Solstice Knight

Visions and Vows part 2

It doesn't take a lot of strength to hang on. It takes a lot of strength to let go - J.C. Watts

"She's my friend" Leon yelled, "And I'm not going to leave her out there on her own" his hand flew down to his waist and he grabbed hold of his lightsaber hilt holding it tight in his hand as his voice rose even more.

He began screaming as he backed into the chamber doors, "A word of warning to all of you. Follow me or get in my way and I will kill you".

"Where are they?" Anakin wondered staring down at the facility from the transport shuttle.

"Thalia can you hear me?" Ahsoka yelled into her comlink, "Thalia, Leon respond".

They saw Leon break free of his restraints and attack what had to have once been Darth Maul and it was with shock and disbelief that they watched how quickly the former Sith was defeated. They were forced to retreat from the room they were in thankful that the last image they saw on the monitor was Thalia and Leon both alive as they fled the room Leon was held in. The Republic strike team returned to the landing pads and managed to board their shuttles just as they saw the goliath attacking the facility it was clear that Dooku didn't want his enemies to escape, but then something strange happened…the goliath began breaking apart.

They watched from a safe distance as the goliath looked like it was trying to fly away only for parts of it to fall apart one by one before its engines failed and the massive weapon fell into a ravine of lava. The goliath was surely destroyed, but there was still no word from Thalia or Leon.

"Thalia, Leon please someone respond" Ahsoka yelled again becoming desperate.

"Well find them Ahsoka" Anakin told her sensing her desperation quickly turning to fear.

"It seems that most of their forces have been destroyed in the goliath's attack" Obi-Wan guessed surveying the damage from their view, "It should be safe to land and look for them".

"We're going to have to" Anakin turned to his old master, "Its possible Thalia's comlink was damaged that may be why she hasn't contacted us".

"Leon where are you?" Ahsoka wondered looking down at the bombed facility.

She heard someone scream and turned around, nothing had happened. She was sure she heard someone scream. She looked down at her feet and closed her eyes taking in a breath to calm herself before turning back to the facility. Maybe she was just exhausted after everything that had happened in the past couple of days anyone would be and her concern for Leon and Thalia would certainly only make it worse.

"He's alive. I know he is I can feel him"

She heard another scream, in her mind. She heard screaming in her mind. Closing her eyes she focused the screaming was coming from somewhere. The screaming grew louder just like when they were watching…Leon.

It was Leon screaming. He was alive and she knew where he was.

"The secondary hangar" she said turning around to Anakin and Obi-Wan, "Leon, he's in the secondary hangar at the other side of the facility".

"Are you sure?" Anakin asked.

"Positive" Ahsoka told him, "I can sense him. He's in trouble".

Anakin turned to the shuttle pilot telling him to take them to the secondary hangar before looking back at his padawan, "We'll find them Ahsoka".

Ahsoka nodded, "Why can't I sense Thalia? I can feel Leon as if he was right next to me, but I can't sense Thalia anywhere".

The shuttle flew a sharp turn around the facility's main tower passing close enough for its wings to almost touch the relay dish on its roof and when they began lowering their altitude they saw him. Amongst a sea of blaster fire was a trio of dancing lights, silver, red and green. They could just barely make him out, but it was definitely him surrounded on all sides by a platoon of droids.

"Leon" Ahsoka gasped seeing how outnumbered he was.

"Where's Thalia?" Obi-Wan wondered seeing that she wasn't there.

"That's her lightsaber" Anakin said noting the green colored blade Leon was wielding, "He's using three lightsabers at once…how is that possible?"

It was true, Leon was wielding both of his own and Thalia's lightsaber at once they watched as the three lights danced through the air deflecting blaster shots back at the droids that surrounded the lone Jedi.

"Anything is possible through the Force Anakin" Obi-Wan reminded him, "For now we should help him".

Obi-Wan was the first to jump out followed by Anakin who stopped at the edge of the shuttle door and looked to Ahsoka who stood there mesmerized by the sight of Leon.

"Ahsoka is something wrong?"

"I can't sense Thalia" she told him, "I've tried, but I can't sense her anywhere".

"We'll have time to figure that out later right now Leon needs our help" he said to her before jumping out giving her a small grin.

Ahsoka only stood there and watched, afraid to go down and join them she could still hear Leon's screams in her mind and she realized they were cries of pain and despair and sadness, she had heard him scream like that before when Edge sacrificed himself to save him and it became clear why she couldn't sense Thalia. Ahsoka stood there watching as Anakin and Obi-Wan landed behind Leon and began fighting alongside him, she felt her own heart grow cold and still as the thought of her friend dying took hold of her and to make it worse she could feel Leon's pain. His body ached from the torture he had gone through she could feel his scars as if they were her own everything he had suffered she could feel it and now the pain of losing someone else he cared so much about someone he loved it had pushed him to his breaking point.

