One Against the World
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Don't make me do this" he said to her his lightsaber held firm in his hand, "Just walk away".
She closed her eyes, "I take no pleasure in this, but I have my duty" she opened her eyes and regarded him with a regretful stare, "If I must fight you I will".
"I don't want to hurt you" his voice cracked as he entered a fighting stance, "Please, just leave".
"Are you sure you want to do this Leon?" Baron asked as Leon paced back and forth in front of them.
Leon called for Titan squadron to gather near a train station in Coruscant's underworld, he explained the situation and his plan to them. He was going to find Ahsoka and he needed their help to find her before anyone else did.
"I'm sure" the Jedi answered still pacing, "And yes I'm aware of the consequences".
"I'm in" Boulder said first, "I refuse to believe Ahsoka would do something like this".
"Thanks Boulder" Leon nodded to the clone, "If I'm walking into hell on this one I want people I trust with me".
Baron sighed, "You do realize this plan has us walking into hell with you".
Again Leon nodded and Chip stood up, "I'm in as well. We've fought with Commander Tano multiple times before there's no way she would do something like this".
Baron shook his head and sighed again, "Nothing can ever be easy".
"I won't force you to do this" Leon told him, "But it would be a lot easier if the three of you helped me".
Baron nodded, "I'm in…I just don't like the options we have".
Leon nodded back, "I know what you mean".
He glanced out at the crowded sub-streets of the city planet's underworld finding her was going to be a challenge, but he was going to find her. There was too much life down here, too much noise for him to find her through the Force, but because of his connection to her he could feel a faint trace of her, she was scared and hiding somewhere he just had to find her before anyone else. He closed his eyes and took in a short breath vowing to himself and her that he would find her and help clear her of what she was being accused of and he would deal with anyone that got in their way no matter who it may be.
He opened his eyes and looked back to the clones he had grown so close to and nodded to them before they all split up. Their plan was simple find Ahsoka and inform the others, if Leon found her he would tell them all was clear and handle it himself from there if they found her they would hand her their comlink and have her call Leon herself. Leon's plan held a risk that they would also be charged with aiding an escaped fugitive a risk they were all willing to take not just for Ahsoka, but for him as well.
Since they first met Leon back when there were still five of them the clones that would end up forming Titan squad had taken a quick liking to the Jedi and with their short history together their bond only deepened and strengthened. He had become part of the team and together they had taken on many challenges one of their fondest memories they all shared was their training exercise on Kamino where they had taken on a training program meant for ARC troopers and succeeded. It was with the Jedi's help of course, but it was also their help that allowed him to succeed.
That was the day he started referring to them as Titan squadron of course they were still regular clones, they didn't have the special breeding or training that the more elite clones had, but through the Jedi's faith, encouragement and willingness to charge into the belly of the beast with them they had become better than most. Their bond was iron and it could not be broken no matter what.
For the four of them searching the underworld for a single person proved to be as much of a challenge as they thought there were so many dark alleys and corners someone could hide in and a Jedi on the run could hide herself much better than a normal person. They had a plan though and a few backups in case something went wrong, since Ahsoka was a fugitive obviously there would be others looking for her if any of them were spotted with Ahsoka or found attempting to find her they would merely say they were following orders from Leon and thanks to the chain of command a general's orders supersede that of a captain or commander. Unless an Admiral issued them an order they were free to continue helping Leon, of course even if that did happen they would continue to assist Leon and Ahsoka in any way possible.
"Sometimes doing what's right means ignoring orders"
Something Edge told them once although their former captain admitted to stealing that line from another soldier and that soldier heard it from another it didn't make it any less true. If they had to ignore an order to make this whole mess right that is what they would do.
A couple of hours of searching and occasional check-ins and finally Baron called in a potential positive. Asking a few civilians he learned that a female Togruta matching Ahsoka's description was spotted running from local law enforcement near one of the stations. Not long after Chip had questioned a few officers about the pursuit and they confirmed it was most likely Ahsoka, she was wearing a worn and dirty dark grey cloak that was too large for her and dragged behind her. Not an easy thing to spot even if there wasn't a sea of people in every direction dozens of people wore large cloaks in the underworld.
"It's a start" Leon said, "Check everyone wearing an oversized cloak and check-in every ten minutes".
After another hour of searching Baron called them again, "Leon I've found her".
"Are you sure?" the Jedi asked his voiced hopeful and panicked.
"It's her" Baron answered, "I'm going in".
"Baron" Leon said his voice falling quiet.
"Don't worry" the clone said shooting down his concerns.
The clone walked silently through an alleyway following his target and once they were alone he called out to her.
It was her, she spun around on her heels immediately in a panic that someone had found her, but she did seem to be relieved even if just a little to see him.
"Baron" she muttered, but still backing away a couple of steps.
"Ahsoka wait" he said holding his hands up, "Listen whatever is going on I believe you're innocent".
The clone knelt down and set his blaster rifle on the ground and took off his comlink and walked over to hand it to her, "Here" he said even as she backed up again, "Leon wants to talk to you he's worried".
"He's back?" she muttered.
Baron nodded, "He's understandably pissed. First thing he heard when he got back is that you're being accused of this whole mess".
"I didn't do it" Ahsoka said, but the clone forced the comlink into her hand and patted her shoulder, "I believe you we all do".
Baron backed up and retrieved his rifle from the ground, "Call him he's really worried about you".
She watched the clone walk away leaving her alone and then she gazed down at the comlink in her hand. He came back and immediately began looking for her. Her heart began hurting and her throat pained as well she wanted to see him if there was anyone she would turn to it would be him, but should she could she. For several minutes she stood there staring at the comlink debating to herself she trusted him there was no doubt in her mind that he wanted to help her the only question is would he be able to. She closed her hand around the comlink and set her back against the wall hanging her head and raised the device close to her lips.
"Leon?" she said quietly unable to hide the worry and fear in her voice.
"Ahsoka" he gasped from the other side, "Where are you? Are you hurt?"
"I'm fine" she answered a little happy to hear his voice again, "At least as fine as I can be..." she fell silent for a few seconds feeling her fear well up in her again, "Leon I didn't do anything I swear I".
"I know" he said to her, "Just tell me where you are".
"I want to" she said, "But I…"
He cut her off, "Ahsoka whatever it is I will help you. I will not leave you to do this alone so please just tell me where you are".
