‘A Vision of Missing Moments’ - Chapter 7 (back to chapter one)

By Angela Jade - angela@yavin4.free-online.co.uk - constructive criticism and happy thoughts gratefully received ... please don’t flame me!

Set directly after Chapter 6 (now, there’s a surprise!), after ‘Vision of the Future’ by Timothy Zahn

Main characters - Mara, Leia, Iella (married to Wedge Antilles), Mirax (married to Corran Horn), Winter (married to Tycho Celchu, Rogue Squadron).

Rated - PG-13. Smut-free, but not innuendo-free.

Disclaimer - all these characters belong to Mr. Lucas, Mr. Zahn, and Mr. Stackpole (I love you guys!). I write about them as a form of flattery - please don’t sue. I’m making no money from this.

Summary - back on Coruscant, Leia drags Mara on another Ladies’ Night Out.

Written February 2000

Chapter 7 - Back to Coruscant

The shuttle touched down on the landing platform late afternoon, local time. Corran and Mara had decided to travel back to Coruscant together, leaving Luke the X-wing, much to his delight. Corran peered out the forward viewport. ‘No-one to meet us.’

Mara finished off the shut-down before turning to face him. ‘Who were you expecting? Mirax?’

Corran shook his head. ‘Valin’s not well. She’s probably still at home nursing him.’ He stood up and went to pick up both their bags. ‘I just thought Leia or Han or even Threepio would have been here to say hello. To you, at least.’

Mara shrugged and lowered the exit ramp. ‘Luke told them what time we were due in. I guess they’re just busy. It’s all this running the galaxy stuff. Takes up a lot of time.’

‘Are you going round to visit them?’

‘Nope. Just going to Luke’s place to steel myself for tomorrow.’

Corran handed her her bag. ‘So, have you decided if you are going to speak to them? The media, that is.’

Mara locked the shuttle and set the alarm. ‘I’m going to talk to Leia and Han before I decide. They’ve got more experience of this type of thing than me.’

Corran waved down a passing transport and picked up their bags again as it bobbed to a halt in front of them. ‘Can I drop you off?’ He hoisted their bags in the back then held the door for Mara.

She smiled and climbed in. ‘I’m in no particular hurry. Let’s get you back to your wife and son first.’

Mara dropped her flightbag outside Luke’s door and was just reaching for the palm-scanner, when she paused. She could sense someone in the apartment. She slowed her breathing and stretched out with the Force, trying to identify the intruder. Two seconds later she blew out a sigh and slapped her hand on the scanner irritably. The door slid open and Mara stomped into the room, throwing her bag on the floor. ‘You can come out now, Leia. I know you’re here.’

Leia’s head popped round the kitchen door. ‘At last. You’re back. Come on, I’ve cooked.’ She disappeared again.

Mara frowned and followed her into the kitchen. ‘What’s going on?’

Leia opened the cooker door and pulled out a plate which she quickly set on the worktop. ‘Ow. Hot,’ she said, sucking her fingers. ‘Marinated mina fish and vegetables. Eat. We’re going out.’

Mara stopped as she reached for a fork. ‘I’m not going anywhere. Haven’t you got other friends to get drunk with?’

Leia smiled. ‘Of course I have. We’re meeting them in less than an hour.’ She gestured to the steaming plate. ‘So you’d better get started.’

Mara speared a piece of the fish and waved it at Leia. ‘I already told you. I’m not going out. I’m tired, I’ve got a heap of work to do...’

‘Do it later,’ interrupted Leia, folding her arms. ‘Because after I announce your engagement tomorrow you’re not going to get peace to go out at all. So you might as well make the most of your last night of freedom before all hell breaks loose.’

Mara seemed to shrink a little as she chewed on her fish thoughtfully. ‘Do you really think it’s going to be that bad?’

Leia nodded. ‘I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve let a few people in on the secret early. I thought I’d better get some advice.’ She counted the names off on her fingers. ‘Iella and Wedge - you already told them. Iella suggested you might even need a bodyguard. Mirax Horn said she would go into hiding in your shoes. Han doesn’t trust any of the media, and has offered to smuggle in blasters to the conference. General Bel Iblis reckons that now the war is officially over, the media have nothing better to do than to hound you and Luke. Karrde is ready to sue anyone on your behalf. Mon Mothma just put her head in her hands and groaned.’ Leia smiled. ‘And Lando says “Good Luck”.’

