Two days ago the Republic weapons storage facility on Ord Mantell was attacked. The Separatists showed a surprising level of subtly when they attacked and captured the base. During the mission to reclaim the base Leon was focused on finding his friend Thalia who had been sending him visions to save her. Count Dooku had discovered that Thalia had a strong connection to the Force and upon sensing the vast potential within her forced her to become his new apprentice. The Sith Lord held Thalia's people hostage forcing her to obey him allowing her fear and hatred to continue building as her training progressed, but his plan failed when he realized there was still a hope she was holding onto, a light that prevented her from giving herself to the dark side.
If she was to really become his apprentice then this distraction, this hope within her had to be eliminated. Sending her to Ord Mantell he secretly followed her along with General Grievous to make sure she would carry out his orders. When her hope appeared Dooku and Grievous made their presence known. Dooku introduced himself to the one who distracted his apprentice from her training and then ordered Thalia to kill him and complete her training.
Thalia swore that she would protect her people no matter what, but she could not bring herself to kill Leon not even if the consequence was her people being executed. Dooku continued to demand that she kill Leon or watch her people die pushing his apprentice to her breaking point. The struggle in her heart becoming too much Thalia collapsed and started crying leaving Dooku to realize her failure, but before he could order the execution of her people Leon sprang into action.
The young padawan destroyed Dooku's comlink before attacking the Sith Lord only to have the cyborg Grievous interfere. For the second time Leon fought against the former Kaleesh warlord holding his own at first until the general revealed his second lightsaber and took the advantage. While Leon dueled Grievous his former master Luminara engaged in her own duel against Dooku.
During their duel Luminara sensed Leon suffering from his strange illness that briefly incapacitated him. Taking advantage of her distraction Dooku disarmed her and attacked her with a blast of Force lightning sending her flying across the arena sized room. The beaten Jedi Master landed near Thalia and Leon and seeing his former master injured sent a primal rage through his entire body.
Leon attacked Dooku calling his former master's lightsaber into his hand now wielding two lightsabers against his opponent. Dooku easily defended himself against the padawan with several decades worth of experience between them. Edge, the clone lieutenant and his squad saw this as their chance to attack the Sith Lord firing their weapons at him while his back was turned only to have him turn and deflect their shots. Seeing each of the clones he considered his friends fall the rage within Leon flared and he attacked the Sith Lord again his attacks becoming more and more feral with each swing.
Dooku continued to defend himself against the enraged padawan eventually disarming him, but before he could finish him off Thalia stopped him. Standing between them she told her former master that she would die first before allowing him to harm Leon again. The Sith Lord accepted her gesture disowning her as his apprentice and attacking her. Watching Dooku attack his friend Leon could no longer contain his rage rushing into battle against the Sith Lord once again stopping when Ahsoka arrived and called out to him.
Ahsoka had arrived along with her master Anakin Skywalker and Jedi Masters Mace Windu and Obi-Wan Kenobi. The quartet of Jedi moved to help Leon, but he told them to stay away his words of rage froze them in their place he declared that he would finish this fight on his own without anyone's help. Commending the young padawan for his bravery Dooku proceeded to engage him yet again along side Grievous, but that's when the tides turned.
Once they moved to attack him Leon stepped to the side and in a single motion cut off two of Grievous' four arms before jumping over him and cutting off his other two. While Grievous roared in pain Leon pushed him away leaving only him and Dooku left. Locking sabers with the Sith Lord again Leon allowed himself to be disarmed as a feign before surprisingly Dooku with his skill at hand to hand combat.
Everyone watching was in complete shock even though they were witnessing it for themselves they still couldn't believe it. Leon a Jedi padawan not only held his own against a Sith Lord, but managed to defeat him without his lightsaber. It was over in less than a minute Leon defeated both Count Dooku and General Grievous by himself thanks to his adamant resolve to protect what was important to him. Unfortunately before either Dooku or Grievous could be arrested a small battalion of battle droids and two cloaked spectre droids attacked the Jedi allowing Grievous and Dooku to escape.
That was two days ago and even though the enemy escaped Thalia's people were saved and relocated to Coruscant. During the trip home Leon had passed out from his exhaustion leaving the memory of his actions burned into the minds of his allies and friends. For two days Leon had slept slowly regaining his strength eventually awakening to the smiling face of the one he saved.
"Are you alright?" Thalia gasped happily when his eyes opened.
Leon smiled at her as he sat up, "Yeah although I'm getting real sick of waking up in the infirmary almost everyday" he slid out of the bed and rolled his shoulders back, "Never mind me though how are you doing?"
