Lost on the Dead World
"I'm sorry" Leon quietly said to her holding her hands as they stood at the ramp of the starship.
A sad, serene smile spread across Thalia's face, "Its ok" she replied, "I understand" her eyes were cast to the floor for a moment before they returned to meet his again, "If that's how you feel I can't change it. It hurts me, but as long as you're happy then I will be to".
"I'll always love you Thalia" he whispered to her, "It just won't be in the way you want me to…I'm sorry".
She shook her head, the sad, yet serene smile still remaining, "No its ok…Don't apologize for being true to yourself, just promise you won't forget me".
"I would never forget you" he continued to whisper their hands meeting each other and their fingers interlocking.
The day before Thalia had told him that she would be leaving, the current leader of her people had passed away and now she was the only option to take over. A path she didn't want, but had to take, dozens of lives depended on her and now she was leaving, leaving Coruscant, the Jedi Order, him. She made no secret of her feelings toward him; she loved him he had saved her life twice and was the one who discovered she was Force-sensitive and taught her how to use the Force. For both of them it was love, but for him it was platonic, he loved her he really did, but it wasn't in the same way she loved him.
In what was without a doubt the biggest emotional crisis of his life he struggled over his feelings for her and another he loved his mind torturing him and his heart threatening to tear itself apart until finally he realized which way his true feelings leaned. It was thanks to a woman he always playfully flirted with, the doctor that cared for him after the bomb that nearly killed him he had gone to her for a different reason at first, but ended up confiding in her and thanks to her he was able to realize who his heart really yearned for and why he felt so conflicted. He loved both of them, but he always knew where his true feelings were he was just scared and because of that he fooled himself into thinking he didn't know which one he truly loved.
Ahsoka, the one he loved his first friend in the Jedi Order, the partner on his first mission and the first one he showed his real self to. She was the one his heart screamed for and yet he knew of her strong belief in the Jedi way and feared that confessing his feelings to her would damage their friendship, he was afraid of that of being rejected and unable to spend time with her again. He knew Thalia loved him, well he figured it out she wasn't trying to hide her feelings for him she just never admitted them, he loved her as well, but it was as a close friend and nothing more. He didn't want to hurt her, he knew if he chose Ahsoka over her it would cause her pain and he didn't want to do that he didn't want her to suffer in any way any more than she already had because of him. It would have been easy for him to choose Thalia though after all he did love her and could bring himself to love her more than just platonically then Liliana told him what she had noticed about Ahsoka, that she harbored feelings for him as well ones she was afraid to acknowledge.
An entire day he spent tormenting himself over his own thoughts and feelings until he could no longer stand them. He was ready for it all to end one way or another, whether he chose to leave with Thalia or wait until the conflicting emotions broke him down and then the final strike that would send him right to the edge. Ahsoka had confronted him she wanted to know why he had been acting so strange and wanted to help him despite him telling her she couldn't she wouldn't let up she wanted to help her friend through whatever was bothering him, given their history she should have expected the truth to bother her as well. She knew Thalia was leaving and knew how much he cared for her; she never expected that he would choose her over Thalia.
His words haunted her; they clawed at her mind ripping their way to the front of her mind refusing to let her attention be taken elsewhere. The code, the teachings, the things she grew up being taught and believed in her whole life were acting as the wall keeping his words and her own feelings separate from each other, but slowly that wall was being torn down. That small part of her that cared for him began to wonder if loving someone was really as bad as the code wanted her to believe, if it wasn't then why lie about it and if it was then how does one fight against such insistent feelings. In the end she was still unable to answer him in fact they were avoiding each other giving each other the space they needed to sort out their thoughts even if one of them was already sure of everything.
"This is just wishful thinking" Thalia said a single tear glinting as it rolled down her cheek, "But if your feelings ever change" she stopped and fell silent unable to finish what she was saying.
Leon's fingers tightened around hers, "I'm really sorry".
The smile, the sad, serene smile she wore to cover up her pain slowly faded, "I'll always love you…One day, I know we'll meet again and I'll still love you then and as long as you're happy even if it's not with me I'll be happy regardless of the pain I feel".
Leon's other hand rose and cupped against her cheek her free hand doing the same finding its way behind his neck and their lips met for one last time.
"That was worth waiting for" she smiled as they parted, "I'll be sure to hold that in my heart…" she removed her hand from behind his neck and pulled her other hand from his and stepped back toward the ship waiting for her, "I'm going to miss you".
Leon nodded, "I would to" he tried to laugh smiling as she did, "If you ever need anything".
She nodded back, "I'll handle it myself first, but I'll be sure to call you" she look over her shoulder at the star ship and placed her hand over her chest, "This is goodbye for now…I know we'll meet again".
"I love you" he said finally his own sad smile breaking out.
"I know" she said back to him before disappearing behind the ship's ramp as it closed separating them.
With a heavy broken heart he watched the large passenger ship take off and fly away taking Thalia and her people away from Coruscant and to Dantooine a world her people had been to before long before her generation, but one they could survive and thrive on. He wanted to take a moment to let everything settle into place his thoughts, his feelings, everything. Before he did anything else he wanted to let everything run its course and settle unfortunately he would not be allowed that time.
