Out of the Darkness
Summary: Well. If that’s all he needed
... (L/M slight mush.)
A/N: Thanks to Gabri for beta'ing, and I kept that one confusing line in tribute to your Mara knowledge.
Feedback is always appreciated. :)
He slides over to me out of
the darkness, bearing a steaming cup in his hand. He holds it out for me, and
not without wariness, I take it. Only the Force knows how he got it up here
without spilling it.
He sits as I sniff cautiously. “What is it?” I ask, trying to see his face in the darkness.
He looks out at the planet, making my attempt easier. Sitting on top of the old Massassi temple, the light from the planet Yavin shines brightly; in the jungle, it would be filtered almost to nothing.
I can’t read his expression.
“It’s called hot chocolate.” He glances at me, his lips curve. “It’s good.”
I take a sip. It tastes ... good. Hot, sweet, and slightly bitter, all at once. As I swallow, it goes down smoothly, soothingly. “Hmm.”
“Lando introduced me to it,” he says.
I look at him sharply, but he’s turned away, and he’s momentarily readable: a slight nervousness, perhaps embarrassment. Probably curious about those rumors I had to spread for the sake of that damn mission.
Deciding now isn’t the time to yell at Skywalker, I down more of the hot chocolate, inhaling the rich scent. This stuff is good. More proof that Palpatine’s court was comprised of idiots.
“So why are you up in here in the middle of the night?” I ask at last.
“Why are you?” he returns, though it’s a stupid remark.
“Following you,” I retort easily.
He sighs. “No reason.”
I can tell he doesn’t expect me to believe that, but I can also tell he knows that I know what that really means is not to push matters. But that doesn’t mean I can’t anyway. “Really, Skywalker. People don’t just get up in the middle of the night and make hard climbs for nothing.”
“It’s not that hard,” he grumbles.
I narrow my eyes at him, and in a quick glance, he sees it.
“I ... appreciate the effort, but I really don’t want to talk about it,” he says to me with an earnest, blue-eyed gaze full-on.
I turn away, musing on whether to accept that. But ... he has always been willing to back down when I needed it. He never pushes me hard, finishing my training excepted. He never asks me what it was like being the Emperor’s Hand. He doesn’t ask me if I liked it. He didn’t ask me if I missed it. He doesn’t ask me personal questions. Often.
So I nod, accepting.
Something within him relaxes at my action, my non-action. Though I sit cross-legged, he sits with his arms around his knees, a childlike posture that surprises me, not least because it’s not easy to come to a defensive position sitting like that.
He puts his arms down, folds his arms around himself and, temporarily, I wonder if I should ... do something.
“It’s quite a view,” I remark.
“Different from Coruscant,” he says, his eyes clear and open as he looks at the gas planet that dwarfs us both.
“Yes,” I say, thinking about that. There could be so many connections to Coruscant in his mind. It had been the center of the Empire, the marginal home of his father. Perhaps that, but then his sister and her family live there, as well.
Damn the man.
“When do you leave?” he asks me.
I shrug. “I’m not sure yet.” The supplies were all off my ship, yes. But he had told me there was no harm in staying for a few days, and I had agreed to that much.
He nods, more of a conclusion to that line of questioning than an affirmation.
“Do you ever bring your students out here, in the night?” I ask, randomly.
He smiles a little, watching me out of the corner of his eye. “Yes, sometimes. Not just because it’s harder to see, but ... it feels different. Life is different, when it’s night.”
I nod thoughtfully at that, resisting the urge to ponder a deeper meaning to his words.
“Still,” he admits, “night is the time to sleep. Perhaps,” and he looks at me, “it’s time we got some.”
“Probably should, Skywalker,” I say dryly, smiling.
He rises to his feet, and I follow, placing the cup on the stone floor, wondering how exactly I’ll get the thing down with me. He pauses, facing me. “Thank you.”
He gives me a full smile this time. “No reason.”
I let out a quiet laugh, and get the privilege of a full grin. He hesitates, then steps forward, and in that brief moment, I relax in response. A movement forward, and he’s lightly hugging me. He almost moves away, and I wrap my arms around him, lightly and not even for a sliver of a second, then I step back.
His eyes lower, but his smile lingers. “Good night, Mara.” He swiftly turns, and by the time I’ve grabbed the cup, he is gracefully climbing down from the top of the temple.
I follow more slowly.
Well. If that’s all he needed ... my presence, someone. I could give him that.
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