Solstice Knight

When a Heart Speaks

Leon rubbed his hand over his cheek the cold wind causing his tears to sting his skin. He was in the courtyard of the Jedi Temple sitting on the ledge of a corner wall on the outside railing. A narrow ledge that would barely give a child room to stand on and yet Leon had sat there for three hours. For three hours he sat there silently contemplating his life and the decision he had in front of him.

Thalia was leaving the Jedi Order o take over as leader of her people and to take them off world to find a more suitable system to live. This news clawed at both Leon's mind and heart. It was only a few hours ago and Leon's entire world; his life had been utterly shaken. Thalia, a girl he loved was going to leave for another world and admitted her wish for him to go with her a wish they both shared, but neither could have.

As much as he wanted to stay with her Leon could not leave not until the current war was brought to an end. He had invested too much of his life into fighting this war and even lost a friend, to walk away from it now would mean it was all for nothing at least that's what he told himself. It was only a half truth in reality he wanted to walk away he wanted to leave the war and the Jedi Order behind both becoming too much for him to stand anymore, but the real reason he was staying was much more personal.

"A single action can shake the heart more than a thousand words".

That was something his mother once told him before Luminara brought him to the Jedi temple and through his Jedi training he remembered those words always believing in them. And his mother's words turned out to be true as only a few hours ago Leon and Thalia kissed one another. That single action left a mark that no word or physical blow could ever leave and Leon's heart was indeed shaken because in that moment even though he was holding Thalia's half naked body in his arms there was only one thought in his heart…Ahsoka. Why? Why was her name haunting him now? All he had to do was say the same three words Thalia had said to him and yet his mind couldn't process them.

"What is it?" she asked him.

"I don't know" his answer was accompanied by a heartbroken tone.

"Its Ahsoka isn't it?"

The thoughts that were so jumbled to him were clear to her.

"You're thinking of Ahsoka…it's her you love"

Before he realized it Leon had answered her in a haste dismissing her words.

"No its not that it's…I don't know I just…"

He stepped back and turned around apologizing to her.

"I'm sorry. I don't know what's wrong. Please give me a few hours to sort this out".

Thalia watched him leave her eyes reflecting the sadness in her heart as the door to her room closed behind him. For three hours Leon had sat on the ledge of the courtyard the conflict of his feelings for Thalia and Ahsoka threatening to tear his heart apart. The early winter wind made the tears in his eyes feel like liquid daggers sliding down his skin stinging and biting as they rolled across his skin. Maybe he was destined for this. It was a tempting to believe, maybe he was meant to fall for two girls.

"What are you doing?"

Turning his head Leon laid his eyes upon the other holder of his affection.

"I'm just thinking" he answered not bothering to hide his tone.

Ahsoka approached the railing of the courtyard and leaned against it, "What's wrong?"

Leon shook his head, "Too long of a list and I'm right at the top of it".

"Maybe you should come back over here" she told him, "That ledge is pretty small".

"Or I could just jump off" Leon said with a slight grin.

"That's not funny" Ahsoka told him.

"Wasn't joking".

Those words took a moment to process in her head before she realized what he was saying.

"Leon come back to this side. Please"

His legs hanging over the side of the ledge Leon braced his hands at his sides before whipping around and grabbing the railing. Climbing over the railing Leon patted at his pants dusting them off just barely meeting Ahsoka's eyes.

"What's bothering you?" she asked him again.

"Nothing you need to worry about"

"If you say so" she moved her eyes to the horizon zeroing in on the senate building, "Anakin told me that Senator Bonteri of Onderon is going to appear before the senate today. He's going to bring Onderon back to the Republic".

"I heard about that" Leon mumbled leaning his back against the railing, "So this Bonteri guy…is he cool?"

She turned to him, "What do you mean?"

"I mean is he alright, is he a good guy?"

"Yes he is. In fact we kept each other alive on Carlac".

"Where?"

"Its an ice world in the outer rim…Lux I mean Senator Bonteri had a short lived agreement with Death Watch and I convinced him to sever his ties with them".

"So he's an idiot?"

"Don't call him that" Ahsoka said defensively.

"What should I say? He was willing dealing with Death Watch who in their right mind does that?"

"It doesn't matter he's done with them. All you need to know is he's an honorable person and he would never do anything without the best of intentions behind it".

"Padme told me you and this guy were friends, how long have you known him?"

