Rating: PG

Author’s Note: Response to a Red & Dead Challenge: A lot of Marakin involves Mara in a mentor role... but what happens when Anakin is forced to take the lead?

Write a story in which Mara finds herself taking orders from Anakin. Must include at least three of the words like, hint, used, blaster, and sensuous.

Timeframe: NJO, Dark Tide 1: Onslaught

I hate the rain. It's cold and wet and it gets everywhere. And it has been raining on us for three days now, and that is how long we have been running. And apparently Dantooine has decided to provide us with every possible permutation of rain, from a slow, gentle shower, to the current sheets of ice cold drops that sting as they hit.

I look over at Aunt Mara, frowning as she appears to be asleep, noting the gaunt skin, the sunken eyes. I touch her skin, and it feels warm even in the freezing rain. I don think I like how it feels, so different than the sensuous caresses I had dreamed about.

Then I can feel a buzzing in the Force, and know the Vong have found us again. I can feel my frown shift to a scowl as the Force prods me on with a sense of urgency.

"Aunt Mara, it's time to go."

I start to help her up, and grimace as I have to drop her to bat the thud bug from the air with my saber. Shutting down my saber, I scan what little of the terrain I can see through the rain and reach down to help Aunt Mara up again.

"Come on Aunt Mara, you can do this."

I look into her eyes, and bite back a curse at the nearly empty expression that appears in them. I find myself scowling once more, at how used she looks.

Then the moment has passed, and the Aunt Mara that I know and love comes once more to the fore, as she slowly starts scrambling up the rocks in front of me. I take a second to scan the forest as Aunt Mara slips out of sight up on the game trail we're following.

I hear a growl as a Vong warrior steps out of the forest, it takes me a second to realize that the growl is coming from me. I size the warrior up, noting the way he flexes and pivots on the balls of his feet.

Then he has his amphistaff in hand, flying towards me.


As he attempts to jump over me, I ignite and swing my saber with all the strength I can muster, sawing through the joints on his legs, feeling a deep satisfaction as the legs land at my feet, while the rest of him carry on over my head.

I look at him, a sneer crossing my face as I quickly step in and shove the blade into that weak spot under his arm. The rain quickly washes the stench and blood from me as I hurry up the path after Aunt Mara. I shut the blade down, and step over the inert form.

As I start following the trail once more, a red blaster bolt shoots out, passing inches from my head, and I can hear it connect with something immediately behind me. Spinning around, I look down and see the burnt carcass of another thud bug.

Turning I see Aunt Mara standing by a large tree, sliding her blaster back into its holster. She catches my eye and gives me a smirk, which I happily return.

The voice I hear is low and hoarse, I can feel a spike of pain as her throat is raw from coughing. "Not quite what you were expecting when you were assigned babysitting duties huh, Solo?"

Any retort I might have had, died on my lips as her body is wracked by a cough. Looking around I notice the path branches off, one going up into the foothills that we're at the bottom of, the other following the foothills here in the valley. Slipping my arm around her, I start leading us once up the pathway into the foothills. "Come on Aunt Mara; let's hope we can find a cave up in these mountains."

"What's wrong? Don't like the rain?"

I can't help but laugh. "Not so much that, as I don't want to drown while sleeping."

Our travel is slower now; I am having to help her more often, lend her my strength, and even carry her over certain parts of the terrain. But at last we find a cave, somewhere we can be dry for at least a little while.

We enter, and go back far enough, and around a bend that any fire we have should not be visible from the cave's entrance. I lay her down against the wall, and start looking around for some dead wood or something in the cave that could be used to start a fire. Finding enough debris, I bring it back to Mara and use her blaster to ignite it.

I quickly strip Aunt Mara of her clothes, laying them near the fire to dry and then do the same with mine. I get the thermal blanket from the pack on my belt and lay it on top of her. Noticing that it didn't stop her shivers, I lie down next to her and pull her close to me, wrapping the blanket around us both. She sighs and snuggles deeper into my arms.

"Thanks, Farmboy."

I hear the words, but they don't instantly translate, so I look down at her, and she lifts her face up and is kissing me. At first I'm too shocked to do anything, and then as she reaches up with one of her hands and drags my face even closer I find myself returning the kiss.

Enjoying the kiss.

Instantly I'm acutely aware of the feel of her flesh against mine, where earlier it had felt coarse and feverish, now it was soft and silky and emanating a different kind of heat.

Then she breaks the kiss and laying her head on my shoulder, her voice soft and scratchy. "Love you, Farmboy."

Then the only sound I can hear is the beating of my heart and her soft snores. As logic once more asserts itself in the place of lust and desire, I realize that in her feverish state she thought I was Uncle Luke, that for her, it wasn't me she was kissing at all.

And then I note that she is still feverish, as her back arches from the pain of her coughs.

I quickly decide to not mention what happened to her, to not burden her with what we did this night, and sadly I wondered if I would ever have what Uncle Luke and Aunt Mara have. If wonder I would ever have that kind of relationship, that kind of passionate joy that they seem to always have with one another, for one another.

I sigh and from somewhere in the back of my mind, I can see a flash of vibrant green eyes and hear Tahiri's voice. Dummy.

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