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Trace
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Chapter 10




Grumbling a curse in Huttese, Luke leaned over to retrieve his fallen hydrospanner from the base of a TIE fighter’s hexagonal solar panel. Workspace was limited atop the ship and, at times like this, he missed the semi-even planes of his X-wing, if only to serve as a place to prop his tools.

True to her word, Lady Jade had arranged for him to work on the small Imperial star fighters when not training with her or commanding alongside Admiral Dane. He was wiping engine grease from his hands when she arrived unexpectedly. Dressed in simple fatigues with her hair pulled back in a tail, she could easily have blended in as one of the crew, until she cleared the hangar of all other pilots and mechanics with a wave of her hand. Climbing an access ladder, she joined him on his perch beside the circular cockpit.

“Hi,” he greeted her with a smile.

“Enjoying yourself?” she asked warmly as she settled beside him.

“I am,” he said, gracing her lips briefly with a kiss. “They’re well-built ships, though I can see why the interceptors and bombers are preferred.”

“True,” she answered, picking up the fallen hydrospanner. Leaning gracefully over Luke’s knees, she reached into the control panel where he’d been working and connected the dislodged culprit wires with practiced ease.

“Targeting alignment,” she mumbled, sitting up. “Always a problem.”

Luke, for his part, had been enjoying the view of her shapely curves that even fatigues could not conceal and resisted the urge to pull her back across his lap again as she turned her attention to the vast array of TIE fighters spread out before them.

Larger than the traditional wing of seventy-two fighters housed aboard smaller Star Destroyers, the Avarice hosted an impressive display of firepower in her belly. Jade gazed across multiple squadrons of fighters. “Do you think there will come a time when they are not used for war, Skywalker?”

Luke was surprised by the question, and the fact that she had addressed him by his name for the first time. “What other purposes could they serve?”

“Not many,” she conceded. “In peace time, they could be effective in offensive strikes against crime lords or slave traders.”

“Peace time,” Luke repeated thoughtfully. “Will we ever have peace?”

Her brow furrowed in consideration. “Not while the Emperor lives,” she answered after a pause. “The Old Republic was crumbling years before we were born. The Emperor promised your father that the rule of the Sith would end the Clone War and bring peace. That was over twenty years ago, and the fighting has never stopped.”

Luke pondered this as his father’s words echoed in his mind: Join me, and together we can end this destructive conflict.

“That was why he wanted me to join him,” Luke said quietly. “To end the war.”

“Do you regret it?” She asked. “Not joining him?”

He answered slowly, measuring his words. “I regret that I only knew him as an enemy.”

“Would you have joined him if he had not required you to turn to the dark side?”

Luke laughed, a strangled sound as he remember that fateful duel that seemed a lifetime ago. “That wasn’t an option.”

“What if I told you that it is now?”

Jade turned to face him and met his gaze steadily, her green eyes burning with intensity. “Join me. Together, we can destroy the Emperor.”

He stared back at her, a niggling of understanding forming somewhere on the periphery of his mind. “You want me to help you kill the Emperor?”

“You are a Jedi,” she stated plainly, without insult or derision. “Are you not obligated to be the guardian of peace? To destroy evil?”

“Then I would have to destroy you,” he retorted.

Jade tilted her head in askance. “Do you think I’m evil?”

Luke leaned back against the TIE’s solar panel. Did he? By all appearances, she was a fair and conscientious leader whose subordinates regarded her with the utmost respect and loyalty. He’d only seen her anger once – against the men who had accosted him. Her penchant for promiscuity aside, he’d seen no evidence of cruelty or corruption in her actions. Well, if he didn’t count the months he’d spent hanging on her wall, that was.

Shaking his head, he answered honestly, “I don’t know what you are.”

She acknowledged the statement with a brief, accepting nod before leaning forward to place her hand on his thigh. “You can defeat the Emperor, Luke. He knows this. That’s why he sent the actors to kill you at the masquerade.” Her pause for emphasis was not lost on Luke. “And he will not be as tolerant as Vader. Regardless of what Palpatine tells you, never believe that he wants you for anything more than a slave. He will subjugate you, or he will kill you.”

“Then let me go free.” Luke proposed, taking her hand. “You are powerful, my Lady. You could kill him yourself.”

Her expression hardened even as she threaded her fingers through his. “Your father would have killed him years ago if it was that easy.” Pressing her lips into a line, she looked down at their intertwined hands. “You may go free when he is dead.”

Luke pulled his hand away. “That’s blackmail.”

“That’s a promise,” she said simply.

Her eyes were clear and, in them, he saw no deceit.

“We can end this war, Luke.” Her voice was calm yet determined. “You will be my liaison to the Alliance.”

“With you as the Empress?-”

“Not necessarily,” she interjected quickly. “Many of your leaders in the Alliance were once in positions of influence in the Old Republic. I am certain that a balance of power can be negotiated. We can combine our strengths to restore democracy.”

Again, her words echoed familiar. “You sound like my father.”

Jade looked away and he sensed her thoughts turning inward. “Lord Vader wanted to restore order in the galaxy,” she answered quietly. “I pledged my allegiance to him for that purpose.”

Luke cleared his throat, feeling bolstered by her honesty, and asked, “Was that before or after you were lovers?”

The question startled her from her reverie and she blinked at him, surprised.

Luke shrugged. “You told me yourself, the first day we met, that you’d been,” he paused, searching for a tactful phrase, “intimate with him.”

“You remember that, do you?” Mischief played around her lips in an almost-grin. Luke could have mentioned the fact that he’d heard more than one rumor about her relationship with his father while aboard the Avarice, but he waited for her answer instead.

“It was before,” she said without apology. “As a young woman, I was one of the Emperor’s Hands. You’ve probably never heard of them.”

Luke shook his head ‘no,’ and she continued, “The Emperor placed Lord Vader in charge of my tutoring on lightsaber combat and fleet command. It was during my time with him that I first traveled the galaxy and saw the tyranny of Palpatine’s rule in the lives of upstanding citizens.”

“Somehow, I can’t see you and my father being sent out to combat that type of thing,” Luke commented skeptically.

“We weren’t, but it was everywhere we went. And Lord Vader hated useless waste.” She shifted, as if the memories made her restless. “Your father didn’t sleep much and we spent many nights on the Executor talking about the conflict and how things could be resolved, under the proper leadership. He told me how the Old Republic Jedi and Senate had played into the Supreme Chancellor’s hands; and how he himself had been deceived…”

“By the Emperor,” Luke finished.

She nodded.

“And yet you serve him.”

Her eyes flashed. “As far as he knows.”

Luke couldn’t help but smile at her open disregard for the gnarled sovereign, before his thoughts turned again to his father.

“What happened to him? My father,” he asked.

“Palpatine learned of his treasonous offer to you on Bespin…and executed him,” she answered darkly.

“Will he not do the same to you?” Luke queried. “If he discovers your plot?”

“Possibly,” she answered, standing abruptly and descending the access ladder just far enough to put her at eye-level with Luke. “But Palpatine taught me many things in my youth. Most importantly - how to survive.”

Reaching for him, she slipped her hand behind his neck and pulled is lips to hers in a generous kiss, from which she withdrew slowly. “Think about what I said.”

Luke leaned against the ladder and watched her saunter out of the hangar bay, the taste of her mouth still tingling on his tongue.


* * * * *


Lady Jade was in the shower when he returned to her suite that night and he stood at the entryway, watching her. Guided by her bare hands, water and soap mixed in slick swirls over her fair curves. She turned so that only her back side was visible to him before winking at him over her shoulder with a mouthed, Come in.

He needed no further invitation and stripped off his clothes and boots to join her under the steaming torrent. Brushing against her from behind, he pulled her wet mane aside to kiss the back of her neck.

“I’m not an assassin, my Lady.” His lips vibrated against her skin as he trailed them toward her ear in a determined line. “I cannot promise to kill the Emperor.”

Turning her around, he grasped her shoulders, massaging them lightly. “But I will stand with you against him. If you will truly do as you say.”

She palmed his cheek, returning his earnest gaze. “You have my word.”