Mara swallowed. ‘That bad?’

Leia nodded. ‘That bad.’

‘And what is your opinion?’

Leia looked down at the floor before meeting her friend’s eyes. ‘If I’m totally honest, I’m more worried about the people who still cling to the Emperor’s memory. I can’t see them taking the news very well.’ She tried to smile but it became more of a grimace. ‘But I may just be feeling paranoid.’

Mara pushed some of the vegetables around her plate, deep in thought. Finally she stabbed one with rather more force than was necessary. ‘That bastard controlled my life for the best part of twenty years.’ She looked up at Leia, her eyes burning. ‘I’m not going to let him or his minions dictate how I run my life now. Nor am I going to put up with a bunch of reporters who should get themselves a proper job instead of making everyone else’s lives a misery.’

Leia smiled. ‘Glad to hear it.’

Mara scooped up a few more mouthfuls of fish, before setting down her fork. ‘I’m going to get changed. We’re going out.’

Following Leia’s lead of ‘casual dress’ (dark green pants, a baggy light green blouse), Mara came out of the bedroom wearing tan pants, a white vest-top, and a black jacket. Her usual knee-length boots had been replaced by brown ankle-boots and her lightsaber swung at her belt. She had brushed out her hair and was re-braiding it as she walked. ‘Okay, let’s go.’

Leia’s speeder was parked outside the building next door and they had soon settled into the steady flow of Coruscant traffic.

‘Where are we going?’ asked Mara.

‘Wine bar at the top of the Senate building,’ Leia replied. She glanced at her passenger and winked. ‘It’s new. Not many people know it’s actually open.’

‘You mentioned drinking buddies?’

Leia smiled. ‘You’ll see when we get there.’ She pulled out of the traffic stream and into the basement hanger of the Senate building. The overhead scanner moved over the speeder, forwards then backwards, but the heavy door in front of them still did not raise.

A guard droid zipped out of a nearby wall-niche and hovered beside Leia’s door. Its number, JC-45, was emblazoned across its chest and the two laser weapons mounted on its shoulders swivelled to face Leia and Mara. ‘You are clear to enter, Counsellor Organa Solo, but your companion must provide identification and all weapons must be checked in.’

Mara raised an eyebrow at Leia. ‘I see they’ve stepped up security around here.’

Leia just winked then turned back towards the droid. ‘Protocol four-six-seven.’

The droid’s eyes dimmed slightly and the shoulder weapons drooped. Leia pulled a small datacard out of one pocket, popped it into a slot on the droid’s abdomen, then pulled it out again.

JC-45 slowly came back to life, feeling slightly confused. He rewound his short-term memory. Oh, yes. The occupants of the speeder were authorized and had no weapons. He powered down his own weapons and sped back to his little alcove.

Seconds later the hanger door rose up and Leia nudged the speeder forwards as Mara stared at her incredulously.

‘Correct me if I’m wrong,’ said Mara, ‘but didn’t you just do something illegal?’

Leia parked the speeder and hopped out. ‘I know, I know. Those JCs can be so pedantic sometimes.’ She smacked her own hand. ‘Bad Leia.’

‘I’m not trying to make you feel guilty, I’m just surprised at you.’

Leia grinned. ‘That’s the idea!’ They stepped into a nearby turbo-lift and Leia keyed in the top floor.

‘So how and why?’ asked Mara.

‘How? Ghent still owes me a few favors. Why? Because Han insisted. He doesn’t like either of us coming in here unarmed out of hours.’

‘And if you’re found out?’

Leia shrugged. ‘I know of several other members who manage to sneak weapons in. I’m sure we’d all be told off and then they’d pass some new law.’

‘So what’s the point of all the security?’

‘To keep out trouble-makers like you.’

Mara’s retort died on her lips as the door swished open. Directly opposite the lift door, on the opposite side of the room, was a large, semi-circular sofa with a table in the middle and two empty chairs opposite. Of the three occupants, one was content to smile while the other two were waving madly.

‘At last,’ yelled Iella Antilles. ‘You’re both here.’

‘Happy engagement party!’ That was Mirax Horn.

‘I thought our last outing was my engagement party,’ hissed Mara, as she and Leia made their way over to the table.

‘Nothing in the rules says you’re only allowed one engagement party,’ replied Leia.

Two hours later, and the collection of empty glasses on the table was threatening to overwhelm them.