Ahsoka's fingers wrapped around the comlink and she held it close to her chest for a moment her heart feeling like it was tearing itself in two. He said her name again during the silence and she answered him telling him her location and he told her not to move. She slid down the wall she leaned against falling to the ground and curling her knees up to her chest and waited at the very lest she would get to say a temporary goodbye to him before fleeing again.
He spotted her sitting against the wall and called out to her running over to her as her eyes rose up to meet him. She quickly got back to her feet and ran to meet him halfway her arms wrapping around him as she reached him his arms doing the same to her. She felt one of his hands on the back of her head holding her tight against his shoulder and she could feel him trembling as he held her.
This feeling, she had come to love feeling his arms around her, but this time it felt different. Before she loved it because she knew their shared feelings for each other, but now as happy as she was to see him she was scared and afraid.
"It's going to be ok" he said his arms like comfortably constricting themselves around her.
"How?" she asked trying to keep her voice from breaking, "How is this going to be ok?"
"I don't know" he answered, "But we'll think of something. We'll find a way".
"No" she said quietly and began pushing herself from his embrace, "Leon if you help me you'll be listed as an accomplice. They'll charge you for…"
He didn't let her finish her thought, "I don't care" he snapped, "They can charge me for every crime in the book the Republic and the Jedi both. I don't care what they charge me with I am not going to let them do this to you".
He reached out and grabbed her arms again smoothly running his hands up to her shoulders sending slight shivers through her skin, "I won't let them treat you like this" he said quietly, "I'm going to help you prove your innocence and I'll take down anyone that gets in the way".
"Leon no" she said backing away from him again, "Fighting is only going to make it worse".
"I know" he admitted moving closer to her, "But if I have to I will. I'm not going to let you do this alone".
She hugged her arms and began walking back toward the mostly empty street as he followed her, "There's nothing you can do" she said with her back to him.
"You're wrong" he said as they stopped in the middle of the deserted street corner, "There's nothing I won't do".
"Touching" a half angry half cold voice said.
A male Iktotchi wearing a dark brown robe stepped out of the shadows and approached them, lightsaber in hand.
"Master Tiin" Ahsoka muttered stepping back until she bumped into Leon who pushed her behind him.
"Clearly you didn't believe what I told you and the Council" Leon said reaching for his lightsaber and activating it, "Make one move toward her and I will kill you".
Tiin activated his lightsaber in response, "An attitude and threat born of the dark side. To think the two of you could have fallen so far".
Leon reached for his other lightsaber, but Ahsoka's hand stopped his arm, "Leon no" she said pulling his arm back, "This will only make it worse".
"Most likely" he agreed shrugging her hand away and activating his red shoto saber holding it reversed, "But if I have to fight to clear your name then that's what I'll do".
Saesee Tiin attacked first using the Force he leapt to close the gap between them and brought his emerald colored blade down in an attack called the Falling Avalanche meant to overpower and crash through an opponent's defense.
Leon immediately recognized this attack and the stance Saesee Tiin entered before attacking, Djem So the sub variant of Form V a form devoted to lightsaber dueling a form Master Tiin was an expert at, but so was Leon.
Instead of defending Leon stepped back and to the side avoiding the overhead slash and summoned the Force to his hand and unleashed a crushing Force push that sent the Jedi master flying back and crashing into several old broken down merchant stands. Leon was still young, but if Master Tiin wanted to take him on in a straight fight with Djem So then Leon would be happy to show him how a real fighter attacks.
Leon didn't wait for the Jedi Master to get to his feet, ignoring Ahsoka's pleas he charged forward his silver lightsaber held in front and across his chest ready to slash at his target his red blade held back ready to flash out for a second strike. Tiin got back to his feet just as Leon reached him, he raised his emerald lightsaber to block the horizontal slash angling his blade so the attack would connect and harmlessly slide by allowing him to counter attack before the secondary lightsaber could be used. Aiming at Leon's oncoming weapon hand it was clear he was attempting Cho Mai intending to cut off his hand in order to disarm him.
Leon stopped his attack and jumped back allowing the green blade to flash harmlessly in front of him Djem So was the style he was most familiar with parries and blocks followed by immediate counter attacks that used the opponent's own momentum against them the only downside is that the stance of Djem So had a severe lack of mobility and that would be Leon's advantage. He watched Tiin set himself back in his stance and Leon smirked at him his confidence showing in full as he switched off his red shoto saber returning it to his belt and held his silver lightsaber in the same stance as his opponent.
"You've allowed your arrogance to believe that you have a chance to defeat me" the Jedi Master said taking a step to the side.
Leon's smirk remained, "Funny, I was just thinking the same about you".
Tiin glared at him before rushing in with an angled overhead slash and Leon's smirk faded being replaced targeted glare aimed at his opponent's wrist and elbow.
Switching off his lightsaber Leon dropped it and stepped to the side right as Tiin's attack reached him, raising his hands he grabbed the Iktotchi's wrist and elbow of his weapon arm and twisted. Twisting his wrist Leon pushed against Tiin's elbow at the same time pushing both joints far past points they were allowed to go and with a quick jerk he snapped the smaller bones in Tiin's wrist causing him to drop his lightsaber. Pushing against his elbow again Leon slipped his hand over the joint and flicked his hand upward along Tiin's arm delivering a swift chop to his throat stunning him.
Pulling Tiin's arm against Leon moved his hand behind the Jedi Master's head and pulled him forward while raising his knee up to catch him in the gut. The hard knee caused the Jedi Master to hunch over as the breath was knocked from his lungs allowing Leon the opening to follow up his attack. Moving his hand from the back of his opponent's head to the front covering his face Leon placed his leg behind Tiin's and swept it forward while pushing back on the Iktotchi's head.
The push added more force and weight to the leg sweep causing the Jedi Master to fall harder to the ground the back of his head crashing into the ground immediately after his shoulders leaving a dazed half conscious look in the eyes of the defeated Saesee Tiin.
Picking up his lightsaber and taking Tiin's as well Leon quickly returned to Ahsoka's side.
"I'm sorry" he said to her, "It was the only way".
"I know" Ahsoka said her voice broken, "I know he wasn't going to just let us walk away, but…" she shook her head, "There has to be another way there has to be…we can't fight against the Order it won't help anything".
Leon lowered his eyes, "I know" he nodded, "I don't want to fight them…but I'm not going to let them throw you in a cell or put you on trial for something you didn't do".