Water coursed between them, making their flesh slick as he pulled her close, sliding his hands freely over her bare skin. “Just tell me one thing, my Lady,” he murmured into her ear.

“Mara.” Pulling away, she stood before him naked and still as rivulets of water rolled off her hair and cheeks. “My name is Mara.”

“Mara,” he repeated. Luke had known her name, somewhere in his previous life. He’d never imagined he would have the privilege of speaking it aloud. “Tell me. Would I be here if my father was still alive?”

“Your father wanted you here,” she answered gently. “But you’re really asking about me and him, aren’t you?”

Luke didn’t answer, focusing his attention instead on tracing the outline of her lips with his thumb.

“Lord Vader was always a soul unto himself, but you -” She licked droplets water from her lips and his fingers. “I would have you as my consort, should you consent, when the galaxy is sane again.”

Slipping his hands around her hips, he guided her slowly backwards toward the wall. “Do you not have noble suitors lined up requesting that particular honor?”

“Of course I do,” she answered, her back hitting the damp wall. “Jealous?”

Luke pinned her with his thighs, returning her teasing smirk with undisguised intent. “No,” he breathed against her lips. “I’m not.”

With that, he claimed her mouth, kissing her hot and hard as warm water from the shower pulsed around them. Her fingernails dug into his back, beckoning him deeper. Ignoring the pain, he rubbed his palms firmly down the swells of her breasts and hips. Sliding one hand behind her waist, he brought the other to the front and dipped lower into her wet, womanly folds.

She moaned against his mouth, but he did not release her. Instead, he fingered the nub between her cleft deliberately, circling and stroking the tender flesh until it became hard and erect.

Unlike the water pouring over them, her juices remained slippery and he delved deep into her core to moisten his fingers for their continued fondling of her sex. She pushed her hips against him in a vain effort to increase the friction, but he disengaged and slid his hand down her leg instead.

Luke,” she gasped, supplicating him again with open-legged thrusts.

“No,” he answered calmly. “You won’t finish until I let you.”

She groaned and he spread her thighs with his knees, opening her wide. With a flick of his hand, the shower dispenser rotated to point directly on her flushing folds and she cried aloud as the pulsing water hit her exposed sex.

Ignoring his aching erection, he worked her again with his fingers bringing her to the brink of completion again and again as she had done to him. When she began to struggle, he restrained her against the wall. “Don’t make me get the collar,” he threatened huskily.

“Damn you!” She panted with lidded eyes.

“You like it!” He hissed, burying his mouth in the hollow of her neck to the sound of her guttural moans.

Her body began to shudder as he kneaded her between his fingers and he cupped her jaw in his hand, forcing her to look into his face. “Ask for it!"

She swallowed and he plied her engorged womanhood even harder. “You would have me as your consort?” he pressed heatedly. “Can you not say the title that you’ve bestowed on me already?”

Looking up at him with lust-glazed eyes, she stilled in his arms. “Please…my Lord."

With ardent gratification, he brought her to climax, capturing her lips with his and absorbing her cries as she screamed into his mouth. Before she was even finished, he thrust his swollen cock deep inside her, rubbing his taut flesh against her still-tender clit.

Her cries turned to supplication, then, as she wrapped her legs around his waist and rode him fervently, begging for more. He indulged her, grasping her firmly around the waist and grinding her against him until they both exploded in passionate release.

Wrapping her arms around his neck, she fell onto his shoulders, murmuring against his damp skin as they slowed and he lowered her back onto the floor. He held her there, caressing her trembling body as the water fell around them.



Lying in bed that night, he ran his fingers through the silk of her freshly-dried hair and she leaned into his hand, kissing his palm.

“Does the Emperor still hurt you?” he asked quietly.

“What?” Green orbs flashed in the semi-darkness.

Luke took a careful breath. “I had a vision. Of you…kneeling before the Emperor. There was blood.” He paused, trying to gauge her reaction. “And you were screaming,” he finished hesitantly.

She closed her eyes with a sigh, caressing his cheek tenderly. “Don’t worry,” she whispered. “That will not happen.”

His eyelids grew heavy and her soft words ushered him into sleep.

“Ever again.”


(continued…)
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AG88
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"Please...my Lord."

AWESOME! Now she is the one begging. Did I ever tell you how much I love this fic?!

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Myriad


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Last edited by Myriad on Mon Nov 12, 2007 2:20 am; edited 1 time in total

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. . . why so serious?
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Trace
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AG88: Well, hey there! Very Happy It’s good to see you back. Thank you!

miss dreams: Welcome! Hugs! Thank you so much! Re: updates – I have 15 chapters written and have been adding them as I get them coded for the new board here. I can certainly step up the posting schedule for existing chapters if folks are interested, though.


**************************************************


Chapter 11


Content warning: F/F/M, slash




On a secured deck of the Avarice, Luke followed Lady Jade to the entrance of a conference room he’d never noticed before. She turned to him, straightening her shoulders beneath her cloak. “You are about to meet my inner circle of advisors. Most of them were hand chosen by your father and have remained loyal to his vision of a galaxy free of the tyranny of the Emperor. I trust them implicitly and you should do the same. In the event of my death, they are prepared to carry out Lord Vader’s plan.”

The intensity behind her eyes matched the solemn tone of her voice and Luke nodded in understanding.

Triggering the entry pad with her fingerprint, Jade swept through the open door and Luke followed behind her billowing cape. Seated around a large, round table officers of varying ranks and age stood in unison to welcome their Lady.

“Sit,” she commanded succinctly.

The group obeyed and Luke followed suit, taking a seat beside Pet who greeted him with a smile. The small group consisted primarily of men, but a striking raven-haired woman directly across the table caught Luke’s eye and winked. He dipped his head awkwardly and turned his attention to Mara who had taken her place at the head of the table.

“As most of you know,” she began, “we will arrive at the Death Star in two standard days. The time has come to bring our Master’s plan to fruition.”

This statement was met with murmurs around the table and Mara waited for them to subside before continuing.

“At 0200 tomorrow, we will emerge from hyperspace and those of you with essential responsibilities and information will depart to your designated safe bunkers. Admiral Dane, who is stubbornly refusing to leave his post against my wishes, will oversee the evacuation of non-essential personnel. All who remain aboard the Avarice will do so on a voluntary basis.”

Mara turned a pained but resigned expression to Admiral Dane and the elder merely nodded with equal intent.

A young man wearing the insignia of a Lieutenant Commander signaled for permission to speak. “My Lady, has a liaison within the Alliance been secured?”

“It has,” she answered, motioning toward Luke. “Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker has consented to join our effort and will facilitate communication with leaders of the Rebel Alliance.”

All eyes focused on him, some sparking with unexpected recognition, and he nodded to them briefly before returning his attention to the head of the table.

Turning her gaze from his, Mara addressed the officers again. “Once we have arrived at the Death Star, Jedi Skywalker and I will move against the Emperor. My spies embedded within the Emperor’s network will advise you of your next move.”

The assembly settled in stillness and Lady Jade regarded each member of the group with deliberate purpose and respect. Taking in a deep breath, she continued, “If there are no further questions, you are all dismissed. Admiral Dane, a word please…”

After a mutual bow to their Lady, those seated at the table broke off into individual discussions or left to complete their designated tasks. Pet gave Luke’s sleeve a tug and he followed her along a hidden corridor back to Lady Jade’s suite.

“Why the evacuation?” he asked quietly.

Pet glanced up at him as they entered a small elevator. “As you know, the Death Star has the ability to destroy a planet. Once we enter orbit, there is nothing to stop the Emperor from firing on the Avarice when he discovers our Lady’s treason.”

Luke swallowed. He hadn’t thought of that and was impressed, once again, by Mara’s care for her subordinates.

“Will you be leaving?” he asked.

“Of course,” she stared straight ahead. “My Lady commands it.”

They did not speak further and continued to the Lady’s suite where Luke sank somberly onto the foot of the bed. Pet went to the bar and brought him a glass of some type of whiskey, which he accepted gratefully.

“Are you nervous?” she asked, kneeling behind him on the bed.

Luke glanced behind him and took a sip. “A little.”