She smiled at him, "I'm ok now my people are safe thanks to you".
Thalia's smile faded for a second, "The droids attacked as a distraction allowing Dooku and Grievous to escape" he smile quickly returned, "But that doesn't matter you and my people are safe that's all that matters to me".
Leon felt an intrigued smirk form at the corner of his lips, "You said me and your people" he moved closer to her, "Now you weren't thinking I was about to lose back there were you?"
Thalia kept her smile, but lowered her head, "I was afraid that you would lose, but when I heard what you said. That you would always protect what's important to you no matter who or what it is you're facing…I knew you would win. I believed in you I was able to resist Dooku's influence because I knew you would come for me".
"I meant every word of it" he said gently cupping his hand against her face. Looking into her icy blue eyes he chuckled weakly, "You're more beautiful than I remember".
Thalia felt herself blush as his thumb massaged its way across her cheekbone, "Leon I…"
Before she could say what was on her mind the door opened and Ahsoka and Anakin entered. Leon lowered his hand and looked over to his fellow Jedi, "Good morning".
Anakin smiled at him, "Its almost nighttime, but hello to you to Leon. I'm glad that you're up the Council wants to talk to you".
Leon sighed, "Of course they do".
He remembered everything that happened on Ord Mantell how he faced both Grievous and Dooku and defeated both of them, but that wasn't why the Council wanted to talk to him.
Anakin opened the door to the Council Chambers standing to the side with Ahsoka and Thalia as Leon stood in the center of the large room.
He turned to Luminara and smiled, "I'm happy to see you Master. How are you feeling?"
Luminara smiled back at him, "I'm feeling much better thank you".
"Padawan Solstice" Master Yoda began grabbing Leon's attention, "Great courage and skill on Ord Mantell you showed. However a disturbance sense within you we do".
Master Windu took over, "We called you here so you can explain yourself and allow us to decide on how to handle your actions on Ord Mantell".
Leon couldn't help, but feel that his master was coming off as aggressive. After everything he had done one would have thought they would be more grateful.
"What exactly do you want me to explain?" Leon asked him.
Master Windu held his hands up touching his finger tips to each other, "For starters what made you disobey direct orders. Not only did I tell you not to go to Ord Mantell you went anyway and rushed in against the enemy".
Leon calmly cut him off, "I went to save a friend if I had waited she could have been killed".
"Indeed" Obi-Wan said, "Not only did you succeed at saving Thalia, but you managed to save her people from Count Dooku as well".
Master Fisto smiled at Leon, "You demonstrated a great bravery by facing Count Dooku and General Grievous alone. You also showed amazing skill in combat far beyond what any padawan should be capable of. To hold your own against both of these dangerous foes and defeat them shows great skill and dedication".
Master Plo Koon chimed in, "Not only did you defeat them, but in doing so saved the life of one of our own".
Master Ki-Adi-Mundi smiled at him, "You show an affinity for combat of any kind. Even though Jedi do not carry or use blasters you expertly wielded one in the courtyard battle and in your duel against Count Dooku you wielded two lightsabers without any formal training into the art and then there is your surprising skill at hand to hand combat".
Master Luminara continued, "Leon you've demonstrated great courage and bravery as well as a truly impressive ability in combat. You've shown true loyalty and the willingness to selflessly sacrifice yourself to protect others. All of these traits are shown by only the most honorable of Jedi".
Leon's eyes widened slightly as his former master continued was this discussion really going in the direction he thought it was?
Master Yoda spoke once again, "A fine Jedi Knight you will make".
Leon slowly parted his lips unsure of what to say, but Master Windu spoke up before he could say anything.
"Before we go any further Leon we need to address how you handled yourself on Ord Mantell".
Leon looked over to his master immediately knowing what he was about to bring up.
"While there is no doubt that you have shown the traits of a Jedi Knight you also allowed your anger to lead your actions. You blindly attacked a superior opponent and it almost cost you your life as well as the lives of those you claim to protect. If you wish to be a Jedi Knight you will need to learn to control those emotions better as well as your attachments to others".
Leon regarded his master with a calm expression despite the small bit of anger he felt toward him. He never asked to be assigned to him he wanted to remain as Luminara's padawan, but even then he never stopped training he never stopped trying. He constantly dedicated himself to his training and not once did Master Windu acknowledge his abilities not once did he receive praise from him it was always criticism on how he could be better. He respected his current master, but part of him resented him.
Leon inhaled a small breath, "I'm grateful that the Council thinks I am worthy to become a Jedi Knight" he paused and sighed, "But I have to disagree".