She turned to him signs of tears visible underneath her eyes, "Are you really going to fight the Order to protect me?"
"If they get in the way yes" he nodded, "I'll…I'll do whatever I have to to make sure we can prove your innocence".
That's when she remembered what he said to Master Tiin before they started fighting. Slowly her arms fell to her side and she looked at him a sudden look of disbelief in her eyes.
"You said you told Master Tiin and the Council if they make a move toward me you'll kill them".
He stood there for a brief moment aware of what she was saying and the conclusion she was drawing and he nodded.
"If I have to".
Her mouth hung open for a second and she shook her head a little beginning to back away from him.
"Ahsoka wait" he said quickly running to grab her arm.
"Let me go" she demanded pulling her arm free, "You said you would kill them if they came after me? Do you have any idea what that means?"
"I know exactly what it means" he snapped, "And if they leave me no choice I will follow through with it".
She shook her head again, "How can you say that? You threatened to kill the Council if they came after me".
The tears in her eyes were flooding free before she could stop them and as she turned away she felt his arms wrap around her again. She didn't struggle this time she just stood there as he stepped closer and tightened his embrace resting his head against hers.
"I won't let them do this to you" he said his own voice breaking now, "I'm not going to let them tear apart your life for something you didn't do".
She shook her head again, "Even if we prove I'm innocent even if we find the one who's really behind this" she turned in his arms to look at him, "Do you think they'll let what you said, what you did slide?"
"Doesn't matter" Leon told her, "Not now anyway. Right now our only concern should be proving your innocence".
"Something I want to believe" a deep voice said to them.
Leon let go of Ahsoka and spun around on his heel reaching for his lightsaber as he laid eyes on Plo Koon and a squad of clones behind him.
The Kel Dor Jedi looked down at the unconscious body of Master Tiin and then looked back to Leon.
"He's alive" Leon told him, "More than he deserves".
The clones behind Plo Koon all had red markings and shoulder plates on one side several of them already had their blasters raised and aimed past Leon and at Ahsoka.
Leon switched his lightsaber on and glared at the clones behind the Jedi Master, "Lower your weapons troopers" he demanded, "I will not tell you again".
"They are merely following orders Leon" Plo Koon said taking a few steps toward him and watching the young Jedi fall into the stance of Djem So, "I want to believe Ahsoka is innocent, but running and attacking Master Tiin is not helping her case".
"There shouldn't be a case to begin with" Leon snapped before nodding at the still unconscious Tiin, "And he started it".
"And I am here to finish it" Plo Koon said reaching for his lightsaber, "I do not wish for this to be concluded with violent. Turn yourselves in and I promise I will do everything in my power to help Ahsoka".
"Not happening" Leon said reaching for his waist and grabbing Thalia's lightsaber immediately feeling the warmth from the crystal within as he grabbed it, "This is your only chance Master Plo" he said his voice carry a promise of regret if his offer was declined, "Walk away".
The Kel Dor looked down for a moment and shook his head, "It seems you will not listen to reason".
Plo Koon's blue lightsaber flared to life in his hands as he entered a mirrored stance of Leon's another practitioner of Form V and without another word except Ahsoka's pleas for Leon to not fight again the duel started.
Plo Koon struck first and Leon defended pushing the attack away with his silver saber before striking back with the green saber that used to belong to Thalia the solari crystal within the hilt becoming warmer as he attacked. Plo Koon blocked and parried Leon's counter attack, but before he could strike himself Leon attacked him with a Force push thankfully his many years of experience allowed Plo Koon to brace himself only sliding back a few inches instead of being thrown backwards. Leon stepped forward attempting a quick strike, but the Kel Dor mimicked his previous attack summoning the Force into a push causing Leon to move back against his will.
Leon glared at the Jedi Master in front of him for a second before looking back at Ahsoka and telling her to run.
"No" she shook her head, "Leon don't do this you'll only".
"Ahsoka" he said cutting her off, "Go, I'll catch up with you later. I promise I won't kill him".
Ahsoka looked at Plo Koon and began backing away unable to say anything to the man that brought her to the Jedi Order. With reluctance, regret and worry and fear she turned and ran with the clones immediately giving chase, but Leon stopped them. With a sudden push of the Force in all directions in front of him Leon stopped the clones from pursuing her just long enough for her to disappear then he set his eyes on Plo Koon again.
"I truly commend your devotion to your friends little Leon" the Kel Dor said, "But regardless of our hope that she is innocent".
"She is innocent" Leon growled, "You of all people should know that she would never betray the Order" he flourished his lightsabers and set himself in the stance of Ataru, "No more talking stand down or fight".
The Kel Dor resigned his hopes for a peaceful end to this and returned to his battle stance.
Leon attacked first this time flipping Thalia's lightsaber around in his hand holding it in a reverse position as he swung it upward breaking through Plo Koon's block and angling his silver lightsaber forward and thrusting it out forcing the Jedi Master to step back out of its range. As his opponent stepped back Leon stepped forward bringing Thalia's lightsaber back around for another strike flipping it around in his hand again holding it upright now he swung it from the side aiming at Plo Koon's midsection and again the Kel Dor stepped back. This time the Jedi Master countered using the Force he lifted Leon off the ground and threw him to the side not wanting to injure him any more than he had to, but armed with the knowledge of what the young Jedi Knight was capable of and his accomplishments he was reluctant to actually fight him.
Leon slowly got back up aware that Plo Koon didn't want to attempt anything that would cause him great harm, but he wasn't going to hold back and if Plo Koon wanted to restrain himself that was fine it would just make him easier to defeat. Leon leaned forward for a moment sliding one leg back and his forward facing leg kicked back against the ground giving him an instant jump that helped close the distance between them. Instead of attacking Leon raised his arm using the Force to grab Plo Koon and push him back a bit and then yank him forward.
As the Kel Dor was pulled toward him Leon switched off his lightsaber and tightened his hand into a fist willing to Force to mold to its shape and lunged forward punching the Kel Dor in the stomach letting the built up Force in his hand explode outward on impact sending the Jedi Master flying back again and leaving a significant mark that reflected Leon's commitment to this fight.