His comlink came to life and the familiar voice of his closest friend Edge called out to him telling him that Onderon was under attack by a Separatist fleet and they were being deployed to stop it. A calm rage built up within him he didn't want to deal with something like this, not now he just wanted to take a day for himself to get over everything that had happened, he should have known better.
His head felt like it was split open as he slowly opened his eyes, he was lying against something warm, hard and uncomfortable. He tried to sit up and groaned and gasped in pain as he moved his head was throbbing, his left arm numb and the muscles in his right leg were on fire. Rubbing his eyes his vision returned to him he could feel that he was hanging from the ceiling, but he was strapped in a chair.
He groaned again, "What the hell" he coughed a little as he tried to remove the strap belt that restrained him, "Wait" he gasped realizing he was in a pilot's seat.
"That's right" he remembered. They were chasing the retreating Separatist fleet determined to destroy them before they could escape. He and Ahsoka were…Ahsoka.
His head snapped to the side to see Ahsoka unconscious and limply hanging from the co-pilot's seat. Freeing himself from his seat he quickly held his arms out and caught himself as he fell. Standing up on the top of the control console he looked up to Ahsoka and called her name until she stirred and woke up.
"What happened?" she asked seeing him below her.
"I think we crashed" he answered catching her as she unfastened the strap holding her to the chair and fell, "Last thing I remember is we were being attacked by some droid fighters, we took a hit and then the hyper drive suddenly activated".
"So we jumped into hyperspace? Then where are we?"
He shook his head, "Not sure, might as well check this ship is done for".
Ahsoka looked down at the console they were standing on half of it scorched and the other half torn apart from the inside, he was right their ship was dead.
"Are you alright?" she asked him, he nodded and returned the question, "I'm fine" she nodded back.
Exiting the shuttle the two of them jumped down landing on a dusty surface covered by red sand like dirt that easily scattered around from the slow wind. Looking around they were surrounded by cliffs that arched out as if to trap them inside they must be in a ravine of some kind, if it was it had long since dried up there was no trace of water anywhere around them, in fact there was no trace of anything except more dust and sandy dirt.
"This place" Leon muttered, "It feels dead".
"And dark" Ahsoka said continuing his thought, "I can sense the dark side here. It's coming from everywhere".
"Yeah" Leon nodded, "Around us, above us I can even feel it beneath us…where are we?"
"Do you think the distress beacon works?" she asked him.
He shook his head, "Doubt it my luck isn't that good…we might be able to fix it actually never mind I'm not that good with machines I'd somehow just make it worse".
"I'll take a look" Ahsoka said jumping back up to the damaged ramp, "Anakin taught me a lot about mechanics and repair work. Why don't you have a quick look around just don't go too far".
Leon's feet snapped together and his hand flew up to his temple in a salute, "Yes Commander!"
Ahsoka rolled her eyes with a concealed smile as he marched off despite their situation and the encounter they had a couple of days ago it seemed their relationship had returned to its original state or at least for now it was. Shaking her head as she continued to watch Leon comically march away from the crashed shuttle she dropped inside to see if she could fix anything from the looks of it though if anything could be fixed it was going to take a long time. Outside the shuttle Leon continued to march around like a buffoon until his boot came down on something that crunched and crumbled beneath his step.
Pulling his foot back and looking down he brushed away the loose dirt and found a skull, an animal skull from the looks of it. Curved horns that bent backwards and ended as an arch over its head and a long snout he wasn't familiar of any alien species that resembled what he was looking at.
"Native fauna?" he muttered to himself, "Maybe it died of dehydration, or maybe it was killed here by something else…" he only studied the skull a few seconds more before dropping it to the ground and continuing on.
A good hundred meters from the ship it was just barely in view through the light cloud of dust and sandy dirt being whipped around in the air. That struck him as odd, the wind was hardly blowing not even enough to be considered a breeze and yet such a large cloud of dust was thrown into the air and obscuring his vision, it was strange. What was even stranger was the undeniable presence of the dark side all around him it felt like everything around him was made of it even the ground he stood on.
"Alright" he exhaled, "I've studied planets before maybe I know this one. I just have to think, now what are its characteristics. Breathable atmosphere obviously or I'd be dead…despite the sun being directly over me it's really cold and dry…It looks like a desert of course all of this could just be the side I'm on…this isn't going to help".
He raised his comlink and contacted Ahsoka, "Hey Ahsoka check and see if the navicomputer is still working if it is try to figure out where the heck we are".
"Already tried" she answered, "Its dead to. The good news is I think I can repair the distress beacon and even the communications relay, but it's going to take time, a lot of time maybe even a whole day".
"Well I don't think we'll starve to death" he said, "Judging from the climate and our surroundings are only real concern right now is dehydration or freezing to death. I don't want to go out any further than I already am so I'm coming back for now".
Lowering his wrist he heard something behind him and whipped around, "That wasn't wind" he said reaching for his lightsaber, "Something growled at me".
Falling into an aware defensive stance he held the hilt of his weapon ready to react the second something moved, but nothing happened.
"I know I heard something" he muttered, "But I can't sense anything except the dark side energy surrounding me…I don't like this place".
