The candle burns not for us, but for all those whom we failed to rescue from prison, who were shot on the way to prison, who were tortured, who were kidnapped, who 'disappeared'. That's what the candle is for. - Peter Benenson
He screamed unable to get free and unable to make it stop. He had never been so tempted by anything in his life, but now he was regretting his decision to let it go. He could have protected her and himself if he had just told them what they wanted. He could have had the one thing he wanted more than anything in the galaxy, but now all he had was pain that would not end.
Screams echoed through the room, cries of pain almost sharp enough to cut one's ears clean off if there were any others around to hear them. The large room was occupied by only one a lone individual now prisoner restrained against a steel board with his arms and legs stretched out and in cuffs leaving him in a vulnerable spread eagle position. Time was lost to him as the tortures continued he had no idea where he was or how long he had been there or even how long this had been happening, everything except the pain ceased to exist.
He awoke like this strapped to whatever this torture device was called he had been captured again and had no way of knowing if he was still in the same place he was or taken somewhere else, all he knew was his enemy was here and he was at their mercy. At first it was just a normal interrogation small cuts and beatings, but as he refused more and more the interrogations stopped and the real torture began.
He refused to answer another question, "Tell me about Republic communication frequencies, operation codenames and battle formations".
The answer he gave was indeed a radio frequency, but not a military one instead it was the frequency of his favorite cooking show on the HoloNet. He smiled at his interrogator's frustration as he destroyed the radio he brought in to test his prisoner's claims.
"I grow tired of this game" he growled.
"I love that show" his captive protested, "Its serious business. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to prepare a salt free Garbba fish meal? It's a salt water fish that weighs over seventy pounds".
The interrogator stood up and walked around behind him as he continued, "Assuming you catch the thing you have to immediately freeze it or it goes bad then you have to get it somewhere cold and thaw it…argh".
The interrogator punched him in the ribs one was surely fractured after the blow, but he merely looked up and continued, "Then you have to scale it perfectly the scales are poisonous so every inch of them must be removed…" he was hit again this time across the face.
"Enough" the interrogator yelled his captive now bleeding from his mouth and nose, "I'm done being nice" he said walking out of the room, "Just remember you brought this on yourself".
The doors closed behind him and after the first hour he stopped counting how long it had been, his nose and lip had stopped bleeding. Now that the adrenaline from the interrogations had subsided he was becoming drowsy and he began crashing as the fatigue and exhaustion after everything came back in a single wave. His eyelids became heavy and his neck became weak under the increasing weight of his head and it slowly dropped forward and his eyes closed as he finally dozed off.
A loud siren ripped through the silence of the room tearing him from his sleep and he looked around there were no emergency lights anywhere, was the place under attack? The lights went out and the sirens stopped he held his breath trying to figure out what happened, he reached out with his senses feeling the place around him then the sirens started up again and the lights came back on. His concentration was broken and he clenched his eyes shut trying to block out the sound unable to cover his ears then the sirens stopped again and he felt the warmth of the lights go out again. He risked opening his eyes to the darkness around him only to be blinded by a bright flash and another round of sirens and it finally became clear what was going on.
Deprivation, they were depriving him of sleep to weaken him. They would keep this going for an hour maybe more and then stop just long enough for him to become tired again and once he began passing out it would start all over again.
He was right, he had no idea how long it had been going on, but after what to him was an eternity it finally stopped. He spent long minutes trying to catch his breath and tried to focus his thoughts, but failed. He was exhausted and at his mental limit he was worn out already all he could do was close his eyes and pray, hope that he would become exhausted enough to pass out even through the sirens that started screaming once his eyes closed.
The screams had continued for so long he didn't acknowledge when they finally did stop the ringing continued in his ears long after the room had fallen silent. He hung there from the upright table still cuffed at both wrists and ankles unable to move his eyes showed how far his vitality was drained, his eyes too tired to close and too tired to register that someone had grabbed him.
He didn't realize until it was too late not that he would be able to stop them in his state someone had grabbed his head and pushed it to the side and he felt a needle pierce his neck and something was injected into him something that quickly woke him up his dulled nerves and aching muscles reviving through their pain as the needle was pulled from him and the man who interrogated him stepped in front of him once again.
"I just injected you with a mild stimulant" he said waving the needle in front of his eyes, "Let's see you're Jedi training save you now".
