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Mara

lotusflower85 in marafics

"Eurydice" (Luke/Mara) Part II

Title: Eurydice
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: mild violence, character death
Summary: Luke must decide how far he is willing to go to save the life of Mara Jade.  Mara, meanwhile, has her own journey to make.



Part II: Against the Dying of the Light


Leia Organa-Solo crouched on the floor of the Millennium Falcon, carefully cleaning the painfully raw blaster wound in Han’s thigh. She was trying to be as gentle as she could, blotting the cauterised area with a med-towel, but despite her care Han still winced slightly at the antiseptic. It did not help that he was seated at the gaming table of the Falcon, rather than lying down in the medbay, but unfortunately the ship only had one medcot, which was presently occupied and Han refused to be taken to one of the sleeping cabins. Leia surmised that he didn’t want to be kept away from anything.

“So, doctor, will I live?” His words were light, but his expression grim. It was typical of Han, trying to lighten the mood, but his heart wasn’t in it. Leia looked up at him and he seemed to belatedly realise the inappropriateness of his words.

But she chose to ignore his oversight. “You will,” she told him simply and she applied a bacta patch to the wound.

“This is a real mess, eh?” Han shook his head.

Leia sighed and moved to take a seat next to him at the gaming table. She rubbed her hands over her eyes, which were still raw from crying, and suddenly felt very tired. “Yes it is.” She was silent for a few moments, before lowering her hands to rest on the table, clasping them together.

“We really should get you to one of the cruisers,” she told him, referring to the New Republic battleships which had arrived and fought off the Imperial craft which had been in orbit over Koli. “A med-driod should really look at that wound.”

“I’m fine,” Han told her. “A few days rest and I’ll be good as new.” He leaned over and placed one of his hands over her clasped ones. “Hey,” he said softly, and she looked up at him, his face, although still tinged with sweat and dust from the battle, was concerned and gentle. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” she repeated back to him, although she knew her expression to be less than convincing. “I never really had much time for her,” she began after another silence. “You seemed to understand her more than me – like her, even.”

Han nodded. “She and I were the same– in a way.”

“I never trusted her, not really, no matter what Luke said,” she continued, buoyed by the understanding in her husband’s tone. “But she saved us – all of us.” Leia felt the tears well up in her eyes again, and in her husband’s presence only, she allowed them to fall. “I just wish I’d gotten to know her better, I suppose.”

“She was one of a kind,” Han nodded, and patted her hands gently. “And it’s alright to have regrets, Leia – no one saw this coming.” He exhaled, a sort of half-laugh, and looked away wistfully. “You know I always thought, her and Luke…but it doesn’t matter now.” He shook his head again, and Leia wanted to reach for him, to enfold herself in his arms, remind herself every day that her husband was alive, and how lucky she was that neither of them had been seriously injured in the firefight, in the hundreds of other battles they’d been in over the years. If that blaster bolt had been a few feet higher, and hit Han in the chest rather than the leg…she had never really stopped to think about it.

But all it would take was one accurate shot, one miscalculated move, one sacrifice, and it could all be over, for either of them. Never before had Leia keenly felt how fragile their lives were, and never before had she appreciated Han as much as she did in that moment. She wanted to tell him so, but the comm buzzed angrily, and broke her train of thought.

“I’ll get it,” she said, raising and placing a stilling hand on his shoulder. “Don’t you dare get up.” She needed to head to the cockpit to answer properly, but before she went, she held Han’s face between both of her hands and kissed him fiercely, hoping it conveyed all of her unarticulated thoughts.

He smiled, sadly, as she drew away, and Leia knew that he had understood, and felt the same. She sighed and headed down the corridor to the empty cockpit, took a seat in the pilot’s chair and punched the comm.

“Yes?” she answered tersely, angry already at whoever thought it necessary to disturb them at such a time.

“Madame Organo Solo?” The clipped voice of Kyp Durron answered over the comm, and Leia cringed inwardly. She’d had little contact with Kyp, but Luke had spoken of him often, enough for her to discern that he was a rather tactless young man.