Keeping a firm grasp on his lightsaber hilt he broke into a sprint, running through the dust clouds and quickly returning to the ship jumping inside and reuniting with Ahsoka.
"Is something wrong?" she asked seeing the minor panic on his face.
"I think something is out there" he told her, "I heard something growl at me, but I couldn't see or sense anything".
"It's probably the wind" she suggested returning to her repairs.
Leon shook his head, "No way, I know what sounds wind can make and it doesn't growl. Something is out there".
"You're pretty jumpy" she noted with a smirk.
"This place is radiating with the dark side" he sighed, "I don't like it here".
She agreed with him she felt a great sense of unease just from the atmosphere of the area. There was no doubt the dark side was surrounding them it felt faint and far away, but there was no mistaking its presence and it was all around them.
"Should we investigate?" she asked him.
He shook his head, "No whatever it is I doubt it could get in here and fixing the beacon is more important…" he sighed, "Then again if I'm wrong and whatever it is gets in here there'd be no room to fight it".
"This place really is getting to you" Ahsoka said standing up, "But you're right let's go check it out".
Exiting the downed shuttle once again the two Jedi stayed within arm's reach of each other as they scanned the area, listening carefully for whatever Leon had heard just minutes before. At first it was just the gentle whoosh of the wind and their own breathing, but then coming from right ahead of them from the dust clouds they heard it a low growl no more like a hiss than a growl. Both of them grabbed their lightsabers and activated them the silver and green blades springing to life as they took a cautious step forward the hum of their weapons slightly louder than whatever they just heard.
Another minute of silence went by and Ahsoka lowered her weapon, "Maybe it ran off after seeing out lightsabers".
"Maybe" Leon said wanting to agree, but not wanting to take the chance of lowering his weapon, "I really don't like this. The dark side is making it hard to concentrate…where the hell are we?"
"No matter how hard it is to concentrate we have to" Ahsoka told him, "We have to stay focused and aware, we'll survive this".
"Of course we're going to survive it" Leon snapped with a scoff, "That doesn't mean it won't be potentially painful".
"Stop whining" she told him before they heard it again.
Another hiss this time it was closer and to the left. Their weapons raised again they stepped forward toward the direction of the sound and once again silence.
"Dammit" Leon growled, "Whatever's out there is toying with us…"
"Just calm down Leon" Ahsoka told him before feeling something right next to her.
Jumping back she heard something impact the ground where she was just standing. Holding her lightsaber across her body in a defensive stance she locked her eyes on the spot where she was a second ago. Whatever was there wasn't toying with them it was circling around looking for a chance to strike and to make it worse it was invisible, even through the cloud of dust whatever it was had to have been right next to her she would have been able to see it.
Leon stood by her side his lightsaber ready as well crossed over his chest and angled out ready to slash downward at anything that approached them. Hearing something move next to him he spun in a half turn facing out to the right and turned back when he heard something else.
"Are there two?" Ahsoka asked.
"Not sure" Leon answered trying to sound calm, "If we could see whatever it was that would make this less…"
Spotting what appeared to be a shimmer in the air Leon turned on his heel and slashed at whatever he saw. Resistance and a loud, angry hiss followed he definitely hit something and it wasn't happy.
The shimmer in front of him flickered and vanished a solid form appearing in front of him, the form of a large lizard. A long dark blue leathery skinned creature with dull looking spines running the length of its back and tail four large feet each with two eight inch long claws and short tusks jutting upward from the end of its snout about three meters in length and two meters tall this…lizard was definitely hostile and considering its behavior when it was inspecting them it had to have some form of intelligence or predatory instinct.
The beast growled this time and lunged forward swiping at Leon with one of its clawed feet the speed of its movements caught him by surprised. The claws tore through his leggings and managed to knick the skin under them drawing a small bit of blood. Feeling the slight sting of the cut Leon raised his lightsaber and swung out, but the beast stepped back its large size leading him into a false belief that it would be slow. Trying to swing his lightsaber back Leon missed again as the large lizard turned and swung its tail at his legs, the heavy limb crashing against its mark and causing the young Jedi to drop.
"Leon" Ahsoka called seeing him fall and running to cover him.
"I'm ok" he said jumping back to his feet, "This thing is fast and it hits hard".
Ahsoka locked her eyes on the monster, "Should we try attacking it from both sides?"
"Yeah" Leon agreed, "Just stay on your toes a few hits from that tail could break your bones…on three".
The lizard in front of them hissed angrily and Leon yelled, "Three" and sprang forward swinging his lightsaber upward and forcing it back down at the peak of his swing while Ahsoka jumped around to its side attacking its flank.
The lizard stepped back avoiding Leon's first swing and jumped back to avoid the rebound attack. Its agility was surprising something of that size shouldn't be able to move like that. Ahsoka jumped forward after it staying on its left side and swinging her lightsaber missing her intended target, its head, but she did manage to graze under its eye causing it some form of pain. Again the beast recoiled and roared a hollow hissing sound its feral anger flaring at its injury.