The clones moved to surround Leon after he struck Plo Koon each of them had a rifle trained on him most likely set to stun, but it didn't matter none of them would have a chance to pull the trigger. With an outward repulse of Force power Leon knocked the five clones back and lunged forward targeting the one directly in front of him. Swinging his lightsaber up he cut the clone's weapon in half and grabbed him slinging him to the side and throwing him into his comrade knocking him over clearing his other side. One after the other Leon destroyed their weapons and incapacitated them leaving just him and Plo Koon or so he thought.
He sensed them right away they were approaching fast and within seconds they were there, Kit Fisto and Aayla Secura. Leon's expression remained the same, angry, but calm as the other two arrived. His eyes rested on Secura first he had spoken to her before back when he was still a padawan under Kit Fisto he flirted with her back then making horrible jokes in the same way he did to Ahsoka and sometimes the beautiful Twi'lek Jedi would go along with those jokes. That was long ago there was never enough interaction between them to be considered anything more than acquaintances, but he knew enough about Secura through reputation to know she would be a difficult opponent.
"Master Fisto" he nodded to his former master and then to Aayla, "Aayla".
"I'm glad to see you haven't abandoned formalities or manners my former padawan" Master Fisto said wearing his signature smile, "However I do request that you stand down this matter as terrible as it is will only become worse the more you interfere".
Leon shook his head, "At this point Master Fisto you're the ones interfering. Ahsoka is innocent and I'm going to prove it by any means necessary".
He set himself back in a fighting stance the familiar opening stance of Ataru one of the most aggressive forms of combat. A form that relied on equal parts of power, strength and speed this was the truest offensive form of combat. A form Leon rarely utilized, he liked the idea of keeping an opponent off balance and unable to counter attack, but he hated the idea of always attacking. Ataru required too much energy and jumping around Leon preferred to let his opponents attack and turn their own strikes to his advantage which is why he preferred both variants of Form V, but against multiple opponents Djem So would be at a great disadvantage.
Aayla Secura gazed at him seeing no trace of hesitance or fear in his eyes or his stance there was nothing any of them could do to change his mind.
"Be smart about this Leon" she said activating her lightsaber, its azure glow matching her skin as she held it close to her shoulder, "You are only making it harder for yourself and Ahsoka. Do you really think you can defeat the three of us?"
Leon moved his eyes to her, "The better question is" he began trading his silver lightsaber for his red shoto saber, "Do you think the three of you will be enough to defeat me?"
"Such arrogance" Plo Koon sighed, "You've always been too confident in your own prowess Leon".
"With good reason" Leon told him, "I don't see any of you doing what I've accomplished".
Plo Koon moved it striking first with Fisto and Secura fanning out to surround Leon as he clashed with the Kel Dor Master. Green and blue met and a fierce vie for dominance began, the Plo Koon's height gave him an advantage as he began pushing down forcing Leon to one knee, but the young Jedi turned his body slipping out from under the attack and pivoting on his heel making a backhanded swing. Knowing the Kel Dor would block the attack Leon turned at the moment of impact reversing his direction and swinging the green lightsaber in his left hand upward from the ground, Plo Koon stepped back avoiding the attack while bringing his own blade up to deflect the blade away and thrust forward in a counter attack. Again Leon pivoted around to avoid the attack and instead of attacking with his lightsabers he raised his leg and with a swift snap kick struck at the Kel Dor's knee turning back around as the Jedi Master buckled and fell. Dropping his red shoto saber in mid turn Leon's hand balled into a fist and launched upward in a vicious uppercut knocking Plo Koon off his feet and sending him to the floor.
The second Plo Koon was floored Secura and Fisto moved in attacking Leon from two sides. None of them liked the way this turned out, not even Leon wanted it to be like this he didn't want to fight them, but he knew they wouldn't stop pursuing Ahsoka until her innocence was proven and until he stopped them from chasing her that couldn't be done. He didn't want to fight them, but this was the only way and he needed to beat them fast, the longer the fight took the higher the chance someone else would find Ahsoka.
Leon ducked down and threw his arms out in both directions using the Force to push them back as he turned and leaped toward his former master prioritizing him as the bigger threat. The sharp sound of crashing electricity echoed around them as the two blades met. Master Fisto pushed up using the Force to augment his strength and break free of the blade lock and push Leon away. Leon stabbed his red saber into the ground to anchor himself and jumped forward again locking blades with his former master.
"I'm impressed" Fisto smiled, "You've really come a long way since I was your master".
"Glad you're enjoying the show" Leon grunted pushing the saber lock to his advantage, "Because I'm just getting started".
Leon pushed Fisto's saber away and kicked him in the gut and turned defending against a rush attack from Secura. Raising his green lightsaber Leon blocked Aayla's attack and twisted his blade around wresting the weapon from the Twi'lek's hands and pushing her away with the Force before turning his attention back to Fisto and kicking him in the knee causing him to collapse. Hooking his arm around Fisto's neck Leon moved his leg behind his and swept it out while pushing his entire body weight forward forcing his former master to the ground. The clothesline legsweep maneuver worked sending the Jedi Master crashing down back first to the ground knocking the wind out of him. Leon rolled to the side and onto his back raising his legs he rolled back onto his shoulders and sprang forward launching himself back up to a standing position in time to defend against Secura once again.
Leon crossed his two lightsabers in a scissor pattern to defend against Secura's overhead swing catching her blade between his. Secura struggled trying to push against the crossed blades in an attempt to gain leverage, but Leon moved his lightsabers to the side redirecting any strength she placed against him.
"You must stop this" she said to him trying to fight against the control he established over her lightsaber, "You want to protect Ahsoka I understand that, but this isn't the way to do it".
"Tell that to the Council" Leon told her, "They took away the other options".
Forcing the lightsabers upward Leon pushed Secura's weapon arm away and stepped forward within her reach he dropped his lightsabers and grabbed her arm. Planting his feet he twisted around and flung her over his shoulder slamming her to the ground, but before he could follow up his attack he was struck by the Force and thrown to the side. Sliding across the ground he felt his skin grind and tear against the worn concrete and his face twisted a bit at the pain as he got up meeting the eyes of Plo Koon again, the uppercut he landed earlier was meant to briefly incapacitate the Jedi Master, but he recovered faster than Leon expected. Behind them Master Fisto coughed a little as he returned to his feet and reclaimed his lightsaber once again it was three against one.