Ahsoka looked over to her left shoulder recalling the time she first met Lux on Raxus, "I first met him about a week after you were hospitalized from that bomb in Senator Amidala's office. And I've only seen him once since then so almost a year".

"Can't wait to meet him" Leon huffed, "Maybe I'll make a new friend".

"You better behave" Ahsoka warned him, "Something like this is too important for you to go messing around".

"Contrary to what you might think I don't go around looking to cause trouble".

"Yeah and I guess you don't go around hitting on every girl you see either".

"Well not every girl" Leon said, "Just the really cute ones like Thalia, Liliana, Rhia, you".

"And Senator Amidala" she told him, "And her handmaiden when we were on Naboo".

Leon raised his finger, "Oh don't forget the waitress at Dex's Diner".

Ahsoka groaned and dropped her head and Leon finally laughed, "You don't have to worry about me behaving. Padme said she's thinking of having a celebration at her penthouse so I'll be pretty preoccupied with that…and whatever her handmaiden is wearing".

Leon suddenly gasped in pain and jumped away from her, "What?"

Ahsoka lowered her elbow and shook her head, "You need to be more careful when you say things like that. What if one of the council heard you saying that?"

"Who cares" Leon grumbled, "Let them hear me say it they won't do anything about it".

"Even if they don't Leon you should have care when you say stuff like that. I've accepted that it's just the way you are, but I don't think they will".

"So you've finally accepted me for who I am huh?" he pushed off the rail and turned to her, "So does that mean my charms are finally working on you?"

Ahsoka exhaled a long sigh and met his gaze, "Why don't you just tell me what's bothering you? I've known you long enough to notice the difference between your normal brand of idiocy and when you're trying to hide something".

Averting his eyes Leon leaned against the rail again, "Thalia is leaving".

"What?"

"Remember that Tal Sin guy? The leader of Thalia's people. He dies last night and now Thalia doesn't have a choice, but to become the next leader. So she's leaving tomorrow and taking her tribe somewhere they can prosper".

"I see" Ahsoka returned her eyes to the senate building in the distance, "I think somewhere in the back of my head I knew this would happen one day, but it's still sad. I know how important her people are to her, but I kind of don't want her to go".

"Neither do I" Leon admitted.

"Have you told her how you feel?" Ahsoka asked him catching him by surprise.

"What do you mean?"

"Come on Leon" she said almost sadly, "I know you have feelings for her just like I know she has feelings for you. Have you told her how you feel about her?"

"Do you think I should? What happened to that follow the teachings stuff you're always going on about?"

"I believe in the teachings, but who am I to forbid you from being with someone who makes you happy. If you really love her that much…I'm ok with it".

She tried to hide the sadness in her tone, but Leon noticed it. It seems Liliana was right even though she wasn't going to admit it Ahsoka did have some feelings for him somewhere in her. Casting his eyes upward he stared at the cloud filled orange sky wanting to scream at the top of his lungs then a thought came to him. Ahsoka said she would be ok with him being with Thalia if he truly loved her, but would that still be the case if it was her instead of Thalia.

"She asked me to go with her" he told her.

Ahsoka looked at him from the corner of her eye, "Are you?"

Leon ran his tongue over his lips a look of deep thought filling his eyes before he finally shook his head, "No. My place is here for now…I can't go".

"Do you want to?"

Leon suddenly felt like he was stabbed in the heart. His chest began hurting and his breath was suddenly lost to him. He did want to go he wanted to leave with Thalia however when the thought of leaving Coruscant floated through his mind another thought tugged at him leading him back to the one standing next to him. He had become completely engrossed in his thoughts that he no longer heard Ahsoka saying his name or even noticed her waving her hand in front of him. Too many images were flashing in his head dozens of different scenarios of how he might end up if he left or stayed and each one of them carried a suffocating pain before his vision went black and he felt something hard hit him.

When his vision returned to him Leon coughed a few times realizing he was lying on the ground, but he wasn't in the temple courtyard. Instead he was lying on a patch of dirt surrounded by darkness quickly rising to his knees he looked around checking his surroundings, but all he saw was pure darkness with no trace of light other than what was directly in front of him. Now rising to his feet he stepped forward and his leg gave out the second it returned to the ground causing him to fall. The air around him suddenly became cold almost freezing, his skin tightened as the wind stung him and then stopped as suddenly as it began.