The lizard reared its head back waiting for Ahsoka to attack again before rushing her ducking its head under her swing and ramming into her. The Togruta padawan avoided the large reptile's attack, but as she tried to side step it the beast turned its head to the side and rammed at her again driving one of its tusks into her abdomen. Her body temporarily froze as the tusk sank into her skin a throbbing burning pain immediately invaded the area as the tusk was yanked out. Moving one hand to her waist she covered her bleeding wound and tried to defend herself from the lizard's next attack, but was suddenly pushed back from it as it swung with its clawed foot.
Leon used the Force to push Ahsoka away from the creature after she was hit, saving her from its follow up attack, her wound was bleeding, but not badly at best a shallow stab to a non-vital area, but the claws that followed would have been different if they found their target. He ran over to her standing in front of her as the large predator carefully watched them its instincts telling it to remain cautious about them. The reptilian predator hissed at Leon as he feigned a jump making take another step back.
"Are you alright?" he asked Ahsoka.
"Yeah, it's not that deep I'll be fine" she straightened herself, "Let's try attacking at the same time you draw its attention and I'll get around it".
Leon nodded "Alright just be careful".
Lunging forward Leon stabbed with his lightsaber and immediately jumped to the side yelling as he did so demanding the monster's attention. The large reptile turned its head after dodging his stab growling at him and chasing after him ignoring the scent of blood coming from Ahsoka. While its attention was focused on Leon, Ahsoka sprang into action taking her chance and driving her lightsaber into its back leg, the lizard let out a hollow shriek of pain and suddenly turned swinging its large tail toward her catching her across the stomach violently sending her to the ground. Seeing Ahsoka fall Leon threw his hand out again using the Force to push the reptile away, but it stood there flinching as if something had bumped into it.
"What?" he gasped seeing the creature barely move, summoning the Force again he pushed harder, but again the creature only flinched, "Impossible".
Ahsoka used this as a chance to get away rolling onto her stomach and quickly scrambling back to her feet running to put some distance between her and the lizard. Seeing it flinch from Leon's Force push puzzled her as much as it did him, could this thing be immune to the Force.
"Leon let's try together" she yelled to him pulling her arm back.
With perfect synchronization they both attacked throwing their arms out imbued with the Force sending a pressurized wave of air at the creature from the same front yet still it only flinched.
"Is it immune to the Force based attacks?" Ahsoka muttered refusing to believe what she was seeing.
"Fine then" Leon growled, "I'll just cut its head off".
"Leon wait" Ahsoka called as Leon charged their enemy.
Swinging his lightsaber Leon cut across the lizard's side using the Force to call his second lightsaber from his belt to his hand. Activating the reverse grip red shoto saber he slashed again quickly shifting the hilt around in his hand holding it upright and shifting his body's momentum back to swing the other way. Pivoting on his heel Leon turned away from the monster's jaws as it tried to snap at him, but ended up turning right into its swinging tail which slammed into his back knocking him down. Pushing himself back up Leon's arm suddenly collapsed a searing pain surging through it sapping the strength from it.
After knocking him down the lizard turned and swung at him its claws dragging across his arm cutting him leaving twin trails running from his shoulder to his elbow. The wound wasn't deep, but it was bleeding and the throbbing pain burned as if his arm was set on fire from the hit. The heavy scent of fresh blood once again enticed the creature sending it into a frenzy.
Desperation taking over Leon again tried to use the Force to push the reptile away, but it merely stood there as it loomed over him raising its clawed foot again and bringing it down. Avoiding the surely fatal strike Leon rolled away, but tumbling over his injured arm sent even more pain coursing through him thankfully the adrenaline that accompanied it allowed him to continue moving and return to his feet. Running from the creature as it chased him Leon slid to a stop and whipped around swinging his red lightsaber held reversed cutting off the claws on its foot making it withdraw in pain. Seeing this as his opportunity Leon turned to run again, but as he turned around the massive lizard grabbed hold of his arm and dragged him back to the ground.
He screamed as its teeth sank into his forearm more searing pain overtaking him before he was yanked back, the friction of the sudden movement causing the teeth in his arm to tear and rip through his skin. Falling to the ground again the pain he felt went numb and his vision blurred after the back of his head slammed into the ground the sudden trauma disorienting him leaving him open to the reptile whose jaws hung open ready to bite him again.
Seeing the lizard's claws cut across Leon's arm Ahsoka ran over to help him drawing and activating her second lightsaber as well. Three steps and she watched Leon desperately try to force push the enemy away before rolling to the side stopping and locking up in pain for a second before scrambling to his feet and counter attacking cutting off the claws of the incoming leg, then he was bitten and pulled to the ground. Less than ten seconds and he was incapacitated unable to defend himself any longer it was up to her to save him now.
Rushing over to the beast she slashed at it with her lightsabers making several deep cuts in its body forcing its attention to her. The primal fury in the lizard raged as it stepped away from Leon to defend itself against its other prey stepping back and ducking its head to avoid Ahsoka's incoming swing then lunging out trying to bite her with its jagged rows of teeth. Jumping back herself Ahsoka avoided its bite and jumped forward again swinging once again making contact. Her lightsaber slid across the tip of the reptile's snout cutting off one of its tusks and the corner of its nose sending the beast it another pained frenzy.