He jumped when she began to massage his shoulders with her small hands. “Promise me you’ll be careful,” she said softly. “I’ve seen what the Emperor can do and-”

Her voice broke and Luke remembered what she’d said about the Emperor killing her mother. He started to turn around, but she stopped him, leaning down to whisper in his ear.

“Promise me,” she breathed, sliding her hands down the front of his chest. Her hair brushed his cheek as she leaned forward, slowing and concentrating her gentle caress.

Luke put down his glass shakily. “Pet?”

She swung around gracefully to straddle his thighs. “You are the most incredible man I’ve ever met,” she declared, her brown eyes boring into his. “Do you know how hard it was for me to bathe you all those months and not to have you?”

“I-” he stammered. “I have sworn my lo – my loyalty to Lady Jade.”

“So have I,” she smiled. Sliding off his lap, she reached for the front of her dress. Her bare breasts spilled out as she unfastened the clasps and Luke felt a quickening below his waist.

He reached hesitantly for one pink nipple. “Can we?” he asked huskily.

“There are no restraints here,” she answered, shedding her dress before pushing him backwards on the sheets. A sexual prowess he’d never seen before burned behind her eyes and he was rendered speechless as she slowly divested him of his garments.

Climbing onto the bed, she knelt over him on her hands and knees. Her hair formed a brown curtain around her delicate face as she descended on him, claiming his mouth with her lips.

Surrendering to desire, he threaded his fingers through her hair and deepened the kiss. Their tongues battled frantically in the warm recesses and he wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close. She moaned, lowering her body onto his and the sensation of her wet sex sliding along his abdomen ignited a fire in his gut.

“Take me,” she implored, breaking away from his lips. “Please.”

Only now did he realized how badly he wanted her and he flipped her onto her back with a growl. Her chestnut locks splayed across her face and she pushed them aside with one hand and reached for her glistening sex with the other. Her eyes flashed as she touched herself, daring and teasing him at once.

Standing at the foot of the bed, Luke watched only for a moment before he had to have her. Lifting her open legs, he pulled her to the edge of the satin sheets and buried his length inside her crimson, waiting core.

“Yes!” she cried out, arching her back to deepen his entry. “Oh yes. My lord…”

Pet!” he gasped, thrusting in and out of her hot walls as she wrapped her legs around his waist and rode him with abandon.

He did not notice when the door to the bedroom swished open.



“Beautiful.”

Luke startled at the sultry voice and turned to find Lady Jade watching them with lust-glazed eyes.

“Don’t stop,” she purred.

Sprawled on the bed, Pet grinned and pushed her hips against him entreatingly.

“Don’t stop,” Mara repeated, walking over to stand behind him. “Fuck her,” she ordered hoarsely, pressing against his back and sliding her hands up his chest to tweak his nipples.

Luke obeyed, plunging again into Pet’s womanhood as Mara ran her palms down his abdomen.

“How does she feel?” the red-head breathed into his ear.

“Amazing,” he panted.

“Tell me. Is she tight?”

“So tight.”

“And wet?”

“Soaked.”

“Mmmm…” she moaned, nipping his shoulder. “I want to taste.”

Heading her lady’s wish, Pet disengaged and scooted backwards on the bed, spreading her legs wide for her mistress.

At Mara’s command, Luke undressed her, tossing black leather garments to the floor and caressing the ivory flesh revealed beneath. Kicking off her boots, she kissed him with rough, bruising pressure while stroking his swollen shaft generously.

“I’m going to pleasure my pet,” she whispered hotly against his jaw. “And you are going to fuck my ass while I do.”

She pulled away, leaving Luke gasping as she crawled onto the bed and knelt between Pet’s legs. Mara leaned over her and began to caress the younger woman’s damp feminine folds. “Did you enjoy my Jedi?”

“Oh yes, my lady,” Pet answered, smiling beneath flushed cheeks.

“You want him to come inside you…don’t you?”

“I do,” the handmaiden pleaded, clutching the covers in her fists as Mara entered her with her fingers. “You know I do.”

“You shall have your wish,” the Lady murmured.

Glancing over her shoulder, she flashed beckoning eyes at Luke and reached back to run her hand up her own thigh and buttock before lowering her mouth to lap Pet’s cleft with her tongue. Pet, in turn, grabbed Mara by the hair, pushing her deeper.

Luke joined them on the bed and knelt behind Mara, entering her wet sex first until he was slick with her juices. Pulling out, he positioned his throbbing erection at the puckered opening of her ass and plunged forward, grunting at the snug, constricting entrance.

Mara lifted her head, moaning in satisfaction, and dipped down once again, spreading Pet wide with her fingers. Grabbing Mara by the hips, Luke pounded into her and they fell into rhythm, suckling and thrusting in tandem. Closing his eyes, he groaned under his breath, losing himself in all-consuming delectation as her rear entry kneaded his manhood in ways he had never felt before.

Pet came first, crying out beneath her lady’s ministrations, and Mara eased her down with feathery brushes of her lips and fingers.

Rising up to kneel in front of Mara, Pet kissed her fervently, fondling her breasts and dipping a hand between her legs to finger her as Luke continued to thrust from behind.

He felt Mara’s climax crash over him and reached around to lace his fingers with Pet’s, jointly prolonging her pleasure as long as they could.

“So good,” Mara panted, throwing her head back to rest it on Luke’s shoulder, pulling his mouth to hers in a heated kiss.

His own orgasm was close but Mara pulled away suddenly and he moaned, lamenting the loss of exquisite sensation around his cock.

Mara pressed a sharp fingernail to his lips. “Don’t pout. It doesn’t become you,” she grinned mischievously. “Lie down. Wash and secure him, Pet.”

Tamping down a thrill of trepidation as Pet tied his wrists to the headboard, Luke watched his fiery lover retrieve a small vial from her cabinet of lotions and devices. He swallowed, hoping desperately that it wasn’t something that would make him itch.

“Don’t look so tense,” she answered his thoughts. “It’s only Teke oil. And, if I recall, you enjoyed it.”

Pet approached with her familiar sponge and gently washed and dried his genitals. When she had finished, she knelt beside him opposite their lady and held out her dainty hands. Mara poured the oil into their palms and together the women spread it copiously over his chest and down to his manhood, coating him completely.

The effect of sensation enhancement was instantaneous and he shouted an involuntary cry when Mara and Pet descended on him, each claiming a nipple with her lips. The room and everything around him dissolved in a haze of bliss as they sucked and caressed, nipped and licked every centimeter of his skin until he thought he would surely implode.

They kissed him together, plying his mouth with their tongues then hovered over him, kissing each other so that their bare, peaked nipples dangled against his sensitized chest. He groaned, pulling against his bonds, which only heightened his arousal.

Mara and Pet broke apart, smiling down at him with flushed lips. With a glance of mutual mischief, they worked their way down his torso, tantalizing his flaming skin with their nimble fingers and lips all the way down to his groin.

He gasped aloud as both of their warm mouths closed around his aching cock and gritted his teeth against the almost unbearable sensation of being suckled in such an exquisite fashion. The women ran their tongues up and down his length, licking the shaft and bulge below then encircled his hood, kissing each other around his tip.

Snapping against the restraints, he writhed and bucked until they pulled away, leaving him breathless in their wake. Hazily, he saw Mara brush Pet’s cheek and heard her whisper, “He’s yours.”

The Lady slid off the bed, releasing his bonds with a flick of her finger, and Pet wasted no time in taking command. Flinging her leg over his hips, she mounted him, impaling her young sex on his erection. Sliding her hands up his chest, she grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled him to a sitting position where she rode him, hard.

He wrapped his arms around her, running them up her smooth back as she panted and grunted, tossing her head backwards, calling his name in reverence. She was damp with perspiration and her long hair mingled with the Teke oil, plastering itself to her fair skin in delicate swirls.

Unable to contain his release any longer, he wrapped his hands around her small waist and drove her onto his shaft until the world tilted and he shot hot seed into her core. Bucking and screaming, she climaxed again, pumping on his lap until he was drained and spent. Falling against him, she collapsed in his arms and he held her lightly as they slowed together.