The stimulant's intended purpose was immediately clear even through his weakened state, it was only a few seconds before he was shaking from head to toe every inch of him overcome with pain. The interrogator smiled as his captive struggled not to scream through his clenched teeth the stimulant had made him far more sensitive awakening his near dead nerves to pain once again, but this was only the beginning. The man in front of him grinned even more as he saw tears forming in the Jedi's eyes and then he turned looking up to a camera above the door behind him and waved his hand a signal that marked the beginning of the real torture.
His back arched away from the upright board as the device he was restrained to shocked him and finally he screamed as the electricity surged through him, the stimulant amplifying every ounce of pain and with each twitch he made he was shocked again. His eyes clenched shut and refused to open as he screamed even louder still trying to fight back against the drugs in him making him more susceptible to the pain, against his own exhaustion and now against the wish for it to all end. He continued to scream unable to tell how long it had been unable to focus on anything other than the pain that overtook his very being, he screamed until everything had stopped.
"Wake up" someone yelled and something hard quickly whipped across his face leaving a sharp pain in its wake.
He struggled just to open his eyes breathing alone caused him pain his throat sore and probably scarred from screaming, but everywhere else he was numb he could feel nothing else anywhere in his body. In front of him was the Separatist officer he had been at the mercy of for so long and in his hands was a very small whip and drips of blood fell from its tip, it must have cut into him as he was hit by it.
"Stay awake" the officer yelled at him cracking the whip against the floor, "Today you will tell me what I want to know and just in case you're thinking of resisting any further I want you to know" he leaned in closer to him, "That this can get much worse if you don't cooperate. Understand?"
The officer received an answer he wasn't ready for an answer that hurt him. The Jedi he thought helpless and weak found the resolve to headbutt him catching him in the eye making him drop his whip, stumble back and turn around as he growled against the pain in his eye. Pulling his hand away from his throbbing eye the officer saw a small smear of blood on his glove and began panting in rage as he turned his focus back on the Jedi retrieving his whip from the floor.
"Have it your way" he said cracking the whip against the floor again in an attempt to make the Jedi flinch, but failing.
The Jedi wasn't able to respond the sudden headbutt taking the last of his strength, but the officer still glared death at him as the door opened behind him, "You could have saved yourself all this trouble" he said as a hooded robed figure entered, "Now you'll face real suffering".
With that the officer left and the tired Jedi even through his exhaustion was able to sense the darkness standing before him, even before it pulled its hood down to reveal its identity…Count Dooku.
The Sith Lord grinned at him as he stepped forward and began talking, but after his first word everything he said was drowned out by the now flooding anger within the hostage Jedi. He felt the blood beating in his ears as he began breathing heavier almost hyperventilating as the Sith Lord suddenly stopped and looked at him with another smug grin and then the Jedi snapped. He jerked to the side trying to free himself or move just enough to hit his enemy, but once he moved the restraints that held him electrocuted him again. He buckled and arched and screamed his screams growing louder before becoming hoarse and finally the electrocution stopped.
Count Dooku continued to grin at him as he began pacing in a circle around him, "I know you can hear me" he said, "Even after everything we've done to you still you resist still you find strength to attempt to fight back" he stopped in front of him and shrugged with a smile, "I am impressed".
The Jedi gasped something some kind of word that wasn't pronounced properly, but he continued anyway, "You…murder…I…will…" he had to gasp between each word struggling to breath once again using strength he did not have to convey his threat and still the Sith Lord smiled at him.
"Ah young Leon ever since I first met you I knew you were a special one. Such fierce determination, such strength and passion you are so strong and powerful and yet you waste your potential by serving the Jedi and their feeble Republic. If only you would give in to your anger and taste the power of the Dark Side you would be able to realize your true potential".
The Jedi began gasping again, but it was different this time. He was still struggling with pained breaths, but he was…laughing. Dooku froze in mid step and watched as his captive laughed along with his pained gasps.
"You" he gasped and chuckled, "Are so stupid".
Dooku watched as the boy's head lifted up and he stared right at him and grinned his lips stretching as far as they could.
"You remember what I did to you last time we met" he told the Sith before him, "My foot slamming into your jaw leaving you on the floor like an old man with a broken hip" he chuckled again, "I beat you into the dirt and I've only become stronger since then. Do you really want me to add the power of the Dark Side to my abilities?"