Shivering from the cold and the stinging sensation covering his exposed limbs several voices echoed from the surrounding darkness catching his attention. Calling out to whoever was there he received no answer for several seconds until a cone of light appeared ahead of him revealing Thalia standing with her arm hooked around his. An image of him standing arm in arm with Thalia, slowly he stood up gazing at the happy smile they both shared before another sound pulled his attention away. Looking to his left he saw Thalia crying and the other him had his back to her facing the other pair. Again another voice grabbed his attention this time from behind him and just like before he saw himself standing alongside another only this time it was Ahsoka, they were hugging each other smiling with tears squeezing into the corner of their eyes.

Predicting what would happen next he turned again facing the direction that was still dark and waited for another cone of light to appear this one showing Ahsoka by herself sitting on the ground and hugging her knees against her chest. She was silent as tears made their way down her cheeks. As he looked at each of the four scenes surrounding him he heard from each direction Thalia and Ahsoka saying his name overlapping with joy or gasping cries and then it dawned on him.

Liliana was right, he admitted to himself. Just as he had feelings for them they both had feelings for him and it wasn't that he was struggling to figure out who he loved more it's that he was afraid. He was afraid of choosing because one of them would be left heartbroken and hurt. He cared about them too much to hurt them in such a way and that's what kept him from coming up with a final decision. The sounds from the four scenes became louder quickly rising to deafening levels forcing Leon to cover his ears and then close his eyes as the images began circling around him faster and faster becoming a flashing blur that blinded him as well.

Even through his closed senses the roaring voices and flashing light reached him becoming painful and making him curl up as he tried to block it all out. The deafening roar turned high pitched and threatened to rip his head in half as it pierced its way past his hands and into his ears while the light was beginning to sear his eyes. The pain finally becoming too much Leon threw his head up to the sky and screamed for it to stop. The throbbing pain in his head subsided and the light faded leaving him in a silent darkness once again. Dropping to his knees Leon panted and gasped fatigue taking claiming complete control of over his body and he slowly laid down and curled up, but the second he closed his eyes something slammed into his chest and the piercing sound and blinding light returned hammering down on top of him.

Leon yelled as his eyes flew open his vision blurred and hearing distorted as his body snapped upward. He shivered as he breathed he was freezing and yet he felt hot sweat was trailing all over his skin as his body quaked. Feeling something touch his shoulder a primal sense of panic took hold of him and he jumped forward blindly running face first into a wall before turning around and backing himself into a corner.

Someone frantically called out to him telling him to calm down, but his blurred vision kept him from distinguishing the silhouette in front of him. His back against the wall he dropped down to his knees feeling a burning, bubbling sensation in his stomach and dropped forward onto one hand holding his other out a light burst of force power pushing away whoever was in front of him. His body lurched and a burning sensation rushed up his throat before flooding into his mouth making him cough spitting it out.

A pool of crimson liquid covered the floor beneath him as he fell onto his side gasping for air. Someone was still calling his name, but there were several figures that he could see. He vision was slowly shaking from side to side, but it was coming back into focus he was seeing colors and figures that he could make out Anakin, a medical droid and Ahsoka who was kneeling next to him.

"Leon calm down" Ahsoka panicked grabbing hold of his shoulder, "Look at me" she yelled seeing his eyes rolling to the side, "Breathe ok? Just breathe".

Her words registering Leon inhaled a short shaky breath before his body convulsed and he lifted himself onto his arm and began coughing again blood flying from his mouth with each cough. Ahsoka's grip on his shoulder tightened until the coughing stopped and once again he began gasping for breath.

"Leon can you hear me?" she asked him.

Leon's head felt heavy and continued to fall to one side as he tried to look at her, "Wha…What hap…Ahso".

"Leon!" Ahsoka gasped as his head dropped to the side and his eyes half open for a second before closing.

"How long was I out?"

Leon sitting on a bed a large blanket draped over him held a cup of water in his shaking hands. Ahsoka was sitting in a chair beside him and Anakin and the medical droid were both gone.

"Over an hour" Ahsoka told him, "That was only the first time. You woke up and freaked out before fainting again that time you were gone for almost twenty minutes".

"What the hell happened?"

"The doctor droid said you contracted a high fever, but when I told him you were fine earlier he said you probably became sick from stress. He said something about anxiety weakening the immune system and took a blood sample while you were out".