A calm fell over the room, with only the sound of breathing to break the silence, until Mara spoke softly from the corner, “It is time, Pet.”

The young brunette lifted her head from his shoulder and turned to Mara with a pained expression. Disentangling herself from Luke, she slid off the bed and approached her lady with pleading eyes.

“I don’t want you to go,” she whispered. “Please let me-”

“No!” Mara's voice was firm but her touch was tender as she took Pet’s face in her hands. “You will go to Vjun, like we planned.”

Tears trickled down Pet’s face and Mara wiped them away with the sleeve of her newly-donned silken robe. “Be strong,” she whispered to the younger woman, holding her head against her breast like a mother holds her child. “He will not win this time.”

Pet wept openly then. Clinging to her lady, she lifted her face to kiss Mara desperately. Luke watched as they clung to each other and wondered, not for the first time, what history bound them so powerfully together.

They separated, reluctantly, and Pet brushed Luke’s lips with a kiss as she left.

Mara stared at the door after Pet was gone. She had blocked her emotions completely, but her shoulders still hunched forward in uncharacteristic pain. Luke went to her and, taking her tenderly by the arms, turned her around to face him.

Haunted green eyes met his and he caressed her cheek, asking gently, “Are you all right?”

“Yes,” she answered. Inhaling sharply, she composed herself immediately. “Come shower with me,” she said, running her fingertips along his profile affectionately. “And then we can rest…and prepare.”


(continued…)

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JayCee
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Luke has it made.. two beautiful women who are always up for threesomes... Wink

Now if they can just survive Palpy!

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flyswatter


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I just wanted you to know that I am still reading this story and have always loved it's smuttness. I have not posted because I am waiting until the last posted chapter from the last site. Just wanted you to know that I am still with you on this one. Anakim Hearts

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Trace
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JayCee: So true! If it wasn’t for that whole pesky Emperor thing, he’d be the luckiest guy in the galaxy. Mischief


flyswatter: Hey!! It’s great to see you! I’ve got four more chappies to post, then I seriously have to get my act together and finish this story. Thanks so much for sticking with me here! Very Happy



**************************************************



Chapter 12



Descending from the belly of the Avarice, a Lambda-class shuttle spread its wings and pivoted toward the looming shape of the Emperor’s Death Star. Luke sat at the helm, guiding the ship to its destination. He felt rather than saw Jade’s eyes on him and turned to meet her gaze.

“Your father would have been proud,” she said quietly. Starlight flickered across her pale features, accenting the touch of a smile on her lips. She was dressed in the long black robes she’d been wearing when he first met her and a pale hand extended from within her sleeve to rest on his arm.

Squeezing her hand lightly, he turned back to the viewport. “I’ll have to take your word on that.”

Transmission codes were requested and Luke rattled them off as she pointed silently to the hangar where they would dock. Jade was shielding heavily and withdrew into herself even deeper when they crossed the containment field and began their final descent.

“Is there a problem?” he asked, sensing her tension even as he landed precisely on the marked hangar floor.

Pivoting in her seat, Jade faced him straight on. “Don’t worry about me.” She leaned forward, cupping his face gently in her hands. “Focus.” Her eyes bore into his with startling intensity as she brushed his cheeks and lips with her thumbs. “Focus.”

“You have trained me well, my Lady,” he breathed, shivering at her cool touch. She kissed him, her lips brushing his with an electric charge and then lingering on his mouth, reticent to disengage.

Pulling away, she stood and drew the voluminous black hood over her head. “Let’s go.”


* * * * *


Through sleek, stark corridors, Luke followed her to a spacious receiving chamber upon which a single throne sat atop a dais as the only ornamentation. A lone, cloaked figure stood before an expansive transparisteel viewport. He did not acknowledge their arrival immediately and Luke followed Jade’s lead, waiting in silence.

An ancient voice finally crackled from atop his perch. “How good of you to join me, Lady Jade.”

She bowed slowly at the waist. “It is always an honor, my Master.”

“I trust you have had your fill of the young Jedi?” The elder asked, drawing the words out in a grating inquiry.

Jade answered shortly, “He did not disappoint.”

The gnarled sovereign turned and speared Luke with a benevolent, yellow stare. “You must pardon my apprentice, Skywalker. She does so like to toy with her captives.” He parted his lips in a grin, revealing blackened teeth. “A nasty habit, to be sure. I have never been able to break her of it.”

In spite of his stooped frame and reliance on a cane, the Emperor glided with fluid grace as he moved to his throne. Lowering himself between the armrests, he smiled again, leaning forward to regard Luke closely.

“Ah yes,” he draped his arms along the sides of his throne. “You do resemble your father. I believe you will fulfill the potential that he, sadly, never reached.”

Luke stared back at the marred visage beneath the thick, textured hood. The old face within was not entirely unkind in appearance and Luke felt no animosity from him in the Force. In fact, he felt nothing at all beyond a vague buzzing in the back of his mind.

Luke cleared his throat, finding his voice, “Potential that my father did not reach because you killed him.”

The Emperor hissed between his teeth. “Where did you hear such a lie, boy?”

Luke’s eyes flickered involuntarily to Jade, a reflex not lost on the Emperor.

“I see,” the Dark Lord murmured, leaning back into the recesses of his throne. “Surely you do not believe that anything she has told you is the truth?”

Affording her a sideways glance, Luke saw only an expressionless mask on his Lady’s face. “She has consistently kept her word to me,” he said hesitantly.

“Ha!” The Emperor hacked in a brittle sounding laugh. “Well done, Lady Jade! Well done, indeed. The boy is truly deluded by your charms.”

Beside him, Jade continued to stare straight ahead, her eyes never wavering from their cold focus. The buzzing in his mind had become a slight pressure, though he could not pinpoint its source.

The Emperor leaned forward, riveting his eyes to Luke’s and there was a glow behind them now - something sinister in their periphery. “We shall continue the work that your father and I began. Together, we will truly establish the rightful place of the Sith and bring order to the galaxy.”

Luke shook his head, denying the elder’s proclamation and attempting to clear his mind simultaneously. “I will not turn, your highness. I am not here to join you.”

The yellow eyes beneath the hood narrowed. “Bravely spoken, Jedi. But I am surprised that my apprentice has not persuaded you otherwise. Her methods are unconventional, but generally effective.” His reptilian gaze flickered between the two of them. “Then why are you here, boy?”

“My Lady commands it,” Luke answered simply.

Your lady,” the grating voice repeated. He leaned forward again and this time his sneer turned condescending. “Do you think she cares for you, boy? Ah, Jade,” he clucked. “You have outdone yourself this time.” The ancient voice cackled again, without a hint of mirth. “Pledge your affection to my servant if you’d like, but you will never be more than a pleasure slave to her, Skywalker.”

“Perhaps,” Luke answered with more assurance than he felt. “Regardless, I will not join you.”

“What do you think you owe her, boy?” The Emperor’s countenance turned hard, probing and the pressure in Luke’s head increased. “She humiliated you. She tormented you for her own perverse entertainment,” he bit out, his voice as callous as his recitation.

“That farce of a stage show with the ‘actors’? She planned it. Every perverse ploy. She subjected you to the cruelty of her minions and watched your disgrace with delight before conveniently swooping in as your savior.”

Luke felt his face flush crimson under the sovereign’s knowing stare.

“Yes…” the Emperor snarled. “I know what happens aboard my Lady’s flagship. That pretty little handmaiden of hers has been known to be a most useful source of information, under the right circumstances.”

“Leave her alone,” Jade warned, eyes flashing at the throne in defiance.

The elder deferred her hostility with a wave of his hand. “Oh, she has nothing to fear from me,” his voice slithered. “Because she knows her place.”

Luke could feel hatred beginning to billow beneath Mara’s thoughts. A thousand curses raced through her mind, but only one of them escaped her lips. “Bastard!”

They stared at each other and Luke sensed not the bond of a Master and his Apprentice, but a latent mutual enmity smoldering in swirling ebbs of the Force.

The Emperor straightened slowly, leaning back in his throne with an accommodating sigh. “We must mind our manners, Jade. None of this is a concern of our guest.”

