This is a prequel to another story I will be co-writing with Vader23A in the future. This story will take place not entirely in an AU style, but veteran Clone Wars viewers like myself will realize a difference in certain parts/battles compared to the original story line.
Jedi Temple, Coruscant.
Jedi general Anakin Skywalker and his padawan Ahsoka Tano have returned from a mission in the mid rim, now back home at the Jedi Temple they both look forward to some well deserved time to relax or so they hoped.
"I just don't see why you feel the need to contradict me like that" Ahsoka said as the two Jedi entered the temple from the hangar.
"I didn't contradict you Ahsoka I just corrected you on a few things" Anakin explained.
"You said I was ready to lead the mission myself and when I started briefing my men you started contradicting my orders".
"Well" Anakin said before pausing trying to think of something to get him out of the argument, "Its not that I didn't approve of your orders I just felt like they could use some fine tuning".
"So you don't think I'm ready to lead my own mission?" Ahsoka barked.
"That's not what I said" Anakin defended, "Look Ahsoka you'll be ready one day, but as your master I want to be sure you are before I send you out on my own".
Before Ahsoka could respond a strong, confident voice called to them, "Ah Skywalker you've returned".
Both Ahsoka and Anakin looked down the hall to see Master Mace Windu approaching them.
"Greetings Master Windu is there anything I can assist you with?" Anakin asked him.
"Possibly" Master Windu replied stopping in front of them, "We've reason to believe a certain crime lord in the Coruscant underground is allied with the Separatists and is somehow getting hold of our Intel and informing them".
"How is that possible?" Ahsoka asked.
"I wish I knew" Master Windu admitted, "Most of us are still out on missions across the galaxy. Our forces are stretched so thin we can hardly deal with the situations here on Coruscant" Master Windu turned and walked over toward the windows and looked out at the massive city, "Skywalker I know you just got back, but I would like you to help investigate this matter the Chancellor himself requested that you investigate. He's grown to trust you and it'll help put his mind at ease if you are involved".
Anakin let out a quiet sigh he was planning on spending time with Padme, but it looks like his plans were to be postponed, "Very well Master Windu I will offer what assistance I can".
Master Windu turned back to him and nodded, "Thank you Skywalker I was planning on assigning my padawan to this, but I would feel better if someone more experienced would handle the situation".
"Your padawan?" Anakin repeated, "I'm sorry Master Windu when did you get assigned a padawan?"
Master Windu looked toward the windows again, "He isn't actually my padawan it's only a temporary assignment. Originally he was assigned to Master Luminara, but the war has kept her away for too long so we assigned him to Master Fisto. Unfortunately he was also called away for a mission so his training as been left to me until one of them can return".
"Does your mystery padawan have a name?" Anakin asked him.
Master Windu kept his eyes on the giant skyscrapers outside the temple, "Leon Solstice. He appears to be very promising regardless of the number of times his mentor has switched his focus has not faltered once he continues his training almost as if he hasn't even noticed the change as if it doesn't matter".
"You say it like it's a bad thing" Anakin noted, "Sounds to me like he's determined".
"That's what troubles me" Master Windu admitted, "Too much determination can be a bad thing. I suggested slowing his training and tried teaching him different things, but once I end our training sessions or lessons he immediately goes to the archives and does research".
"Forgive me Master Windu" Anakin began, "But I just don't see how that could possibly be a bad thing. Maybe he is eager to learn, but wouldn't the knowledge he learns be worth more if he found it himself?"
"Perhaps you're right Skywalker" Master Windu replied, "But even then he will need to wisdom to know how to properly use that knowledge. Even at the rank of Jedi Master I am still learning I fear he is trying to rush through his training".
"Maybe I could talk to him" Anakin suggested, "I was the same way during my training with Obi-Wan. With your approval I could talk with him and explain that there's no real need to rush through everything".
Master Windu shook his head, "No that won't be necessary. Though I am concerned he is my padawan and I cannot ask you to handle him in my stead".