"I guess that makes sense" Leon exhaled taking a gulp of water, "I have been on edge lately so I guess the piled up stress along with my illness decided to partner up to try and kill me…sneaky bastards".

"This isn't something to joke about" Ahsoka quietly told him, "Leon you actually became sick this time you need to find out a way to cure whatever is wrong with you. What if it happens again and there's no one around to help you? You could die".

"I know" he quietly admitted, "Believe me I've been doing all I can, but I haven't been able to find a way to cure it myself. All I can do is use the Force to suppress it…Hopefully Rhia will have learned something maybe I should go see her".

Leon inhaled a deep breath before setting his cup down and sliding off the bed to his feet, "I'm alright now" he said as Ahsoka tried to stop him from standing, "I'm sorry I worried you".

Looking into his eyes Ahsoka saw a new side of him. A side that was actually afraid maybe even terrified, but there was a look of sincerity hidden in his eyes. He really was sorry for causing her so much worry over his condition.

The Togruta could feel her skin heating up and her heart began racing as she gazed into his eyes. Seeing him act so calmly and mature and being this close to him she felt like she was about to suffocate as the air in her lungs suddenly disappeared. A happy-go luck jokester, a not so subtle flirt, a ferocious warrior and now a vulnerable, fearful man so many sides to the same person she began to wonder which side of him was the real Leon. Ever since she first met him he was always a strange person always joking around and flirting, but the few times she saw a similar look in his eyes she knew he was being sincere.

The silence between them filled the room with a strange atmosphere and with their eyes locked with each other's added a sense of nervousness to the room. Leon's lips parted ready to break the silence between them, but his words would never come as his face turned a light shade of red and he lowered his eyes. Stepping past Ahsoka he quickly walked over to the door and left not giving her any time to say anything to him before he left.

The second he entered the hall Leon broke into a sprint putting as much distance as he could between him and Ahsoka a raging mixture of emotions consuming him as he fled. Dodging several others as he sprinted through the halls Leon finally came to a stop when he reached the temple hangar pausing only for a few seconds to catch his breath before climbing into a speeder and flying off. Why was he running, he didn't even know the answer a sudden sense of panic overcame him and he fled like an animal fleeing a predator. Why did it happen though, he had been with Ahsoka hundreds of times in the past and stood much closer to her so why was this time so different.

Never deciding on a destination Leon found himself flying over the Senate Building and set down on the public landing platform. Switching the engine off he dropped his head down on the steering column taking several deep breaths to calm himself before climbing out of the speeder. His inner self laughed at the irony of where he ended up with Lux bringing his world back to the Republic he knew Ahsoka would be here eventually at some point.

Making his way into the massive home of the senate Leon wondered if this Lux Bonteri had arrived yet. He was curious about him and did indeed want to meet him himself, but he would have no such luck. Padme wasn't in her office and judging by the amount of people in the halls of the senate the big event hadn't started yet although the halls were quite livelier than the past few times he was here leading him to believe that everyone knew Onderon was returning to the Republic.

"Ah young Leon" a familiar voice said from behind him.

Turning on his heel Leon set his eyes on Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, "Good afternoon Chancellor".

"What brings you here today my boy?"

"Padme told Anakin and me that Onderon was coming back to the Republic so I was just stopping by".

The Chancellor gave him a welcoming smile, "I'm afraid Senator Amidala isn't here right now. She's off preparing to address the Senate later, but if you'd like you can join me in my office for a while".

"I wouldn't want to bother you".

The Chancellor chuckled, "Nonsense my boy. I've come to enjoy your company now come I'll make us tea again".

Following the Chancellor back to his office Leon sat on the luxurious couch in the center of the room waiting for the Republic's leader to bring him a cup of tea.

"You seem to have something on your mind my boy" the Chancellor said sitting across from him.

Without realizing it Leon had nodded confirming Palpatine's assumption, "…" a muffled grunt slipped from his closed mouth as he looked into the cup of tea in his hands, "A lot of things none I would want to trouble you with".

Palpatine nodded and took a quick sip of his tea, "Very well, but if you feel the need to confide anything I'm willing to listen. I've heard of your exploits young Leon and if I could do anything to repay your service to the Republic even if it's as simple as lending a listening ear then do not hesitate to come to me when I'm available".

Leon put on a forced smile, "Thank you Chancellor, I appreciate the gesture…" he raised the cup to his lips, but stopped as it tilted, "Actually" he began lowering the cup again, "There is something I would like to ask you".