Leon looked down at his arm several scrapes and cuts and a single deep gash left his arm stained with blood. With a single flex of his arm he felt the bits of torn flesh sting like a dozen needle points pressing against him, but he balled his fist and glared at the three Jedi that stood before him and reactivated his lightsabers. Holding his red shoto saber reversed in his left hand and Thalia's lightsaber in his right he closed his eyes inhaling a slow breath through his nose and exhaled through his mouth as he centered himself.
"This ends now" he said opening his eyes.
Plo Koon moved in first with Master Fisto and Secura behind him fanning out to each side surrounding him and then, like a cornered animal Leon sprang forward ready to fight for his life.
Attacking with both his lightsabers at once Leon overpowered Plo Koon's guard knocking the Kel Dor off balance and pressing his attack. Swinging his red shoto saber upward Leon grazed the Jedi Master's robe cutting off part of his sleeve before stepping forward again and dropping into a ducking turn using the Force to push Secura away as Plo Koon's lightsaber passed over his head grazing a bit of his hair. Setting his hands on the ground Leon turned extending his leg and swept at Plo Koon taking his legs out from under him before springing up and leaping toward Master Fisto bringing his red saber down in an overhead swing.
Still holding the shoto saber reversed Leon pushed his weight down against his former master trying to force him off balance, but the Nautolan Jedi had braced himself before the strike allowing him stability in the brief clash. Pushing up from his one knee Fisto broke free of the saber clash and pushed Leon back with the Force leaving him open for Plo Koon to strike. A single step forward and a pivot and Leon avoided the attack batting away the Kel Dor's lightsaber he used the Force to push him away just as Secura jumped him. Holding his lightsaber up at an angle Leon stepped to the side and allowed the Twi'lek's lightsaber to clash and slide off his, he turned again and grabbed her by the shoulder using the Force Tap to numb and paralyze her arm as he pulled her forward as he stepped back throwing her to the side.
He turned away as Master Fisto caught Secura and engaged Plo Koon again strike after strike after strike their lightsabers clashed. Plo Koon used his height to his advantage again pushing down on Leon and then twisted his blade around trying to wrest Leon's lightsaber from his hand and when the lightsaber flew free from his opponent's hand Plo Koon saw him grin. Leon allowed the Jedi Master to disarm him knowing the circular motion would keep him from returning his lightsaber to a ready stance to guard or attack and that single second turned into his opening.
Leon stepped forward grinning as his lightsaber flew from his hand it was just like his time on Ord Mantell when he fought Count Dooku he allowed himself to be disarmed and surprised his opponent with his skill at hand to hand combat. Of course back then Leon didn't have the Force Tap power he came up with in his arsenal now it would prove to be his victory. The first punch landed before Plo Koon even realized he was open Force power being expelled from Leon's fist at the moment of impact and the Jedi Master felt his side go numb where he was struck. Curving around Leon landed a left hook into the Kel Dor's exposed shoulder again using the Force Tap to send a pulse of Force energy into the joint causing it to become numb. He grabbed hold of the Jedi Master's arm and ducked under it as he twisted it and pulled it to the side placing his other hand against the Kel Dor's shoulder and pushed down as he pulled his arm, bringing the Jedi Master to one knee he released his arm and pushed his shoulder again before bringing his own knee up catching Plo Koon in the center of his breathing mask cracking it.
The Kel Dor stumbled back his breathing mask damaged and he began gasping for air. He was open one hit to his spine and Leon would paralyze him for at least an hour eliminating him as a threat, but with his breathing mask damaged there was a high chance he would die before he recovered. Leon stood there he had the chance to finish him, but he waited watching the Jedi Master used the Force to help him breathe through the oxygen that was poison to him.
"Just so you know" he said as Plo Koon turned back to him, "I could have finished you just now. I'm letting you live because I promised Ahsoka I wouldn't kill you" he turned to the other two Jedi behind him, "So heed this warning well, I don't want to, but if you follow me again I will end you".
With Plo Koon's mask broken and the radial nerve in Aayla Secura's weapon arm damaged only Master Fisto was a threat to him, but he didn't follow as Leon ran off. The Nautolan Jedi who helped train him merely watched as his former student vanished into the darkness of the alleyways.
"Are you going to go after him?" Secura asked him holding her paralyzed arm.
"Not now" he replied, "I want to get you and Master Plo back to the temple first".
Once he was far enough away Leon raised his comlink and contacted Ahsoka asking where she was. She had managed to run a surprising distance during his fight stopping in a closed down night club to catch her breath, she was tired and exhausted she wanted to rest, but she waited for him to come for her.
She fell into his arms as he walked over to her, she let herself collapse against his chest tired of running she just wanted to rest for a bit now. He wrapped his arms around her and held her apologizing for taking so long and she managed a faint smile with everything that was happening she was happy to see him.
"I'm tired" she said leaning against him.
"I bet" he said with a short chuckle, "But it'll be over soon. We'll find a way to prove your innocence".
She looked up to him, "Is Master Plo ok?"
"He's not dead" Leon answered moving one hand up to her cheek, "He still means a lot to you doesn't he?"
She nodded, "He's the one who brought me to the Order even if he doesn't believe me he…" she noticed the blood on his arm, "What happened?" she asked grabbing his arm and holding it in what little light there was in the room.
"I kind of had a disagreement with the pavement" he joked.
There was a dirty cloth wrapped around most of the gash on his arm with blood still soaking through it something he did after running from Plo Koon and the others.
"How can you still joke at a time like this?" she asked shaking her head a little, but managing another small smile.
"Because it makes you smile" he answered looking at the slight curve of her lips, "Even if it's a small one…you're beautiful when you smile".
His hand moved from her cheek to behind her neck then around to her shoulder, she felt his other arm snake its way over her hip and to the small of her back and she tensed a bit as she stepped into his embrace. Her smile grew a little as she leaned closer to him, their eyes closing as their lips met.
As much as she loved him as happy as she was to be with him she was still sad and afraid, she was still on the run and she knew that until she was proven innocent he wouldn't stop fighting for her. He would take on the entire Grand Army without hesitation if it meant helping her, he would take on the entire Jedi Order even the High Council if he had to and it was his dedication to her now that worried her even more. He was willing to throw away everything to prove her innocence he was risking treason for her and now she was more afraid for his future than she was her own.
She pulled away from him still feeling the tingle of his lips against hers as she looked back into his eyes, "How far are you willing to go just to help me?"
