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 Bravery - L/M, Han, Ben AU - Mara Quote Challenge Response 
Jedi_Emeritus


Joined: 28 May 2008
Posts: 42
Location: Calgary, Canada
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Title: Bravery
Author: Jedi_Emeritus
Timeframe: EU, a few years after TLC
Characters: Luke, Mara, Han, Ben
Genre: AU, vignette, humor
Summary: Few trials require as much courage as braving the fury of an angry wife - especially when a secret is involved.

Notes: This is my response to the Mara quote challenge on the TFN boards and is AU. I also managed to slip a Star Trek quote in for good measure!

Bravery

“I gotta tell you, kid, you sure know how to make an entrance.”

Luke glanced over at his friend, still annoyed with the mob of holo-reporters who had dogged their steps from the short walk into the famed Manarai Medical Center. “I wouldn’t have to make an entrance, if someone hadn’t let the maalraas out of the bag.”

“It wasn’t my fault; how could I know some sleemo reporter was listening in when I was talking to Corran?”

“You just don’t get it, do you, Han?” Luke responded with some disgust. “It was supposed to be a secret; you know, as in secret. You shouldn’t have been talking to Corran in the first place.”

“Oh, come on, Luke, what harm is there in Corran knowing?”

Luke shook his head and glanced down at his young son who was walking between them absorbed in his candy treat.

“Ben, when you get older, make sure you never trust Uncle Han with a secret. You hear me? Uncle Han is not to be trusted.”

Ben gazed up at his father, his three year-old face liberally smeared with the confection he was so determined to shove into his mouth all at once. “Uncle Han’s funny.”

“He won’t be nearly as funny when your mother gets through with him,” Luke muttered under his breath.

“You aren’t going to tell her, are you?” The look of trepidation on Han’s face was almost comical.

“I’m sorry, are you still here? Should you be running very fast right about now?”

Victims run off and hide. Prey runs off and hides. But I'm not a victim. And I'm not prey.

“Just keep that in mind when Mara is staring you down, Han. You’ll wish you’d run.”

Oh, Jedi sarcasm. I'm wounded.

“Who said anything about sarcasm? You know my wife, Han.”

Grumbling, Han chose not to reply, instead allowing a silence to descend between them as they entered the lift. Luke punched in the level he was going to and stared moodily at the wall as the lift steadily climbed to their destination. It was not just the secret being out, Luke knew, which would set his temperamental wife off. News of his impending departure on his newly appointed mission would certainly not sit well with her either, especially under the present circumstances.

The lift doors opened and the three stepped out into the quiet corridors, making their way to the level’s reception area. Quickly discovering the location of his wife’s room, Luke turned to Han and gestured toward the waiting area.

“You’d better stay here with Ben, Han, while I go in and try to placate her.”

Han regarded him, skepticism evident on his face. “Are you sure about that? After all, it is partially my fault you’re in this fix… Wouldn’t you like some backup?”

“Trust me – it’s better this way.”

“Well, I don't know whether to mark that down as ‘exceptionally daring’ or ‘unusually stupid’, but far be it from me to argue if you mean to take the brunt of her anger. Thanks for taking her on yourself.”

“If you think I’ll let it go at that, you’re sadly mistaken. You’ve always talked about how I owe you, but trust me, Han – you now owe me big time.”

I said thanks already. What do you want, a medal?

“I hardly think a medal will suffice, Han. I’ll ring up a bill for you if we get out of this unscathed.”

“If that’s the way you’re going to be about it, then forget about the thanks. But just in case, I’ll have them prepare a bed for you. Then, you can thank me.”

Luke directed a withering look in Han’s direction, but said nothing to his friend.

“Ben, you stay with Uncle Han while I go see your mother.”

“But I want to see Mama,” the boy responded with a pout.

“It’s just for a few minutes, buddy. You can come in with your uncle after you’ve finished your treat.”

Luke could almost see the wheels churning in his son’s head, but the presence of his candy made him somewhat more tractable and after a moment’s hesitation, he turned to grasp Han’s hand, and allowed himself to be led to a waiting chair. Luke turned and marched through the hallway to confront his wife, reflecting gloomily that she would likely make him pay for the day’s events for some time to come.

The door to his wife’s room was open and she lay back on the bed, propped up against the end, supported by a number of pillows. Her face was pale and wan, and she looked as though she had been through the ringer, which, he knew, she undoubtedly had. Their conversation from the night before rose up in his mind and he recalled her reaction to his insistence that she take it easy. Even though she knew she had been overdoing it, Mara Jade Skywalker was not one to take it easy – under any circumstances.