"And what would that be?"

"Thalia, the girl I saved from Count Dooku on Ord Mantell is preparing to assume leadership over her people the one you provided shelter for after the battle on Ord Mantell".

Palpatine nodded, "I do recall doing something like that yes".

"Well to make a long story short her people are nomadic by nature and will find it too difficult to adjust to a permanent life on a world like Coruscant. Thalia wants to take them off world to somewhere they'll be more comfortable".

Palpatine nodded again, "I see and you would like me to provide them with transportation?"

He didn't know why, but Leon was surprised at how observant and quick the Chancellor was then again he was the Republic's leader for a reason.

"Yes sir. I was thinking they could go to Dantooine off the top of my head it seems like the most appropriate world for them".

"An interesting choice" the Chancellor smiled, "I seem to recall Master Windu saying you and Anakin first encountered them on Hoth. A very different world and not just climate wise".

Leon nodded his head to the side, "It is interesting, but from what Thalia has told me her people have lived in different climates throughout the years from Naboo, Felucia and even Hoth. I never asked why they move from system to system, but it seems to be something they do every few generations. Considering the natural connection they have to the Force it's not surprising how quickly they adapt to an environment".

"So her people have a natural affinity to the Force then? Now that's something I find interesting".

Leon finally took another sip of his tea, "Unfortunately that same natural connection also makes it extremely difficult for them to adjust to a world like ours. For someone so attuned to the Force especially without even realizing it a world like Coruscant or Corellia would be like a never ending roar of noise that would constantly bear down on them. Prolonged exposure to those who haven't been trained properly could possibly even suffer lethal consequences".

Palpatine's eyebrows jumped at that, "My, I know the Force was powerful, but I didn't know it could be dangerous in such a way".

Leon nodded, "There are still many things about it that are unknown, but even I have to admit it has some outstanding uses" he took another sip of tea, "But back to the previous topic. If you could provide Thalia and her people transportation I would consider it a personal favor and would gladly repay it".

"That won't be necessary" Palpatine chuckled, "After all you've done for the Republic I would consider it an honor to help you what's more is you providing me with some company that aren't other politicians is all the payment I would need".

The Chancellor gently set his cup down on the table, "Consider it done, but I'm curious I seem to remember this Thalia girl was training to become a Jedi".

Leon waved his hand to the side, "Not exactly while that was the Council's intention Thalia's reasons behind it were so she could better control the Force and hopefully balance out what Dooku taught her which was all of the Dark Side. She did all of it so that when the time came she could be the leader her people would need her to be and now that time has come…but it seems now she has reservations about leaving".

"And why is that?"

Leon quickly finished off what was left in his cup, "I'd rather not say anymore sir its…kind of personal".

Palpatine's lips curved into an amused smile, "I understand. Young love can be difficult to understand".

Leon almost dropped his cup, but quickly retained his grip, "How..." he shook his head, "No its not that it's…"

Palpatine chuckled, "You don't have to be so nervous Leon. I once had someone I loved in my youth as well so I understand how you feel. And if you feel nervous because of that silly rule the Jedi teach about falling in love don't be its one of life's greatest joys".

Leon set his cup down and smiled as he shook his head, "I'm starting to wonder why you choose to become a politician with as wise as you are. You'd make one hell of a Jedi Master".

Palpatine got a laugh out of that one, "While that is flattering I'm afraid I would have to disagree I fear the life of a Jedi would have been far too strict for me".

"And galactic politics is more lenient?" Leon asked with a chuckle.

"At time" Palpatine shrugged still smiling.

There was a brief pause between them and slowly their respective grins faded as the amusement of their jokes subsided.

"Thank you Majesty" Leon said finally breaking the silence, "This has helped take my mind off a lot".

Palpatine bowed his head to him, "No need to thank me like you my duty is to serve the Republic and you and the rest of the Jedi are citizens of the Republic so I will gladly help you in any way I can".

Mas Amedda, the Vice Chancellor entered the office, "Pardon my interruption Majesty, but Senator Amidala has arrived with Senator Bonteri from Onderon and Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker and she is requesting an audience with you".

Palpatine nodded to the large Chagrian, "Very well please show them in".

