Disclaimer: I own nothing of the canon Star Wars universe. This is merely for my own amusement. (And anyone else who cares to read it.)

Rated M for sexual content, conversations of child abuse and rape, foul language, graphic violence.

Alternate Canon Divergence, Original Characters

Pairings: Obi Wan/Maul, Luke/Han, Ooc/Ooc and others that are either cannon or forthcoming.

Summary:

The Champion of the Living is missing. His partner will strive to save his Jedi before the Corruption takes tok strong of a hold. The key lies in a bond between the Champion and a new Jedi Knight. Can the Champion of the Cosmic Force find him in time? All is born new in The Flames of the Force. A continuation of True Balance.

Flames of the Force

Prelude

Luke yawned loudly, slumped in the co-pilot's seat of the Falcon. He was due for a nap and hoped Han would take over soon. Leia had sent them on a mission near the unknown territories. It was dangerous. He sighed and looked woefully at the cockpit door. "I shouldn't use the Force." He scolded himself before he let the urge even start. "It would be irresponsible."

Besides, Han would never be the same if Luke influenced him with the Force. He was a suspicious and untrusting man to begin with. It would never be worth his friendship. Instead, the blond Jedi commed a request to R2-D2.

Luke smiled in a few minutes when he heard a distinct crash and yelp from the crew quarters. Sure enough, Han Solo came charging in, buckling his holster belt. He was grumbling angrily. "Hey!" He spun Luke's chair around and leaned in closely. His green eyes were narrowed. "Did you tell that little trash bin to zap me awake?"

Luke yawned. "Well, if it makes you fell any better, I'll probably not make it to the beds. I'm sleeping here and will probably end up with an ache in my neck." He sighed dramatically.

"It does make me feel better. And you're still a kid." Han plopped into the pilot's seat. "You don't get to complain about aches and pains. Not like the one I will have in my kriffing thigh for a kriffing week because of your little droid." He shot Luke a glare. He continued to stare until the Jedi decided to address it.

"What now, old man?" He asked.

"You look tired." He stated plainly.

Luke gave him a withering glance. "Are you kidding me? You oversleep and you're going to lecture me about being tired?"

Han huffed. "That's not what I mean, Luke. You know that. You don't really sleep much anymore. We've been off on Leia's errands for months and you barely sleep more than a few hours a day."

He shrugged. He knew why he wasn't sleeping. There was a massive squall of Dark energy forming near the Unknown Region. He could feel it. Not only that, there was a smaller cluster of energy that was so familiar, it was border-line maddening. Normally, he could rely on Ben's spirit to guide him, but he hadn't seen Ben for some time. "I don't want to scare you with Jedi boogy-men."

"If I didn't want to involve myself with Jedi nonsense, I'd have never saved your sorry butt from several of your nonsensical Jedi stunts." The smuggler assured him. "Is it something we should investigate?"

"Once I can figure out more, I'll make that decision. For now, we stick to Leia's plan." Luke yawned loudly.

Han stood and rifled through a compartment. He tossed a blanket at his friend. "Get some rest, kid. It's gonna be a bumpy ride. I got that gut feeling."

"Oh no, if Han's gut says it, it must be true!" Luke retorted cheekily. "That's your stomach telling you to eat." But, in the back of his mind, Luke knew that his friend was right. Something was heading straight towards them and he was not sure if that was a good or bad thing.

.

The day after he had been jolted awake by a sassy R2 unit, Han was still rubbing his leg. It was mostly to annoy Luke. He really did not have any more pain but, he wanted to get back at the little Jedi.

Luke, however, was not phased in the slightest by his grumbling and groaning. He never was. Since day one, the kid was obstinate, cheeky, and for the most part, unflappable. Regardless, Han would keep it up for a bit.

"I'm going to scrap that thing." He warned emptily.

Luke shrugged, still staring out the window. "You could never get close enough. He'd just zap you again." He replied with only half of his attention in the ship.

"You going to tell me what's up or am I just going to sit here and worry... like always?" Han sighed, noticing that the dark circles under the blue eyes were getting more contrast.

"Since when do you worry?" Luke finally looked away from the stars and at the smuggler.