She was not asleep, although her eyes were closed, and the anger she had not even bothered to hide was almost palpable now that he was so close to her. Her eyes snapped open as he entered the room. Her gaze fixed on him and Luke could tell immediately tell he was in trouble.

“Well, if it isn’t my beloved husband, coming to dote on me.”

Putting on an air of ease and unconcern, Luke moved toward the bed and sat down by his wife’s side, taking one of her delicate hands in his. He could never help but marvel at the dainty nature and softness of Mara’s hands, considering her past and her abilities.

“Mara, you heard what the doctor said. You need to rest and not let stress get to you.”

Yeah, it's true. Now tell me who blabbed so I can go cut his head off.

His wife, Luke reflected, was many things. Subtle was not one of them. “I see you found out.”

“It’s a little hard not to, Skywalker, when every channel on the holonet is talking about it.”

Luke winced at her use of his last name; she only did that when he was seriously in trouble.

“It was Solo, wasn’t it?”

“What makes you think that?” Luke responded, a little too nonchalantly.

The look Mara directed at her husband would have caused a lesser man to flee screaming. A look was all it took – she sat there, waiting for Luke to make the expected confession, clearly not willing to let him off the hook.

Luke hated when she did this.

“Look, Mara—”

“It was Solo.” It was a statement, not a question. “Luke, when are you going to learn that Solo gossips worse than an old woman? I told you we should tell Leia and get her to keep it from him, but you just had to tell him, didn’t you?”

“I’m sure he learned his lesson the last time, Mara,” she mocked, mimicking his voice.

“You’re not going to make this easy for me, are you?”

Oh, come now. When have I ever made anything easy for you?

“Come on, Mara, I think it was about time, you know. We were never going to keep it a secret for as long as you wanted, and Ben…”

Leave Ben out of it! If you so much as breathe on him, I’ll skin you alive, and that’s not a euphemism.

Luke could not help a wry smile from appearing on his face, nor did he want to, knowing it was something Mara found very difficult to withstand.

True to form, Mara glared at him for a moment longer before glancing down at their clasped hands and sighing.

“I suppose it was bound to come out eventually.”

“Undoubtedly.”

“Whatever. Just make certain I’m not jostled by holo-reporters on my way out of here.”

Suddenly remembering the other reason for his trepidation about this confrontation with his wife, Luke cleared his throat nervously. This action was not lost on his perceptive wife.

“What?” she demanded.

“Umm… well… it’s like this—”

“Out with it, Luke.”

“I won’t be here when you are released,” Luke blurted out, deciding to get it over with.

“Won’t be here.” Mara’s voice was flat. “May I ask why?”

“My presence has been requested on a mission. The tense situation has broken into open fighting on—”

“I don’t care where!” she responded angrily, whipping her hand out of his grasp. “How dare you agree to go on a mission at a time like this!”

“Mara—”

“Don’t you ‘Mara’ me, Skywalker. Why did they call you? Why can’t they find someone else?”

Well, what happens if you need a diplomat who can also practice philosophy, fight with a lightsaber, and levitate small objects? Who else are you going to call but us? You know we’re first on the firing line.”

Mara gathered herself with a visible effort and fixed her steely gaze on her husband. “Luke, remember the conversation we had last night?”

At his nod, she continued, “It works both ways Luke. You can’t take on all the injustices in the galaxy by yourself. You need to step back and let others assume some of the burden, especially now.”

“I know, Mara, and I mean to do so. My presence was specifically requested on this mission and my inclusion was agreed upon by the inner council before I was even consulted.”

“Since when do they not specifically request your presence?”

Luke smiled again. “You’ve got me there.”

“Well, in that case, I guess I’ll just have to get up and go with you. I don’t trust anyone else to pull your butt out of the fire when it gets singed.”

Luke pushed his wife back down on the bed when she made to get up. It was a good thing, he reflected, that she was in no shape to resist, or he just might find the wrong part of his anatomy at the business end of her lightsaber.

“Mara, you heard what the doctor said. Avoid stress and get plenty of bed rest. No missions for you.”

Though her heart and her head wanted to disobey, her body could not resist – she sank back down into the pillows and glared up at him. “It’s your fault I’m in this predicament in the first place.”

“You weren’t exactly an unwilling participant, Mara.”

“Don’t change the subject.”

“Who’s changing the subject? Don’t you think it’s a little unfair to place all the blame on me?”

