NOTE: The author does not believe in this theory. Mara would not have had an affair with anyone. She only wrote this as part of a dare.
The Yuuzhan Vong agent in the next room had just died from her self-inflicted wounds.
"How could she have done that?" Anakin was staring down at the durasteel floor.
"A sense of duty? Loyalty?" That was all Mara could think to answer. He looked green to her, like he was going to throw up.
Anakin shook his head violently. "No. You don't just kill yourself!"
"Anakin." Mara grabbed her nephew by the shoulders. "Look at me."
The sixteen year-old looked up at her with his blue eyes. Eyes that had the same innocent expression she had seen on her husband's face a thousand times before.
She looked into those eyes. "Would you kill to protect others? Your family? Your people?"
"Of course." He choked on his words. No doubt the memories of Dantooine were occupying his thoughts. Anakin had protected her then, just as Luke had protected her on Wayland all those long years ago. "... I already have."
"I know." Death was nothing new to Mara. She had been dealing it since she was younger then the kid before her. When she joined this family, she had always hoped her nephews and niece would never have to know the pain of murder, even in the self-defense of an entire galaxy. "What she did was no different."
"What?" A wrinkle of confusion fluttered across his face.
"She killed herself because she thought it was the way to protect her people, just as we would kill her if we thought we needed to do so to protect ours. Death is death, whether we do it to others, or to ourselves." Mara lowered her eyes. "I should have seen it coming. I should have stopped her."
"It's just not right. None of this is right." Anakin shook his head again, but sorrowfully this time.
Mara laid a hand on his cheek to still his face so she could look him in the eyes again. There was so much innocence there, dying day by day. "It never is."
Anakin closed his eyes and Mara could feel him calling on the Force to calm his restlessness. The war was finally getting to the kid. Fighting a battle was one thing, searching for spies another, and then watching a woman kill herself needlessly before their eyes ...
The only thing she could think to do was pull him to her in a comforting embrace, letting him lay his head against her shoulder. If he wanted to cry, she would let him. No one was around to hear but her.
Mara had to smile at the situation. She never had a shoulder to cry on when she was growing up and suffering from such attacks of conscience. It had turned her cold inside and that almost cost her the love of her life. Now she could be the shoulder for another.
Tears started to slowly creep from his eyes and she wrapped her arms around him. One hand gently caressed the nap of his neck with a soothing motion. He had the same build as Luke. He had the same eyes as Luke.
This is probably what our son would have looked like had we had one. The smile left Mara's face. That was an old wound that kept reopening itself lately.
Anakin's arms slipped around her waist and he held her tighter as the slight tears turned into a gentle sobbing.
"Everything will be okay." Mara lightly whispered into his ear.
He slowly started to gain his composure at her words, but his grip remained firm. She let him hold her, to take what strength he needed.
He was such a good kid, with so much potential. It wasn't nice to have favorites, but Anakin Solo was probably her favorite nephew, favorite padawan. She didn't want to see him turn out as she had.
A couple of minutes later he was still holding her, his eyes now dry.
"Feeling better about things?" She said gently, his head still lying on her shoulder.
"Yeah," he replied. Then his head shot up and he jumped back from her, a reddening blush covering his face. "I'm sorry."
"What for?" Mara was genuinely confused. She let him cry on her shoulder. It was the natural thing for him to do.
"Um ... I ... I should go now." Mara had never seen Anakin so flustered before.
"Anakin Solo." She said in her master's tone. "What is wrong?"
Anakin's face reddened to an even darker shade and he looked away. Mara stretched out with the Force to see just what was going on here.
"Oh, my." Mara brought her hand up to mouth, trying to cover her surprise and own blushing face. "Yeah, I think you should go."
With a relieved release of breath Anakin turned on his heels and ran down the hallway. Well, he ran as best he could considering the state he was in.
Mara was still thinking about what happened when Luke showed up. She needed to fill him in on the situation with the Vong spy. But should she tell her husband that the son of his sister got an erection as she held him? No, probably not the best idea.
* * * * *
Home was quiet. The lights were off. Nobody was home.
Mom had disappeared off somewhere. Jaina was flying with Rogue Squadron. Jacen had followed dad. Dad was still trying to find himself after Chewie's death.