Jumping into a turn the beast whipped around swinging its tail slamming it across Ahsoka's body just as it did earlier knocking her to the ground as it frantically tried shaking away its pain. Most animals would flee after suffering such pain, but at this point the predator hunting them had gone from hungry to angry it didn't retreat it wasn't going to run away with its tail between its legs it was going to kill them.
Ahsoka could feel it, there was an intense rage in the mind of this primitive creature, it had to be because of the dark side aura surrounding them maybe it was influencing it making it super aggressive that would explain why it wasn't running when any other creature would surely have retreated. Quickly returning to her feet Ahsoka looked past the frenzied predator to Leon he was finally moving, slowly turning onto his side and crawling to his knees and coughing loudly.
She had heard that cough before her eyes widened as he grabbed his chest and heaved coughing violently growing worse with each one, it was happening again.
"Not now" she panicked, "Not now" she called out to him and while she was distracted the large lizard saw its chance and charged over to her knocking her down before she could react.
Planting its foot on her stomach the lizard pinned Ahsoka to the ground as it stood over her its mouth hanging open, blood and saliva dripping from its teeth.
"Get away from her" she heard Leon yell.
She turned her head seeing him limply sprinting over to them throwing his lightsaber at the beast pinning her to the ground. The silver colored blade of plasma stuck into the beast's side and it roared again turning to Leon as he slammed the palm of his hand against its shoulder where its front leg met its body. Again the large predator roared as it felt its bones shatter at the moment of impact Leon sent a wave of force energy into its body passing through the scales and muscles attacking the bones under them causing them to snap and break and shatter. As the lizard recoiled from the hit Leon called his lightsaber out of its hide and stabbed it again driving his free hand against the same injured shoulder this time attacking the muscles and tendons ripping and tearing them with a pinpoint Force assault. The lizard's weight caused its injured leg to give out and collapsed now its own survival instincts were kicking in and it swung with its head hitting Leon's side knocking him down again.
Freed from the predator's weight Ahsoka sprang up her lightsaber in hand driving it upward through the beast's head impaling it. A final roar of pain was followed by the rattle of the predator's last breath as it fell to the ground its weight sending a light tremor though the earth putting an end to their encounter with the large predator.
Turning onto her side Ahsoka felt a sharp pain under her skin a large bruise was visible on her skin. One of her ribs had to be broken at the very least fractured add to it the puncture holes in her stomach from the lizard's tusks. Seeing Leon laying on the ground a few feet from her she got up and limped over to him dropping to her knees next to him as he turned his head to look at her.
"Are you alright?" he asked her.
She shook her head, "Never mind me. We need to get you back to the ship you're injured".
He panted as he turned onto his side, "Help me up".
Grabbing his arm Ahsoka helped him stand and wrapped his arm over her shoulder, "Easy" she told him after he stumbled a step, "Just lean on me I'll help you".
"Thank you" he panted.
Returning to the ship Ahsoka helped him inside and leaned him against the wall running to retrieve the emergency medical kit.
"Hold still" she told him kneeling next to him, but he held his hand up stopping her.
"I'll patch myself up you should get back to fixing the distress beacon".
"That can wait" she said pushing his hand back to his side, "Right now you're more important".
He had no strength to argue his injuries were severe and the arm where he was bitten was still bleeding, the torn flesh and ripped muscle rendered his arm useless. His leg and back were stiff from the lizard's tail slamming into him, as bad as his wounds were he was more concerned for here knowing full well that hers were no where near as bad as his. Honestly Ahsoka was amazed he was still conscious even with the adrenaline that must have been running through him he lost too much blood he shouldn't be awake right now, of course if he passed out now it would make things worse. Her thoughts were right on cue his breathing slowed and his eyelids began dropping.
"Leon stay awake" she shook his shoulder, "You can't fall asleep right now".
"I don't plan on it" he slurred, "Just get me patched up".
Treating his wounds she could feel her own body becoming numb her own blood loss starting to become a concern. Her injuries weren't as bad and bled slower a mild inconvenience at first serving as a hindrance to her movements, but now that the fight was over it was starting to catch up with her. She ignored it however, Leon's injuries were more important than her own she would be fine until she finished treating him. Though he was fighting to stay awake Leon noticed her faltering every few seconds her stamina clearly approaching its limits he planted his hands on the floor and pushed himself up sitting straight against the wall.
"Don't move" she told him.
"It's alright" he gasped through the jolt of pain. He reached for the medical kit moved his hand to the stab wound on her abdomen, "Here" he said quietly as he placed the gauze pad against her wound and taped it.
"Thank you" she muttered, "But you don't have to worry about me I'll be fine until I'm done treating you".
He weakly nodded, "Alright…I'm sorry. I shouldn't have charged in like that".
"No you shouldn't have" she said scolding him, but her frown turned to a light smile, "But you're still alive so that's good. Just learn from your mistakes".
He tried to laugh, "All in all I consider this a win, after all I get to be this close to you".
She blushed and her smile vanished, "This isn't the time for your jokes Leon" she said quietly, "Please just stop talking and let me treat your wounds".
