A/N: ThePariah asked me to do something with the song title (by Aerosmith, iirc) "What Kind Of Love Are You On?". Nope, this does not have that title, but it was partially inspired by that and does include the line.
His home was a dried husk
that even the searing sands of Tatooine had not yet broken down. He hadn’t been
there in years, not since going there after Callista left, but he knew it was
still there. Such things were immutable in the desert; his aunt and uncle’s
grave markers were gone, as was everything else that could be lifted and carried
off, but the dead walls of his child-hood home were still there. The sandstorms
had slowly begun to bury the walls in dirt, but it would be hundreds of years
before they were totally beneath the sand.
It occurred to him that he hadn’t really had a home since then.
The Rebel bases were just places to stay – places brightened with personal items, of which Luke had had little to begin with, and other knick-knacks collected over the years. Sometimes in the dark, musty, or just damn cold parts of the personnel areas, they would string little lights, like stars. Now there was Coruscant and Yavin IV. He had a permanent apartment in the Palace, which he actually used when he was there. The rest of the time, he had two connected rooms on Yavin. One he used as his bedroom, the other ended up being used as the general meeting place of the Jedi. He still wasn’t quite sure how that happened; it just grew into that purpose. He would wake up in the mornings sometimes to find other Jedi there talking and meditating, usually Tionne or Streen. Occasionally Kyp wandered in, usually looking for an argument.
He didn’t mind. He slept in the other room, but he lived his life in the rest of Yavin IV; in the bright eyes of his students; in the quiet places of the jungle.
Still, it bothered him sometimes that he didn’t really have a home, not like other people did. Not like Han and Leia, and their children had one. He knew they knew he longed for a family, and as such he never, ever brought the subject up. It wasn’t something he wanted to dwell over, and it certainly wasn’t something he wanted them to dwell over.
So then, Han and Leia were out; there was Wedge, and he would probably understand, having lived the Rebel life and knowing its costs – so similar to that of a Jedi’s – but Luke didn’t want to bother him either.
Mara was on Coruscant, as was he, so he called her.
“What?” came Mara’s voice, short but sounding perfectly awake. Of course, Luke had checked in the Force before calling her at 0200.
“Where do you live?” Luke wondered.
“What?” Mara repeated. “What the kind of a question is that?” A pause, “And at 0200?”
“Where do you live?” Luke insisted doggedly.
Sigh. A ‘I’m going to kill you for this, Skywalker’ sigh. The ‘Skywalker’ was added, of course, because she always called him that when angry or exasperated with him, which usually seemed to be her primary emotions in concern to him. “Either on the Jade’s Fire or a cabin on Karrde’s ship, as you probably guessed. Even at 0205. Now – what?”
“Is it your home?”
A long silence, and Luke waited patiently. “Luke, go to sleep.”
But she didn’t cut the comm, though she didn’t say anything more. “Mara?” he said at last.
“Yes?” She sounded wary.
“I want a home,” he whispered.
He heard Mara take a breath. “Luke, why are you telling me this? Go wake up your sister, or something.”
“Leia has a home,” Luke said wisely.
“And I don’t?” For some reason, Luke thought there should be an outraged tinge to that, but there wasn’t. Another sigh, but he wasn’t sure what that sigh meant. “Luke, go to sleep. We can talk later, okay?”
I think I’m making her worried, Luke thought, which was odd, because Mara wasn’t the worrying sort. “I just – sometimes I want it,” he said, in an attempt to explain why he was talking with her about this. He was talking to her because she wouldn’t overreact, because she would understand, but it would be all right with her.
“I know,” Mara said finally. “I know. Now go to sleep.”
“Good night, Mara.”
She cut the comm.
Luke turned away from the commstation. He turned off the lights, climbed into bed, and slept dreamlessly, peacefully. He just wanted it, sometimes.
mentioned it to Leia. She was worried, just like had suspected she would be. And
now Han was giving him glances when he thought Luke wasn’t looking, like he was
trying to figure his brother-in-law out. The children seemed peripherally aware
of it, but ran up to Luke and gave him hugs and sloppy kisses like normal
anyway. He was still Uncle Luke. He just wished Leia and Han knew that, too.