"Very well then Master Windu" Anakin nodded, "I know that in your hands he will turn out to be a fine Jedi".
"Master Windu" a voice called from down the hall.
A young boy roughly Ahsoka's age jogged over to them and stood in front of Master Windu. The young boy was dressed in long black leggings and a sleeveless white jacket with the zipper down showing his bare torso. On his belt next to his lightsaber was a medium sized knife inside a leather sheath and around his neck was a silver crystal fragment hanging by a thin lace.
"Ah Leon did you need something?" Master Windu asked the young boy.
The young boy immediately straightened himself and handed the Jedi Master a photo, "I believe I figured out who in the Coruscant underground is feeding our Intel to the Separatists".
Master Windu looked at the photo and his eyes narrowed when he saw the name, "Jarei Tox".
"Jarei Tox?" Ahsoka muttered, "I haven't heard that name before, who is he?"
Master Windu's padawan looked over to her, "Jarei Tox is one of the worst kinds of scum anything bad you can think of you can bet he's done it. He was suspected in the attempted assassination of several senators a few years ago and also the suspect in the murder of multiple senate guards and law enforcement personnel, but it doesn't end there. He's extremely rich and influential and he uses that as a means to keep himself out of jail all the while suffocating those beneath him in the underworld. He treats everyone down there like they're inferior to him".
"What makes you think it's him?" Anakin asked him.
Leon looked up to him, "The pattern fits Master Skywalker".
"You know who I am?" Anakin asked to which Leon nodded before continuing.
"Jarei Tox has stayed hidden in the past few years remaining completely quiet and keeping to himself, but he has the money and the power to bribe or blackmail his way to our military Intel and he could be selling it to the Separatists".
"Alright suppose he is what does he gain from it?" Anakin asked him.
"Whatever he wants" Leon answered, "Tox could be doing it for more money or in hopes of gaining more power on Coruscant. If the Republic is defeated he could be named a high ranking member for the Separatists and with that kind of power he can only get worse".
Leon looked to Master Windu, "I'm positive it's him Master I bet my life on it".
"Impressive work Leon" Master Windu admitted before looking back to Anakin, "Skywalker we should bring Tox in for questioning I want you to go down to the Underworld and apprehend him".
Leon politely objected to that plan, "If I may Master Windu. Master Skywalker's reputation is sure to precede him since the war began he has made a rather large name for himself he's sure to be recognized by someone the same is possible for most of the masters here if we send in a Jedi Master to arrest him he'll surely find out and flee".
"Do you have an alternative then?" Master Windu asked him to which Leon nodded.
"Its risky, but it could work. Since I'm just a padawan I have an extremely low chance of raising suspicion I could go instead and arrest him".
Anakin didn't agree, "I admire your confidence young one, but how do you plan on getting close enough to him? You can't just walk in and arrest him. He's going to have a lot of guards around him".
Leon nodded, "I've actually already thought of that" Leon revealed a hologram projector from his pocket and turned it on. It was an invitation to a fighting tournament being held by Jarei Tox at an underground arena to determine who the best fighter in the galaxy was.
"I enter his tournament as a contestant and I use my cover as a reason to get close to him I ask him for a private word and once we're alone I incapacitate him and return him here".
Anakin placed his hand around his chin, "It sounds like a good plan, but who's going to believe a kid like you is such a good fighter?"
"I've already taken care of that as well" Leon revealed to him, "While I was in he archives coming up with this plan I went ahead and made myself a cover ID. He handed him a forged identification card, "I'll use this and enter under the name of Saltol Vinz from Nar Shaddaa an experienced fighter who has won many similar tournaments".
"Pretty good" Anakin admitted to him, "But a man like Jarei Tox isn't just going to let you enter without checking to see if it's all legit first once he finds out you lied to get in he'll".
Leon calmly cut him off, "Master Skywalker I appreciate your concern, but if I wasn't sure I could handle this I wouldn't be suggesting it". Leon turned to stare into Master Windu's eyes, "I know I can do this Master Windu I ask you to permit me".