I always play fair. Exactly as fair as my opponents.

“So now I’m an opponent?”

“You are when you get me in this situation and then leave to go on a jaunt halfway across the galaxy.”

Luke’s response was mercifully interrupted by a tangle of arms and legs which ran through the open door and launched itself at Mara. Luke had never been so happy for his son’s interference.

“Mommy, Daddy got me a treat,” he exclaimed, as he planted a wet, sticky kiss on his mother’s cheek.

“Oh, he did, did he?” Mara responded dangerously, glaring up her husband once again. The effect of her glare, of course, was somewhat diluted by the rather comical affect of a gooey substance left on her face from Ben’s kiss.

Blithely unaware of his mother’s tone, Ben nodded excitedly just as Han poked his head in the door.

“Speaking of opponents,” Mara muttered.

“Uh… hi, Mara,” Han said, sauntering into the room.

“What are you doing here, Solo?”

Han assumed a hurt expression. “What, can’t I come visit my favorite sister-in-law?”

“Not when your favorite, and I might mention only, sister-in-law is out for blood.”

“I’m injured, Mara,” Han responded, cheekily. “I came in person for a couple of reasons, actually.”

“Really?”

“Yes, really. First, I came to apologize for ‘letting the maalraas out of the bag’ as the kid here put it.”

“I believe this is where you kiss and make up, Mara,” Luke interjected.

His wife’s venomous glare silenced him immediately.

“And the other reason? You could have commed me – it would almost certainly have been healthier.”

The other reason I came in person, is that occasionally – for some unknown reason – I almost look forward to seeing you, Mara. Not often… but there are times.

“I’m touched.”

“And I’m apologetic. Can’t you just forgive me and let it go?”

His overly-charming manners and lopsided grin caused Mara’s lips to raise in a reluctant smile – undoubtedly Han’s intent. Luke could not help but grin in response – life with his wife and her relationship with Han was always a challenge – but never boring.

“Oh, all right, Solo; I will forgive you just this once.”

“Reprieved!” Han exulted. “Saved from the scaffold once again!”

“It’s not that simple, Solo.”

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'd be just as happy if this stayed nice and simple.

Mara shook her head, the gleam in her eye causing Luke to shiver. “Oh, don’t think you’re getting off that lightly. Remember: ‘revenge is a dish best served cold’.”

“But you just said you forgave me,” Han sputtered, a worried look in his eye.

“Just because I forgive you doesn’t mean I’ll forego my revenge. Now, please wait outside, Han; my husband and I have a few more things to talk about.”

Knowing better than to push her further, Han executed a courtly bow, worthy of Lando at his most sycophantic, and exited the room.

“Yes, dear?” Luke asked, smiling at his now calm wife.

“Even though I know I’m talking to a duracrete wall, you will promise me you’ll be careful, won’t you?”

“Mara, it’s me.”

“I know, Skywalker… I know.”

Ben giggled at his parents’ banter and snuggled closer to his mother, looking for all the world though he was about to fall asleep on her.

“Promise me, Luke – no risks. I don’t want to become a widow, nor do I want your children to grow up without a father.”

“I promise, Mara. Does that make you feel better?”

“A little,” Mara bit out grudgingly. “When do you leave?”

“Immediately. The sooner I leave, the sooner I get back to you and Ben.”

Mara gazed at his eyes and Luke could sense her indecision, obviously torn between being angry he would be leaving right away and pleased that he wanted to be back as quickly as possible.

“May the Force be with you,” she finally said, leaning in for a quick kiss.

Luke savored the feeling of closeness with his wife and allowed their Force senses to mingle, a privilege and pleasure he still relished. Rising, he kissed his now sleeping son on the head and began walking from the room.

“Luke.” Mara’s voice arrested his progress and he turned to regard her. “I told you this before, but apparently I have to say it again – Darling, I love you, you are my life and my light. If you ever do this to me again, I will vape you where you stand.

Luke laughed out loud. “I didn’t believe you before, why do you think I’d believe you now?”

Mara’s voice assumed a quality of mock sternness. “You better believe me this time, Luke.”

“I’ll take it into consideration. Maybe I’ll wait until after you hold this one in your arms to take you seriously.”

Mara motioned with her hand, shooing him out of the room while settling down to take a nap with her son in her arms.

At the open door, Luke stopped and looked back into the room. “By the way, it’s a girl this time, you know.”

And he ducked out of the room, just in time to avoid the pillow which hurtled out through the open door.

_________________
Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic.
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