He shrugged. "Ever since I took that job for that old fossil." He mumbled.

Luke scoffed, clearly catching the response. "Fine. I'm afraid it might only worry you more, but fine. Something bad is brewing. I can feel a huge amount of the Dark Side where we are going and I don't know what it is."

"Well, damn." Han instantly regretted his question.

"Not only that but, I can also sense some Light Side power nearby as well. It's... familiar..." The Jedi trailed off, eyes returning to the sky.

They would come out of hyperspace soon and Han wished for ignorant bliss. "Should have never asked." He grumbled, prepping to come out of hyperspace.

"I told you so."

In a few minutes, the ship slowed into space and they looked out into the stars. The Known Galaxy was at their back. The Unknown was ahead. Han swallowed the lump in his throat. "Here goes nothing." He said nervously as he pushed the throttle forward.

They travelled no longer than half an hour before he spotted a flash of light. It looked like a comet heading towards them, but it was much brighter and smaller. "What the hell...?" He looked over at his copilot.

Luke was staring at the light, sky-blue eyes wide. "It's here." He whispered.

"What's here?!" Han demanded. When he didn't get an answer, he clicked his tongue. "Come on, kid, don't space out. You gotta give me something." The Falcon began to rumble in some turbulence.

Luke shook his head, snapping out of his thoughts. "It's not Dark energy." He said confidently and the smuggler relaxed as the orb of light drew nearer. His baby continued to shake slightly and Han prayed that she'd hold together.

There was a blinding flash in the cockpit and Han felt like he was going to pass out. The light faded. All that remained of it was an orb the size of his fist, floating like a spirit between the two men.

"Luke." It said in a strange voice that was both young and old. "Luke Skywalker. I have been sent by my Champion to guide you."

"Who are you?" The Jedi asked, voice calm. His nonchalance relaxed the smuggler, who felt very uncomfortable with what was happening in front of him.

"Who do you think I am?" The orb asked with a giggle.

Luke's brow furrowed into his signature 'pondering' expression. He thought for a long moment.

That gave Han time to evaluate the situation. Luke is tired for days. Luke lies about being tired because he's a dumb ass kid. Luke finally admits to some strange Force business in the direction they were headed. Random physics-altering lantern appears. So, business as usual. Han thought with a grim smirk.

"You feel like a Force signature. But it's strange." The blond finally spoke up again. "Like you are familiar and strange at the same time."

"I am the Living Force. And I come to you in great need." The light floated around the cockpit. It seemed worried about something. "My Champion is in grave danger. His partner will need your help to save him."

"Who is this Champion?" Luke asked, still at ease.

The orb settled on R2. "One that you once called Master. I can guide you to their home."

"We have a mission, kid." Han looked at Luke, knowing the curiosity would be too much for him.

Sure enough, Luke waved him off. He addressed the intruder. "Which Master? I had two. Both are dead." He countered. It was a good point, Han had to admit.

"Both live. Yet all may perish if the Champion is to be fully corrupted. The Cosmic Champion will need all the help he can get."

"Why me?" The Jedi continued his queries. "And how do I know this is not a trap?"

"You remind me of him." The orb giggled. "Always asking questions. Well, my dear Luke, reach out to the Force. Find me."

Luke gave Han an apologetic glance and began to concentrate. The orb began to glow even more fiercely. The longer the pilot meditated, the brighter it became. Suddenly, blue eyes snapped open in shock. "Ben!" He gasped. Blinking, he looked to the smuggler. "It's him. He is alive."

"Are you sure? I distinctly remember Vader slicing him in half." Han replied.

"Stranger things have happened, Han." The Jedi countered.

"Not like this, Luke." Damn, the kid was being obstinate again. He knew he wouldn't win this battle. So, for the millionth time, it seemed, he pushed his discomfort aside and sighed. "Fine, kid. Let's go chasing ghosts."

.

Luke felt badly. He knew Han did not want to follow along with the Force. But what he felt was unmistakable. They had been traveling at a normal pace through the Unknown Galaxy with the floating orb for a few days. It seemed that the Living Force could only travel at certain speeds.

He had learned a lot from the energetic light, through his endless questioning. The Force was patient and answered carefully. Some answers were straight forward and others were like riddles. It took patience with the more convoluted responses and he felt as if he were doing well.