Turning his attention away from the smoldering Lady, he continued, brushing his fingers toward Luke nonchalantly. “You may keep her as your mistress, if you so desire. And the child, of course.”

Child? Luke shook his head again in an attempt to clear the pressure. Was he referring to Pet?

The thought had slipped out unshielded and the old Sith leaned forward, squinting not at Luke, but at his Lady. “He does not know?”

Luke glanced over to Mara, but her eyes never wavered from the throne.

“You surprise me, Jade.” The Emperor clicked black, jagged fingernails against the armrest. “I would have thought that you would be more than eager to inform my new apprentice that he has fathered the next generation of Sith.”

Flaming eyes glared triumphantly at Luke from the throne as the implication of his words slowly bore into his chest.


Fathered the next generation of Sith.


Luke turned again to Mara and this time, she met his gaze steadily. “Is it true?” he whispered shakily.

She did not answer but took his hand and placed it over her abdomen. He felt it then, a tiny presence pulsing with life. Only then did he realize that he’d sensed it once before…a lesser light in the Force.

“Mara -” his voice faltered. The buzzing in his head escalated to a low roar as a cold sweat broke out on his forehead.

Focus,” she admonished him, digging her fingernails into his wrist. The sting jolted him with clarity, diffusing some of the pressure between his ears.

Releasing his hand, Mara closed her eyes, inhaling deeply to center herself also.

“The Emperor is lying,” she declared. Green eyes blazing, she addressed Luke in a tone loud enough to be heard by the sovereign. “He will not allow our child to live. He will rip her from my womb…just as he destroyed your brother.”

He stared at her, panting with the cadence of his pounding pulse.


His brother.


A wave of realization then fury emanated from the throne, crashing over him with the Emperor’s grating accusation, “Traitor!”

Mara turned from Luke to face the Emperor. Straightening her shoulders, she met his wrath without flinching. Luke saw only her smirk of defiance before his mind’s eye was assaulted again with the vision he’d had before: the vision of Jade kneeling in a pool of blood. Through her screams, he felt it this time – a puff of pain as the unborn life was extinguished.

He staggered, willing himself back to the present.

The Emperor was standing now, glaring down maliciously at wayward apprentice. “…gullible enough to share in Vader’s treason?”

“I served you blindly, my Master,” she spat. “Your reign is a blight upon this galaxy. Lord Vader knew it and put into motion plans for your demise. Even now, from the Force, he will watch as your depravity comes to an end.”

The Emperor sneered in open hatred. “You will die for this,” he growled.

Lady Jade’s red blade hissed to life, piercing the fog that clouded Luke’s mind. She stood tall, as strong and commanding as he had ever seen her, and he knew the time had come. Igniting his own saber, he took his place at her side.

She smiled at him, even as she addressed her former master, “Then you will have to kill us both.”

The distorted visage beneath the black hood went blank, scrutinizing them in silent calculation. Gradually, the gnarled lips turned up in scorn as his yellow eyes settled on Luke.

“She has played you for a fool, boy,” he hissed maliciously. Dark power beyond anything he’d felt before began to encroach upon his soul. “She cannot defeat me, so she secured your allegiance with your own blood. For you, my noble young Jedi, would never allow harm to come to the mother of your misbegotten child.”

Luke reeled at the insidious assault. It’s not possible, he thought furiously. That’s not how it had happened. She –

His breathing was labored as even the very air surrounding him felt thick with evil intent. “Mara?” he asked desperately, pivoting to face her.

But she did not acknowledge him. Her attention was consumed by the Emperor’s vile accusations. Even as Luke watched, the green of her eyes began to glow a sickly yellow.

Numbly, Luke listened to the degrading diatribe continuing from the throne. “And my pitiful Lady, will never be anything but a treacherous whore!”

Time seemed to move in slow-motion when the attack came, just as Mara had told him it would. With a sinister sneer, the aged Sith Lord pointed deadly hands at his apprentice. Mara did not flinch, but caught the blue bolts of lethal energy on her blade. Her hair swirled around her face, blown wild by the wind of Force lightning.

Abruptly, the attack stopped. “Strike her down, boy!” the Emperor called over the residual noise. “You cannot hear her thoughts as I can.” With a flick of his finger, Mara’s head snapped up to face him and he peered hard into her eyes before releasing her with a somber expression. “I can assure you that she has no intention of carrying your child to term.”

“Don’t believe him, Luke,” Mara commanded, sparing him a glance for the first time since this hellish game had begun.

“Why didn’t she tell you about the child?” the Emperor countered. “She will terminate it when she is finished with you. Just as she destroyed your father -”

Liar!” Mara attacked, swinging her blade in an upward arc, she charged toward the dais only to be halted by another volley of lightning.

Luke stood paralyzed. Defeated.

He had sworn his loyalty to a Sith and for what? It had been so easy to believe her aboard the Avarice. Easy to believe that that the Emperor himself had sent assailants against him. Easy to believe that Pet’s farewell that evening had been innocent. Easy to believe that Mara shared his feelings when she smiled up at him as he made love to her.

Mara’s voice cut into his thoughts: Trust me, Luke.

Luke felt the tremendous effort it took for Mara to split her concentration long enough to send the pleading appeal.

The Dark Side was palpable – pounding in his head and sucking the air out of his lungs.

Focus!

Closing his eyes, he reached deep within, drawing on the wellspring of the living Force. The warm light filled him, pushing oppressive darkness from his soul. It grounded him, guided him, and gave him purpose.

And he knew what he had to do. Even if everything the Emperor said was true, he would fight to the death, if need be, for the innocent life floating helplessly in Mara’s womb.

Lady Jade had won.

Resigned, Luke lofted his green blade and ascended the stairs to the throne.


( continued…)

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Trace
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Chapter 13



Content warning: language, graphic violence




Bolts of Force lightning bounced off Mara’s blade, scorching burn marks into the walls and ceiling as Luke approached the throne. She began to circle the Emperor slowly, rotating until her opponent was within striking distance for Luke.

Luke moved in from the side, intending to strike the Sith Lord while his attention was on Mara, but the Emperor broke off his attack and spun around to face the Jedi. To Luke’s surprise, a lightsaber hilt dropped from the Emperor’s sleeve in a blur of metal and his saber met a crimson blade in a flash of white.

He would never have believed the ancient sovereign capable of the speed and agility that confronted him now. Blow for blow, the Emperor met his green blade, edging Luke backwards toward the wall of transparisteel.

Shrugging off her cloak, Mara joined Luke on the offensive and, amazingly, the elderly Sith held them both at bay. Striking and lunging with leaps and parries, the Emperor drove them both to the edge of the dais. Mara reached the stairs first and faltered, barely catching herself as her foot slipped on the top step.

The Emperor saw the chink in her defense and released one hand to blast her with lightning while still holding his saber against Luke. Mara’s sword went spinning from her grasp and she held up her hands to fend off the lethal rays. Most of them bounced off her palms, but a few got past, striking her and driving her further down the stairs.

Palpatine sneered down at her. “Your scheme has failed, my Lady. You and your bastard offspring will die!”

She did not answer, but glared up at him, focusing her energy on defense. A bolt of lightning slipped through her fingers, piercing her midsection, and Luke felt a flash of pain, and fear.

Maneuvering to her side, Luke pushed the Emperor’s blade away with a grunt of effort, stepping in front of her to catch the assault of Force energy on his own saber. Unfortunately, that freed the Emperor’s saber arm and he swung it toward Luke’s neck in a deadly arc.

Luke’s danger sense screamed and he let the Force guide his blade sideways, slicing through the Emperor’s arm to send the lightsaber and attached hand clattering across the floor.

No longer protected from the lightning, however, Luke caught it full in the chest and reeled backwards, pinned against the wall. Unbelievably, the Emperor did not seem to notice his missing hand, and continued to pummel Luke with volleys of searing hatred.

“Bravely done, young Jedi,” the dark lord taunted, briefly breaking off his attack. “But you are no match for the Sith!” With a demented cackle, he raised his hand and a blinding ball of dark power gathered at his fingertips.