Nobody blamed Anakin for what he did, well, except for his father. Mom said that was the hurt talking.
It didn't change the fact that Chewie was dead, though. And not just Chewie, but Miko had died too. And how many Jedi and military men?
And how many Vong?
Sighing, Anakin flopped down on the sitting room sofa. He thought about drowning things out with some mindless holonet. Maybe he'd take after dear-old dad and find a bottle of whiskey. But neither of those options would really solve his problem.
What was his problem?
He closed his eyes and tried to become one with the Force, to let it guide him. Right now the Force didn't seem to care. It just let him sit there.
What was it that bothered him? Death? Death is the way of life, in peace and war. Mom and Dad helped kill hundreds, if not thousands, when they went against the Empire. He had just helped wipe out how many Vong and their slaves?
Aided in the death of one more Vong girl.
No, it wasn't death that bothered him.
It was life.
The life that is left behind when death comes and takes someone away. Chewie's family was life. Octa Ramis, Miko's girlfriend, was life. Did the Vong girl have life?
Did he have life?
Sure, Mom, Dad, Jaina, Jacen and Uncle Luke and Aunt Mara would miss him. His friends would miss him. Especially Tahiri.
Tahiri, he kept meaning to message her. But what would he say? It had been a long time since they last talked. She would be all grown up now. Maybe even forgotten about him.
Would he be forgotten?
Anakin looked around the home he shared with his family. His family was gone. Did they even miss him while they were out doing whatever it was they were doing? Or would they only miss him if he were gone for good?
This was all rather depressing to think about. At least he could admit that much to himself. But why was it only hitting him now?
It was that woman. She killed herself. She took her own life for her people. She took all the life that might have been away and ended it right there.
Everything that might have been.
That was the age-old question: What is the one thing you want to do before you die?
It was a good question indeed.
What did he want?
* * * * *
Later that night Mara stood staring out at the Coruscant landscape. Pulling her robe tighter around herself she heard her husband shift in his sleep. She looked over her shoulder at him. The light filtered in and cast a glow against his face.
You messed things up real good, Mara. She couldn't help but tell herself.
She wasn't really sure how old she was, but she was forty give or take. Most of those years she had spent alone. If she hadn't been so afraid of opening herself to another person then she would have kissed Luke all those years ago on the Imperial Palace rooftop.
Ten wasted years.
Finally she was able to admit to herself that she loved Luke and that she wanted to be with him. So they were married. Maybe it was too late by then. It was certainly too late now.
She didn't know why she had gotten motherly all of a sudden. No, she knew why. She had been dying, slowly, painfully. Certain death had been very real to her. And what was she going to leave behind when she was gone? Nothing but a grieving husband of six years.
Six more wasted years.
It would have been plenty of time to have a child but she had kept putting it off. She wasn't ready to be a mother. There was too much else for her to do. Too many other responsibilities to deal with.
Sure, that was her excuse.
A tear escaped and she pulled the robe tighter. She hated transparasteel. If the light was right, she could easily see her reflection.
Luke shifted in his sleep again.
He was such a good husband to her. When she was dying he had stuck close to her when he could. He had sent Anakin to protect her. And what had she given him? Nothing.
Oh, sure, he would say that her love was enough, but she had seen the look in his eyes as he watched his nephews and niece grow up. He wanted a child more then anything. And what did she do? She kept putting it off.
Frustrated, she pulled her robe even tighter.
Maybe it wasn't too late. The doctors said she was as healthy as she had ever been and that the disease may not have corrupted her cells. She certainly felt stronger, and that fight she had with the Vong girl went a long way to proving that she was getting back up to form. At least in her fighting skills.
But she couldn't take the chance that the doctors were wrong about her body, about her cells. What horrors she might inflict on a growing child if she had one?
And besides, she still looked ill.
Mara was never vain about her looks. Rarely did she ever dress in fancy, even semi-fancy clothes, without there being a mission behind it. Her hair was always in whatever shape it took after drying. The colors of her face were as natural as they got. And yet men had still found her attractive. She had ignored them all.
Then there was Luke. He was ever diligent in telling her how beautiful she looked, even when she was dying. But then that was his job. It didn't matter that her body had lost it's youthful glow, or that her skin was tired and wrinkled. He loved her. He was supposed to see past all that.