Amedda bowed and stepped outside quickly returning with their visitors. Palpatine rose from his seat and greeted Padme with a light hug and a friendly smile to Anakin before he turned his attention on a young man with them. Leon managed to get a quick look at him before Palpatine stepped over to them he was just a little shorter than Leon standing probably 5'8 or 5'10, brown neatly kept hair, pale blue eyes and fair skin and he was well dressed wearing a dark grey vest over a light brown shirt with matching pants. There was no doubt that this was Lux Bonteri and Leon was relatively surprised to see that someone his age would be a senator and even more so surprised at how calm he seemed he had to have been in a situation like this before.

"Ah Lux so good to finally meet you" Palpatine said bowing his head to him, "I know it's been some time, but please accept my condolences over your mother's death. Even after siding with the Separatists I still considered her a dear friend".

"Thank you Chancellor" the young senator said returning the bow, "I'm sure she thought the same of you just as she did with Padme. She was pushing for peace before she was murdered by Count Dooku" he nodded again with a resolute look in his eyes, "I'm sure she would have wanted Onderon to rejoin the Republic had she known the truth about that traitor".

Palpatine gave him a small smile, "I know she would have my boy. She is still missed, but her memory and legacy lives on with you and I know she would be proud of you for what you are doing".

"Thank you Majesty" Lux nodded again, "I'm honored to hear you say that".

Anakin smiled and gave Lux a light tap on the shoulder, "You just focus on the politics kid and leave worrying about Dooku to me".

"Get in line Anakin" Leon said, "I got first dibs on that coward".

Their attention snapped to Leon they hadn't noticed that he was there the large potted plant at the edge of the couch he was sitting on hiding him from their view.

"So this is where you ran off to?" Anakin asked with a suspicious smirk, "When I returned to the infirmary Ahsoka told me you just took off and disappeared".

"I needed some air" Leon told him quickly avoiding any further engagement into that topic, "Anyway that's not important right now" he stood up and walked over to them locking his eyes with Lux's.

"It's a pleasure" he said extending his hand to Lux, "From what little I've heard about you, you definitely sound like a noble person. I'm Leon Solstice".

Lux accepted his gesture and shook his hand, "Likewise I remember Ahsoka mentioning you not too long after we first met on Raxus".

Leon smirked, "I deny everything until I know what she's said about me".

Lux gave a short chuckle, "Well the first word she used to describe you was crazy".

Leon was silent for a second before nodding his head to the side, "Yeah I can see that".

Anakin slapped his hand down on Leon's shoulder, "Crazy may be a bit of an understatement, but that's one reason you and I get along so well".

Again Leon's head bobbed to the side, "Well that and the fact that we're both incredibly good looking".

"True, but all joking aside how are you feeling?"

"Well enough for now thanks" he returned his attention to Palpatine, "Thank you for the tea Chancellor I'll be taking my leave now".

Palpatine smiled and bowed his head, "Very well Leon once again I've enjoyed our talk. Take care of yourself".

Walking past them Leon stopped at the door and looked back to Padme, "Oh Padme did we ever decide on that whole celebration bit?"

"A small get together with Senator Organa and a few mutual friends, but yes".

"Celebration for what?" Lux asked her.

"To welcome you and Onderon back into the Republic of course".

"There's no need for something like that Padme".

Leon spoke before Padme could, "Well good news then Senator, you don't have a choice".

Waving to the Leon left the Chancellor's office and returned to his speeder deciding to return to the Temple for now. He owed Ahsoka an explanation as to why he suddenly ran off knowing she was probably worried about him considering what had happened a couple of hours ago. In truth he didn't even know why he ran away like that something just twitched in his mind and he felt like he needed to run, to get as far away from her as possible he was afraid.

It wasn't just Ahsoka he was afraid of he didn't want Thalia to leave and was worried about her. A Jedi's life isn't one fit for her, he remembered saying that to Liliana before she left and he meant it. The life of a Jedi isn't right for someone like Thalia he didn't think of her as frail, but battle was not a place for her and he wanted her to be as far from it as possible. Maybe in a time of peace a time when the only need for a Jedi would be to negotiate a peaceful end to a conflict maybe in a time like that she would be safe in the life of a Jedi, but that time was not today or in the foreseeable future. Thalia was too caring of a person just like Leon, Ahsoka and even Anakin she would never be able to just sit back when injustice happened and with her inexperience in combat that made a Jedi's life too dangerous for someone like her.

Leon's vision blurred and his chest tightened constricting his lungs. Growling Leon steered the speeder into a slow descent trying to find somewhere to land while Ahsoka's words returned to him.

