Where The Eyes Open
A Star Wars AU
Genre: Drama, action.
Rating: PG-13 for action sequences, mild language, and angst.
Disclaimer/Author's note: This is where I would normally put a bit of an explanation as to what this is all about. But I won't, I know it'll explain as it goes. Pay attention. The chapter beginning quotes will explain history—and as I update, the characters will explain the AU. This is a Star Wars alternate universe fic. It means it wouldn't happen, and cannot happen, canonically. It does not contain any weird pairings or slash. Just a bunch of violence and angst quantum mechanics and things that aren't canon. Lucas owns all but the bunch of original characters and places and things, which if you're lazy enough to steal… whatever…
I dedicate this story to Amidala Skywalker. You challenged me to write, to write well, and to write Star Wars. You'll be missed and your return awaited. And when I write The End on this story, that's for you.
Cover: Fanfic does NOT like URLs. If you go to Jedi. net, to the Jedi Library, find the thread for this story--my images are collected in there, including chapter headers.
This is the galaxy.
It unfolds beneath your feet. Look, see—see the fragments and shadows and broken stars that fill this blank with color. See the planets…
And the dark. It's only occasionally broken when you look closer and see just how large this galaxy underneath your bare feet is.
Take a step.
It fills your lungs with black.
See, these planets? A yellow gem, a blue stone, an earthen orb, an obsidian marble only shattered by sparks of gold. Name them. Coruscant. Sullust. Yavin. Kashyyyk. Utapau. And stars… they gleam with life and death. They ask a question; is there Light, or is there Dark? Which is it that binds this galaxy together? So many thoughts and questions to penetrate as you're drawn closer to this black hole, a void and vacuum that drains all life and matter into an untouchable maw. It's there, it grabs your mind…
…You can't step away.
Its eyes have been opened.
"It was the closest I ever saw him to the dark side." -Kenobi
"Master!" The heavy patter of footsteps is abnormal to the grace and peace that floods this Temple with sophistication and seems to shatter that mood. "Master, Master!" Qui-Gon Jinn turned at the voice screeching out his title and lifted a hand to stop his overly eager apprentice midstep as he grew quickly closer. No need, Tanon Young flew to a halt, his polished black boots skidding and shrieking on the white floor until he stopped a couple feet away from his tall Master. He gasped for breath, chest rising up and down. "I've been looking all over for you!"
"I am here." Qui-Gon gave him an admonishing look. "And you should have long learned your lesson, my apprentice—one cannot simply dash through the halls like a madman. Have you any idea how foolish you look?"
Tanon glanced away, not looking quite as ashamed as he should have. "Sorry, Master. It won't happen again, Master."
"I'm quite sure." There was a lingering undertone of knowledgeable sarcasm. Qui-Gon knew perfectly well that nothing short of space tape and a wall would hold his eager apprentice still for more than a few minutes. And even that was sometimes doubtful. He was certain that Tanon could make an escape if he was really that eager.
I trained him well, thought Qui-Gon ruefully, then added. "Well, I am here. What is it, my young apprentice."
Tanon snickered at that, and it took a moment before Qui-Gon caught the slip, and internally shook his head. This one had yet to learn control of his boundless emotions…
Then Tanon grinned. "They're doing a live showing of the game on the big screen, Master! Can I go? Please?"
Which game? thought Qui-Gon, and voiced it after a moment.
"The big holoball game against the Blitzers!" Tanon looked like he could rocket through the roof in his enthusiasm. "On the big screen! The really big screen! Raidis invited me! Can I go? Please, please, please? It's the final game of the season and if the Corusci Rangers win, they'll take home the cup!"
One side of Qui-Gon's mind sighed, and said the boy should not have been allowed to be obsessed with sports. The other side said that Tanon was doing really well with his studies, and even if the boy was overly eager to go out with his friends simply to gaze at mindless action portrayed on a projector, he deserved a break occasionally. He wondered where that thought came from. No apprentice simply was given a break. Such things had to be earned. But if he didn't give Tanon permission, the boy would simply sneak out and face the consequences, as dire as they could be.