‘Does that waiter droid never take away the empties?’ asked Iella, waving frantically towards the droid behind the bar.

Mirax contemplated the teaspoon of liquid at the bottom of her glass before throwing it down her throat. ‘I think you have to ask him.’

Iella frowned at her friend. ‘Now you tell me.’ She turned to Winter, who was sitting on her left, delicately sipping a non-alcoholic cocktail. ‘And I don’t suppose you thought to tell me, either.’

‘You never asked.’

The waiter droid hovered to a halt behind Mirax. ‘Clear the table then bring another round,’ said Iella.

‘I don’t need another drink,’ commented Winter. ‘I’ll just end up running to the ‘fresher every five minutes.’

‘Well, that’s your own fault,’ replied Iella, patting Winter’s slightly expanded stomach.

‘Tycho might have had something to do with it,’ said Mirax with a wink.

‘I should hope so,’ said Leia. She turned to Winter, her mouth twitching as she tried to keep a straight face. ‘It is Tycho’s baby, isn’t it?’

‘Of course,’ replied Winter, coolly. ‘I still have an excellent memory, and there are some things you never forget.’

‘Of course, a holographic memory,’ said Mirax. ‘I could really use one of those.’

‘Yeah,’ said Iella. ‘Like, “remember that time you came in drunk and fell sound asleep on the floor, while I was waiting for you” - you could drag them across the coals every argument.’ She realised the other four were staring at her. ‘What?’

‘Is there something you want to share with us?’ asked Leia, still trying not to smile. ‘Is Wedge not keeping you... ummmmm ... happy?’

Everyone except Iella burst out laughing. ‘That wasn’t what I meant, and you know it, Princess.’

‘Well, you know what they say about pilots,’ said Mara.

‘Which particular saying is this,’ asked Mirax. ‘I can think of a few.’

‘And don’t forget we’re all married to pilots,’ said Leia. She leaned over and gently prodded Mara in the shoulder. ‘Including you.’

‘Not married yet,’ replied Mara. ‘And he’s an ex-pilot. Jedi Master now.’

‘Never mind arguing over rank,’ said Iella impatiently. ‘I want to know what they say about pilots.’

Mara shrugged. ‘They say that the size of their ... ummmm ... manhood is inversely related to the size of the ship they fly.’

There was a moment’s silence as they all worked it out.

‘You mean, little ship, big...’

‘Exactly,’ said Mara, cutting Iella off.

Iella exchanged glances with Mirax and Winter. ‘Don’t get much smaller than an X-wing!’ she exclaimed gleefully. All three turned to look at Leia.

‘I am here to personally repuniate ... repudial ... deny that so-called fact,’ said Leia, eventually. ‘The Falcon is a big ship and Han Solo is a “big” man.’ She threw back what was left of her drink and banged the glass back down on the table.

‘She’s right,’ said Winter. She immediately had their full attention, especially Leia’s. ‘What? I shared their apartment when the twins were born and he does have a tendency to wander about wearing very little.’

‘Yup,’ said Iella, ‘it’s a Corellian thing. Correction - a male Corellian thing.’

‘Wandering about half-naked is not confined to Corellian males,’ said Mara. ‘I think they all do it.’

Winter raised an eyebrow. ‘Not Luke, surely.’

Mara nodded, sipping her drink. ‘On Coruscant he’s always wearing his robes, or his blacks, or a flight-suit. Any time he has to do the slightest bit of exercise, off comes the shirt.’

‘Corran does that too,’ said Mirax. ‘He says lightsaber practice makes him hot.’

Mara regarded her skeptically. ‘I manage to keep my top on.’

‘So what else do they say about pilots, then?’ asked Leia.

Mirax thought for a minute. ‘Number of kill markers equals number of ... ummm ... female conquests.’

‘Hah!’ exclaimed Iella. ‘There’s hardly any room for paint on Wedge’s X-wing, and I can’t think of one other woman, apart from the blue bimbo.’

‘The blue bimbo?’ said Mara.

‘Qwi Xux,’ whispered Leia. ‘Iella did not take that relationship too well.’

‘On the contrary, Leia. I was very restrained.’

‘You mean you left him to it,’ said Mirax. ‘Corran told him he was an idiot. Perhaps you should have said something too.’