Han seemed less at ease. He put on the face for Luke's sake. But the Jedi could feel the nerves fraying in the suspicious Corellian every time he was around the orb. It didn't help that Chewbacca was all the way on Courascant with Leia. Han was always calmer around Chewie.

They travelled for a what seemed like only days at a normal pace. Luke promised to map the Unknown, and map it he would. He was surprised to realize that they had been at it for nearly two weeks. A hand on his shoulder startled him. He looked up to see green eyes giving him a sympathetic look.

"You must be dead on your feet if you I can sneak up on you." Han sighed as he crouched by Luke's chair, hand not leaving his shoulder.

"I'm fine, Han. You do not need to worry so much." He shook his head.

The smuggler clicked his tongue and grabbed each side of his head gently. He force Luke to make eye contact. "You've been grilling that orb for a while now. You go days without sleeping. You need to rest, kid."

Luke sighed and placed his hand on one of Han's. "I wish you would be less of a nanny." He smiled in defeat.

Han flashed his knee-weakening grin. "Not gunna happen, kid." He stood. "Someone has to make sure you stay alive. Apparently, the Galaxy still needs you." He offered his hand to the Jedi.

Luke felt his chest swell when he was pulled forward and onto his feet. Han stood mere inches away, still holding onto his hand. He could smell the scent of engine oil and a hint of wine. "Han?" He started quietly.

"Just waiting." He shrugged, not letting go.

The Jedi frowned. "For what?" And then it hit him. A squall of dizziness rushed over him and he felt himself fall backwards. Before he got very far, he was yanked forward and into the chest of Han Solo.

"For that." The Captain chuckled before steadying Luke on his feet. "I told you that you need rest. When will you learn to listen to me for once?"

Luke laughed, allowing himself to lean against his friend. "If I listened to everything you said, I'd be a criminal right now."

Han supported him down to the quarters. Half way there, Luke stumbled and the taller man grunted as he hoisted the Jedi into his arms. "You are running on fumes." Han muttered as he elbowed the door controls to the Captain's bunk.

Luke almost let out a protest to be put in his own room. But Han was being stubborn and probably wanted to make sure he wouldn't stay awake. Also, Han's bed was more comfortable than Chewie's lumpy mattress. So, he kept his mouth shut and allowed his friend to dump him onto the bed. He sunk into the thick mattress with a sigh.

A tugging at his foot made him tear his face away from the blankets. Han was yanking off his boots, clearly annoyed with the extra clasps. Once he freed Luke's other foot, he pulled off his own boots and belt, dropped his blaster onto the side table, and flopped down next to the blond.

Luke instinctively turned his back to Han. His cheeks burned at the overwhelming smell of 'Han' around the room and the proximity of the man himself. He tensed slightly at the shift of weight behind him and the touch of a heavy arm slung over his midsection. The Jedi senses were in overload, despite his lack of energy. He could feel the light breath wafting over his head and the measured, calm heartbeat behind him. He could sense that Han was not quite asleep yet.

This was not the first time Han had carried Luke back to this room to sleep. And it was not the first time that Han had snuggled up to him in a sleepy daze. But the smuggler never pushed any farther and they never actually spoke about it yet. Every time Luke tried, Han would deflect and evade.

"Han?" He asked into the darkness.

"Go to sleep, kid."

Luke huffed. After a few moments, he tried again. "Is this why you and Leia-"

"Go to sleep, kid." He repeated.

Luke sighed and relaxed into the bed. Han could go in a loop for hours when he wanted to avoid a conversation. He felt the grip around his waist tighten slightly. The Jedi could sense the stir of internal conflict in himself. As sleep finally began to take him, an image of a man began to form in his vision.

The face was blurred at first, but as the darkness of slumber grew, the features sharpened. It was a Zabrak male with scarlet skin and bright, golden eyes. Black tattoos contrasted menacingly against his skin. A perfectly spaced set of horns crowned his head. The stranger's mouth opened to speak, yet before he could utter a word, Luke lost all consciousness and he slept for the first time in a week.

Thus begins Part II of the Temple of the Force series. Hope you enjoy!