Everyone in the room suddenly felt different, they all looked at Leon intrigued and surprised at what he just said. They were about to promote him to the rank of Jedi Knight and he was disagreeing with them.
Leon had a somber tone to his voice, "Everything I did on Ord Mantell was not for the Republic it was for personal desire. I wanted to save Thalia from Count Dooku more than anything that was the whole reason I was there. And Master Windu is right I allowed my anger to precede my judgment when I faced Dooku in combat. I was so disgusted by his tactics to control Thalia that the only thought on my mind was to kill him and after what he did to Master Luminara…All I could feel was rage".
Leon took a moment to reflect on his own words, "I am honored that you think I am worthy to be knighted, but I do not and until I feel that I am worthy I cannot accept it".
Ahsoka watching from the side along with Thalia and Anakin felt a slight smile appear on her face. Another trait all Jedi were supposed to posses was to be humble and since she first met him Leon had never been that, this was the first time he had ever appeared humble to anyone. She was a bit envious of him, but she agreed with the Council he deserved to be knighted after everything he's done not just on Ord Mantell, but in the past to. He saved her life on Dantooine and personally came up with a plan and executed the capture of a dangerous crime lord. He even protected Senator Amidala from a bomb that was placed in her office. Leon was definitely an odd Jedi and had a unique personality, but there was no doubt that he had the qualities of a Jedi Knight.
Master Plo Koon looked up to Leon, "Are you certain of this? Even in light of your anger and clouded judgment".
Leon shook his head, "I'm certain".
"Very well" the Kel Dor said, "Once again we commend your skill and bravery. And we wish you well on all your future missions. You are dismissed".
Leon bowed to them before turning around, "Before I go Masters" he turned back to them, "What about Thalia? I've been sleeping for two days have you made a decision about her?"
"We have" Master Windu answered, "She is too old to begin the Jedi training and all she learned from Count Dooku is of the dark side".
"She still turned away from him" Leon reminded him, "She saved my life if it were not for her distraction I would have died. She is the reason I am still here and let's not forget she was forced into becoming his apprentice".
Master Windu continued, "In light of her actions we have decided to allow her to stay here. She will meditate to cleanse herself of the dark side and once she has we will train her in the ways of the light as a Jedi".
Leon felt himself smiling again, "That's all I needed to know" he nodded his head to the door behind him, "Thank you masters now if you'll excuse me I'm going to get something to eat".
Looking to Ahsoka and Thalia as he opened the door he motioned for them to follow him, "Come on I'll make us something to eat".
Leading Ahsoka and Thalia to the cafeteria Leon asked them what they were in the mood for as they sat across from each other at a table.
"Anything is good for me" Ahsoka told him.
Thalia gave him a small smile, "I'm not that picky".
"Another chef's surprise then" Leon said before disappearing into the kitchen leaving the two girls to talk.
"So how do you like the temple so far?" Ahsoka asked her.
Thalia was still smiling she knew she was safe here, but she still felt weak and vulnerable, "I'm still getting used to it. I lived my whole life on Hoth before…"
Ahsoka finished for her, "Before Count Dooku came along".
Thalia nodded, "Actually I think it's a good thing. If it wasn't for Dooku I probably never would have seen Leon again".
"What do you mean?" Ahsoka asked her. The way Thalia said that sounded off it sounded wishful.
Thalia's smile faded, "When I was first taken by Dooku I was afraid, but I knew that Leon would come for me if he knew. I focused as much as I could to send him a message through the Force crying for his help and when I saw him walk into that room I…" he hands began trembling, "I was so happy".
"Thalia" Ahsoka whispered, "Do you".
Thalia tilted her head to the side, "I think I do".
Ahsoka felt something tug at her not physically, but in her mind. Suddenly she felt strange, "What's wrong with me? Suddenly I feel like I hate her, but why?"
"Is something wrong?" Thalia asked her.
Ahsoka looked up to her, "Oh no sorry I was just thinking is all. What is this burning in my chest? I feel…I'm not angry, but I'm mad, but why?"
"Do you think I can make it as a Jedi?" Thalia asked surprising Ahsoka.
"Why do you ask?"
Thalia lowered her head, "I don't think I'm strong enough".
"Being a Jedi isn't about strength" Ahsoka told her, "You're kind and loyal Thalia you'll definitely make a good Jedi".
Thalia shook her head, "I don't mean it like that…I'm afraid".
"Afraid of what?" Ahsoka asked her, "There's nothing to be scared of".
Thalia shook her head again, "I'm sorry I know I'm not making sense I'm just I don't think I'm strong enough. I couldn't even protect my own people".