She closed her eyes feeling her legs trying to give out on her and she wanted to curl up in a corner where no one could find her.

A thunderous sound ripped the air apart pulling her from her thoughts and she looked back down at the battle beneath her. Leon in an act of sheer power slammed his hand against the floor releasing a blast of Force power that sent all the droids around him into the air. Anakin and Obi-Wan were caught in the blast thankfully only being knocked back a bit and Leon jumped Thalia's lightsaber still in his hand as he cut down one battle droid and threw his silver and red blades out controlling them through the Force having them cut down everything around him while suspended in the air. Leon landed on his feet and his red shoto saber returned to his hand his silver one returning to his side wielded by an invisible hand as the dismembered droid bodies rained down around him.

Anakin and Obi-Wan returned to their feet just as the remaining droids began retreating knowing they could not win a couple of them even dropping their weapons attempting to surrender only to be cut down. The shuttle landed and Ahsoka watched Leon switch off his lightsabers as he walked over to a stack of crates without sparing any of them so much as a glance before he knelt down and picked something up in both arms. Her eyes widened as he turned around and she saw that he was carrying, Thalia's body.

He stepped onto the shuttle holding her body close to him not saying a word not looking at any of them not even blinking he just stared at Thalia's face as if silently praying her eyes would open again.

They returned to the Resolute and for the entire trip no one including Titan squad had said anything to him even Master Windu gave him the space he obviously needed at this moment. The trip back to Coruscant was a long one even more so because she was worried about Leon she could still sense the pain in his heart and it tortured her to only be standing on the bridge and not with him. She wanted to help him in any way she could anything to soothe his pain even if just by a little.

Silently she left the bridge leaving the other Jedi to their meeting and made her way to Leon's room, she hesitated outside his door trying to think of what she would say to him if anything. Gathering herself and her thoughts she opened the door and stepped inside closing the door behind her as she set her eyes on him. He was standing at a dresser table his back to her fiddling with something in his hands.

She took one step forward and saw him flinch, "Go away" he said quietly.

She looked to the floor sad, but not surprised that he didn't even want to talk to her right now, "No" she told him just as quietly walking over to him.

He tensed as he felt her warm small hands slip around his waist from behind, and a slender figure press against his back. Leon did not move at once, standing there for a moment allowing his body to relax in her embrace, then, slowly, he took her hands in his and lifted them to his chest pressing them to his heart. It was racing. He shivered as he felt her lips press a soft kiss against his neck and closed his eyes.

How long had he wanted this? How long since he realized his feelings for her had he dreamed of this? He realized early on in their relationship that he was falling in love with her and even after he finally confessed to her and days later she confessed back it was still a dream of his that one day it would just be the two of them.

Unable to bear it any long her turned around in her arms, sliding his hands up her back, in awe of how smooth her body felt against his blistered hands. The dim lights caught the soft gleam of her eyes as she looked up to him and his arms tightened around her afraid to let go. In the past it was Ahsoka who was afraid, who was scared of his touch or voice or his flirtatious and charming words, but now she wanted nothing more than to stay with him in his arms just as he was in hers. As she looked up into his eyes she saw the first glint of the tears he had struggled to keep hidden and again she felt his pain.

"Let me stay with you" she whispered to him, "For as long as it takes let me stay with you. I can't stand the thought of you in pain Leon so please, don't lock me out let me stay and help you forget".

His arms tightened around her again tight enough to squeeze her and make her uncomfortable, but she would not pay it any mind if it was even a little help to him she would bear it for his sake. He inhaled a sharp breath he was still trying to fight back his pain even as his tears began running in full. She reached her hand up to his cheek and ran her thumb under his eye wiping away his tears before sliding her hand behind his neck and pulling his head forward to meet hers.

Their lips met for what felt like the first time in uncounted years and in that moment Ahsoka felt her own tears forming behind her eyes as she closed them, his pain would become hers and she would share it with him as he would no doubt do for her. A kiss that froze time for them both and sealed away the outside world for now it was just the two of them alone where nothing else mattered.

Hours turned to days and days turned to weeks slowly time continued on as it always did and as those weeks turned to months Leon was able to return to a part of his former self. With Ahsoka's help he began smiling again just as he did after Edge's death and through her help and the love they shared for each other he had found his peace. He needed some time to himself for a while requesting time away from the temple meditative leave he called it, but before he left he smiled at Ahsoka and said he would come back as his regular self.

