Red Sunset
By Mara Jade Skywalker

Disclaimer:

All right, now I'm trying to write another story which I'm about 15 or so pages into, and I've been working on this for about three months and suddenly (even with the fattest case of writer's block ever recorded in history) while listening to a song I haven't heard in almost two years, I write a three page (college ruled! =) short story. It's got absolutely NOTHING to do with the story I've been trying to write, but it's a story. A short little thing, but a story! You know how much that annoys me?! No ...You probably don't ... But anyway, this has got characters in it that were all made up by totally different people. they belong to the beloved man in flannel, and greatest author ever: Timothy Zahn, and to Barbara Hambly. (I used direct quotes from her book that's mentioned below)

You know what made this WAY easier to write? That song coupled with knowing what it's like to be dumped and to have a shoulder to cry on. I hated writing all the hag junk in there, but it does have a good outcome. Fellow Mara Jade fans, don't stray away! You'll love the end if you understand it! heck, my pal understood it and she doesn't even like Star Wars ... So on to the story and I'll stop talking!

Wait--I can't let you go just yet! ::grins:: Don't steal this or any of my other stories. ASK PERMISSION before you do. It's not that hard (unless your hands have gotten cut off...). I'm sure I'll let you. be nice and give me credit where it's due if you've used any of my ideas. And send nicely and politely formed good/bad/confused/hellos/feedback/other to:

Me! (Mara Jade Skywalker)

PadawanMJS@marajade.net, or MaraJade@swfan.net. Please use only one of those. And put the title of my story in the subject somewhere or it'll probably get thrown away. Now, you may read. =)

Written November 30, 1999 in two hours.


Luke sat on his bed, still holding the small message cube that had been from Callista. He could still hear her words echoing in his ears. Her beautiful voice telling him what she'd done.

. . . I have to go on my own odyssey . . .

His eyes gazed at nothing, but at everything. All the moments they had shared together on Yavin her companionship on the Eye, and the way she looked at him and smiled.

. . . I realized that I could not come back to you . . .

Luke wanted to shout, he wanted to scream and make his sorrow bring her back. his heart ached and he felt so tired. He felt so empty.

So empty.

He wanted to blink his eyes and wake up next to her ... wanted to have his arms around her, holding her, knowing she was with him ... But it wasn't a dream ... And she wasn't here.

He could still feel her hands ... Her long, slim hands that always warmed his own. He remembered her hair: How fluffy and light it looked, and how thick and beautiful it was to the touch. He remembered the way she always used to run her fingers through it and, catching him gazing at her, she'd give him that smile that melted his heart.

Luke remembered her sweet laughter, reminding him of what she must have been like as a child. He remembered the oceans of Chad the way she had described them to him. In his mind's eye, he saw how much her eyes reminded him of just how entrapping the oceans on Chad must be.

. . . There is a lot of time in the universe . . .

But none of it was for him to be with Callista. Why did she go? Didn't she love him? Didn't she know how he felt for her?

Luke cried quietly, recalling all of the times she had told him she loved him. He felt so betrayed. Another person he loved had left him. Another person he had let himself love. It hurt so much to not have her here with him ... To know that she had left him by choice angered and depressed him. Anger at himself for allowing it to happen. For not being able to stop her. For not being able to give her back her Jedi powers. Depression over the loss of the only woman he'd ever loved. To have her suddenly taken away ripped at his heart and hurt him deeply.

He felt angry at Callista, too. He had been the reason Cray had allowed her to stay. And with the gift of life they had given her, she had left to pursue other purposes. Why couldn't he just go jump into a ship, find her and make her come back? He wanted to hurt her as much as she'd hurt him. Never in his entire life had he experienced such pain and loss. It was worse then when he lost his hand. He'd gotten a new hand, but he wouldn't get Callista back.