"You don't have to worry about that anymore" Ahsoka told her, "They'll be safe here on Coruscant. The Chancellor is working on giving them somewhere to live where they'll be safe" she reached across the table and grabbed Thalia's hand, "Listen its all in the past now all you can do is move forward and train yourself so it won't happen again".
Thalia finally smiled again, "Thank you Ahsoka…after all I've done I don't think I deserve".
Ahsoka cut her off, "You didn't do anything. Dooku forced you into it so no one here would hold you responsible" she gently tightened her hold on Thalia's wrist, "Thalia the Council may seem harsh, but its just because of your age. You're too old to begin basic training and the training you did receive is tainted by Dooku's evil, but you don't have to worry about that. They will help you and I know you'll make a great Jedi you're too kind to become anything less".
Thalia's eye began shaking, "Thank you Ahsoka".
Ahsoka removed her hand from Thalia's, "Don't mention it, us girls have to stick together right?"
"Does that mean we're friends?" Thalia asked her to which the young Togruta smiled and nodded.
"I hope you two are still hungry" Leon called from the kitchen.
The doors to the kitchen opened being pushed to the side by a cart lined with enticing food. Guiding the cart over to their table Leon stopped next to them and placed a trio of meals in the center of the table. Sitting down he motioned to the lunch in front of them telling them to choose whichever they'd like.
"I know that grin Leon" Ahsoka said upon seeing Leon's smirk, "What did you do this time?"
Leon held his hands up as if he was confused, "I have no idea what you're talking about".
"Now why don't I believe that?" Ahsoka asked him.
Leon shrugged his head to the side, "I don't know why don't you?"
Ahsoka stopped Thalia from trying the food giving Leon a probing glare to which he just smiled.
"Maybe I'm just happy and feel like smiling" he told her.
"What's going on?" Thalia asked.
Ahsoka kept her eyes on Leon, "Leon has a habit of playing jokes on people he put something in the food".
"Now why would I do that?" Leon asked her, "Besides you're the only person I play jokes on. Doesn't that make you feel special?"
"No" Ahsoka quickly answered.
Leon continued grinning, "I'm beginning to think you don't trust me".
"When you smile like that no I don't".
"Now that hurts" Leon said, "Alright I'll come clean. I didn't do anything. I knew if you saw me smiling like that you would think I'm up to something, but since I'm not you just wasted a few minutes worth of brain cells trying to figure out something that never happened" He held his finger in the air as if he had won something, "I got you without even doing anything".
Ahsoka placed her elbow on the table and buried her face into her hand, "I hate you" she mumbled.
"No you don't" Leon chuckled.
Thalia felt a smile of her own appear as she watched how Leon teased Ahsoka she felt a tickle in her throat and before she knew it she began laughing. Leon and Ahsoka stared at her as she laughed though it only lasted for a minute she clearly found amusement in their teasing.
Thalia calmed herself and gave them both a yearning smile, "You two really seem to get along".
Leon nodded to the side, "We do, but you'd better get used to it because now that you're part of the family you're name has been added to the list which means your fair game".
Leon leaned back in his chair balancing it on its back legs unaware of the evil grin that appeared on Ahsoka's face. Flashing back to the first day they met Ahsoka used the Force to grab the back legs of Leon's chair and pull them forward causing the chair to fall back. Leon however was expecting it this time he quickly lunged forward on the balanced chair and grabbed the edge of the table stopping himself from falling his body weight keeping the chair in place.
"Ha I win again" he proclaimed.
Ahsoka shook her head, "No you don't". Deciding it was finally time to take Leon down a peg she used the Force to grab at his feet this time and pull at them causing him to fall back into his chair and take him to the floor.
When he felt his legs fly out from under him Leon yelled as he fell back landing roughly on his back. While he laid their groaning Ahsoka stood up and declared her victory over him making Thalia laugh again.
Leon slowly got back up still groaning and rubbing at his back, "Ok I get it, lesson learned…for now" he set his chair back up and sat down, "Time to eat".
"That was really good" Thalia said when they finished eating, "I never would have guessed you were this good of a cook".
Leon bowed his head to her, "My list of skills isn't very long, but what few I have I'm really good at".
"Speaking of which" Ahsoka said looking over to him, "When you fought Count Dooku you beat him without your lightsaber. I've seen you fight with your hands before, but what you did was…well it was amazing".
Leon shrugged, "I'm happy you think so, but to me its nothing special just another fight".
"Can you teach me to fight like that?" Thalia asked him.
Leon gave her a smooth smile, "I'll teach you anything you want to know.