A logical assumption made by someone that had been exhausted in every possible way and the Sith Lord who held so much power felt weakened by the Jedi's words. A single taunt made him step back and for a moment his mind was blank as he processed what he was just told, the boy was right he was strong enough to defeat him and Grievous at the same time alone and since then he was sure to have become stronger. If he made the Dark Side his ally he could even become stronger than…no, it wasn't possible he was still just a child and he was a Sith Lord.
He restrained his anger and glared up at the boy who had stopped laughing, but was still smiling at him there was arrogance in his grin and his eyes that claimed he was better than his captor and then the Sith Lord snapped. Dooku stepped back and held his hand out arcs of lightning shooting out from his palm and fingertips striking at the young Jedi Knight in front of him and once again the room echoed with his screams. The torture ended after an uncountable time and the Jedi's body became limp his mind blank and his eyes almost glossed over he was done for now, but the Sith Lord felt he would still resist once he awoke.
That was fine however the more he resisted the more his anger would build and the quicker he would succumb to the Dark Side when he finally broke the boy. For now he left the room allowing medics to enter and work to keep the boy alive, the torture would begin again soon, but for now he would need to contact his master.
"You have news my apprentice?" the hologram of another hooded figure asked Dooku as he kneeled in his own private chambers.
"The boy is strong willed, one of the strongest I have ever seen" Dooku said, "But I will break him and he will tell me what I want and then he will join us and our forces will be even greater".
"Do you think he will join us?" his master asked, "Can his anger be trusted enough? Are you so sure that he will not kill you? No you will interrogate him as planned and then eliminate him use whatever means necessary, but he is to be disposed of once you learn enough to strike at the Republic".
"As you command my master" Dooku said waiting for the hologram to turn off before he stood up.
Above the world of Dantooine what was left of the Republic fleet had regroup and waiting for repairs to be finished. The battle had ended and the Separatist fleet and the goliath weapon had all retreated once again General Grievous had survived and had taken three Jedi hostage. It was a trying time for almost two standard days there was no word and then finally they had picked up a transmission from one of the captured Jedi, Ahsoka Tano.
Following the coordinates they received in the message the Jedi arrived at a Separatist controlled world called Brembo in the Felucia system. The coordinates led the Republic ships to a large mostly above ground facility with multiple large buildings and after a short air strike the facility's defenses were destroyed and Republic forces invaded the facility capturing whatever personnel remained which only consisted of a few doctors and researchers all guards had already been killed. It was odd for such a large facility the staff manning it was considerably low according to salvaged logs there were only twenty-one guards and twenty-four researchers and doctors, but there were dozens of listed prisoners most of which were labeled as deceased. Now only two doctors and a single researcher remained the rest had perished in the air strike and a few had tried to fight back when the Republic invaded.
The Republic forces followed the directions they received from Ahsoka's message and found her, Thalia and a Republic citizen barricaded in the sub level of one of building C. Once they were returned to the surface a medical team began looking the three women over making sure they were fine. There were others down there with them prisoners who had died before they were able to get their distress call out, but at least they survived.
Ahsoka looked up as she heard her master call her name, she was glad to see him, but her joy at being rescued was short lived. They were only able to speak a single greeting to each other before Admiral Yularen contacted Anakin telling him that a Separatist ship had taken off from another facility several miles from their location and jumped to hyperspace before they could move to intercept it. At first they assumed it was nothing special just a Separatist trying to avoid capture, but after a few hours of investigating they learned it to be something different.
Inside one of the buildings they had found the body of another doctor and a rather large amount of dried blood on the floor around him and smeared across the corpse's lips. Upon seeing the body Ahsoka lowered her head and explained to her master that the body was that of the doctor who had invented the virus that now plagued Leon, who was still missing. Salvaging whatever they could from the facility Captain Rex ran over to Anakin and showed him the last feed from the dead doctor's room.
The hologram recording showed Ahsoka and Thalia leaving at Leon's order and shortly after the injured doctor behind him getting up, the image was a little distorted, but the audio was in tact with every word being heard. The doctor laughed even as Leon lifted him with the Force and began choking him. A sense of dread fell over Anakin and Ahsoka and now Thalia and Luminara who were watching as well as Leon grabbed the doctor by his throat and forced him to swallow the very virus that he invented and watched as he suffered and died.