Master Windu thought for a second before looking back to his padawan, "You are completely sure this plan will work?"
Leon nodded, "I will need a partner for it to work, but I guarantee it will succeed".
"What kind of partner?" his master asked him.
Leon looked at the floor, "Someone like me who wouldn't raise suspicion…someone who can move around easily and help me set up our trap" he moved his eyes over to Ahsoka who remained silent for most of the conversation, "You're a Togruta…You must be Ahsoka Tano then".
"You know my name?" Ahsoka asked him.
Leon nodded and bowed to her, "I've done my research on most of our order that we send into the field. I want to learn and familiarize myself with everyone. Word of your exploits alongside Master Skywalker although…questionable have a surprisingly high rate of success".
Ahsoka smiled at him, "Well people only question our tactics until they work".
Leon smiled back at her, "I hope that I can witness one of these questionable tactics one day".
Leon looked away from Ahsoka for a brief second before returning his eyes to her, "Ahsoka if you're not busy perhaps you could help me with my mission? That is if it's alright with Master Windu and Master Skywalker of course".
Master Windu looked at Anakin, "What do you think Skywalker can your padawan handle this assignment?"
Anakin looked over to his padawan for a brief moment before returning his eyes to Master Windu, "I have faith in Ahsoka's abilities Master. I'm sure she'll be able to handle it".
"Very well then" the stalwart Jedi Master said before turning to the two padawans, "The two of you will handle this mission then remember to always be aware of your surroundings and may the force be with you both".
Without another word Master Windu left leaving his padawan with Anakin and Ahsoka. After Master Windu left Anakin turned to Ahsoka, "I have every bit of faith in you on this one Snips, but be careful Jarei Tox is extremely dangerous".
"Relax Master Skywalker" Leon said, "While I am confident in my own and Ahsoka's skills I assure you that if anything goes wrong she will be fine" Leon looked back at Ahsoka and grinned, "Not that you need protecting of course".
Ahsoka smirked back at him and Anakin nodded to them, "Alright then I'll leave the two of you to start planning your mission then".
Anakin walked away leaving Ahsoka alone with Leon who still had a slight smile on his face, "I guess we'd better get started then".
Ahsoka followed Leon to one of the temple balconies, "So when do we start?" she asked him.
Leon leaned against the railing and looked out at the enormous city, "First off we need to go and find a tailor we need some new clothes".
"Why can't we go dressed as we are?" she asked standing next to him.
Leon looked over to her, "As I said earlier Tox is hosting the event and he views himself as a high member of society and dresses as such he also insists that all of his guests and entrants to his tournament dress the same".
Leon looked at his own attire, "As much as I enjoy my current attire I'm afraid I won't really blend in with the other guests" he turned his gaze to Ahsoka and his eyes moved up and down her as if he was examining her, "And your current set of clothes would definitely stand out".
Ahsoka noticed the way Leon was looking at her and nervously looked away from him, "I see your point, but could you not look at me like that".
Leon turned to her and leaned his arm back on the rail, "Would you prefer me to just ask you out now?"
Ahsoka seemed surprise by his words and stepped away from him, "Don't you know Jedi are forbidden to do such things?!" she gasped.
Leon began chuckling, "I'm only teasing you Ahsoka" he pushed himself off the railing and walked back inside, "Come now we've much work to do".
Ahsoka began wondering about her mission partner he seemed completely normal when Masters Skywalker and Windu were with them, but he's completely changed now he seemed jubilant and full of energy and the so called teasing comment he made toward her. As Jedi they were forbidden to form attachments to others and even more so forbidden to fall in love or date. Maybe he was just teasing her, but something about how he was able to do all of it with a straight face made her wonder.
Shaking her head Ahsoka decided not to worry about it, he was probably using humor to lighten the mood between them to help prepare for the mission they were about to undertake. Following after Leon, Ahsoka arrived in the hangar just as Leon climbed into an air speeder. Walking over to the vehicle Ahsoka asked if Leon was properly trained and permitted to pilot the vehicle. Leon gave her a wide shady smile revealing his teeth as he answered in a hesitant voice.