"As far as I have to" he answered after a few seconds, "There's nothing I won't do for you Ahsoka".
"Don't say that" she said looking at the floor, "There has to be a line somewhere".
"There is no line when it comes to you" he said holding her tighter, "I can't lose you to Ahsoka, I love you".
"So it's as I suspected" someone said startling them.
Leon immediately released Ahsoka and reached for his lightsaber the silver blade flaring to life in his hands as Anakin emerged from the shadows.
"The two of you have become quite close" he said ignoring the active weapon in Leon's hands, "How long has it been?"
"Since Korriban" Leon answered stepping in front of Ahsoka, "Not that you care".
"I do care" Anakin replied shaking his head, "I care deeply for Ahsoka not just as my padawan, but as my friend as well. I want to help her, but you're not making it easy".
"Wrong" Leon said, "I'm only doing what the Council forced me to. If they had trusted in her from the start this wouldn't be an issue…and you can't say I'm wrong".
Anakin shook his head again, "No you're right. I don't like that the Council is doing this" he looked past Leon at Ahsoka, "I believe your innocent Ahsoka I do and I trust you, but running is only making it worse. Come back with me and turn yourself in I'll help prove you had nothing to do with this".
"I can't" Ahsoka said to him, "I trust you Anakin and I know you'd do everything you can to help me just like Leon is, but I can't prove my innocence if I'm locked up in a cell".
"I think it's clear your padawan isn't going to listen Skywalker" the emotionless voice of Mace Windu echoed through the empty room.
From behind Anakin Mace Windu appeared the stoic glare that seemed to be a permanent feature of his locked on his former padawan, "Leon you've greatly injured both Master Tiin and Master Plo Koon in defense of a fugitive".
"Do you ever shut up" Leon yelled, "I am tired of hearing your voice. Draw your lightsaber or leave".
Master Windu glared at his former padawan his arm reaching down to his belt. The violet colored blade came to life in his hand.
Leon squared his shoulders and took a step forward, "Ahsoka go" he said.
This time Ahsoka didn't argue she took a step back and whispered for him to be careful before fleeing from the dilapidated club.
"Skywalker" Windu began keeping his eyes on Leon, "Go get your padawan if you truly believe she is innocent the Council will grant her…"
His words were cut short as Leon leapt toward him the Force furthering the distance of his jump as his lightsaber came down in an overhead swing. Blocking the attack Master Windu pushed his lightsaber up repelling Leon's attack and the young Jedi Knight turned around calling his shoto saber to his hand and activating it as he turned attempting to impale his former master who jumped back.
Leon looked at Anakin for a brief second before turning his eyes back to his former master and attacked again. Windu brought his lightsaber up blocking another overhead swing and pushed it away just as the red shoto saber was swung at his mid section blocking it.
This was it, Leon thought a time he had been waiting for. He had sparred with Master Windu a few times in the past and almost defeated him in their last match, a master of all seven forms of lightsaber combat and a master over the Force as well he would prove to be the strongest opponent Leon had ever faced maybe even more so than when he faced Count Dooku and General Grievous alone on Ord Mantell. He felt a fire burning within him this was something he had been waiting for a chance to fight Mace Windu without holding anything back. There was a time when he had respect for him, but not any more.
Leon was done pretending to be nice to this one there was no more respect for him, he needed to be taught some humility and he would be more than happy to knock him off his pedestal.
An underhand swing from the left and Windu merely stepped back allowing the lightsaber to pass by him without a scratch before he stepped back in and blocked Leon's follow up attack twisting his blade around and pushing his former student's lightsaber away giving him a brief opening, but instead of attacking him he used the Force to push him back and try to pull the lightsabers from his hands.
Holding onto them Leon stood back up and glared at him, "Let me make one thing perfectly clear, you will take me seriously. There is no holding back this time no thinking you can just overcome me with pathetic pushes and basic attacks. If you don't come at me with everything you've got I will kill you".
"You had so much potential, so much promise. For you to fall this far"
"I haven't fallen" Leon yelled, "I haven't failed. It is you and the Council that has failed. So quick to turn against one of your own so quick to turn Ahsoka into a sacrificial lamb just so you can save face in front of the Republic".
Leon rushed in again his form switching from Djem So to Ataru and after a number of strikes he pivoted and jumped flipping over his former master and switched from Ataru to Makashi locking blades again. A master of all forms of combat Master Windu was able to immediately recognize what form Leon had switched to and counter it, but was amazed at how quickly and seamlessly he switched from one to the other. Leon had practiced the first six forms during his time as a padawan finding expertise in Ataru, Shien Djem So and Niman, but he never practiced the first three forms past his basic training so when and where did he learn how to utilize Makashi so effectively and to switch between forms so easily.
Back in the stance of Djem So Leon attacked again his strike blocked and deflected by his former master before he struck with his second lightsaber only to have it blocked as well. Pulling his arm back he feigned a strike with his silver lightsaber and switched his attack in mid swing as Windu moved to defend he struck with his red shoto saber catching the Jedi Master off guard and scoring a hit.
Master Windu backed away and looked down at his forearm it was only a graze, but the tip of the lightsaber made contact and he could feel his skin burning. Leon had never fought like this before he was using lightsaber techniques he had never seen in all his years as a Jedi.
"Where did you learn to fight like that?" he asked his former student, "You've never fought like this before".
It was the techniques of Tulak Hord, the techniques he learned from a holocron he found in the deceased Sith Lord's tomb on Korriban. A true master of lightsaber combat that was unrivaled even in his time, he left the secrets to a few of his techniques and battle styles in a holocron and had it buried with him for anyone who could brace the Sith world to find. It was almost a year ago when Leon found those secrets on Korriban and since then he had only used a few of them in combat enhancing his proficiency and utilizing them into his own style something he had been training at since he and Ahsoka were rescued from the dead world of the Sith and now he was ready to unleash it all.
"So you won't answer me" Windu concluded as Leon remained silent, "Very well".
This time Windu attacked first and Leon stepped to the side bringing his red lightsaber down on top of Windu's as it missed him and swinging his silver one right at his former master's neck. Master Windu was unable to defend with his lightsaber the parry and counter attack happened too quickly leaving him with only the Force as a means of defending himself. He pushed Leon away, but Leon slid back on his heels and pivoted spinning and throwing his red lightsaber at him and then turning around and throwing his silver lightsaber as well.