Iella regarded her friend. ‘We’ve been through this before, Mirax. Corran was biased. He was always trying to set Wedge and I up.’ She sighed. ‘I couldn’t go up to him and say “your girlfriend’s an idiot” and then expect him to say “hey, you’re right” and dump her.’

Mara leaned back in her seat. ‘You could always have a word with the girlfriend.’

‘I take it you are talking from personal experience,’ said Winter.

Leia’s eyes narrowed. ‘Callista. What did you say to her?’

Mara shrugged, a slight smile playing over her lips. ‘Nothing. Well, not much. I suppose I kind of threatened her.’

‘I never met her,’ said Mirax. ‘What was she like?’

‘Needy, insecure, self-absorbed, paranoid...’

‘Sounds familiar,’ muttered Iella.

‘Oh, come on Mara,’ said Leia. ‘She wasn’t that bad.’

Mara glared at Leia. ‘Yes she was.’

Leia merely shook her head. ‘She was kind of like that around Luke. But on her own, she was okay.’

‘She wasn’t right for your brother, and you knew it.’

‘Are you sure there wasn’t a hint of jealousy clouding your judgements?’ asked Winter.

‘Nope. We were friends, that was it. He couldn’t seem to get his head straight after all that dark-side stuff, so I avoided him. But Callista just seemed to make him worse.’

The five friends sat in silence for a moment.

‘This has got to be the most depressing engagement party I’ve ever been to,’ said Mirax, waving to the waiter droid to get another round of drinks.

‘Listen to you,’ said Iella. ‘You didn’t even have an engagement party. You’re not supposed to announce you’re married two seconds after you get engaged.’

‘So,’ said Winter, ‘apart from insulting previous girlfriends, what are you supposed to do at an engagement party?’

‘That’s easy,’ said Leia. ‘We, as the married ladies, have to inform Mara, the innocent maiden, of her wifely duties.’ She waited for the gales of laughter to subside.

‘Innocent?!’ said Iella.

‘Maiden?!’ said Mirax.

‘Wifely duties?!?’ exclaimed Mara. ‘What wifely duties?’

‘Actually, I was never totally clear on that part,’ said Leia. ‘I think you’re supposed to cook for them or something. I never had time for any of that. Han did the housework thing while I did the running-the-galaxy thing.’

‘We’re both terrible cooks,’ replied Mara. ‘And he’s tidier than me, so he can do the cleaning. What else is there?’

‘Shop for him,’ suggested Mirax. ‘Men have no taste.’

‘Do that already,’ replied Mara. ‘Only reason he no longer has a wardrobe full of black clothes.’

‘I think we’re supposed to nurse them when they’re sick or injured,’ said Iella.

‘Yes,’ agreed Mirax, ‘and you can be sure he’ll milk it for every drop of sympathy he can get.’

The others nodded in agreement.

‘If Han gets the slightest sniffle,’ said Leia, ‘he takes to his bed and has me fetching hot drinks and mopping his fevered brow all day. Just as well he doesn’t get ill very often, or the Rebellion would never have succeeded.’

More nodding.

‘But have you noticed that they seem to be miraculously better by the time you go to bed?’ said Iella.

‘And full of energy,’ added Leia.

‘I’m sorry,’ said Mara, ‘I’m not doing any of that stuff. He can stick himself in a healing trance and get on with it. If he’s really badly injured, I’ll fetch the bacta tank. At least you don’t have to listen to them whine when they’re in that.’

‘That’s not very sympathetic,’ commented Winter, smiling.

Mara shrugged. ‘I’ve seen Skywalker injured more times than I care to remember. He’s used up all my sympathy.’

‘He does have a tendency to get himself in a bit of state,’ said Leia. ‘Do you remember what he was like when we pulled him off the “Eye of Palpatine”?’

‘Ugh. That was pretty horrific,’ agreed Mara. ‘Or there was that time on Almania when he fought that Kueller guy. He looked half-dead then.’

Leia nodded. ‘So what did he injure on that last mission?’

‘Nothing really,’ replied Mara. ‘Lots of scrapes, cuts, minor burns. But no limbs dropping off. Actually, it was me who got shot.’

‘Really,’ said Leia, leaning a little closer towards her, ‘and who was shooting at you?’

‘Not nice, Leia,’ said Mara, waving a finger at her. ‘You’re fishing for information again.’

Leia sat back with a ‘humph’. ‘Can’t blame me for trying.’

Mara rolled her eyes. ‘So, what else am I supposed to do?’

