be hearing from you so soon, did she love the house? Shouldn't you be busy honeymooning?"
Luke cleared his throat, "Hey! I'm only one man!"
Leia cringed, "Okay!"
Mara interjected, "Yes Leia I absolutely love the house, it's perfect thank you for helping farmboy. Actually we have something that we need to tell you."
Leia's interest piqued, "Yes?"
She could almost hear the smiles on the other end of the com link and Luke said, "You are going to be an Aunt!"
"I AM?" She screamed into the com link, violently raising her sleeping children in the other room but that didn't stop her.
"Luke! Mara! I am so happy for the both of you! That's so wonderful! How far along are you?"
Mara answered, "About five weeks."
Leia asked, "Five weeks? But that would be just after the ball!"
Luke retorted, "Yeah, we've done the math too. Thanks for having her wear the green dress."
Leia laughed, "Oh yes, well it all turned out for the best. I am absolutely thrilled."
Han came into the room where all three of his children were sitting grumpily.
"What's going on?"
Leia poked her head into the other room, "Luke and Mara!"
Han shrugged, "Yeah Leia, that's kind of old news. We're gonna have a heck of a time getting the kiddos back to sleep."
Leia shook her head, "No, Nerf! Luke and Mara are having a baby!"
Han stood stupefied, "They're having a baby?"
Leia nodded, "You're gonna be an Uncle Han! And me, I'm gonna be Aunt Leia!" she squealed and said into the com, "I have to go, but I want you to two to know that I love you both and I am so happy for you!"
She leapt at her husband, "A baby!"
He caught her in his arms laughing, "Better them than us."
Leia looked at him, "Aren't you excited?"
"That it's not us? You bet."
She shook her head at him, "Honestly!"
He laughed, "I'm glad for them. It's not an easy gig but..."
He looked at his three children, Anakin was settling back into the carpet and Jaina was furious with Jacen for hogging the datapad and making her sentiments known...loudly.
"It's the best."
Leia kissed him, "It all worked out. It's amazing and I never thought it would but it really did. Luke and Mara got married and now they're having a baby."
Han nodded, "It's rare when things work out like that."
Leia eyed him suspiciously, "I think they had some help with that. I saw the look Karrde gave you at the wedding."
Han put his arms out, "What? Little old me?"
The link to see Luke & Mara's waterfall house is crosbyconstruction Waterfall House
I want to sincerely thank everyone who has read and enjoyed the story, and thank you for reviewing!