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 Home (L/M/B, TUF missing moment) [VIG] 
Trace
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Joined: 20 Jul 2007
Posts: 430
Location: Tennessee
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Title: Home
Rating: G
Genre: Drama, vignette
Main characters: Luke, Mara, Ben
Summary: Missing moment from The Unifying Force.
Disclaimer: George owns it and I write for free.


~*~*~*~*~



Prologue - from The New Jedi Order, Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream

Jaina felt it through the Force, an outpouring of pain that roared out of Mara like water through a shattered dam. It washed across Jaina and she was suddenly lost in it—

years alone the cold of space in her heart the Emperor’s hand avenge his death and then Luke what does hate become Ben so small was I ever that small will I ever see him again do I deserve to be his mother

It folded Jaina over like a snap-kick to her stomach. She lurched back into the door, but Mara, eyes closed, somewhere deep within herself, didn’t seem to hear.


* * *

<Two years later >


Mara raced down the steps of the cargo hold, “Luke! What are you doing? It’s time!” He answered from somewhere behind the stores of ration bars. “You’re what?” she asked the nearest crate.

He stuck his head around a tower of water tanks, “I’m looking for the chocolate. I told him I’d bring some the next time we saw him.”

“I seriously doubt he remembers that...are you sure we have any chocolate?” Mara asked while scanning the various storage compartments surrounding them. His muffled response was cut short when she plucked a small box from over her head and thrust it toward him, “Here.” Luke looked at the container and then at his wife. Sometimes, he could almost swear that she had laser vision. “No,” she winked, “you just have man-vision. Ready to go?”

He grinned and tucked the package into his belt, “All set.” Taking the steps two at a time, they climbed out of the cargo hold and hurried through the Jade Shadow.

Striding hand in hand across the rolling green landscape of Zonama Sekot, they approached the plain where a shuttle from the Errant Venture was scheduled to land. Mara forced herself to walk slower than she would’ve liked. She knew he wouldn’t complain, especially not today, but Luke was still feeling the effects of the poison in Shimrra’s amphistaff. They joined the anxious crowd that had already gathered and took turns peering into the horizon for any sign of the approaching ship.

Mara’s restless gaze fell on a woman standing at the edge of the crowd. She stood alone, arms wrapped around her chest, staring straight ahead. Her name was Rory and her husband, a Jedi, had been gone for almost a year now. This would be the first time she’d seen her two children since his death. Her rigid posture declared her pain, yet she was determined to be brave for her daughters. Closing her eyes, Mara squeezed Luke’s hand and bowed her head. Just days ago, she’d almost been a widow herself. Taking a deep breath, Mara moved to stand beside Rory, but Leia was already there.

Arms linked together, the two women gazed into the sky. There was a time when Leia’s children would also have been among the youngest members of the Jedi Academy. But now, even though her husband and grown twins were mingling with the waiting crowd, her youngest son would not be arriving today...or any other day. Sharing a quiet grief and drawing strength from each other, Leia and Rory stood tall and silent.

Mara felt a strong arm encircle her shoulders and looked over to see Luke watching his sister. The not-too-distant grief still pooled in his eyes as he drew her even closer to his side. Waiting together for their only son, they leaned on each other and breathed a mutual sigh of relief. They were lucky...and grateful.

A shout brought everyone to attention, “There it is!” One hundred necks craned to watch the silvery vessel and its precious cargo arrive. A hush fell over the crowd as the shuttle settled onto the plain. Mara held her breath while Luke rubbed his thumb repeatedly against her palm – a sure sign that he was nervous. By all outward appearances, he was the calm and serene Jedi Master. But she knew that he had already locked onto Ben’s presence and was ready to leap to his side, should the boy even stub his toe while exiting the ship.

Stars! How long did it take to lower a landing ramp? Fingering her lightsaber, Mara was beginning to wonder if she could be of assistance, when the landing platform finally descended. The oldest children came out first and ran headlong into the waiting arms of their parents and siblings. The air erupted with shouts and laughter. Luke and Mara smiled as they watched Rory’s daughters tackle her to the ground with enthusiastic hugs.

Leia stepped back to find herself flanked by her own children who clasped her hands in theirs and sent her bursts of love and encouragement through the Force. She smiled, pulling them close, and was almost toppled by a blur of red-gold that darted past. Little Ben Skywalker had appeared at the top of the ramp and Force help anyone unfortunate enough to be in his mother’s path. Mara did not see the ship or the ground or the distance between them; she only saw the most beautiful child in the galaxy calling her name, “Mommy!”

For all she knew, the Force may have carried him into her embrace for she was suddenly surrounded by his little arms, and the breath that she had been holding for two long years was exhaled in a sob of joy. “My baby,” she whispered, pressing her lips to his strawberry-blonde hair and inhaling his sweet scent. “My brave little boy.” The rift in her soul that had been pulsing with private pain was mended by his sweet kisses.

Looking over her shoulder, Ben struggled against his mother’s firm hold, “Daddy!” Mara lowered him to the ground and he pelted toward his father as fast as his stubby legs could carry him. Luke knelt and flung out his arms. Years ago, he wouldn’t have believed that his arms could yearn for anyone other than his wife - but they had ached for his son. Sweeping Ben off the ground, he embraced the warmth that finally soothed the longing in his limbs.