He had told Leia quite firmly he wasn’t depressed, he wasn’t thinking about Callista, he wasn’t thinking about Anakin Skywalker, he wasn’t thinking about Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen.
After he chased Jaina, Jacen and Anakin around their huge apartment in a game of tag, he thought she was starting to believe him. She felt his happiness.
He just wanted it, sometimes.
Why he had
spoken to Mara instead of Leia or Han, or Wedge? His reasons didn’t really make
sense in the morning; Mara was also his friend, as much as they were, though in
a totally different fashion. Because he had known she would react differently?
Because she didn’t have a home, either, and probably scarcely knew what having
one was like? He knew she had camaraderie, friendships, but those didn’t make a
It was on Yavin IV that he spoke to her next, having dropped off supplies using the Jade’s Fire. He commed her again. 0400.
“What?” Cranky, this time. He had definitely woken her up.
“What do you want, Skywalker?”
“Can we talk?”
“We are talking,” she snapped.
“Can you come over, then?” Luke amended willingly.
Mara sighed. “Give me a few minutes.”
“I’ll meet you outside,” Luke agreed.
She cut the comm, as usual.
Luke dressed, but didn’t bother to put shoes on. He walked out of his bedroom, checking the adjoining room. One of the younger students had snuck in sometime during the night and was asleep; probably there on a dare, everyone knew he left the door unlocked, but everyone also knew it was usually full Jedi that wandered in to talk, or meet, or meditate. Naturally, then, it was daring and brave to sneak in.
He silently moved across the grounds, to where Mara had landed. It was no difficulty to find it, even in the dark. The Force guided his steps, and he moved in the quiet way Jedi and assassins did. Mara was waiting outside, dressed rather informally in a loose sweater and a pair of combat pants. She had shoes, and quickly glanced at his bare feet. Then she turned and looked up at the stars.
Luke stood beside her.
“So?” Mara said simply, appearing surprisingly calm.
Luke didn’t look at the stars; he looked at her. Mara. He never thought of her as Jade, hadn’t since not long after meeting her, discovering her name. Jade was cold; Mara was Mara.
“I want you to buy a house with me,” Luke said suddenly. The thought formed and came out of his mouth simultaneously, it seemed.
Mara’s green eyes went wide. “What?”
“I love you,” Luke blurted next. He had always known he loved her, of course; he wasn’t that unaware. When he it turned from friendship love, to . . . “I want to make a home with you.” That kind of love.
Mara’s mouth worked and then she managed to get out, “Well, what kind of love are you on? Skywalker, are you sleep-deprived?” She turned away, quickly, but Luke knew it wasn’t anger, but something more akin to confusion.
Luke stepped closer, but didn’t touch her, knowing her limits. “Love makes a home. My Aunt Beru told me that.”
“And you think you love me?” She looked at him, eyes dark and still.
“I know I do.” He loved how she understood him; he loved how she treated him like a normal being; he loved her strength; he loved that despite Palpatine’s brainwashing, she was her own person; he loved the way she moved, so graceful; he loved her.
Her gaze was searching; something within her calmed, as she found it. She raised her hand, and touched his face, the movement hesitant and light. He took her raised hand, and kissed it. She closed her eyes, and he kissed her; in that kiss, was her ‘I love you’. Her mental shields, normally so strong little leaked out, abruptly fell – not gradually, no, Mara was never that way. She loved his gentleness; she loved his faith; she loved how he treated like a normal being; she loved his smile, his eyes; she loved him.
“A house doesn’t make a home. I heard that somewhere,” she said, eyes bright, shiny and with laughter. “People make a home.”
Luke smiled, and it felt raw and exposed. “Your apartments or mine, then?”
She laughed, breathily.
He put his hands on her waist, drew her closer to him, and her hands went around his neck, her fingers curling through his hair. He shivered at her touch, and kissed her.
He didn’t have to want it anymore; he had it now.