“Yes?” Leia answered in a tone she hoped displayed her displeasure.

“I’m sorry to disturb you,” Kyp answered. “The captain over here on the Valiant has asked if we should get going – the Star Destroyer’s been chased off but he thinks it unwise to linger.”

Leia forced herself to assume the role required by her position. Captain Ortega was in charge of the NR ships, but she was the highest-ranking NR representative so the call fell to her. “I agree,” she told Kyp. “But not quite yet – a half-hour, at least.”

“I understand – it may take some convincing,” Kyp replied. “How is he?” he asked after a pause.

Leia sighed, leaning back against the pilot’s chair. “Not good.”

“Do you need any of us over there?” Kyp asked, a note of pleading in his voice. “To help?”

“No,” she told him firmly. “Not just yet – I’ll comm back when we’re prepared.” She shut off the comm without waiting for Kyp’s reply, knowing that she could not wait any longer. She’d been putting it off, but Leia understood that she had to speak with him, convince him that it was time to leave.

She slowly rose out of the pilot’s chair and walked back down the corridor of the Falcon. As she passed through the lounge she noticed Han was still slumped at the gaming table, but his eyes were closed. Probably a blessing, she told herself, knowing how painful a blaster wound could be. She kissed her fingers and touched his head softly with them as she walked past, down to the Falcoln’s medbay.

She entered soundlessly, and saw Luke seated in the only chair. His hair was rumpled and his overall appearance was dishevelled. But his face was what concerned Leia the most – it was blank, devoid of emotion; in fact he looked almost catatonic. He stared, unblinking at the only medcot, which contained the prostrate and lifeless body of Mara Jade.

It had been an awful moment, down on the planet, when Luke had held Mara’s body in his arms as she slipped away. He had kept shaking her, patting her cheek, calling her name, until eventually Leia had knelt down beside him and forced him to stop. Luke had not cried, but instead withdrawn within himself, insisting on carrying her back to the Falcon and lying her reverently in the medcot himself. He had taken a seat and refused to leave her, as if he was taking up residence by her sickbed, waiting for her to awaken. Leia had been forced to leave him to get them off the planet and tend to Han’s injury, a decision she was now regretting.

“She died for me,” Luke spoke up, and Leia almost jumped at his sudden words, unaware that he had noticed her enter. “To save me – all of us,” he added, although his voice was emotionless and blank.

“Yes,” Leia agreed, “she was very brave.” As sad as she was for Mara’s death, Leia would always be grateful for it, for Mara had saved the life of her beloved brother, had prevented him from making the sacrifice which would have ended in Luke’s dead body lying in the Falcon’s medbay, rather than Mara’s. Leia would thank the Force every day for the rest of her life for Mara Jade, once sworn to kill Luke Skywalker, but who ended up saving him. Leia found that there was some kind of bittersweet poetry to that, although she would never share those thoughts with Luke.

“She was brave,” Luke repeated, his eyes still on Mara. “She was brave, and good…and she didn’t deserve this.”

“No she didn’t,” Leia concurred softly. “No one does.”

“No,” Luke disagreed, although his eyes did not leave Mara’s body. “Some people do – the ones who did this to her do.”

“I can feel them,” he continued after Leia didn’t answer. “The Koli, down on that planet, those stormtroopers – that warlord Vyper and all those men and women on his Star Destroyer, even though they’re light-years away by now.” A shadow crossed his face and Leia felt uneasy.

“I could touch their minds,” he continued, “and it would be easy – so easy – to end them all. I know how.” His head tilted slightly, as if considering. “And it would be justice.”

“Luke,” she was most distressed. “Please don’t say that.”

“Don’t say or don’t do it?” His voice sounded hollow.

She stepped forward and placed a hand on his shoulder, squeezing slightly. “Please don’t say it,” she told him. “I know that you would never do it.”