"No" Ahsoka said quietly stepping back from the hologram shaking her head, "He wouldn't he would never…" she noticed her master and Luminara looking at her as she backed away and then a blaster shot returned their attention to the hologram and they watched as Leon fell and a guard pulled him from the room.
"He was captured again" Anakin concluded from the recording, "Regardless of what we saw finding him is our first priority assuming he's still somewhere in this facility we're going to comb every inch of this place until we find him".
"There is also the possibility" Luminara began her voice low and hinted with despair, "That he was on that ship that escaped".
"Not that ship" Thalia said staring at the ground, "He was taken before…I can't sense him anymore" she suddenly sounded like she was about to panic, "I…I haven't sensed him in a while now, but we were so busy trying to keep the others alive that I didn't notice…he was gone before then".
Ahsoka's face darkened as she heard her friend's words and then she looked to her master and then to Luminara as they to cast their eyes downward.
"We have to find him" she desperately blurted out unable to stop herself.
"We will Snips" Anakin said, "We'll track where the ship took off from and see if there are any flight records and go from there, let's move out".
They found the location of the hidden hangar where the ship had taken off from and after some bypassing they were able to pull the flight data from the last few days and returned to the Resolute to decrypt them. The process was taking hours there were only a dozen flights in the past three days, but they were heavily encoded and contained mostly useless shipment data about unidentified cargo. According to one of the staff they captured the shipments were all specialized equipment and plants and blood samples from animals across the galaxy stuff they would need to make biological weapons.
That revelation caused them to divert part of their attention to learning about the bio weapons they were trying to develop, but during the attack someone had completely erased all data in the facility's systems and set fire to the only backup turning it into a pile of slag. A smart, desperate move that stopped the Republic from learning of what they were doing, but only succeeded in angering a few of their captors.
While her master and the other Jedi were focused on decrypting the files even more Ahsoka had gone to the detention level of the Resolute and approached the cell where the last of the researchers was being kept.
"What do you want little girl?" the researcher asked her with a disguised smug tone, "I'm not in the mood to talk to children".
Ahsoka looked up at each of the two clone troopers guarding the cell and told them to leave, but one of them refused.
"Sorry Commander, but we're under orders from General Unduli to keep this one under watch".
Ahsoka felt a rush of anger fill her, her hands clenched taking all of her self control to push it away she glared at the researcher inside the cell who looked back at her and she saw him flinch, he could pretend all he wanted, but he was afraid.
"Hey" a voice called down to them.
Ahsoka turned to see Boulder and Chip walking over to them each of them rifles in hand.
Neither of them acknowledged Ahsoka as they stopped in front of the two clones guarding the cell, "We're here for the shift change" Chip told them.
"Hold on" one said, "I thought Bootstrap and Chains were on the shift change".
"They were" Boulder said, "But we convinced them to let us take their shift".
Boulder shrugged, "Honestly we have nothing else to do and we kind of owe them a little favor so we're taking over so they can keep resting".
"Good enough for me" one of the guards said walking past them with the other following, "You know the drill have fun".
"Will do" Chip said as the two guards turned the corner and rode the turbolift up.
Once they were gone Boulder tapped Ahsoka a little roughly across the shoulder with the butt of his rifle, "And just what do you think you're doing down here?" he asked her.
"I had some questions for the prisoner" she told him as calmly as she could.
"Well isn't that a coincidence?" Chip asked, "That's exactly why we decided to switched shifts with Bootstrap and Chains".
Ahsoka looked up to him as he raised his hand up to the cell's keypad and typed in the code and the cell's door and shield went down.
"We'll keep watch Ahsoka" Chip said nudging her forward, "But make it quick it won't take long for someone to come down and investigate. The cameras down here had a sudden malfunction".
"Ahsoka" Thalia's voice called down to them as she stepped inside the cell.
"Sorry Thalia" Boulder said stepping in front of her, "We're going to do things our way on this one its better for you to stay out of it".
"I'm here to help" she told them then pushing her way between them and into the cell with Ahsoka and the researcher, "If Leon's out there I won't stop at anything to find him".
"Neither will I" Ahsoka said walking to one side of the table the researcher was leaning on and watching him retreat a bit as Thalia moved to the other side.