Luke’s saber had been knocked down the stairs and there was no time to retrieve it; but Mara had prepared him for this. Focusing his concentration, he centered deflective energy into his palms and raised them defensively, blocking the blast of noxious rays. The Emperor’s assault was considerably stronger than Mara’s lightning attack, but he drew heavily on the Force and stood firm.

In his peripheral vision, he saw that Mara had reclaimed her saber and was ascending the stairs toward them. Half-blinded by blue light, he saw only a blur of red before the barrage stopped and when he looked up, the Emperor was staggering backwards, stumps of both arms hanging uselessly at his side.

Luke exhaled in relief but Mara moved past him, eyes blazing yellow with murderous intent. Before Luke could stop her, she swept forward, slicing through the Emperor’s legs at the knees. The Sith screamed, landing in a mutilated heap on his back, and still Mara stalked forward.

Towering over him, she slammed her booted foot into the middle of his chest, cracking ribs and causing blood to spew from his mouth.

“I should leave you like this,” she growled. “Or perhaps I should encase you in a walking tomb with needles sticking in your face, pumping you full of drugs to keep you alive in misery.”

Luke stared in horror. “Don’t, Mara. It’s over.”

Barely glancing over her shoulder to acknowledge him, she kicked the Emperor, kneeling down to plant her knee into his already-damaged torso. “Stop…” he gasped through punctured lungs.

“Or maybe I should tell Luke how you killed his father? How you ripped his mechanical limbs from his body and disconnected his respirator, leaving him in suffocating agony. How you pumped his veins full of stimulants to keep his heart beating even when his oxygen-deprived lungs could no longer generate enough breath to cry out in pain. Perhaps Luke would like to do the honor of taking revenge?”

Luke looked away, fighting down a wave of nausea. “Mara, please.”

“Ah, my devout Jedi, idealistic to the last,” she shook her head. “You have never suffered at the behest of this man.”

Tossing her saber aside, she drew a vibroblade from her belt. With practiced speed and precision, she slit the Emperor’s throat, not completely, but enough to leave a gaping hole in his windpipe.

The gurgling sound of labored breathing that resulted was worse than any respirator or death rattle Luke had ever heard. The Emperor’s yellow eyes grew wide and he attempted a strangled plea.

Leaning down, Mara grasped the Emperor by the few strands of white hair left on his head, forcing him to look her in the eye. “No,” she hissed. “The pleasure of destroying you will be mine.”

Rising slowly to her feet, she positioned the heel of one boot over the Emperor’s bleeding neck. “And no one will ever be forced to bow to you again,” she continued, her voice trembling with emotion. “You sick and twisted fuck!

With that, she drove her heel into his neck, crushing his trachea with a sickening crunch. The grotesque form stilled beneath her and Mara staggered backwards. Luke caught her, holding her steady as they stared down at their victory.

For a long time, they did not speak. Luke averted his gaze from the corpse on the floor and, eventually, Mara raised her eyes to the stars beyond the transparisteel wall.

“You will not regret what we’ve done, Luke,” she said quietly.

Luke released her, putting a deliberate distance between them. After all that had happened, only one thing burned in the forefront of his mind. “Why didn’t you tell me about the baby?”

Mara turned around slowly. The yellow glow was already receding from her eyes as she trained them carefully on Luke. “There was no need for you to know yet.”

“No need for me to know,” he repeated, his voice growing cold. “You’re pregnant with my child and I didn’t need to know?”

“I said ‘yet’. I had planned to tell you when our mission here was accomplished. You must understand-”

She reached for his arm, but he pushed her away, turning instead to the stars flashing beyond the viewport. Planting a hand against the cool wall, he steadied himself, fighting to tamp down the anger and doubt that the Sith Lord had planted.

“Tell me it’s not true,” he demanded hoarsely. “That you don’t plan to terminate…” His throat constricted and he couldn’t continue.

Shock radiated from Mara through the Force, followed by a fierce defensiveness toward the tiny light glowing within her. He heard her take a deliberate, calming breath. “Luke, look at me.”

He did not move, but turned his head to the side, granting her all the attention he would afford.

“You cannot believe anything Palpatine said. He twisted truth and lies to seduce you -”

“Enough!” Luke whirled around. Closing the distance between them, he grabbed her roughly by the shoulders. “Enough about him. I’m talking about us and this life we’ve created. Why did you hide it?”

She met his desperate gaze evenly, unflinching beneath his bruising fingertips. “I swear,” she whispered fiercely. “This baby was not conceived to coerce you. I should not have conceived her at all. The physician said I would never have children after – what happened.” Her eyes drifted to the foot of the throne where he had seen her kneeling and bleeding in his vision. “I hid her from you to hide her from him.”

“Guess that didn’t work too well, did it?” Luke asked dryly.

Mara shrugged out of his grasp as if shaking away the ghosts of the past. Shooting him a hard look, she started down the stairs. “He burned pathways into my head when I was a very small child. And you wouldn’t have been able to shield any better. You keep your thoughts too close to the surface.”

Reaching a control panel at the foot of the steps, Mara opened it and tapped several keys in rapid succession. A door to the side of the dais swished open and an incinerator droid swept forward, disposing of the Emperor’s remains until all that was left was his lightsaber.

“Get rid of that, too,” Mara instructed and the droid complied, sweeping the cylinder into its refuse bin before gliding out of the room.

“That’s convenient,” Luke remarked.

Mara glanced up. “He made a lot of messes in here.”

He nodded slowly, reticent to imagine what kinds of ‘messes’ the Emperor would have made during his reign. Swallowing hard, he steeled himself for the next query.

“What about Pet? Was she an informant, like he claimed?”

“No.” Mara shook her head definitively. “I trust her with my very life. She would have told me if he had interrogated her. Unless, of course, he erased the memory.”

Luke frowned. “What do you mean, ‘erased the memory’? Could he do that?”

Her boots clicked softly as she climbed the stairs to stand level with him. “Of course he could. So could you, if you wanted to. It’s not hard. A Dark technique, to be sure, but not complicated.”

“Why would I want to do that?”

“You probably wouldn’t,” she answered. “Only dishonest men need to hide their actions. Personally, I prefer my dealings to be very memorable.”

Luke couldn’t help but smile at the glint of dual meaning in her eyes. Her features had softened into the quiet affection he’d grown accustomed to seeing in her presence and he felt his anger fading into a calm resolve.

Glancing down, he reached tentatively for her abdomen. “May I?”

“Of course.” She moved forward, leaning into his touch as he rested his hand lightly over her womb.

He closed his eyes and slid his other arm around her waist, pulling her to him until they were touching. Immersing himself in the essence of the Force, he centered on the growing bundle of cells, too early even to discern a heartbeat, but pulsing with life nonetheless.

“You’re already sure it’s a girl?” he breathed in wonder.

Mara nodded, her disheveled hair brushing his cheek. “Yes.”

A daughter. His daughter.

Even as the oppression of the Empire had just been lifted from his shoulders, he felt a new weight descending - a primal protectiveness that filled his soul with pride and trepidation.

Disengaging from Mara, he stepped back and straightened his stance, wordlessly commanding her attention. “All right,” he said firmly. “We completed our mission here. I did what you wanted me to do, and now it’s my turn to make stipulations.”

Her eyebrows arched in surprise, but she listened attentively.

“You have to take care of yourself. No drugs, no potions, no lotions – nothing toxic that could harm the baby.”

Mara cocked her head to one side. “Have you ever seen me take drugs?”

Luke pursed his lips. “You know what I mean. And I don’t want you or the baby exposed to anyone…else. For health reasons. So no other sexual partners -”

“Not even Pet?”

His first instinct was to demand exclusivity, but the look on her face told him that she would not capitulate easily here.

“Fine,” he sighed. “Only Pet. And she is off-limits to everyone else.”

“Except you.”

Luke opened his mouth, then closed it again. His relationship with Pet was confusing, at best. He certainly did not object to her company, but he’d never imagined that it would be a regular occurrence. Mara, however, seemed set in that declaration, so he let it be.

Moving past her, he walked slowly to the center of the dais, gathering his thoughts for his final requirement. “And, I know this is in the future, but I don’t want you training her in dark side techniques.”