"Of course, now get in we're losing daylight".
Ahsoka sighed and climbed in suggested that maybe she should drive, but Leon ignored her and closed the canopy. Powering up the speeder Leon told her not to worry so much as he slowly flew out of the hangar and into the busy air traffic of Coruscant. The two young Jedi engaged in a casual conversation as Leon flew them toward the shopping district of the city.
Finally arriving at their destination Leon hovered over a landing zone and sighed slowly.
"Is something wrong?" Ahsoka asked him.
Leon sighed again, "I may have forgotten to mention I don't know how to land these things".
"What?" Ahsoka jumped, "You were flying so well how can you not know how to land?"
Leon looked around at the controls hovering a shaking hand over them, "I think this is it" he said moving to flip a switch.
Seeing his hand moving toward the engine cut off switch Ahsoka's eyes widened, but before she could stop him the unmistakable sound of the engines powering off hummed through the speeder and the vehicle began dropping out of the sky.
"Turn the engines back on" Ahsoka yelled to him making Leon panic more.
"I'm trying its not working" he yelled back.
"Too late" Ahsoka yelled clenching her eyes shut and bracing herself for the impact.
Ahsoka trembled as she waited for them to crash into the ground, but opened her eyes when she heard Leon laughing under his breath. Opening her eyes Ahsoka saw that the engines were back on and they were hovering just a few feet above the landing zone.
"Wh…What?" she panted looking around and then to the snickering pilot next to her, "That is not funny" she snapped at him as he slowly dropped the speeder into a comfortable landing.
Leon was still laughing as the canopy opened, "Oh it so was" he said as he climbed out, "One thing you will learn quickly about me is my sense of fun borders between the radical and insanity".
"You call that fun!" Ahsoka yelled at him, "What if you didn't turn the engines back on in time we could have been seriously hurt".
Leon stopped and walked over to her and grabbed her hand, she was still shaking a little as he looked into her eyes, "If I thought there was even a slight chance that it could have gone wrong I wouldn't have done it. I would never risk another for the sake of a joke so as a sign of trust I'm going to let you fly from now on".
Letting go of her hand Leon backed away and smiled again, "Besides you're still in one piece right? So no harm done if anything at all I did manage to loosen you up a bit so it's a win-win".
Leon began walking toward the various shops as Ahsoka stared at him, "What do you mean loosened me up?" she hollered chasing after him.
Entering a tailor store Leon smiled as he scanned the shop taking in everything he could see as the tailor approached him and Ahsoka, "May I help you?" he asked.
The tailor standing before them had wrinkled dark green skin and brown eyes he had two long tail like appendages protruding from either side of his head both of them draped over his shoulders, A Twi'lek.
The Twi'lek tailor was very well dressed and obviously advanced in age. Leon bowed to him and introduced himself, "Hello my friend I am Leon Solstice and this is Ahsoka Tano we're padawans from the Jedi Temple".
"Jedi padawans you say?" the old alien hummed, "Its been many years since I last met a Jedi" he chuckled, "Why I was still a boy at the time. What can I do for you?"
Ahsoka bowed her head to him, "We're on a mission to apprehend a criminal in the Underworld and we need some clothes to help us blend in".
The old alien seemed confused, "You need clothes for a mission to capture a criminal in the Underworld? I'm more than happy to help, but as you can see all of my work is…well it would look really out of place down there you wouldn't blend very well I'm afraid".
Leon turned to examine the amazing work of the Twi'lek tailor, "Usually that would be the case" he said as he examined a black and silver suit, "However this criminal tends to throw rather rich parties and insists on his guests dressing in formal attire and well here we are".
The old Twi'lek smiled at him, "Ah well in that case please come with me I will take your measurements".
"There's one more thing" Leon said turning to him, "I'm afraid this is a rush order and we will need both sets of clothes ready within a few hours. I'm willing to pay extra for them".