Iella exchanged a glance with Mirax. ‘Well, he is going to want to sleep with you...’ She grabbed Mara’s hand and gazed at her dramatically. ‘You are going to wait until you’re married, aren’t you? Please tell me you’ll wait...’

Mara raised an eyebrow at her, trying to ignore the others’ snorts of laughter.

‘Oh, Gods,’ said Leia, wiping away a tear, ‘please don’t get her started on sex. There are some things that a sister should never know about her brother.’

‘Rubbish,’ said Mirax, waving to the droid for another round of drinks. ‘I want details.’

Iella dropped Mara’s hand. ‘You mean she’s not going to wait until her wedding night! The shame...’

Mirax poked her in the shoulder. ‘You didn’t wait. In fact, I heard a rumour that you succumbed to Antilles’ charms after one kiss.’

‘My lips are sealed,’ said Iella. ‘I’m saying nothing.’

‘That’s a sure sign of guilt,’ muttered Leia, winking at Mara.

Mirax’s attention immediately focused on Leia. ‘And what about you, Mrs Solo? I doubt that Corellian pirate left you untouched until your wedding night.’

‘And I’ll bet she couldn’t keep her hands off him either,’ said Mara.

Leia shrugged. ‘We were a couple for more than four years before we got married. What do you think?’

Mirax exchanged a glance with Mara. ‘I think she didn’t last the first week.’

Mara nodded. ‘If that.’

‘Now my lips are sealed,’ laughed Leia.

‘And you, Mara,’ said Winter, ‘I believe we are waiting for details?’

‘What details?’ asked Mara. ‘When? How? Why?!’

‘Oh, I think we can probably figure out the why,’ said Mirax, smiling. ‘But you could always let us in on the rest!’

‘I don’t think so,’ said Mara.

‘Well, they were on that little ship for nine days before they got back here,’ said Winter.

‘Nine days!’ exclaimed Iella. ‘You and Luke, on your own, for nine days. Look me in the eye and tell me you didn’t sleep with him.’

Mara sipped her drink. ‘We weren’t on our own. Artoo was there.’

‘That’s okay,’ said Leia, ‘I can get him to give me a report.’

Mara’s hand shot out and grabbed Leia’s wrist. ‘Don’t even think about it, Leia.’

Leia raised an eyebrow. ‘I think we have our answer, ladies.’

Mara let go of Leia’s wrist, and even managed a smile as the others laughed.

‘Right,’ said Mirax. ‘We have the why and the when. What about the how?’

‘Yeah,’ agreed Iella. ‘Is he any good?’

Leia put her hands over her ears. ‘I’m not listening.’ She started humming to herself.

Mara contemplated her drink for a moment, turning it this way and that, letting it catch the light. Finally she drained the glass and looked up at her expectant audience. ‘He’s good. Very good. Best I’ve ever had.’

The volume of Leia’s humming grew a bit louder.

Mirax leaned towards Mara. ‘Do you ever use the Force?’

Mara crossed her arms over her chest. ‘Sometimes. Although we know we shouldn’t really. Why? Does Corran use it?’

Mirax put her head on one side. ‘Occasionally he puts pictures in my head. And it helps him ... ummm ... recover.’ She grinned. ‘Tell me he’s not going to go over to the dark side.’

Mara smiled. ‘No, I think you’re quite safe.’

‘Well, I think it’s all very overrated,’ said Iella. ‘Wedge doesn’t need to read my mind to know what I want. I just tell him.’

‘Yes,’ agreed Winter. ‘It’s another pilot thing. They like to be ... given the co-ordinates, rather than left guessing.’

Leia removed her hands from her ears when she saw the others laughing hysterically. ‘What did I miss?’

The turbolift doors opened and Han Solo entered the dimly-lit bar to the sound of gales of laughter. He rolled his eyes and started walking towards them. Please don’t let Leia be as drunk as she was the last time she spent an evening with Mara.

Iella was the first to spot him. ‘Han!’

Leia turned towards him and held out her arms. ‘My darling! I’ve missed you.’

He put a hand over his eyes and groaned. ‘How did I get landed with taking you lot home?’

‘Guess you were just lucky, Solo,’ replied Mara, smacking his butt.

He looked suitably shocked, then laughed when Leia said, ‘He’s mine. Get your own.’

‘Come on, ladies,’ he said, helping Leia up. ‘Time to go.’


Onward to chapter eight

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