"What if it happens while there's no one around to help you? You could die".

"I'm not going to die" he growled steadying his breathing and focusing the Force inward toward his lungs.

"Not today" wrapping the Force around his lungs he used the technique Barriss had taught him and began filtering what little air he had back to his lungs. Like the cycle of blood that eventually returns to the heart his breath flowed outward and back in while suppressing the virus cells masquerading as macrophages.

Little by little his chest loosened and the pain in his lungs subsided. Considering how easy it was to fight back he didn't suspect this spell would have been too bad, but this was the first time it happened three times in a single day and only a few hours from the last one. He had spent what little time he could spare training to keep the Force as a constant suppressor to the illness even while sleeping he subconsciously kept it at bay, but now he began to worry. What if his illness was adapting, aside from what it actually does to him he was never able to find out anything about it if it was adapting to his use of the Force. He shook his head he couldn't afford to think like that right now he had to focus on keeping it suppressed and make his way to the hospital to see Rhia.

Landing at the hospital landing port he entered a swift walk and made his way inside stopping at the reception desk asking them to page Doctor Teysa.

"Oh Leon" the beautiful Twi'lek said upon seeing him waiting for her.

"Rhia" Leon nodded.

Guessing the reason for his sudden visit Rhia invited him to her office and offered him some water before sitting at her desk.

"Thank you" he said taking the water, "It happened again" he said as she sat down, "Three times in just under four hours".

Rhia stopped in mid sip of her own drink, "How bad?"

"The first one I didn't even feel. I was…preoccupied with something on my mind and didn't feel it hit me. Ahsoka told me I was out for an hour, but after waking it happened again and put me out for another twenty minutes and then it happened again not too long ago while I was on my way back from the senate".

"How bad was the last one?"

"Pretty weak" Leon told her "I was able to fight it back without too much effort, but it's never happened more than a few days apart from each other. It happened while I was on Ruusan yesterday and almost got me killed by the droids".

Rhia lowered her eyes, "I heard that the Republic had lost control of Ruusan. You were there then?"

Leon didn't meet her eyes this time, "Yeah, I lose a friend there to. We weren't prepared for the number of troops they had and their new weapon managed to destroy two cruisers without any trouble".

"I see…I'm sorry to tell you, but I've been unable to find out anything about your illness and my virologists friends are just as stumped. Something like this has never been seen before in recorded history".

"Just my luck" Leon said putting on a fake smile, "Well if they need a blood sample I can give them one assuming it would help at all".

Rhia shook her head, "No need. I've already forwarded the records from when you were first here and their looking into it. They're running tests to try and find something anything that would give them some insight, but until then…I'm sorry I wish there was something else I could do".

Leon shrugged his shoulder, "Its ok. I know you're doing what you can, but if you'd like to make up for it you can always agree to dinner. Have I ever mentioned I'm a really good cook?"

Rhia smirked at him, "And we're back to this. You're a charming guy Leon, polite, nice and relatively handsome, but you're too far south of my comfort zone".

I agree with everything except relatively handsome" Leon laughed, "Now if you were to say stunning, hypnotizing, or even replace the word relatively with extremely then you'd be spot on".

Rhia broke out in a laugh, but quickly calmed herself, "Alright I'll give you that one that was funny".

"It's what I do" Leon said his smile running away; "Lately it seems that's all I can do to smile anymore".

Rhia raised her cup finishing off what was in it, "You do seem to have something on your mind something other than your illness".

Leon sighed and set his cup down, "I wouldn't even know where to begin on what running through that nest of insanity right now".

"You can confide in me if you like it's the least I can do for you".

Leon chuckled, "You know the Chancellor said the same thing to me while I was in his office".

"So you're friends with the Supreme Chancellor now?"

"I'm not sure if I would say friends, but he seems to have taken some kind of interest in me. My exploits on Ruusan and Ord Mantell and so on seem to have caught his attention. At any rate he was looking for some company that wasn't another politician so he offered me some tea and we just talked for a bit".

"I see. Well like I said if you want to talk I'll listen".

"Now that I think about it my first spell today happened while I was thinking about this…maybe it would be good to get it off my chest".

Rhia stood up, "Go ahead I'll get us some more water".

"You never met her, but there's this girl Thalia I first met her on Hoth and then again on Ord Mantell".