He was gone for a week first to Hoth, then to Felucia, then Ord Mantell and finally back home to Dantooine. He spent a day on each of the worlds, worlds where he had met Thalia then followed her trail through Felucia before finding her on Ord Mantell and then finding her again on Dantooine. He spent time on these worlds meditating in his own special way as he cradled her lightsaber in his hands the hole left in his life by her death was still there, still painful, but he was at peace again. Her memory would always be with him and it was his memories of her that helped him smile.

He sat on a large boulder in the middle of a field seeing Dantooine's native fauna go about their own lives around him and memories of his own past returned to him. This is where his life would have been had he never joined the Order on this calm world where nothing ever truly happens. He began dismantling Thalia's lightsaber gently and respectfully placing the pieces at his side until he was left with the two crystals within her lightsaber.

The emerald green crystal that gave the blade its color and then the orange solari crystal the source of the powerful warmth, Thalia told him about it had whispered it to him before she lost consciousness and he did some research to find out what it was. One of the oldest and rarest of lightsaber crystals in history an artifact of the light side of the force, according to what he found only someone who truly believed in the light could wield the crystal otherwise it would turn hot and burn them. At first it worried him he had given in to the dark side before and more than once, but the crystal did not burn him even as he held it bare in his hand.

Did it mean that he wasn't tainted by the dark side even after he gave into it? Was he pure even after everything he had done? Or was he right all along and one can be as passionate and emotional as he was and still follow the light so long as what they held in their heart as true?

That had to be it otherwise he would not have been able to wield Thalia's lightsaber while the crystal was in it. He fought while angry fought with the intention of killing his opponent thoughts of the dark side and yet the lightsaber was warm in his hands and he could feel its pure untainted power flowing into him. He fought because he wanted nothing more than to protect Thalia because he loved her with every fiber of his being just as he loves Ahsoka.

"As long as my intentions are pure in my own heart there is no darkness" were his thoughts his assumption on the matter.

He did not know how or when Thalia came across this crystal, but that didn't matter it and her lightsaber along with her memory was all he had left of her and nothing, but death would make him part with it. Exactly what he told the Council when he reported it to them. He did not keep it a secret when he gave his report over everything that had happened since his capture including his torture and temptation before finally revealing Thalia's lightsaber and the crystal within. Such a rare and powerful artifact he understood why the Council wanted to take it and place it in the archives vault, but he would not allow them.

"I told you about this because I trust the Council and do not want to hide anything from you, but I will not part with it. This is what Thalia left to me so I can prove that in spite of everything I have gone through I am still pure that I still follow the light…Until my death I shall not part with this crystal under any circumstance".

That is what he told them and he meant it. No matter how rare or valuable it was it was what she had left to him and he was going to keep it. The wind whistled around him and a patch of clouds blocked the sun for a time and he inhaled a calming breath as he began reassembling the lightsaber. This was his last day of meditative leave he would be heading back to Coruscant in the morning.

He returned to his ship and set the hyper drive coordinates he wasn't due back for another ten hours from now, but there was nothing else to do. He had made his peace and it was time to head back. He allowed himself to rest during the hyperspace trip relaxing into the pilot's seat of the personal ship he kept Thalia's lightsaber close to his chest as he slept the warmth from the solari crystal slowly warming his entire body. He saw Ahsoka in his dreams she was running, their were flashlights everywhere following her moves, her lightsabers were active and she defending herself from blue flashes…stun blasts they looked like.

He watched her flee and jump with the aid of the Force, she was running…from clone troopers. Dozens and dozens of them they were chasing her firing at her, she was afraid. He could sense her fear she was running and she was very afraid of what was going on. She jumped onto a large pipeline and cut a hole and jumped down it fleeing into the pipelines with the clones following soon behind her. He watched her flee one turn after the next until she came to an opening where the pipelines spilled out into an abyss with various maintenance ships hovering around.

She turned when someone called out to her, it was Anakin. He watched her master approach her and plead with her to stop running, but Ahsoka shook her head. He couldn't hear what they were saying, but he could sense her fear and he watched her jump landing on a large vessel far beneath them and she continued to run.

His ship jumped and he woke from his sleep with a startled gasp his ship had dropped from hyperspace and he was above Coruscant.

"Something's wrong" he said to himself recalling his dream.

Ahsoka was in danger of something he was sure of it. He brought his ship in for a landing at the Temple Hangar and his mouth slowly fell open as he saw the damage everywhere, debris and scorch marks damage like this could only be done by an explosion…just what happened while he was gone.