"I I'm not scared of you Jedi" he stammered, "I won't say anything".
"I really advise you to reconsider" Ahsoka said clenching her fist fighting with herself over what she was planning on doing.
"This isn't right, Jedi don't do things like this".
"There's not enough time to do it the other way Leon's in danger".
"But this isn't the Jedi way".
Two voices both hers arguing over what she was about to do something she didn't want to do, but she wanted to save him more than anything and this was the quickest way. Thalia could sense the struggle within her friend's mind and acted first leaning against the table near the researcher and looking him right in the eye.
"Before you get the wrong idea" she told him keeping her tone apathetic, "You should know that I'm not a Jedi therefore I'm not bound by the same principles they are. I left the Order to live with my people in peace and you know what happened?"
She didn't wait for him to answer, "The Separatists attacked our home and killed all of them children included" she leaned closer to him, "And I still haven't avenged their deaths. So before you start thinking that I won't hurt you know that I have no one left in my life except the man you're people escaped with and there is nothing I won't do to find him" she leaned even closer, "Nothing".
She moved her open hand toward him and he scrambled back as he felt the grip of the Force wrapping around his mind. He could feel her fingers grabbing his brain, his thoughts and pulling them away from him he began to panic he had no way of stopping her. Terrified he looked to the other one, the Togruta Jedi that just stood there watching and then he heard the other one's voice in his mind.
"Don't look at her" Thalia's voice whispered in his head, "She's not going to save you she wants the same thing I want. Now tell me where my friend is and we'll let you live".
"You won't kill me" he began stuttering in fear, "The others will know".
Boulder and Chip turned to look inside the cell, "No I don't think they will" Chip told him, "The cameras in this hall seem to be playing on a loop so they'll just see you sitting there all day" he grinned under his helmet as he lied.
"No, they'll still know" he cried, "The next shift change or when they come to question me".
"You're right" Boulder told him.
Ahsoka stepped forward, "Too bad the next shift change isn't for another three hours".
"And the other Jedi are all busy" Thalia's voice told him, "So it's just you and us all alone down here".
A bluff that was working, but not fast enough. She could feel troopers coming down to investigate the malfunctioned cameras in the area; she needed to break him now.
She gripped his mind harder making him squirm, "I can kill you. It won't even leave a mark" she squeezed his mind, "With the Force I can squeeze your brain enough to cause an aneurysm or your heart long enough for you to suffer a heart attack. Both will seem to be natural causes, but tell me where my friend is and I'll let you live".
"Taspir III" he squeaked, "We have a weapons facility on Taspir III. We also send prisoners there occasionally to work in our mines".
"Thank you" Thalia's voice said before her grip tightened and he blacked out.
She and Ahsoka were able to get out and hide just before a squad of guards showed up to investigate the camera malfunction. They left Boulder and Chip to make up a story as they sneaked away.
"Should we tell the others?" Thalia asked Ahsoka once they were clear.
"Of course we should" Ahsoka told her, "Why do you think we should go alone?"
"Maybe" Thalia said quietly, "If we tell them how long would it take for them to organize the fleet and then there's the hyper drive trip and the briefing for the plan that's time Leon may not have. Not to mention what will we tell them when they ask how we know this?"
"We'll tell them we had a vision" Ahsoka told her, "We both had one we meditated together and we saw a vision of him".
"Do you know what Taspir III looks like?" Thalia asked her, "Unless you've been there or have seen images of the place we can't just say he's on Taspir and if we don't know what it looks like we can't describe it".
"Then we need to find out" Ahsoka told her, "It will just take a bit of time, but I'm sure if we use a computer somewhere we can get some information".
"That's time we don't have" Thalia told her, "And you know it".
They were standing outside an empty room and Ahsoka grabbed Thalia's arm and pulled her inside the shadows quickly concealing both of them as she pinned Thalia's back against the wall and began pleading with her.
"Thalia I know you care for him I know you love him I do to, but we can't go off alone. If we do and fail who will save him then? We're going to need help".
"And if we wait he could die" Thalia said struggling against her, "I know you can sense it to" she looked Ahsoka in the eye through her pupils and into her mind, "You sensed it to he was in pain wherever he is and its only getting worse now".