Leon went on about Thalia explaining to Rhia how he first met her and how she came to be at the Jedi temple after he saved her from Dooku. Before he even fully acknowledged it he was telling her everything including his personal feelings for her and that she was now the leader of her people and the fact that she was leaving.

"So she's leaving?" Leon nodded to her, "And you love her?" Leon nodded again, "And she asked you to go with her?"

"Part of me wants to, but I can't I…I want to say I'm needed here, but I don't think that's it".

"Then what is the reason?"

He knew the reason somewhere in the back of his mind he always knew he just didn't want to admit it.

"Ahsoka" he said casting his eyes to the floor, "I love Thalia, but when I was with her earlier I…I couldn't stop thinking about Ahsoka".

"Do you love her as well?"

"I do" his words coming faster than he could register them, "I love both of them, but when I'm with Ahsoka I…last time I was with her I looked into her eyes and I panicked I felt something snap inside me and I just ran away. I was afraid of something, but I don't know what".

"How much do you love her? And be honest with that don't even think just tell me now".

Leon's face cringed, "I…I just want to be with her. I want to live with her to stay with her I…love her I'm happy just by being next to her".

"So why were you afraid?"

Leon exhaled a held breath, "I don't know. Maybe it's because she believes so strongly in the teachings that…I get it" he fell silent upon his realization.

Rhia nodded, "You're afraid her beliefs would lead her to reject you and you don't want to be hurt by it" Leon nodded and Rhia took a sip of her drink, "That's actually a common thing. A lot of people are afraid to put themselves on the spot for fear of being rejected".

"Yeah well you want to know the funny part, I think Ahsoka has feelings for me to, but is too conflicted between that and her belief in the code. So she's more or less in the same boat".

"Then go for it" Rhia told him, "You're never going to know if you don't try and even if she does reject you eventually you'll get over it and you never know you might find someone else".

Leon shook his head, "That's not going to happen if its not her then there will not be another…I love Ahsoka I really do".

Rhia smiled at him, "Then go tell her if you don't its just going to haunt you forever. Besides you never know, you might end up surprised".

"Then what about Thalia? I know she has feelings for me as well I…I don't want to hurt her".

Rhia inhaled a deep breath and leaned back in her seat, "You love them both, but from the sound of it you love Ahsoka more. You said if it wasn't her then there is no one else so you've made your choice and Thalia will just have to live with that. You say you don't want to hurt her, but that's just not possible. No matter which path you choose one of them is going to be hurt and you just need to man up and deal with that".

Leon's eyes fell to the floor, "Why does it have to be so damn hard?"

Rhia gave him a soft, familiar smile, "Because nothing in this life worth having comes easy".

Someone knocked on the door and one of the nurses stepped in telling Rhia she was needed in the ICU.

With a sigh the Twi'lek doctor stood up and rolled her shoulders back, "Back to work it seems" she walked to the door and waited for Leon to step out before locking her office behind them, "Listen Leon I know this is going to be difficult for you. You're still young and have yet to reach your prime you have your entire life ahead of you, but please remember what I said and be sure to keep training yourself to keep that virus at bay".

Leon nodded, "Thank you Rhia…for everything".

Rhia turned away from him and began walking toward the ICU, "You're welcome now take care of yourself".

Leaving the hospital Leon returned to the temple Rhia's words hanging in his mind. If he really loved Ahsoka as much as he claimed to then he had made his choice even if gets rejected he would no longer be haunted by his inaction even if it hurts Thalia. Standing outside of Ahsoka's room he inhaled a long, deep breath steadying his nerves and mind before bringing his hand up to the door and knocking.

The door opened and Ahsoka stood there surprised to see him, "Leon…Where have you been? Are you ok?"

Leon nodded and held his hand up politely silencing her, "Ahsoka I…I'm sorry I ran off, but there's something I need to tell you. Something important so may I come in?"

Stepping to the side Ahsoka allowed him in taking note of the nervous, panicked look in his eyes as she closed the door behind him.

"What is it?" she asked him as he took another breath and looked right into her eyes his lips slowly parting.

"This is hard for me to say because…because I'm afraid, terrified of the truth so promise me you won't say anything until I'm done".

Ahsoka's expression shifted Leon's change in mood once again causing her to worry with several thoughts already racing through her mind.

Panic raging through every nerve in his body Leon steeled himself taking another slow breath before finally speaking, there would be no turning back from here on out.

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