Luke was frustrated at himself for not being able to see how unhappy she must have been staying here. He had allowed her to stay here. He had. It was his fault she was gone. It was always his fault. If he hadn't have bought those droids, his aunt and uncle wouldn't be dead. If he hadn't have stayed with Han on the Death Star, he could have been with Obi-Wan, helped him, and he wouldn't have died. If he had covered Biggs better, he wouldn't have been shot down and killed. If he hadn't have been a Jedi then Gaeriel would have stayed with him. If he hadn't been such an awful teacher, none of students would be dead now. If he had protected Leia's children better, they never would have been harmed.

It was always his fault.

Always.

Luke stopped crying, thinking of what would make it better. Of what would lessen himself as a burden on others. What he could do so that it wouldn't be his fault anymore.

Making his decision, Luke slowly stood up, not bothering to cleanup his face or fix his appearance. Checking to make sure the tiny message cube was in his hand, he walked out the door and took the turbolift to the temple roof.

He stood there shortly after, thinking of only how much he wanted to be with Callista and what it would cost him if he wasn't.

Walking slowly to he edge, Luke's concentration ahead of him, he never noticed the other presence coming up behind him.

Blinking back tears, he closed his eyes and took deep breath. He wanted no one but Callista. Loved no other woman like he loved her. And the pain she was causing him was too great.

Taking another deep breath, Luke prepared himself to drop when he heard something.

*Luke, no!*

It was Mara. Mara Jade.

*You don't understand ... none of you do. Leave me alone.*

*Luke, don't. Don't do this.*

*And why not? She doesn't care for me anymore.*

*But your family does. You know how you feel now? If you go through with this, then they'll each feel a million times worse.*

Luke didn't say anything, but opened his eyes, seeing the splatter of oranges and reds drawn out across the sky for the coming sunset. Saw beyond the sky to the stars and his family beyond that. He saw Leia's face, and Han's, Chewie's, Anakin's, Jacen's, Jaina's ... He imagined what he would feel if he lost one of them. Luke turned his eyes to Mara behind him.

"They don't love me like she does," Luke said softly.

"Yeah," Mara agreed, nodding. "They love you more."

Luke kept his eyes on her, somehow seeing the pain she'd go through if she lost him ... one of her only friends. He shook his head, wanting to tell her why he was doing this, that she couldn't possibly understand--

"No, Luke," Mara said, her quiet voice filled with an ache and pain he'd never heard coming from her in a long time. "I almost just did."

Luke continued to stare at her, still wanting to tell her, but he looked away to the sunset.

"She said she loved me," Luke said, gritting his teeth, his voice breaking.

He sobbed and swiped angrily at his tears.

"She said she loved me," Luke said with more conviction, not hiding his pain and tears from Mara.

She approached him and gently put an arm around him.

Slowly, he dropped to the stone top of the temple roof. He lay there, crouched in Mara's arms, crying and hoping that he would feel better. That things would get better.

"She said she loved me!" Luke yelled, slamming his fists on the cold and hard stone blocks, not even feeling the pain it no doubt caused.

He looked back out at the sky, at the bluish-gray that hadn't given way and welcomed the beautiful fiery red sunset.

"You told me you loved me!" Luke yelled out at the sky, collapsing back into a heap of sobs as he was held by Mara.

Mara continued to hold him, extending what warmth she could give to her friend. Trying to convince him that it would be better later, not now. He just had to get through this.

Letting the tiny message cube fall to the jungle below, Luke put his arms fully around Mara, burying his face in her shoulder and crying his heart out until it was empty. Until he was numb and was sure he'd never feel any emotion ever again.

After a long time, Luke picked his head up, knowing he had grieved his most for Callista and for what he had almost done. He felt hollow, numb, cold, tired, and he wanted to go home to Leia.

He looked at Mara, looked her deep in the eyes, wanting to thank her for what she'd done, but not being able to speak.

Mara smiled, a beautiful thing on her, and shook her head. "I understand."

She helped him get up and started to walk with him to the turbolift.

Luke looked out once more to the fiery red sunset that now fully engulfed the sky. Not a single speck of blue-gray could be seen.


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