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by Viola

[Story Headers]


Summary: "There will be some ugly mornings, but at least I'll know what love means." Expanded Universe; Set during The Hand of Thrawn.

n. A force in nature which is recognized in various effects, but especially in the phenomena of fusion and evaporation, and which, as manifested in fire, becomes directly known to us through the sense of feeling.

There are men, Mara knows, who love words. She's not particularly fond of words herself. They're tricky, complicated, they can look like one thing and actually mean another.

Words are inherently untrustworthy.

So it makes sense, of course, that the men who love them are a little suspect. Loving words isn't quite like loving the sound of your own voice, though Mara certainly knows plenty of men like that, too. Loving words is more about loving to know, to puzzle, to figure, to pull things apart, to see patterns in the whole. Once you find the pattern, nothing is mysterious, you can figure out anything or anyone -- or so she's been told.

She's thinking, though she doesn't really like to admit it, of one man in particular. Or two -- and of the differences between them.

She's thinking of leaving one for the other. Not in the traditional sense, exactly. But she's making a choice nonetheless.

They both love words in their way. She loves them both in hers.

Karrde loves words, but he's never tried to force them from her. Not like Luke, who's always tried to get her to talk, to share, to try, to tease words out of her whether she meant them or not.

Your place will still be waiting when you get back, Karrde told her when she left. What he meant was that he would be, but she's not going back and they both know it. It's unlike him, to leave himself open that way. She wonders why he did it. Maybe he just needed her to know he hasn't forgotten, that he hasn't given up on her -- even after all this time.

He really should have. He'd have been better off. She's a lousy investment, at least for someone like him.

She's not surprised he sent her away, though. Karrde's always been a bit of a cold, calculating bastard when he had to be. He saw a situation that needed fixing, so he simply took it upon himself to fix it. Mara was unhappy; Skywalker was unhappy. The galaxy was in peril. So, in that detached way of his, he decided to add Element A to Element B, stand back and see what happened -- regardless of the personal cost to him.

They haven't owed each other anything more than friendship for a long time now, but the ghosts are still there -- phantom pains and old bruises, a twinge when she least expects it.

That's another way he and Luke are alike -- they've both left old wounds on her, scabbed over and scarred but never quite forgotten. Now, of course, she runs the risk of reopening them all.

She can't help wondering if it's worth it.

The thing is, it has to be. There's more at stake than just her own heart, her own pride. Funny, though, how her feelings somehow seem more important than the fate of the whole galaxy. She wants to feel something. Not something easy exactly, but new, better. Something that might finally save her soul, something that might save Luke's as well.

She knows that it's going to take more than words alone.

Whatever it is, she hopes she has it in her. She needs to say the things that need saying, that have needed to be said for far too long now. She has to find hope. She's got to reach down inside and find things that have been buried for an awfully long time.

Mara isn't afraid of much, but the prospect of that terrifies her.

She'll do it, though. For herself, for Luke, for everyone else. She's not sure why it's taken her so long to realize that this needed to be done. She's a little ashamed that Karrde, of all people, had to be the one to push her to it. She ought to have seen it herself a long time ago.

Maybe she had, and just didn't like what she saw very much.

But now things are different, for no other reason than she tells herself they are. She's made a choice, made the first move, even if she had a little unwanted help in figuring it out.

All she has to lose is herself, really -- and maybe she'll save something good along the way.

It's easier somehow to be brave down here in the dark. She can't see Luke's face and he can't see hers and somehow that almost makes it easy to say the words. Almost. She wishes, she really wishes, that there were some way to let him know without having to say it. Words just get in the way. She knows he would disagree if he knew she felt that way, but she can't help it.

He wants her to talk to him. He always has, even when she would have rather watched him bleed than listen to anything he had to say. Now she feels a bit like she's bleeding herself, bleeding out slowly with each step and each unspoken word.

Time is running out and she knows it.

She has to get over this, the pride, the fear. (The lingering doubt that she won't quite let herself acknowledge.) Mara has never been good at vulnerability or humility, and this is going to require both of those things.

For once in her life, she doesn't want to be in control. She wants him to speak first, to make the first move. She wants fate to intervene.

"Talk to me," he says then, breaking the long silence between them.

She still can't quite see his face, but she talks anyway. She doesn't say much that matters -- not yet -- but it's a start.

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Fandom:  Star Wars
Title:  Entropy
Author:  Viola   [email]   [website]
Details:  Standalone  |  PG  |  het  |  5k  |  04/06/04
Characters:  Mara Jade
Pairings:  Mara/Luke
Summary:  "There will be some ugly mornings, but at least I'll know what love means." Expanded Universe; Set during The Hand of Thrawn.
Sequel to:  Tipping Point

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