Mara watched their reunion, the light in her eyes bright enough to illuminate a Death Star. Her husband was a handsome man, but never moreso than when he was holding his son. Luke reached out and pulled her to his side. Embracing the two halves of her heart, she knew that she could never ask for more happiness than she felt at this moment.

“Okay, you two,” Leia announced. “You’ve had your turn, now let me see my nephew.” Luke laughed and passed Ben to his impatient Aunt. “Hi there,” she grinned, bouncing him on her hip. “Remember me?”

Han stepped up behind her and ruffled the boy’s already-unruly hair, “Hey kiddo! You’ve gotten big enough to pull the ears off a Gundark.”

Ben promptly grabbed his uncle by the ear and announced, “Eawr!”

Han grimaced and pried the tiny fingers away from his head, “Well, there’s one word you don’t have to teach him.”

“Which one?” Jaina asked, lifting her cousin and swinging him in the air. “Ear or Gundark?” Fortunately, Han’s response was drowned out by Ben’s squeal of delight.

“I don’t think his parents are ready for him to learn that phrase yet, Dad,” Jacen laughed while reaching for Ben and swinging him even higher into the air.

Han sported a crooked smile, “Better slow down there, son. You won’t be laughing when he gets sick on you.” Jacen stopped abruptly and, sure enough, Ben’s eyes were twirly and he looked a little pale.

Luke rescued his dizzy son and surveyed the scene around him. Smiles and tears mingled freely among the reunited families, yet it was a bittersweet day. The war had left many orphans and the Academy children were no exception. Kam and Tionne had worked tirelessly to locate surviving family members and petitioned for foster homes when none could be found. The responses they had received were humbling. Without hesitation, Jedi families and couples had volunteered not to foster, but to adopt every child who had been left homeless by the war. Many of these children were meeting their new parents for the first time today and Luke could almost hear the whispers of gratitude in the Force from his fallen comrades.

Luke's danger sense flared seconds before Ben dove headfirst for the ground, “Whoa, where are you going?” He caught the determined toddler and lowered him to the ground. Mara knelt beside them and followed Ben’s gaze.

The child had spotted a flock of small white birds indigenous to Zonoma Sekot and pointed, “Whas zat?”

Mara smiled, “Those are birds.

“Berwds?” he confirmed. Reaching toward the flock with both arms, he asked, “Ben haf berwds?”

Luke hesitated, “Well, no, son – they’re not...”

But Ben could not resist the enticing feathers any longer and took off running toward the flock, arms still outstretched, “Mine!”

The birds promptly scattered into the sky and Ben stopped, “Where berwds go?”

Mara’s stomach clenched at the sight of her distraught son. Hoping to comfort him, she answered gently, “The birds flew away, sweetie. They went home.”

“Berwds go home?” Bottom lip quivering, Ben looked to his father for a second opinion, “Where berwds go?”

Luke swallowed and glanced at his wife. Great. Their son had been back for less than an hour and he was already disappointed. Mara was starting to speak when he suddenly remembered the container tucked into his belt. Kneeling down, he held out the package, “Ben! Look what I’ve got.”

Curiosity overriding his confusion, Ben ran to his father. Luke popped a small morsel into his mouth and then held one out to Ben, “It’s chocolate.” After one tentative bite, Ben’s face lit up in a huge chocolaty smile. “Bewrds” forgotten, Luke reminded himself to apologize to Han and Leia for every time he had silently condemned the use of bribery with small children.

Resting an approving hand on his shoulder and reaching for a piece of chocolate, Mara whispered, “Good save, Daddy.”

* * *

Mara entered their sleeping quarters aboard the Jade Shadow that evening to find Ben bouncing on the bed, his infectious laughter filling the cabin. He stopped abruptly and reached for another a piece of “chocwate.” Eating chocolate and jumping on the bed were probably not the best before-bed activities for a two year-old, Mara thought, but she just smiled and sat down beside Luke.

Ben climbed between them and looked expectantly from one parent to the other, “Where berwds go?”

Mara stifled a laugh. Leia had warned her about the incessant and repeated questions from toddlers. “They went home, sweetie. They went home to their Mommies and Daddies.”

Looking around at the vaguely familiar surroundings, he asked in a small voice, “Ben go home?”

Mara’s voice caught in her throat. It was true. Finally true. A wave of emotion from Luke mirrored her own, as did the tears welling up in his eyes. Finding her voice and cupping the sweet, chocolate-covered face in her hands, she answered with tears spilling down her cheeks, “Yes, baby. You’re home.”


~End
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Blue_but_beautiful


Joined: 01 Aug 2007
Posts: 86
Location: UK
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This was really touching, I always wondered why there wasn't a 'proper' reunion scene for these 3 Sad Love your take on it Smile

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FalconFan


Joined: 21 Feb 2009
Posts: 12
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Just beautiful... I, like so many that struggled through the NJO, wanted so much to see a reunion like this--seeing Jaina and Jacen together with their parents here is all the more poignant, too...considering where the EU went after this... I loved the characterizations, though--Luke and Mara are so dead on, and so good together--and little Ben is so dear! I loved reading this (and truthfully, it's been more than once... Embarassed )--thank you for writing it! Very Happy

FF

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