Throwing his two lightsabers Leon reached for Thalia's and the one he took after defeating Master Tiin he charged in waiting for his former master to use the Force to push away the first two lightsabers before he threw Master Tiin's at him. He watched Master Windu call the lightsaber to his hand and he dropped into a crouch as he turned on his heel dragging Thalia's lightsaber across the floor as he turned and sprang upward. He turned and jumped adding the momentum from his movements into his strike allowing him to overpower Windu's guard and before he could recover he grabbed him with the Force and lifted him up before slamming him into the floor the old hardwood giving way and cracking under the impact.
"Get up" Leon barked as his old master slowly rose to one knee, "I told you to stop holding back. Come at me with your Vaapad".
Windu froze for a moment at Leon's demand he was challenging him to use Vaapad against him. No if he did that it would only result in Leon's death he could not he would defeat his former student without it.
"I said get up" Leon said using the Force to pull Windu to his feet.
Windu stumbled a step regaining his balance before setting himself in the opening stance of Djem So.
"No" Leon yelled, "No more holding back you will use Vaapad".
Master Windu looked at him his glare gone replaced by questioning eyes, "No matter what techniques you've learned, you won't be able to stand up to that style".
"Try me" Leon growled recalling his silver lightsaber to his hand, "If you don't use it you will die here".
The hilt of Thalia's lightsaber suddenly became hot and the weapon switched off in his hand. Leon stared at the hilt for a moment feeling it become hotter and hotter until it burned him and he hissed dropping it.
"You're giving in to your anger" Windu told him, "You're letting anger drive you to the dark side".
"Enough" Leon yelled using the Force to call his red shoto saber back to him, "I don't need the solari crystal to kill you".
They both ran forward meeting in the center of the room and their weapons clashed again, silver and red meeting violet. The three lightsabers flashed through the air crashing against each other moving so fast that they would appear as blurs of light to anyone watching. An overhead swing followed up by a slash from the side and then a thrust each blocked and countered by a quick jab or slash neither of them backed away and continued to parry and counter attack. An even fight with both opponents using Djem So countering blow after blow neither able to land a hit until they locked blades again.
Leon crossed his lightsabers capturing Windu's between them and pushed them to the side and he stepped forward with a lunge and slammed his forehead against his former master's face. The headbutt caused both of them to stumble back Leon quickly shaking the cobwebs from his head and waiting for his opponent to recover and he charged in again. Using the Force, Leon pushed Windu's saber away as he attacked and extended his arm out wrapping it around Windu's neck as he ran past him knocking him to the ground.
The air left his lungs once Leon's arm slammed across his neck and what little was left was forcefully expelled as his back hit the floor and then it dawned on him, Leon wasn't holding back anymore he was attacking with the intention to harm and kill. Slowly getting back to his feet Windu took a moment to massage his neck before glaring at his former apprentice.
"So be it" he said setting himself in a stance Leon hadn't seen before, "Just remember you asked for this".
"About time" Leon said analyzing the opening stance of Vaapad, "Now I'll get to beat you at your best".
Windu lunged forward and attacked and Leon immediately was forced into a defensive stance, attacks coming from every angle in mere seconds. Leon began stepping back as he blocked and parried strike after strike his eyes and mind straining to keep track of his opponent's lightsaber, he had never seen anything attack so fast with each strike he guarded against he could feel the ferocity behind it and he understood why so few were ever allowed to practice this form. Violent, precise and ruthless this was a form that was meant for killing one's enemies and Leon pushed his opponent into unleashing it.
He stepped back again barely managing to defend against the onslaught unable to find an opening or opportunity for a counter attack, there was no chance to parry the second he blocked an attack another came from a different angle. Again he stepped back defending against the dozens of attacking blades and then his back met the wall and he was trapped. He blocked another strike and then a second and a third and a fourth then the fifth finally found a mark. Leon felt the edge of Windu's lightsaber cut through the skin of his arm and he let out a short yell of pain as he fell to the side clutching his injured arm.
The arm he injured earlier in his fight against Plo Koon the lightsaber seared the skin and cutting off the dirt covered blood soaked cloth. Holding his hand over the injured arm he kept his lightsaber held up in a weakened guard his fierce gaze trained on his former master who had stopped attacking.
"A valiant attempt Leon" he said, "Surrender".
He was outmatched, he wanted to see Vaapad to fight against it, but now he realized it was too much it was something he could not defeat. He looked past Windu across the room where he had dropped Thalia's lightsaber with the power of the solari crystal he would stand a better chance, but the crystal had rejected him he allowed his anger at his former master to taint him and deter him from his true intention without the solari crystal's power he could not win. He was defeated.
Leon lowered his head and switched off his lightsaber still clutching his arm as he leaned his back against the wall for support and his former master stepped back switching off his own lightsaber.
"General Windu" a clone's voice shouted from his comlink, "We've spotted Tano she's fleeing toward the Slum district G17 we'll have her surrounded soon".
"Ahsoka" his mind yelled.
He actually forgot about her. He was so obsessed with besting his former master that he forgot the entire reason he was fighting in the first place. He was doing this for her to protect her to make sure she wasn't charged for a crime she didn't commit. His whole purpose was to protect her and he failed, he allowed his anger at Master Windu to cloud his judgment and push him away from his real path.
"No" he thought pushing off the wall and walking forward.
Seeing Leon move Master Windu dropped into a half stance and watched Leon walk past him still clutching his arm and half dragging one foot as he walked across the room toward Thalia's lightsaber.
"It's useless to you" Windu said as he watched Leon kneel down and reach for it.
Leon pictured Ahsoka in his mind her bright smile and half nervous half happy eyes he wanted to see her smile again. She was beautiful when she smiled.
His fingers wrapped around the lightsaber hilt and he picked it up it was warm again and he could feel the crystal's power flowing through him.
He turned to his former master, "I have no more time to play with you" he switched the lightsaber on and jumped surprising his old master as their blades locked again.
Windu fell into the Vaapad form again attacking swiftly and relentlessly, but this time Leon could see. The solari crystal enhanced his Force powers and he understood what his former master was doing, he was so focused on defending himself earlier he didn't notice what was so obvious. He was using the Force to increase his speed. He wanted to slap himself for not noticing it, Force Speed was an ability he had used himself on many occasions and now he would use it again.