Ahsoka's eyes fell for a moment, "I did sense it" she admitted not bothering to conceal the fear in her words, "I felt him screaming I'm afraid of what's happening to him, but we have to do this right. He's strong he'll last long enough for us to get there".
"And what if he doesn't?" Thalia asked her, "He's getting tired we were prisoners for two days and he's been gone for at least twelve hours now he's getting tired and he won't be able to hold out forever he needs help now".
Ahsoka closed her eyes and her grip tightened around Thalia's arms, "I want to help him…I want to help him more than anything I want him to come back alive I…" her grip weakened and she began falling to her knees.
Thalia's arms moved up and wrapped around her hugging her close as she rested her chin against her shoulder, "I know you do. We both love him and would do anything to save him".
Thalia closed her eyes as well for right now she was comforting Ahsoka, but she could still hear Leon in her mind, screaming as unending pain continued to attack him she needed to act soon or risk losing him.
"He's on Taspir III" Thalia yelled rushing onto the bridge after calming Ahsoka down.
"How do you know?" Anakin asked her.
There was no time to make up a story, straightening herself Thalia looked at all of them, "I interrogated the researcher we captured".
"When did you question him?" Obi-Wan asked right as it donned on him, "The camera malfunctions in that area, it was you".
"You can reprimand me later" Thalia told him, "Right now we need to focus on saving Leon, he's on Taspir III that's where they send prisoners to work in their mines".
"Are you certain?" Anakin asked her, "We can't risk a mistake on this one, are you positive he was telling the truth?"
Thalia nodded, "I am".
"Alright" Anakin breathed standing up and looking to Admiral Yularen, "You heard her Admiral get the hyper drive set we'll set up a battle plan".
The Admiral saluted, "Right away sir".
Anakin turned back to Thalia, "I know Leon is important to you Thalia" he said, "He's important to us to we'll find him".
Finally it had all stopped, he was able to sleep for a while recovering a bit of his strength, but that would not last as a new form of deprivation began. It had been a long time since he last ate and he was becoming hungry and thirsty. The Force had sustained him for a time, but now that was no longer an option what little strength he managed to recover was fading. There were so many ways to torture someone hundreds and it was through an indomitable will that he was able to survive as long as he did and thanks to the Force he was able to resist their attempts at drugging him, but now after so long he was finally breaking.
He awoke to the sound of the door opening and something rattling inside, he looked up to see a droid and an officer with a cart of fruit and a pitcher of water. The human officer thankfully wasn't the same one that had tried to interrogate him before. The officer took one of the fruits and slowly brought it to his own mouth before taking a bite of it making sure to let the juices drip from the corner of his lips so Leon could see a taunting gesture to his hunger and his stomach grumbled betraying him.
"I bet you're hungry" the officer chuckled, "after the fight you've been putting up anyone would be. So I'll be nice" he picked up another piece of fruit and raised it to Leon's lips allowing him a single weak and exhausted bite before pulling it away, "For each question you answer I will allow you a sip or bite".
Sip or bite, he was going to give him only one for each question he answered even by rewarding him he was trying to torture him.
"Why protect the Republic?" the officer asked him, "Honestly have they ever done anything for you? I'm sure the Jedi life has been good to you to some degree, but is it worth it?"
Leon heard him, but his eyes remained on the water and food unable to be peeled away.
"Come on now be reasonable" the officer continued, "You're still young with a full life ahead of you do you really want to die for the Republic or the Jedi? Do you really believe either of them are worth sacrificing your life for?"
He turned his head to the cart behind him and grabbed the pitcher of water pouring a bit into a glass and raised it to his captive's lips allowing him a few sips.
"I know you and the rest of the Republic think us evil" the officer said pulling the glass away from him, "And after everything you've suffered through I'm sure you adamantly believe it right now, but look at it from our perspective. Originally we seceded from the Republic because we felt we weren't being treated properly and that the galaxy wasn't being run right or justly. Now I know that since this war broke out that many of our commanding officers have twisted their views a little, but there are still many of us that believe in the reason we began fighting in the first place".
The officer turned and asked the droid to leave as he allowed Leon another bite of the fruit, "Not all of us are evil monsters" he continued, "and to be completely honest I want this war to be over I've seen a lot of friends die or be captured and the only reason I haven't given up is because I believe in what I'm fighting for".