There was a long silence, and for the briefest of moments, Leia doubted her own words. She was confident in her brother’s ability to resist the Dark Side and not act out of revenge, but his lack of affect bothered her deeply. Even after Vader had died, he had not seemed like this. But then, she supposed, Vader had died in peace and redemption, whereas Mara was still so young, with so much potential. Her death seemed like such a waste.

Eventually, Luke’s shoulders sagged ever so slightly, and his hand came up to rest over Leia’s, still on his shoulder. “You’re right – I couldn’t.” There was a hitch in his voice. “I would never.” A single tear slid down his cheek as his gaze was fixated on Mara’s form in the medcot. “But I wish I could – I wish I had the will.”

Leia moved swiftly to kneel before him, taking his face in his hands. “You don’t mean that, Luke,” she told him firmly, wiping the tear from his cheek with her thumb. “You don’t.”

“And you know me so well, Leia?” he asked, his voice suddenly harsh.

“Yes,” Leia told him emphatically. “We are of the same blood, the same body, the same cells,” she continued, her hands still on his face, even as his eyes remained locked on Mara. “I know you like myself, and I know that you would never want to cheapen Mara’s sacrifice by giving into anger.”

Luke looked down at her then, his eyes bright, clearly transmitting that his pain was undiminished, but Leia could tell that she had gotten though to him. He bowed his head, visibly crumpling, and Leia reached up at drew him into her arms. Although he did not cry, Leia could keenly feel his despair through the Force. She felt his pain and grief at Mara’s death, but also his guilt that she had died to save him; had become a martyr because that was what he’d taught her, by example, to be.

No words from his sister could dissuade him from this opinion, that much she knew, but she could give him her comfort and her understanding. So she held him close, refusing to let go, as she felt his anger ebb.

Until, eventually, she could tarry no longer. She pulled away ever so slightly, wincing at the blank look on her brother’s face which held back so much pain. “Luke,” she told him softly. “We have to go.”

“No.”

“Luke,” she touched his cheek. “We need to take her back to Coruscant.”

“No,” he repeated, his voice determined. He looked up at Leia, and she noted a faraway look in his eyes, almost as if he was seeing through her, beyond her. “We can’t leave yet.” He smiled, ever so slightly, at odds with his otherwise blank expression. “I know how to save her.”


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



It was not dark.

She could not feel her eyelids, but somehow she knew that they were closed. And yet, there was light; bright, intrusive whiteness all around her, such that it was impossible to stay at rest.

Mara opened her eyes, although the view did not change – all she could see was white.

Great, she thought to herself. Mara had never really thought about what happened when you died – in truth, she had always thought that was the end, with nothing left but peace. She’d been sort of looking forward to that. Skywalker had always had those lofty opinions about being enfolded back into the Force; that there was some sort of beyond where the dead could see the living, and perhaps, interact with them if they were strong enough. He’d been visited by old Obi-Wan Kenobi, after all –or so he said. Mara had always been sceptical about that, and had chalked it up to a hallucination or wishful thinking.

And yet she’d died, had felt her body give up and the darkness engulf her, but here she was – wherever it was.

Mara stood and surveyed her surroundings another time, turning slowly on the spot, seeing nothing but white, white, and more white. Great, she thought again, this is worse than a Mon Cal psych ward. But as she finished her rotation, she saw a figure – one she hadn’t noticed before.

A woman stood not ten feet from her, smiling warmly. She wore a simple white gown which fell to the floor, bare feet poking out from under the edge of the skirt. Dark hair framed her heart-shaped face, and gentle brown eyes gazed at her. “Hello, Mara Jade,” the woman addressed her in a soft, lilting voice.

The woman was not known to her, but there was a familiarity that Mara just couldn’t place. “Where am I?” she asked.

“This place is called by many names. The people of my planet called it Erebus,” she replied.

“Oh,” Mara said, not sure what that meant. “And who are you?”

The woman smiled again. “I am here to help you.”

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(Anonymous)

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