Ahsoka felt something twitch in the back of her mind, hearing Leon talk to Thalia like that bothered her made her mad.
"Why though" she thought.
Why would it make her mad though it's no different than how he acts or talks to any other woman he sees so shouldn't she be used to it by now?
"Ahsoka" Leon said waving his hand in front of her, "Stop spacing out on me".
"What?" Ahsoka asked coming out of her thoughts.
Leon chuckled at her, "I've never seen you zone out like that what's up with you?"
Ahsoka apologized, "I was just thinking about something is all".
Leon laughed again, "Well stop doing that. I asked if you felt like learning a few moves to".
"I already know how to fight" Ahsoka told him.
"Yes you do, but you can always improve" Leon leaned back, "I'm not doubting your abilities Ahsoka I'm just offering to teach you something new".
"Would the Council allow that?"
"Who cares" Leon replied standing up, "Come on let's go".
Leon led them to the far side of the courtyard giving them plenty of space to practice. Stretching his arms out Leon asked both of them to stand on either side of him and repeat his movements. First he took a stance with his fist reared back and level with his waist and his other held at an angle in front of his chest as if defending against something. With his stance set he began showing his fellow padawan's basic strike moves announcing each move before he made it to help them visualize what they were doing.
"Block incoming strike" he said raising his right arm next to his head, "Now grab their arm" he lowered his defending arm and reached outward wrapping his arm around an imaginary target.
"Bring them to you use your knee and aim for the ribs" he pulled his imaginary attacker toward him and raised his knee up striking at the air, "He's hunched over go for his knee" he quickly raised his leg and made a low kick toward where his opponent's knee would be.
"Now he's down and unbalanced strike" Leon made several punches at the air, "He's trying to get up. Get around him and take out his knee again don't let him up" Taking a half step back Leon circled around his invisible training partner and kicked his shin out at where the back of his knee would be, "He's down again and your behind him go for the neck".
Showing them a basic, but always effective sleeper hold Leon explained that depending on the amount of pressure applied to this particular hold can cause an individual to pass out in mere seconds no matter their size. He also explained that the biggest key for this hold is to maintain dominance during it not letting up for a second and making sure the victim can't fight back. A large opponent would be hard to place in the hold which is why you want to target his knees to bring him down and then attack.
"For larger opponents target the knees first once they're down lock the hold in jump onto their backs and wrap your legs around their torso. Now that you're completely latched onto them you won't lose your grip when they start flailing around. Also an opponent who shares the same height and body mass as you could easily just reach back and fling you over their shoulder if they try to attempt this all you need to do is tighten your hold and quickly jerk their head to the side the sudden jolt will stun them for a moment".
The teaching session only lasted for an hour before the sun began setting in the horizon soon they wouldn't have enough light to continue. Deciding to call it a day for now they returned to the inside of the temple it wasn't late yet, but Thalia did feel tired.
When she yawned Leon placed his arm over her shoulder, "If you're tired you can always rest in my room".
Thalia blushed and looked away from him, "I already have my own room Leon".
"Do I get to come visit then?" he asked her.
Ahsoka jabbed Leon with her elbow, "Settle down the only room you're going to be going to is your own".
Leon rubbed his side where Ahsoka hit him, "Does this mean you found the cameras I hid in your room?"
"What?" Ahsoka snapped.
Ahsoka groaned, "You're giving me a headache".
Thalia laughed again, "You two really get along".
Leon wrapped his other arm around Ahsoka's shoulders, "Why wouldn't we get along? We love each" he turned to Ahsoka, "Right?"
Ahsoka attempted to jab him with her elbow again, but he jumped back laughing triumphantly, "Nope. HAHA I win this round".
Ahsoka shook her head, "I'm going to bed before I decide to forget my training and kill you".
"Ahsoka hold on" Leon said to her before she left, "Have a good night alright?"
"That look again" Ahsoka stared into his eyes, "That same look from before…every time he looks at me like that I feel like I'm suffocating".
Ahsoka turned away from him, "You to Leon…I'll see you tomorrow".
Thalia turned to Leon as Ahsoka left, "I think I should get some sleep as well. The earlier I wake up the sooner we can spend more time together".
Leon rested his hand on her shoulder, "I like the sound of that" he massaged her shoulder slowly moving his hand over to her neck, "We could always go for a walk and find somewhere quiet where no one else would find us".
Thalia grabbed his hand on her shoulder, "Being alone with you…the thought of it excites me, but at the same time I feel nervous".
Leon raised his other hand and rested it against her cheek, "Maybe that's because there's something forming between us".
Thalia felt her body heat up as she blushed, "Maybe so".