He focused the Force within his body and mind centering himself and parried Master Windu's next strike and struck back catching him by surprise. The Jedi Master faltered for a moment and attacked again, but his former student parried yet again and struck back forcing him to block. This couldn't be happening, he wasn't just standing up to Vaapad he was matching it.
Blocking the next strike Leon took his chance and stepped forward focusing the Force into his hand he slammed his open palm against Windu's stomach expelling the built up Force energy upon impact and the Jedi Master felt his stomach flip around and turn inside out as he stumbled back. This was were it would end, Leon stepped forward again and slapped his hand against the side and base of Windu's neck stunning him with another Force Tap and chaining the hit into a jab at his clavicle. The next three jabs came in rapid succession all finding their mark in the center of the Jedi Master's chest before Leon ducked to the side and hooked his arm around Windu's as he moved behind him. Leon's arm hooked around Windu's he placed his other hand against his shoulder and pushed it back as he jerked at his arm and in one forceful move he dislocated the Jedi Master's arm.
Windu clenched his teeth and screamed when he felt his arm being pulled from its socket. Releasing the useless limb Leon got behind his former master and kicked out his knee forcing him down before slapping his open hands against both of his ears disorienting him. A sharp ringing sound echoed in the Jedi Master's ears after Leon slapped him he began feeling weak his physical strength vanishing as his body became numb and then he felt something jab him at the base of his spine and he could no longer move.
Leon stepped back and watched the paralyzed body of his former master dropped to the floor, he would live and his arm could be set back in place, but for now he was defeated. Reaching down he claimed Windu's lightsaber and left without sparing his defeated opponent another glance.
He rushed as fast as his exhausted body would take him arriving at Slum district G17 and he saw several groups of clone troopers splitting up to comb the area, Ahsoka was nearby. He moved past them sneaking by most of them and taking down the few he couldn't slip by and finally he found her again.
"Leon" she gasped seeing him.
She ran over to him and he wrapped his arms around her, "They're here" he said, "They'll have us surrounded in a few moments we need to move".
"He's at his limit" she noted to herself seeing how exhausted he was.
She had seen him like this before, multiple times. After Edge died he locked himself in the training chambers pushing himself farther than anyone should be able to and taking on training regiments meant for Jedi Masters regiments that should have killed him especially since he turned off the safety features. She had watched him for several consecutive days pushing himself to the brink of collapse and then forcing himself to continue. He did that because his best friend had died and now he was doing the same to protect her. She was worried, at this rate he would definitely collapse from the strain and exhaustion he had to stop.
"Leon" she said quietly, "This needs to stop".
He was panting now gasping with every breath, "Not until…we clear your name".
"Not like this" she told him, "You've done enough. You're pushing yourself too far for my sake".
"What else can we do?" he gasped, "There's no other option except giving up".
"I know" she said lowering her eyes, "I don't want to, but you can't keep fighting for my sake".
He reached up and rested his hand on her cheek, "Ahsoka…if we give up now they're going to put you in a cell until they're ready to put you on trial".
"I know" she admitted.
"They're going to charge you with high treason, that's punishable".
"By death" she finished for him, "I know and it scares me, but I can't keep running while you're killing yourself to help me".
He shook his head, "We can still do this" he gasped leaning closer to her, "I can't lose you to…We can still find a way to do this".
"I wish you would heed Ahsoka's words Leon".
Leon reached for his lightsaber and turned his exhaustion turning to desperation as he set eyes on Luminara Unduli.
"This doesn't concern you Luminara" he panted still trying to catch his breath, "Just walk away".
"You know I can't do that" the Mirialan Jedi Master said taking a few steps toward him, "Leon I know you want to protect Ahsoka, but this isn't the right way to do it".
"That's funny coming from the people who turned their backs on her".
Luminara closed her eyes for a moment, "You once asked me to trust you. Trust that you would always know right from wrong and would never do anything that risked falling to the dark side. You asked me to trust that in spite of your passion and attachments to your friends that you would always remain true to your beliefs. Now I'm asking you to trust me".
She opened her eyes and held out her hand, "Let this end peacefully. I promise I will do everything in my power to help Ahsoka".
"I trust you Luminara" he said finally catching his breath, "It's the rest of the Council and the Senate I don't trust. If we turn ourselves in now without proof of innocence you know what will happen" he shook his head, "I can't let that happen".
He activated his lightsaber, "Please…just go away".
Luminara spotted Mace Windu's lightsaber on his belt, "You defeated Master Windu…you've truly become a very talented Jedi. I couldn't be prouder of you even now you're protecting someone important against impossible odds. Your dedication and devotion is truer than anything I have ever seen".
"Stop" Leon begged, "Just stop…no more talk just go away and leave us alone".
"I take no pleasure in this" she said, "But I have my duty. I want to resolve this peacefully, but I will not just walk away".
"Don't make me do this" Leon continued to beg, "I don't want to hurt you".
His lightsaber felt heavy in his hands and his vision began blurring a little as he set himself in the opening stance of Djem So, he didn't want to do this he would take on anyone else without hesitation, but Luminara was important to him. She was the one who brought him to the Jedi Order and since she had always been there for him if he needed help, she became like a mother figure to him and now she was standing against him trying to arrest Ahsoka just like the others. He didn't want to do it, but if it meant protecting Ahsoka he would fight Luminara, his first master, his friend, he would fight her with everything he had left.
His vision blurred even more as he took a step forward and he felt his chest tighten, he froze in place his lightsaber becoming too heavy for him to hold and it fell from his hands. He couldn't breathe his chest tightened even more and he dropped to his knees struggling to breathe and then the first convulsion started. His back arced and he felt like something was clogged in his throat trying to force its way up and then he began coughing. Falling to his hands he coughed again this time more violently and his mind became riddled with fear when he realized what was going on.
It had been so long since it last happened, he had almost forgotten about it. The virus, the mysterious illness he contracted it had been so long since it last affect him he began to forget about it.
He coughed again this time unable to inhale afterwards before coughing again and with the next one blood spewed from his mouth and his limbs became weak and he collapsed to his elbows.
He felt a hand on his shoulder, it was Ahsoka she was next to him panicking trying to help worried for his safety and then he saw Luminara next to her.
He coughed again vomiting more blood and bile still unable to inhale as his throat closed after each expelled breath and finally his blurry vision turned to blackness and the oxygen deprivation caused him to pass out.
Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories - Sun Tzu