It's just that Mara felt as ill on the inside as she looked on the outside.
She had issues that night, when Luke went to hold her. She let him, but she felt like cringing. She felt like crying. She felt like a disappointment. First she doesn't give him a child, and now this.
Somehow she'd find a way to make it all up to him.
* * * * *
Luke had just left about an hour ago. He was meeting with several of his Jedi; going over what new information they had on the Yuuzhan Vong threat. Mara was overlooking some of the reports that had come in.
The door chimed and Mara sensed out to see who her visitor was. She hit the panel release and the door slid open.
"Hi." Anakin Solo said as he stood outside.
"Good morning." Mara gestured Anakin inside. She figured he would be by after what had happened. He would either want to apologize and ask that she wouldn't tell Luke what had happened, or he would try to pretend it didn't happen at all. Either way, Mara knew how she would deal with it.
"Aunt Mara, I was wanting to talk to you about yesterday."
Good, he wasn't going to ignore it. She would have been disappointed if he had. Now all she had to do was assure him that all was fine, that it was a normal thing to happen for a kid his age, and that it would be just between them. Then they could both forget it had happened. "Why don't you sit down."
Anakin sat down on the sofa and Mara took a chair across from him.
"I didn't mean for that to happen, it just kind of did."
"It's okay." Mara assured him. "You're at that stage in life, things like that happen."
"I know." Anakin started to blush slightly. "I'm actually glad it did."
That wasn't exactly what Mara had expected Anakin to say. "You are?"
"It got me to thinking last night." Anakin looked up at her, the blushing child starting to be replaced by a more confident young man. "Got me thinking about life."
"Well, not exactly. See, I was thinking about the Vong girl who died. I wondered if she felt satisfied that she lived a full life before she gave her life for her people."
"Everyone has a different opinion as to what is considered a full life." Mara considered her own words and the child she would never have.
"I know." Anakin nodded. "And that was what I got to thinking about. All the things that I consider part of living a full life."
"Things you want to do before you die."
"Exactly." Anakin smiled with just the hint of a laugh.
Mara was proud that he wasn't taking all this in the depressing way that some teenagers did. He was facing his own mortality with a hint of a laugh. Not enough to get him killed, but enough to keep him sane. She smiled back, "Well, I wish you luck on getting everything done."
"Actually, there was something I wanted to ask you about. Something on my list." Some nervousness started to worm its way across his expression.
"Do you think it's wrong to want to, um, not be lonely, before you die?"
"Lonely?" Mara pondered that word for a moment. "Oh, you mean, a virgin."
"Yeah." A little redness flushed in his cheeks, but he took a breath and stilled himself. A look of honest inquisitiveness now filled his face. Yes, Mara was going to have to remind herself that he wasn't a kid anymore. He was a young man.
Shouldn't Han or Leia be having this talk with their son? Mara took a moment to gather her thoughts. "Well, I suppose it's only natural. As humans we have a desire and need to mate, procreate, and continue life. However, I would advise caution. It's not something to be considered lightly."
"Oh, I know. Dad's already had that talk with me. Sort of." He shook his head and laughed.
"Yeah, he got real nervous after awhile." Anakin shrugged. "I'm not sure but he might have had a guilt complex."
Mara nodded and couldn't help but laugh slightly. "I can see where that might be true. We've all got that one or two, but Han certainly has us beat."
"Aunt Mara?" Anakin raised an eyebrow at the statement.
"What?" Now it was her turn to blush slightly. "Do you really think that me and Luke hadn't been with anyone else before we got together?"
Anakin's brow wrinkled in thought. He looked a lot like Luke at that moment. "No, I guess that would be ridiculous to assume. I just never thought about it."
"It's okay. Probably not something you'd want to think about." Mara leaned forward slightly, she wanted to make sure her next words got heard and understood. "The point is, these people, these lovers, were persons that were special to us. We may not have loved them, per say, but they were close enough to our hearts to share ourselves with."
Anakin looked into her eyes and then slowly nodded in understanding.
"You'll find someone just as special," Mara continued, "and if you feel that they are the right person to share yourself with, well, it's your life, your decision, and your responsibility."