"Don't worry about it" he told Leon, "The shop doesn't get many customers these days I've been trying to decide if I should shut it down. Anyway you two have more important things to do than listen to this old man. Come I'm sure I have many suits and outfits that will fit you we'll take you're measurements and go from there".
The two padawans followed the old tailor into the back of the shop and waited for him to find his measuring tape. Leon went first patiently waiting as the tailor took his measurements.
"So what kind of suit are you looking for?" the aged Twi'lek asked him.
Leon remembered the black and silver suit he saw on display while they were in the front of the store, "How about one like the one I was looking at up from. A black suit with a silver under shirt".
The Twi'lek smiled, "I think that would look great on you my boy". Stepping back from Leon the Twi'lek wrote down his measurements before looking to Ahsoka, "Your turn my dear".
Ahsoka stepped forward and allowed the tailor to take her measurements answering the same question he asked Leon.
"I'm not too sure" Ahsoka answered, "I don't really know what would be the best decision".
Leon raised his hand getting their attention, "If I may? Ahsoka I think we should get you something dark, something to match your skin to compliment your natural look maybe a not so dark brown or a darker orange" he moved his eyes over her body as he thought of what would look good on her, "Maybe add a beige or ivory colored under shirt".
The Twi'lek tailor agreed with Leon, "I think that's a fine idea you're a sharp boy you know that".
Leon smiled at the tailor humbly, "Non sense I just have a talent for deciding what looks good on someone".
Ahsoka noticed that Leon was still looking at her and she began to feel uncomfortable, "It doesn't really matter to me what I wear, but I would like it if you stopped staring at me Leon".
Leon quickly took his eyes off of her, "Sorry I was just trying to envision how different dresses and suits would look on you".
Ahsoka wasn't sure how to take that one the way he was looking at her made her wonder if he was really trying to decide what kind of clothes she should wear or if he was thinking something else.
The tailor finished his measurements and wrote them down before leading them back into the store, "Alright you two can wait here I'll go find something that will fit you".
As the old tailor walked away Ahsoka whispered to Leon, "Why do you keep looking at me like that?"
Leon shrugged with a guilty smirk on his face, "I…have a habit of flirting…a lot and well. You are a bit attractive I won't lie".
"Flirting?" Ahsoka said in disbelief "Isn't that against the Jedi code".
"No actually" Leon told her, "Jedi are forbidden to form attachments there isn't any rule against flirting".
"I'm not sure the council would see it that way" Ahsoka muttered sliding a step away from him.
"Probably not" Leon smirked, "I respect the council and the Jedi code, but there are parts of it I don't understand and there are other parts that just don't make sense".
"Like what?" Ahsoka asked him, but Leon shook his head, "Not here, we shouldn't discuss the code around others".
Ahsoka knew he was right and decided to change the subject while they continued to wait, "So where are you from?"
"Dantooine" Leon answered immediately.
"I've never been to Dantooine I heard there used to be another Jedi Temple out there a long time ago".
Leon nodded, "A Jedi training enclave actually and it was destroyed close to four thousand years ago".
"That long?" Ahsoka asked, "What happened?"
Leon took a quick breath, "The short version is a powerful and promising Jedi fell to the dark side and became a Sith Lord and he feared that the secret to how he gained his power would be discovered because it was on Dantooine. So he attacked the planet to destroy the ruins forever and he attacked the Enclave while he was there to make sure that none of the Jedi could retaliate against him".
"I see" Ahsoka said quietly, "This Sith Lord, did he have a name?"
Leon nodded, "Darth Malak. According to history reports he fell so far that he would place the bodies of the Jedi he killed into a stasis and use them to replenish his stamina if he ever needed it".
"That's horrible!" Ahsoka almost yelled.
Leon nodded again, "Dantooine is a peaceful and quiet world for the most part, but it does have a rough history then again so does every other place in the galaxy".
The old Twi'lek returned to them with a pair of suits, "Here you go suits that will be a perfect fit".