A weak grin curved his lips again, "Sorry, just trying to lighten the mood".
"I know" she said half smiling back to him, "Just stop talking for now".
Finishing bandaging his wounds Ahsoka turned her attention to her own injuries, a few broken or fractured bones and the small dual stab wounds in her abdomen. Her injuries weren't life threatening, but they hurt and the blood loss was making her dizzy. Gently her hand rested against the gauze pad Leon placed over the stab wound she suffered even knowing his condition was far worse than hers he wanted to take care of her first. He was always like that though placing others before himself especially her.
The words he said to her a couple days ago returned to her and she lowered her head. He said he loved her, she had told him before that she would accept the fact that he loved someone despite her belief in the Jedi code. She meant it she still did even though it was her he loved she wanted to accept that even though she couldn't allow herself to love him she wanted to at least acknowledge his feelings for her. Seeing him like this though, beaten and gravely wounded and on the verge of certain death had she not treated his injuries she wondered how he was still able to give her that same smile he had since he first met her, the same smile that caused her to blush, fluster, fumble her words and even once caused her entire mind to stop working for a brief moment. Through it all he was still able to smile at her and not a mocking smile or one that would be seen by someone having a lot of fun, it was a happy smile he was happy right now, despite their current situation he was happy…because of her.
He said he loved her and seeing him smile like that at her reinforced his words was he really happy just by being next to her even in their current predicament.
"You look tired" he said weakly catching her attention.
"You should talk" she quietly shot back.
"Did we close the door behind us?"
Ahsoka nodded, "Yeah nothing will be coming in after us we're safe for now".
"That's good" he shifted to the side as his head leaned down toward his shoulder, "Not to complain, but is it ok for me to rest now?" he grinned again, "Not sure I can fight it much longer".
Ahsoka nodded and sat next to him, "Yeah you can rest we earned it after all".
"We?" he silently chuckled, "I…I did…" his leaned toward her, "I did all the work" he managed to say before his shoulder met hers and his head leaned against her his eyes finally closing.
For a moment she froze as he fell asleep leaning against her, but it passed within seconds and she smiled at him. Leaning against the corner of the ship's wall she allowed her own eyes to close joining Leon in their much deserved rest.
Ahsoka awakened first there was no way of knowing how long she was asleep, but she felt at least recovered from the fatigue of her battle though her body still felt a bit sore. Next to her Leon was still out his slow breaths turning into barely audible snores as they escaped his mouth; his head was still leaning against her shoulder. She smiled at him again as she slowly got up careful to not wake him wanting to let him rest as much as possible. Taking a quick peek outside the ship she noticed the sun had left the sky being replaced by multiple moons a quick count revealed there to be seven in total, it wasn't much, but it would give them a clue to where they were. The nighttime was much colder and the seven moons did little to help illuminate much of the terrain, too dangerous to go outside she closed the ramp and returned to trying to fix the distress beacon on the ship.
She made some decent progress and managed to get a small bit of power running through the onboard computers it wasn't enough for extended use, but it was enough to have the beacon run for a few hours. That would be enough, if she could fix the communications relay and contact their allies all she would have to do is wait for them to figure out their location and arrive then activate the beacon. Of course that all would work under the assumption she could fix the communications relay as well.
The control hub for the ship's communications was at the head of the ship which was severely more damaged than the rest. Checking the wiring and electrical systems under the main control console an unsurprised sense of disappointment hit her, everything in there was fried or too damaged to be of use, if she was going to fix anything in there she was going to have to replace all of it.
"Wait" she gasped to herself, "Why didn't I think of that before" she ran to the emergency supply closet remaining silent to allow Leon more rest.
All Republic military ships and shuttles were mandated to keep storage of emergency supplies one item amongst these supplies was beacon transceiver. A hyperwave device that could reach a maximum distance of forty-eight thousand light years she might be able to contact the Temple on Coruscant if whatever world they were on was within range.
"Hello" she said into the device after keying in the temple's frequency, "This is Padawan Ahsoka Tano to the Jedi Temple does anyone copy?"
Silence, too much silence they were out of range.
"Alright it's not that big of a problem" she said remaining calm, "There has to be a Republic outpost in range somewhere if I can just contact one of those".
A loud roar echoed from outside the ship shattering her thoughts something was out there again. Grasping her lightsaber she took a pair of thermal binoculars and opened the ramp staying inside as she scanned the area. The same roar echoed much louder this time, but she couldn't tell where it was coming from and nothing appeared on her scope. She gasped when something suddenly grabbed her arm and pulled her inside the ship the ramp closing behind her.
Struggling for a second she yanked her arm away from what was holding her before setting her eyes on Leon, his hand was pressed against her shoulder holding her down while his eyes were locked on the closed ramp. Whatever was making that noise out there must have woken him and rattled him he seemed worried about whatever it was. After a few minutes of silence he removed his hand from her shoulder and fell back against the wall sliding down into a sitting position releasing his held breath.
"How are you feeling?" she asked him sitting next to him.
He shook his head, "Not as well as I'd like, but I can move without too much pain" he looked down at his more heavily bandaged arm, the one that was bitten and ripped, "Thank you".