Anakin grinned. "So, in other words, make sure it's what I want to do and take all those precautions dad told me about."
"Well, I tried to say it nicer then that." Mara laughed.
Anakin laughed and then chewed his lip for a moment. "You know. I think I know who I want my, um, first, to be."
"Oh?" Mara knew it wasn't her place to ask but she had to admit she was curious as to what young woman had caught Anakin's eye. Might it had been his young friend Tahiri?
"She's a very intelligent and capable woman. Kind of like you." Anakin started to look away, no doubt imagining this woman of his dreams.
Mara nodded. "Good traits for any partner to have."
"She's strong, dependable, and very trustworthy. Kind of like you."
"Trustworthy is a good thing, yes."
"She's very beautiful. Kind of like you." His eyes flitted back to her for a moment.
"Thanks." Mara smiled with a tinge of modesty.
"She's someone I can talk to, and share a laugh with. Kind of like you." He looked her straight in the eyes as he added the emphasis to his last words.
Anakin remained silent, and it took Mara a moment to realize what he had been saying. "You don't mean me, do you?"
The young man nodded his head.
He locked eyes with her the way Luke would, and that was slightly unnerving at the moment. "I really am flattered, and I hope you find the kind of woman you're looking for"
"No, I'm not looking for someone like you." He reached out and took her hands. He had an earnest look on his face, slightly roguish but all Skywalker.
"Listen, Mara." He sounded so much like Luke at that moment that Mara almost lost her breath. "I don't want to hurt you, or Uncle Luke. I know it's not really proper for me to ask, but I am. I can only hope to one day find a woman like yourself, but I may never get that day."
Mara could only stare at him.
"I understand if you say no, but I had to ask." He squeezed her hands gently and kept looking at her with Luke's eyes. "You are special to me."
Here he was, this vibrant, handsome young man who could have any woman he wanted, and he was asking for ... her?
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have asked. I'll go." Anakin finally broke the silence. Mara realized she must have been staring into space for a while. He stood to leave.
"No." Mara grabbed his wrist and turned back to look at her. "I'd ... I'd be honored."
Anakin's eyes widen and he almost choked on his words. "You would?"
Mara stood and smiled, "Yes, but just this once and it stays between us. You understand."
Grinning ear to ear he nodded. Mara could feel the excitement swell within him through the Force. She took his hand in hers and led him towards the bedroom.
The bedroom she shared with Luke.
She didn't want to hurt her husband either, but she had never felt so alive since contracting the rare disease. She felt ... touchable ... again.
* * * * *
"Take your boots off." Mara said to the young man as she sat down on the edge of her bed and started to take her own boots off.
"Yes, of course." Anakin said, bouncing with a mix of excitement and nerves. It was actually rather cute.
Mara slipped off both boots with ease but Anakin was fumbling just a tad bit. A grin formed on her face and she had a thought. She leaned over to Anakin and kissed him just below and behind his ear. His face shot up and he stared wide-eyed at her again, but he was calmer, steadier.
She laughed. Must be a Skywalker thing then.
Standing up she pulled off her tunic revealing the sleeveless supporting shirt that was the only other article she wore over her torso. She then undid the catches on her combat slacks and slid them down and off, leaving only a pair of soft fabric shorts.
Anakin was looking her up and down, a pure Solo grin forming across his face. Mara almost blushed again.
"You really are beautiful." Anakin mumbled. "I've always had a crush on you, you know. And not just me, I could name a few other fellow Jedi who would give anything to be in my place right now."
Anakin nodded, still staring at her. Now she blushed. Now she truly did feel alive again.
She started to pull her shirt off. "You going to get undressed or keep staring at me?"
"Oh, right." Anakin grinned and pulled his shirt off. His shoulders were broad and his body was muscular in the way that comes from hard work. He was very handsome indeed.
Mara removed her shirt and tossed it aside. Anakin's mouth gaped open at the site of her naked breasts and Mara grinned. Sliding off her shorts, she said, "Don't tell me you you've never seen a naked woman before. A male at your age? I wouldn't believe it."
"Just never this close before."
Mara laughed slightly and stood directly in front of him. His hands reached out for her and then tentatively shot back.
"It's okay. Don't be afraid to do what you feel is right."