Mara crossed her arms slowly in consideration. He sensed a myriad of retorts running through her mind before she finally answered. “Granted. But!” She raised a single finger. “No asinine Jedi dogma either. If you start telling her not to form attachments or to bypass basic human needs and emotions -”

“I won’t!” he raised his hands defensively. “I’m not exactly the poster boy for Old Republic Jedi, in case you hadn’t noticed.”

A bemused expression crossed Mara’s face and she covered her mouth with her hand, stifling a laugh as she crossed the dais, joining him in front of the throne. “Oh, I noticed,” she grinned, running her hand through his hair. “I noticed. And you’re charming when you’re overprotective.”

Luke gazed at her, wishing for a moment that they could be what they had been on the Avarice, a world unto themselves before politics and government became involved. And now there was a child to consider.

“I guess,” he started quietly, “that we should also discuss custody at some point. I want to be fully involved as her father.”

Mara looked taken aback. “Custody?” He watched her face fall with the implication of his words. “So you are declining my offer.”

And now Luke was confused. “Offer?”

Mara smiled. Resting her hands lightly on his shoulders, she lowered him backwards into the Emperor’s throne. “To be my prince, of course.”

Luke blinked as she settled herself astride his lap. “We agreed that I could leave.”

Leaning forward, she took his face in her hands. Her eyes bore into his and her breath was hot on his cheek. “And so you can. But I hoped that you would return. When order is restored, I want you beside me.”

She pressed her lips to his and he met their familiar softness, drinking in her warmth and taste. Deepening the kiss, she moved her hands seductively down his chest.

Luke grasped the armrests of the throne, feeling a shiver run through him. An old evil seemed to have permeated the very seat which they now occupied and he broke away abruptly. “Not here.” He shook his head. “Not like this.”

Pulling her into his embrace, he held her tightly against his chest and pressed his lips to the top of her head. Kissing her gently, he spoke softly into her hair, “I need to go home now.”



(continued…)

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AG88
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Did I ever tell you how much I love this story? Oh yeah, I did, last night when I talked to you. Wink

Great update!! This is a story that definately needs updating.

AG88

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flyswatter


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I am still reading this very intense story, but I am just waiting until it has caught up to where it was left off. It really has some very questionable storylines that make the reader wonder about brainwashing and some other strange decision making made by our favorite Farmboy. Worship I also have to say that I love the weirdness. Thanks Anakim Hearts

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EtahnAbaht


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Still here, still anticipating more Very Happy .

This being one of my favorite chapters, its reposting warranted a response.

I still relish the thought of the Great Emperor Palpatine being disposed of as so much refuse, so deliciously ignominious. No flash of dark energy, no dying Force Lightning, just a slitting of the throat (on that score I am torn between my inability and lack of interest in gainsaying Mara's last gift to him, and my own conviction that the sooner he's dead, and the more cold blooded the killing, the better.) Very relieved that he was killed before he could murder another Skywalker in the womb.

While we know Luke's return to the Alliance must necessarily be rocky, I treasure the thought of Leia's reaction to a niece (somehow I imagine that she expected to be a mother first, though perhaps that is just the EU talking). I also wonder what Mara would make of a sister-in-law, or at least the consort equivalent. Should be fun test of wills between those two. Don't think Leia will ever be completely forgiving or trusting, but perhaps she'll meet Mara half-way: no eye gouging while husbands or children are in the same room.

P.S. - It has not come up here yet, but I enjoyed saying it so much last time that I will repeat it. To anyone who is bothered by the notion of Mara carrying the children of both Vader and Luke, just remember one thing: to the best of our knowledge Mara is not Luke's sister. Wink Many thanks to Marani for posting the pic on October 29, 2007 that reminded me of this.

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kataja


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This whole story is such awesome work!!!
It goes from hot scene to hotter and hotter and yet there is an exciting plot going on all the time! I love the way you manage to bend Luke and Mara's characters to serve the story and still being recognizable!
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AG88
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All I want for Christmas is a smutty update, a smutty update! Laughing

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Trace
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AG88: LOL! Thank you! I'm working on updates - promise! Very Happy

flyswatter: Thanks for sticking with me on this! Hugs! You raise some good points and they will be addressed soon.

EtahnAbaht: Thank you! That chapter was probably one of my favorites to write, for several of the reasons you mentioned.

Leia & Lady Jade - Can't say much, but I CAN say that there will be no cat fights. Mischief


It has not come up here yet, but I enjoyed saying it so much last time that I will repeat it. To anyone who is bothered by the notion of Mara carrying the children of both Vader and Luke, just remember one thing: to the best of our knowledge Mara is not Luke's sister.

You are correct. Mara is not Luke's sister and all parties were consenting adults. Wink

kataja: Welcome! I appreciate your comments and I'm thrilled to hear that they are recognizable, even in this AU. Very Happy

AG88: I'm still working on it, but chapter 16 has smut. Wink


Last edited by Trace on Mon Dec 31, 2007 8:10 am; edited 1 time in total

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Chapter 14

A/N: IIRC, this was the last chapter posted on the previous board before the crash.






Alone in a private hangar of the late Emperor’s Death Star, Lady Jade watched a solitary X-wing lift and hover, only briefly, before shooting out into the blackness and stars beyond. As the hangar doors moved together, closing silently in the vacuum, she stared straight ahead.

And so it begins, she mused.

Spokes that had been carefully planned and placed by Vader and those who remained loyal to him would finally be actualized as the wheels of change were put into motion. Closing her eyes, Mara stretched out into the void and touched tendrils of the Force, then allowed them to ebb and swirl around her in a peaceful wash of power and guidance. Like Vader, she had never been one to linger on meditation and this was a technique she’d learned by observing Luke.

Luke.

She focused on his presence, now fleeting into the void. Even though the distance between them increased, he glowed with the brilliance of a sun.

“My Lady?” A voice from behind broke the silence. “You called for me?”

Mara glanced over her shoulder. “Yes, Elene. Join me.”

The slender, raven-haired woman moved forward noiselessly to stand beside Mara in the control booth. While comparable to Mara in age and build, she stood half a head taller and glanced down with striking white-blue eyes. “It is done?” she asked.

Mara took in a deep breath, exhaling it slowly. “It is.”

Indicator lights on the control console flashed from red to green, signaling re-pressurization of the bay, but the hangar did not fill with the expected bustling of droids and human crewmen. Instead, the deck remained quiet and it was with effort that Mara slowly pulled her gaze from the emptiness below.

“The Emperor’s advisors and private staff will be a threat,” she began, turning from the viewport. “I have sent out an urgent communiqué summoning his advisors to assemble here immediately. Their names, access codes, and arrival times are all on this.” She pulled a data card from her pocket and handed it to the other woman.

“Kill them and all who travel with them upon arrival,” Mara instructed calmly. “Do it quickly and quietly. The bodies are not to be found.”

Elene palmed the card and it disappeared into some hidden pocket with only a flick of her wrist. One of the Emperor’s elite Hands, Elene was quite possibly the deadliest of the Emperor’s private assassins and, had she possessed any Force sensitivity, might have been tapped as Palpatine’s new Sith apprentice after Vader’s demise.

Though she maintained her title with lip service to the Emperor, she had long ago pledged her loyalty to Lady Jade and inclined her head gracefully to her now. “It is done, my Lady.”

“I will dispose of his private staff myself,” Mara continued, “and afterwards, I shall assemble my council and announce the Emperor’s death publicly.”

Elene nodded in understanding. “And Skywalker? He is gone?”

“He is returning to the Alliance, yes,” Mara answered.

Shifting to a more casual stance, Elene graced her with a partial smile. “And is that why you’re standing here staring into space?”

Mara looked up at her sharply. “Of course not-”

“Oh, come now, Mara. How long have we known each other?” Elene did smile now, a knowing look that negated all thought of pretense.

Mara regarded her carefully. She could not remember a time when Elene had not been her closest friend and confidant. Together, they had suffered the brutalities of the Emperor in their youth. Their innocence had been taken much too soon by Palpatine’s perverse minions and they had lain in the dark afterwards, crying softly in each other’s arms.