She gave him a gentle smile and nod, "Well as long as you're thanking me" she gestured toward the distress beacon computer, "I managed to get the beacon fixed".
A tired smile stretched his face, "That's great now we're a third of the way to getting out of here".
She nodded again and picked up the beacon transceiver from the emergency supplies, "I also found this in the emergency supplies. If we can reach a nearby Republic outpost then we can call for help.
"I guess the relay isn't fixable then?" Leon asked to which she nodded, "Well we found a backup plan so that's good enough to keep my hopes up for now".
Another roar from outside, this one much louder than the first two whatever was out there had to be really close. The two Jedi waited their bodies falling still as they held their breath they could just barely hear something moving outside, heavy footsteps and even heavier breathing then a threatening growl. Something hit the ship a loud bang and ear piercing scratching sound a second strike quickly followed and then a third before it all stopped and the growling and footsteps started moving again becoming fainter.
"What the heck was that?" Ahsoka wondered.
Leon exhaled and leaned against the wall again, "No idea, but whatever it was it sounded big. It might have been another predator".
"Think maybe we're in its territory?" Ahsoka suggested.
"That would explain why it attacked the ship or maybe it was really hungry. Either way I don't feel like finding out".
"Agreed" Ahsoka nodded looking down at the transceiver again, "Well let's give this thing a try".
Dialing in the frequency used by the Republic military she called out to anyone who might be listening.
"This is Padawan Ahsoka Tano and Leon Solstice of the Jedi Order to any Republic forces that are listening. We've crash landed on an unknown world; we're both injured and are in need of immediate rescue. Repeat".
A few moments went by with no response, could they really be so far out in the galaxy that no Republic base was within range.
"It was worth trying" Leon sighed dropping his head against the wall a dull thud as the two met.
Ahsoka set the transceiver down, "What should we do now, we're out of range of any friendly base and communications relay is beyond repair and the distress beacon only has enough power for one or two hours".
"Too bad its so dark out" Leon said thumping his head against the wall again, "We could have a look around and hopefully find something to help us figure out where we are".
"I don't think I want to know" Ahsoka said curling her knees up to her chest, "I already know too much about this place. Its covered in the dark side, that alone is more than I need to know".
"Even so we need to figure it out in the event we find another ship or some way out of here we need to know where we are".
"This is reminding me of Geonosis".
"The second battle?" Leon asked.
Ahsoka nodded, "Yeah it was only a few weeks after you were hospitalized. Barriss and I were tasked with infiltrating a droid manufacturing facility under a citadel. Long story short we managed to destroy it with a separatist super tank, but we were buried as it collapsed around us".
"You survived" he said to her, "Just like we will here".
"Of course we'll survive" she smirked, "That doesn't mean it's any less irritating to be stuck here until then".
"Well that's why we're both here so we can keep each other sane".
She sighed and leaned against the corner of the wall, "You're a lot of things Leon, but sane isn't one of them".
"Well I can't argue that one" he said forcing a short laugh, "But as long as we stick together and protect each other we won't have to worry about anything".
Ahsoka scoffed and turned her eyes to him, "In your state you couldn't protect a pebble let alone me".
"You know what that hurts" Leon said in retaliation before they both started laughing.
Ahsoka's smile slowly faded, "I guess we'll wait until morning to come up with a plan".
Leon jumped down from the ramp first and looked around before waving for Ahsoka to join him. Neither of them knew how long they had been asleep, but the sun had returned to their side of the sky soon to be directly above them.
"Judging from the sun's position I'd say its early morning on this world" Ahsoka said staring up at the sky.
Leon nodded, "Yeah that's about the only clock we're going to have here…so how should we do this?"
Ahsoka looked down at her comlink, "I rerouted what little power the ship had left into the distress beacon so until we actually turn it on right now it will keep sending out a surface based wave that we can use to tell how far we are from it and in what direction".
"So if we go too far we can find our way back" Leon concluded looking up at the ship, "Well that's good…I'm glad to know you're so good with mechanical work".
"Anakin grew up on Tatooine in some droid shop or something, he wouldn't really say much other than that. He taught me a lot about repair work and other things".
"He's pretty impressive" Leon nodded still looking around, "I wouldn't have minded having him as a teacher for a while".
"What?" Ahsoka laughed, "You don't like Master Windu?"
Leon shrugged, "Its not that I don't like him he's just no fun always so serious about everything" he pointed to the base of the nearby canyon wall, "There looks like a cave entrance or something".
"Oh yes" Ahsoka said sarcastically, "A cave on a world bathed in the dark side and giant reptiles that want to eat us…yes a cave sounds like a great place to start".
"Stop complaining" Leon told her as he started for the cave, "That's my job".
"That it is" Ahsoka said with a smirk as she followed him.
"There is no telling how far this can go" Leon said standing at the entrance, "Let's check it out for a bit".
"How can we be sure we won't get lost?" Ahsoka asked him following him a few steps inside the cave.
"Like this" he immediately answered taking his lightsaber and making a quick slash at the wall leaving a mark, "We'll just leave place marks every few yards so we can tell where we're going".
The mark Leon made in the wall was the number one and after a few yards he made another mark this one the number two.