Leon bowed his head to the tailor and thanked him before setting a large handful of credits on his counter, "Thank you sir".
Seeing the amount of credits on his counter the old tailor began refusing the payment saying that it was far too much, but Leon was insistent as he pointed out the pictures of the tailor's family around his store.
"Keep it, use it for them. In troubled times like these family is one of the most important things there is".
The old Twi'lek looked as though tears were going to began forming in his eyes, but he managed to smile and bowed to Leon, "I thank you for your kindness Master Jedi".
"I'm not a Master yet" Leon told the old tailor, "But one day I will be".
"And a great one you will make" the old tailor smiled as he bid them both farewell.
As they left the tailor shop Ahsoka looked over to Leon, "I admire your kindness toward him, but he was right the amount of credits you gave him was way too much. You could have kept half of that and he still would have had more than enough for his family".
"I'm aware of that" Leon said as he placed his new suit in the back of the speeder, "But that's not something I'm concerned with, he has more use for them than I do".
After both of them climbed into the speeder and the canopy closed over them Ahsoka turned her eyes to Leon again, "I can't figure you out. At first you seemed pretty normal and once we were alone you started making jokes and teasing me. Then you play a joke that makes me think we're about to die, you examine me with your eyes and then you overpay that old man by a large amount".
"And?" Leon asked her as if he really didn't see a point to it all and if he did he didn't care.
"Its just weird is all your personality seems to change a lot, but what I noticed most was your tone when you told him to keep the money for his family. The way you said it you sounded a bit sad almost like you wishful".
Leon was silent for a few seconds before he looked up at the sky through the canopy, "I miss my home sometimes, but I would be dead if it wasn't for the Jedi. I hold a great deal of respect for the Order and the council so I vowed to do what I can to help others. My jokes as I call them are just a way to help me forget about what's going on out there each day".
That's when Ahsoka realized, Leon hasn't seen an actual battle yet he's heard reports about the war, but he hasn't fought in it yet. "Honestly I think you're lucky" she told him, "The war isn't easy to get used to and once you see a few battles it weighs on you heavily. It's easy to cut down droids no problem, but when you lose the men under your command or see the things the Separatists do…those are the things that really stay with you".
Ahsoka looked up at the sky to, "I think you're lucky that you haven't seen any of that yet".
"What if I want to fight?" Leon asked which seemed to surprise her, "What if I want to be out there fighting alongside everyone else? Every time a Jedi comes back from a mission I hear about what the Separatists have done and how many soldiers we lost. They may all be clones, but they're still living people…and countless numbers of them die everyday not to mention the innocent people who suffer because of it all".
Leon's hands tightened around the controls of the speeder, "I want to fight so I can help put an end to all of it. To put an end to the pointless deaths the suffering, no more dead troopers no more innocent people suffering when I finally get out there onto the battlefield I'm going to let the Separatists know that one day I will defeat them it may not be the first day it may not be the day after, but one day I will defeat them and put an end to this war".
Ahsoka was taken aback by the tone of his voice as well as his words he reminded her of her Master who also wanted the war to end more than anything. Although she just met him recently Ahsoka could sense Leon's frustration and reminded him that a Jedi should try to always remain calm. Placing a hand on his shoulder she realized that he was shaking, "He must hate the very thought of this war" she thought to herself.
"It's going to be ok" she told him, "One day the Republic will win and this will all be over so don't get yourself worked up over it alright?"
Leon calmed himself and took a deep breath, "Alright I'm ok now. Thank you Ahsoka".
"My pleasure" she replied giving him a small smile.
Leon returned the gesture as he powered up the engines to the speeder, "You should smile more often you look really good when you do".
Ahsoka's smile faded for a quick second before she remembered what he told her, "My jokes as I call them are just a way to help me forget about what's going on out there each day".
Returning the smile to her face Ahsoka waited for the speeder to take off and fly toward the alleys leading into the depths of Coruscant and its Underworld where their mission awaited them.