Years later, when they’d learned how to harness and wield their sexuality for power, they had made a pact that, one day, they would be their own masters. That day had finally come and Mara avoided the white-blue gaze she was certain would be filled with reproach.

Instead, Elene stepped close, tenderly resting her slender hand on Mara’s. “Your plan worked,” she stated simply. “But did you plan to fall for the Jedi?”

Pulling her hand away and turning quickly to leave, Mara declared solemnly, “No. I did not.”


* * *



Seated at the small comm station in her room, Leia Organa waited for the requested data to populate her vidscreen, only to ignore the report when it finally appeared. Instead, she turned toward the window, distracted by an increasing sensation that undulated just below the surface of her consciousness.

Rising from her chair, she walked onto the balcony of her room and gazed out over the moonlit grassy plains of Ansion. The Alliance had established their newest base here in the Kander Region shortly after the failed attack on the Death Star. It had proven to be a good location – quiet and remote, yet not too far from the capital city and spaceport.

This niggling sensation had started two days ago and grown incrementally stronger in the last few hours. The feeling was familiar, yet she could not place it. Like a word or thought just on the tip of her tongue, it eluded her, but she had felt it before. She knew she had felt it before.

A voice squawked from the comm: “Princess Leia.”

She returned to the console. “Yes.”

“Ma’am, an X-wing fighter is approaching and requesting permission to land, but the pilot refuses to identify himself and insists that he will speak only with you.”

“Can you not identify the ship by its transponder code?”

“Yes, ma’am, but the code corresponds with a ship reported missing in action over a year ago. We’ve – wait.”

There was a pause as the information officer spoke with the X-wing pilot in the background.

“Ma’am, the pilot says that you will recognize him by the code name ‘brother’.”

The vague sensation she’d been feeling exploded in a flash of recognition and she gasped aloud. “Allow him to land,” she commanded breathlessly. “I’m on my way.”

She recognized it now – the awareness she had felt once before, during the desperate flight from Bespin when she had known with inexplicable certainty that Luke was alive and hanging from the bottom of the city.

Rushing through winding corridors to the hangar bay, she relived the last time she’d seen him, as she had done every day since his disappearance. In the darkness on the Sanctuary Moon, he had revealed the long-hidden truths: that he was her brother, that Darth Vader had been their father, and that the Force had given him a dream that he must confront the Emperor on the Death Star if the war was to end without the destruction of the Alliance.

Leia had argued with him, pleading for him to stay and help them in the strike against the Death Star. But he had solidly refused, professing the importance and validity of his dream. And that was the last anyone had heard from him, over three months ago.

The lone X-wing had just landed when she arrived at the hangar and she waited anxiously for the canopy to open. When it did, the pilot who emerged was not dressed in the standard orange flight suit, but rather in a black Imperial suit. He jumped down from the cockpit, removed his helmet, and the dark blond hair beneath was unmistakable.

“Luke!”

She ran toward him and he met her halfway, enveloping her in a crushing embrace. “Leia!” His quivering voice mirrored the trembling of her legs as they held and supported each other. “Oh, Leia.”

“I knew it,” she sobbed, clutching him fiercely. “They tried to tell me you’d been killed, but I wouldn’t believe it. I would have known. Somehow, I would have known…”

Taking his face in her hands, she looked him over, searching for any signs of injury. “Are you all right? Are you hurt?”

Luke separated gently and held her at arm’s length. “No, I’m fine,” he smiled, wiping the tears from her cheeks. “And I’m sorry. I’m so sorry that I couldn’t-”

He stopped, seeming to be at a loss for words.

She stood there, drinking in the sight of him as hundreds of questions and emotions revolved through her head. Gently, she reached out to touch his face, marveling that it was real and did not fade away as it had in her dreams. “Luke,” she started, not sure where to begin. “What…where..?”

He returned her touch in kind. “Can we go somewhere else?”

She nodded, leading him quickly back to her room through the corridors she had just traversed. When they arrived, he excused himself to the refresher and emerged without the flight suit, though he was still in an Imperial-cut black uniform.

“Are you hungry?” she asked, rifling distractedly through the food cupboard. “Thirsty?”

“No,” Luke answered, settling on a lounger in the small conversation area.

Leia joined him and reached across for his hand as if to assure herself that he was really there. “Can you tell me what happened?”

He looked down, studying her fingers. “I was taken captive,” he started hesitantly. “By Lady Jade.”

“The Emperor’s apprentice?”

“Yes.” Luke nodded.

Leia waited, prompting him when he remained silent. “And she took you to the Emperor, like you expected?”

Luke laughed, a self-depreciating sound. “No, she did nothing that I expected.” He pulled away, shifting in his seat before continuing in what sounded like a rehearsed tone. “She held me on her ship for most of the time that I was gone and, eventually, we reached an agreement for the conditions of my release. That’s really all I can say right now,” he finished apologetically.

“I see,” Leia replied, though she did not see at all. Call if newfound sisterly intuition, but he was hiding something.

“Things have changed within the Empire,” he said, his eyes taking on the familiar gleam of eagerness that was both endearing and frustrating. “Mara will hold a press conference in a few days and -”

Mara?” Leia interrupted him.

“Lady Jade, I mean.”

“You call Lady Jade by her first name?”

“With her permission, of course.” Luke answered quickly.

Leia felt a vague uneasiness growing in her gut. It wasn’t so much the fact that he used Lady Jade’s first name, but the way he said it – with an air of familiarity that lent itself to more than a professional relationship.

“I can’t explain yet,” Luke continued with obvious restraint, “but you will understand when the announcement is made.”

Leia studied him, pressing her fingertips together. At first glance, he appeared healthy, but on closer inspection she noted that he was thinner and paler than she remembered. His hair was almost as long as it had been when she’d first met him fresh from the farm and he had tell-tale dark circles under his eyes.

Leaning forward, she took his hands again and measured her words very carefully. “Luke…perhaps you should go to the medical ward. You look exhausted and I’m sure that whatever happened must have been stressful-”

“I’m fine, Leia. Really,” he assured her. His smile was as bright as ever, but he did concede to being tired after several days in his X-wing.

“I kept a room ready for you,” she said, rising from her seat. “It’s just down the hall.” He stood and she embraced him once again, exhaling the breath she’d been holding for three months. “Welcome home.”



* * *


Luke followed her down the lengthy corridor to a small apartment chamber. It was similar to Leia’s and housed a food prep area, lounger, refresher, comm console, and bedroom.

“I’m sorry it’s not much,” she said, switching on the lights. “But the cupboard is stocked and there are clean clothes in the closet.”

“It’s fine,” Luke answered, kicking off his boots. “Better than those ice chambers on Hoth, at least.”

She smiled up at him. “Get some rest,” she said quietly. “Tomorrow will be a busy day.”

Luke kissed her on the cheek as she left and turned to face the stark, quiet room. It was nicer than his usual billeting, but would take some adjustment after the opulence of Mara’s quarters.

After he had showered and donned a pair of loose pants, he sat down at the comm console and keyed in a private access code to the Avarice.

A miniature version of the communications officer appeared on the holotransmitter and nodded curtly. “One moment, my lord. I’ll redirect you.”

Mara’s form shimmered into view shortly afterward, seated in what appeared to be a control room. “You made it,” she said, turning to face him.

“Finally,” he answered. “It took me a couple of days to locate the homing beacon. Are you well? Is everything going all right?”

“Yes and yes,” she responded matter-of-factly. “The opposition has been eliminated and my council members are almost in position. It shouldn’t be much longer.”

“Good.” Luke was comforted by her voice, though his body’s now-habitual reaction to her presence was suddenly very uncomfortable. “We should keep this brief, until I’ve set up a more secure channel.”

“I agree.” She nodded, leaning forward to bring her face closer into focus. “And I miss you.”

“I miss you, too,” he murmured, and the connection went dead.

Luke turned from the console and flicked off the lights as he made his way into the bedroom. Crawling beneath the cold, sterile sheets, he grimaced at the restrictive feel of sleep clothes against his sensitized flesh and slipped gratefully into slumber that washed away the ache of desire.


(continued…)

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"Star Wars is epic and epic things must occur."
- John Ostrander
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