He landed his ship and quickly climbed out looking around, it was definitely some kind of explosion nothing else could do something like this. Did one of the mechanics or maintenance crew severe a fuel line by accident? No this was related to his dream, not a dream a vision something had happened and whatever it was involved Ahsoka.

He immediately entered a run jumping over the destroyed pieces of ships as he left the hangar and made his way through the temple, he jumped to the sides and over others in the halls as he raced toward the Council Chambers someone was going to tell him what happened and why Ahsoka was running from clone troopers.

He reached the Council Chambers and pushed the doors open as he ran inside sliding to a stop just behind Anakin who was standing in the center of the room addressing the Council.

"What happened?" he gasped catching his breath.

"Someone planted a bomb in the temple hangar" Anakin told him his arms crossed and an obvious look of frustration on his face, "And our prime suspect was killed".

"Where's Ahsoka?" Leon immediately asked, "I had a vision of her on my way back. She was running from clone troopers" he inhaled a breath, "You better not be about to tell me she's involved in this".

Anakin was silent leaving Master Yoda to answer, "Evidence there is. That points to Padawan Tano. Want to believe she is responsible. We do not".

Master Windu continued from there, "But she did break free from a military prison and killed several clones during her escape. Couple that with the fact she ran from Skywalker and is still running makes her seem not so innocent".

Leon was still gasping for air as he stood straight and glared at his former master, "And it didn't occur to you that maybe she's running because she's scared?"

"I do not want to believe that she is responsible for this" Windu began before Leon cut him off.

"She's not" Leon snapped, "If someone attacked the temple that's because our security sucks".

The Council could sense his emotions, his quickly growing anger and concern.

"I understand you are concerned Leon" Master Windu continued, "You and Padawan Tano have been friends for a long time, but this is a serious matter several lives civilian, military and Jedi were lost in the blast and Padawan Tano was the last one to be seen with the perpetrator before she was killed".

"So you think Ahsoka killed her?"

"That seems to be the case" Obi-Wan's hologram answered, "I do not believe Ahsoka would do something like this, but with her on the run how else could we prove her innocence? I know she must be afraid, but unless she turns herself in she's only making it harder on herself".

"When did this happen?" Leon asked.

"The bombing happened early this morning" Anakin told him, "Ahsoka escaped about six hours ago…I don't believe she did this".

Leon cut him off, "That's because she didn't".

"Do you have a way to prove that Leon?" Master Mundi asked him.

"I don't need proof" Leon snapped, "I know Ahsoka she would never do something like this. I would attack the temple before she would" he ignored their change of expression as he continued, "Ahsoka gave her entire life to the Jedi Order she would not betray that. She's being framed".

"We all want to believe she's innocent Leon" Luminara said to him, "But her running and killing clones during her escape".

"Do you have any proof that she killed anyone?" Leon asked his voice much more calm when he addressed her.

"The clones were killed by a lightsaber" Master Windu told him, "Another piece of evidence that points toward Ahsoka. Who else, but a Jedi could have infiltrated the temple and placed a bomb?"

"Someone other than Ahsoka" Leon told him his tone becoming harsh again, "I can't even believe you're all considering this".

Leon turned to Anakin, "And what about you? Where do you stand on this?"

"I trust Ahsoka" Anakin sighed, "If she says she's innocent then I believe her, but the more she runs the harder she's making it for herself. I want to find her and convince her to turn herself in so we can investigate what's going on".

"And what" Leon began turning his gaze to the whole Council, "Will happen if she does turn herself in? You'll put her in another cell? How long will the investigation take huh? How long will she have to wait to find out if you're on her side or not?"

"Mind your feelings Leon" Master Windu cautioned his former padawan.

"Shove it" Leon snapped at him again catching them all by surprise, "I already know what your plan is and I don't like it. I'm not going to let you hunt her down like an animal and then throw her in a cell for something she didn't do".

Leon took a few steps back toward the door, "I'm going to find her and I'm going to figure out what's going on and I will protect her from anyone that's out there".

Master Windu stood up, "You're too close to her Leon".

"She's my friend" Leon yelled, "And I'm not going to leave her out there on her own" his hand flew down to his waist and he grabbed hold of his lightsaber hilt holding it tight in his hand as his voice rose even more.

He began screaming as he backed into the chamber doors, "A word of warning to all of you. Follow me or get in my way and I will kill you".

He turned on his heel sprinting through the open chamber doors leaving the shocked Council behind his threat repeating in his own mind as well as theirs. He didn't care what they thought of him or what his punishment would be for threatening the Council in such a way none of that mattered, he was going to find Ahsoka and he would protect her…no matter what even if it meant fighting the Council or the entire Grand Army, no matter what he will protect her.

Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye - H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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