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Dawn of a New Threat

Chapter 24

"You must be Luke Skywalker," Manzir said as she opened the door to the handsome stranger dressed in a simple black flight suit and a bright yellow jacket. He looked back at her with curious blue eyes, his face instantly brightening into a smile as he realized who she was.

"Manzir," he whispered, as if he had always known her. It was so good to finally meet the woman to whom he owed so much. He reached over to embrace her, catching her off guard as she giggled in surprise.

"Well, I can see why Callista loves you so much," she joked, patting his cheek as if he were a favorite nephew. She leaned in towards him, giving him a knowing smile. "Luke, there are some folks here who have been mighty anxious to see you---"

"Daddy!!"

"Cray! Owen!" Luke laughed out loud as they flew into his open arms. He squeezed them tightly, having missed the feel of them in his arms, even more than he thought he would. He swooped them up and spun them around, making them squeal with delight. "I've missed you both so much," he whispered, giving them both a kiss.

"We missed you too, Daddy," Cray told her father, giggling as he tickled her and Owen.

"Missed you too," Owen echoed, agreeing with his big sister.

Luke smiled at them, giving them another squeeze for good measure. He never wanted to let them go again.

"Daddy," Cray said breathlessly with excitement, "Manzir taught us a new game, can we go back to playing it?"

Luke laughed again, pretending to give her a hurt look. "Oh I see," he teased her, "You're tired of your old dad already, huh?" He winked and tousled her hair. "Sure, go ahead princess. Mommy and I will be right here."

He looked up as they ran out of his arms, and he saw her. As always, Callista took his breath away.

They looked at each other silently for a moment, before they both ran towards each other, their mouths meeting in a passionate kiss. Luke let out a heavy sigh as he wrapped his arms around her. He pressed his body close to hers, savoring the feel of her in his arms.

This is home, he thought. In her arms, all is in its place.

He shuddered as he realized how close he came to seeing his world shattered. It will never be quite over, he thought to himself. They had witnessed the end of the Empire, and the creation of a free galaxy, but still they would never be able to let their guards down completely. They would never have the luxury of feeling at ease forever. Somehow, someway, there would always be the distant threat of future danger just beyond the horizon. The Nightsisters had been destroyed now, and Falor had been defeated, but could there be another Falor in the future? Another revolt, another threat to the Jedi, the Republic? He squeezed his eyes shut to clear the doubts and questions swirling in his mind.

For now his family was safe, and that's all that mattered. That's all that would ever matter to him.

The rhythm of Callista's soft breathing eased him, as he gave way to the Force to steady him, guide him.

And then he felt it.

Gingerly, he pulled away to look at Callista, tears forming in his eyes. She smiled at back at him, as she read his thoughts.

"Are you...?"

She nodded before he even finished the question, and the clouds in Luke's weary eyes began to clear to once again reveal a bright shade of blue. "Yes," she said softly, laughing through her happy tears, her hands gently caressing his face. "I'm pregnant again, Luke... We're going to have another daughter. I... I found out just before you arrived on Tegris... "

Luke closed his eyes at the sound of Callista's words, feeling his heart scream out in joy.

Out of all bad ultimately comes good...

And then he kissed her, and his universe was right once again...

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