"So we'll use these as sign posts to keep track of which way we came from, what if there are forks or maybe part of the ground collapses and we fall into the underground?"
"Stop poking holes in things" Leon snapped, "Just relax and humor me for a while besides you never know this could lead to the other side of the canyon and we might find something there".
"For your sake you'd better be right" she sighed following him.
"Oh what are you going to hit me again" he scoffed.
"Maybe" she retorted.
What must have been almost half an hour and thirty marks later they saw a light shining from around a corner, a bright light that illuminated the cave wall a light that could only be the sun. Rounding the corner they were back outside and ahead of them was another canyon with man made walls running its lengths and height and to one side was what appeared to be an ancient spaceport and at the end of the new valley was a large building resembling a temple perhaps. In the middle of this valley were tall spires multiple ones with spaces in the ground around and in between them like someone had been digging there.
"See?" Leon said pointing out and gesturing toward everything in the valley, "See I know what I'm doing…occasionally".
Ahsoka shook her head, "Even occasionally is stretching it for you anyway let's see if that spaceport has any ships on it. At the very least maybe it will have something we can use".
"Like food" Leon muttered as he followed her.
"Really?" she scoffed looking back at him over her shoulder.
He gave her an accused look, "What I haven't eaten since Onderon…I'm hungry. Hmm, I wonder if that thing we killed yesterday is edible".
Ahsoka groaned and tossed him a rock, "Here that should tie you over".
"You're gonna pay for that one" he called to her after she jumped down a small hill and continued on to the spaceport.
The sun had risen over the canyon wall now and they entered the spaceport facility, everything inside covered in thick layers of dirt and dust. It definitely used to be a spaceport, but it hadn't been used in a very long time considering the equipment they found wasn't even operational it could easily have been several hundred years.
"Well I guess we should start looking around" Leon suggested, "Since you know the kind of parts we're looking for you can have that part of the job I'm going to find the kitchen".
She grabbed his arm, "Absolutely not we're staying together or did you already forget about that thing we heard last night".
"Oh…right" the sound of that nerve racking roar returned to his mind quickly retiring his argument, "Well if we don't find anything here there is that place at the end of the valley".
"This place is ancient" Leon noted after they started searching, "The metal casing on these terminals is so rusted I can punch a hole through it".
Scouring the whole room they were unable to find anything useful every bit of equipment that found was so weather worn that it was dead and there were no signs that any kind of ship had recently visited this place.
"Should we try that other place?" Leon suggested, "I don't think there's anything else we'll find here".
Ahsoka reluctantly agreed, "Might as well, there has to be something somewhere we can use we just have to find it".
Returning outside they scanned the area again between the dark side that seemed to just saturate the entire world and the predators they've encountered so far it was impossible for either of them to fully relax for even a second. Following what was left of an old trail down from the spaceport they passed by the large area covered in spires and dug up holes. Someone was definitely excavating for something here in the past judging from the way the holes were dug and perfectly squared and the numerous twenty feet tall spires hinted that it may have been a grave site or something close to it.
"This looks like an old excavation site" Leon said kneeling next to one of the holes, "Just like the spaceport I don't any sign of equipment or recent usage…and these spires…"
"What about them?" Ahsoka asked looking around at them, "They're just stone pillars with engravings on them".
Leon stood up and looked around taking in the whole valley from where they stood. The spaceport, the dig sites, the spires, the building at the end of the valley and the strong sense of the dark side everywhere…he had heard of this place before.
"What is it?" Ahsoka asked seeing the look of realization in his eyes.
"We're on Korriban" he muttered.
Ahsoka's mouth hung open slightly after hearing his realization, it made sense. Korriban was a dead world that hadn't seen any visitors other than foolish scavengers in over a thousand years, but how did they end up here. The prolonged silence between the two of them was broken by an echoing roar behind them. Looking back at the spaceport they saw a large creature sniffing at the air and then slowly turning toward their direction, it was too far away to make out its characteristics, but they could tell it was large and very hostile.
"Time to go" Leon said as the creature roared again and started toward them.
"Go where?" Ahsoka asked, "That's the same thing we heard last night if we lead it back to the ship it won't leave us alone until we kill it".
Leon turned and looked at the large building at the end of the valley, "There we'll head inside for now maybe we can wait it out".
"We have no idea what's in there" Ahsoka protested.
"Well we don't really have much choice" Leon argued grabbing her arm, "You can sense it right? That thing is radiating the dark side more than anything I've ever felt. I really don't feel like fighting something like that right now".
Looking at the massive building behind them and then back to the creature that was still slowly charging toward them she cursed their luck before turning to follow Leon. Approaching the temple like structure they pushed at the doors only to find that they were sealed by something and with the large roaring beast closing in behind them they had to hurry.
"There" Ahsoka yelled pointing to a large crack in the wall, "It's big enough for us to fit through, come on".
Slipping inside after Ahsoka, Leon could hear the aggravated roar of the monster outside disappointed that its prey had managed to escape. Now however they were trapped inside a dark place with only slivers of light falling from cracks in the ceiling and no way of knowing if there was anything else inside waiting for them.