The young man nodded and reached forward, gently touching her breasts. His hands awkwardly stroked down her body to her hips. He was trembling now.
Gently Mara took him by the shoulders and pushed him on his back. Showing him how it's done she sensually traced the contours of his chest down to his trousers. She ran her fingers just above the waistline.
Anakin let out a little yelp of pleasure.
Unclasping his belt and trousers, Mara striped him of the rest of his clothes. She smirked at Anakin's massive erection, "Glad you're enjoying yourself."
"You have no idea."
"Actually, I think I do." Mara slapped his thigh. "Scoot up."
Anakin did as he was told, moving farther back across the bed so he legs were no longer dangling off the edge. Mara considered a few options, but she didn't want to overload the young man's senses during his first time. Besides, if he ended up getting with another Force sensitive then he'd figure things out soon enough.
Mara straddled him, she could see his breathing starting to quicken. Pushing her hips down she felt him slide up into her. His eyes widen and he seemed to loose his breath. For a moment Mara thought he was going to explode then and there. He closed his eyes and tried to calm himself.
"Feels good, doesn't it." Mara commented as she placed his hands on her hips.
Grinning she started to push up and down, thrusting her pelvis against his. She started slow so as to ease him into it. After a few solid thrusts she sped up. Both of them started to groan from the natural animal gratification.
It took him a while to figure it out, but he started to push himself up and pull her hips down in rhythm of her own thrusting. Despite the effort he was putting in, she was still doing most of the work. She pleasured herself on him anyway.
Mara pulled up and off of him. "Your turn."
"Huh?" Anakin shook his head as if he had been in a daze. "Oh, right."
Laying back against the pillows, she kept her legs closed. She felt Anakin's hands tremble as he took her knees and slowly pushed them apart. He got on top of her.
"It's okay, it just doesn't go there."
Anakin finally found his way in and started to thrust. Mara pushed back with her hips and he groaned again. He started to push harder and faster against her.
Mara was just about to start peaking when Anakin orgasmed.
"Woah," he said breathlessly.
He came sooner than she would have liked, but she needed to be supportive. "Everything you hoped for?"
He collapsed beside her. "Thank you," was all he said before he fell asleep.
Mara shook her head. Men.
* * * * *
Mara had let Anakin sleep for an hour or so before waking him. He left with a big grin on his face, but she knew she could trust that this would stay between them.
She grinned to herself. It hadn't been all that great as sex, but it was his first time, so it was forgivable.
After making the bed she took a shower and loosely pulled her robe on. Standing at the window the light was just right and she could see her reflection. She should probably cover herself up and get dressed.
With a smirk she walked back into the living room and sat down in her chair. The robe gapped open in places, she really didn't care. She picked up the datapads she was supposed to have been reading.
A couple of hours later she was caught up and just in time too. She felt Luke's presence outside before the door slid open.
"Hello, Mara." He said as he entered, staring down at his own datapad.
He looked up at her. She grinned as his mouth slightly gaped open at the site of her sitting half-naked in front of him.
His lips then parted into his own grin. "You really are beautiful."
"Oh? You think so?" Mara said innocently with a mischievous smirk on her face. Standing up the robe became unfastened. She didn't bother tying it back.
He tossed his stuff on the nearest solid surface and started walking towards her. "I know so."
Their bodies and lips met in a passionate embrace. Luke's hands slid under the robe and gently caressed down her sides the way that always made her swoon. The last thing Mara felt like doing was cringing.
After several moments of deep kissing, Mara pulled herself away and looked into her lover's eyes. "Get everything taken care of today?"
"Mostly, yeah." He had exactly the look in his eyes that she wanted to see.
"Good." Mara grinned and grabbed his hands and started to pull him towards the bedroom.
He followed without hesitation, unclasping his cloak and letting it fall. "You're feeling a lot better, I see."
Mara raised an eyebrow mock accusingly. "And is that a bad thing?"
"I definitely wouldn't call it that."
They locked lips again and fell together to the bed. His kisses moved down her neck and shoulder as he slipped the robe off her body.
As Mara slid her husband's shirt off she truly wished she could give him a child. That was out of the question now, but that didn't mean they couldn't have fun and great sex while trying.
Never felt more alive.
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