He pulled the fruit away from Leon again and looked into his eyes, "So what do you believe in? Something has to be driving you to have survived this long against so much. I begged my superiors to let me talk to you because I don't want to see you suffer anymore. So for your own good tell me something, anything and I can make some of the pain stop there's no reason for you to continue to suffer for the sake of the Jedi or the Republic why throw away your future to protect them?"
Leon didn't answer he remained silent as the officer stood in front of him, his expression was sincere or at least it appeared to be and his words were sinking in to him. He wasn't fighting for the Jedi or the Republic no he was fighting for something else.
The officer sighed, "Come on kid" he said, "They're not going to give me a lot of time don't do this to yourself" he placed his hand on Leon's shoulder, "There's got to be something more important to you than the Jedi or the Republic. Why should you fight at your age anyway? You look to be about sixteen, maybe seventeen even eighteen you shouldn't be fighting in a war like this you should be out finding a nice girl for yourself".
His eyes narrowed and his muscles flinched and he finally looked away from the cart of food and water and dropped his gaze to the floor.
"That's it isn't it?" the officer asked, "You're not doing this for the Republic or the Jedi Order are you? You're fighting to protect someone you love" his hand slid off from his shoulder and he looked down as well, "I should have guessed it. I began fighting for the same reason and that's what's been keeping me going this long".
The officer sighed again, "Look kid I know you think you're doing the honorable thing here, but if you die who will be left to protect her huh? If you really love her that much you should be there for her not out here fighting a war. I'll make you a deal no I'll make you a promise tell me something anything and I promise we'll make sure you're girl stays safe wherever she is you won't have to worry about her getting hurt. We'll even keep you safe as well so you can be with her".
"You won't have to fight anymore you can just stay with her for as long as you want, right by her side. Doesn't that sound good?"
He felt tears forming behind his eyes as he allowed that thought to fill his mind. No more fighting just standing by Ahsoka's side without worrying about the war anymore that's exactly what he was fighting for so she wouldn't have to and he could be with her all the time. He wanted to tell him.
He closed his eyes again he was being offered what he wanted most in the galaxy and he was turning it away. No matter how much he loved her he would never be able to forgive himself for betraying the Republic, he still had friends he cared about. Tears of fear, regret and pain filled his eyes and ran down his cheeks, no matter how much he loved her he couldn't do it.
"I know this is hard, but it's the right thing to do" the officer told him, "You're doing it for her after all right? There's nothing better than doing something for someone you love".
"Stop" he finally said, "Just stop…I can't I can't do it".
"You can" the officer insisted, "For her and I promise you I'll protect her myself I'll make sure both of you have a new life where you'll be free and safe from the Republic and the Jedi".
"I said stop" he suddenly yelled and a pulse of power was sent out knocking the officer down and the restraints holding the young Jedi were activated and began shocking him again.
The door opened and the officer from before the one who first tortured him entered, "Your time is up Captain I will take over from here".
"Please sir I'm getting through to him just give me a few more minutes".
"I will not tell you again Captain" the other officer from before said, "Now leave".
The captain looked back at Leon as he gasped for air after the shocking had ended, "Tell him what he wants to know. I swear if you do I'll make good on my promise".
The captain left and Leon watched the other officer kick the cart of food and water over spilling everything to the floor, "I hope you've enjoyed your break boy" he said walking over to him and grabbing his throat and squeezing, "It's the last you'll ever get".
The officer took a step back and produced a small welding from his pocket, "Now then" he said activating the torch and stepping forward, "Let us begin".
He walked around behind Leon and part of the flat surface he was strapped to slid open revealing the back of his jacket prisoner's jacket. It didn't take long for the torch to burn through the fabric and begin searing the skin underneath.
Leon clenched his teeth, but that only lasted a second before he began screaming the pain of only an inch of his skin being burned away took hold of his entire body and he arched his back trying to escape the flame only to have the restraints shock him even more as the torch continued its work on his back.
He screamed unable to get free and unable to make it stop. He had never been so tempted by anything in his life, but now he was regretting his decision to let it go. He could have protected her and himself if he had just told them what they wanted. He could have had the one thing he wanted more than anything in the galaxy, but now all he had was pain that would not end.
In the absence of willpower the most complete collection of virtues and talents is wholly worthless. - Aleister Crowley