Qui-Gon gave a heavy sigh. Tanon waited, rocking back and forth on his heels.
"All right," the Master finally said. He would cave in to the boy's wishes. It wasn't as if his Trials were near. "But you must be back by 1500 hours. Our presence is required at the Dims Park."
"Yessir!" Tanon clasped his hands and bowed formally. "Thank you, sir!"
Qui-Gon watched with a heavy sigh as Tanon dashed back down the hall, disrespectful of the hallowed silence that filled the Temple with power. Eventually the boy would learn, and become more than Young, his apprentice. He would have to face his Trials, and whether or not he failed, he would learn his lesson.
The Sith Master straightened his drab black robes and headed off in the opposite direction. More proper activities awaited him than mindless sports.
"He shoots! Look at that ball go! Is it going to—he scores! Unbelievable! The match continues!"
Tanon swore. A group of his fellow apprentices were gathered around the holoscreen to eagerly watch the final match of the season. The room gleamed with blue light radiating from the screen. A few non-Force users had also joined them, and for once the boys didn't mind. As fans, they cheered and booed in all the right places, and for now it was that, not the Force, that mattered.
"Davon is an idiot!"
"He should have stopped that throw!"
A course of boos followed the beginning of the commercials, but they settled back in for the final round with their junk food as close companions once more. The thrilling match continued, until the final bell rang with a clang that echoed through the room, amplified by the huge speakers. The young Sith jumped up, yelping in excitement, the furthest from graceful they could possibly be. The Corusci Rangers had won, and yet again, they'd—
"—Take home the holo cup! And that's it, Coruscant, for the year end holoball!"
The planet's anthem began to play, ringing out over the gigantic speakers set up in the lounge.
"Hey, wanna go get some Hothies?" Andern suggested. There was a course of agreement, and the Sith apprentices began to gather up the remains of their snacks.
Tanon swore suddenly. "Huttslime!"
"What iszit? Run out'a Jawa Juice?" slurred one of his slightly older companions—this one had been old enough to legally get alcohol, and was close to inebriated.
Tanon shook his head. "I promised Master Jinn I'd be back—he'll have my kriffing hide!"
"It's only ten minutes late…"
"What, your Master doesn't skin you if you're late?" Ten minutes was ten minutes. Tanon scooped up a few more energy bars and shoved them into one of the pockets on his belt, dashing for the door. This was one time he couldn't spend lingering, hanging around to pick up snack foods and mood-altering substances. Ordinarily, he might have. But Qui-Gon had been quite specific, and Tanon didn't want to be on the dark side of his teacher's moods. The dark side of the Force was much less dangerous. "Great game, see you if I don't get skewered!"
He spun through the door, leaving it swinging in his path. But Tanon didn't have far to go. Qui-Gon waited at the exit, arms folded and a disproving stare wrinkling his ordinarily calm features. He still seemed calm. Just more disgruntled than normal.
Tanon skidded to a halt inches from slamming into the foreboding figure of his teacher and clasped his hands, bowing deeply. "I'm sorry, Master. The game went into overtime."
"I'm sure." Qui-Gon set off in the direction of his speeder, a blue hotrod that seemed quite unfitting to his Master's austere personality.
No lecture? thought Tanon incredulously, as he hopped into the passenger's seat and buckled himself in. That was an anomaly. He always got a lecture if he didn't obey orders down to the very stroke, letter, and dot.
The Master paced around the speeder, climbing gracefully in and pulling them out into traffic. They headed north, up towards Dims Park.
"I assume your companions played a part in your delay?" his teacher asked after a moment.
"I'm sorry, Master." Tanon stared out into the traffic, keeping his face expressionless.
"I assume you will remain sorry after spending a few hours in meditation—while cleaning the refreshers?"
Tanon grimaced. "Yes, Master. I'm sorry. I lost track of the time."
"At least you are honest."
Qui-Gon never signaled that the conversation was over, simply went back to his regal silence. Tanon decided it was better to not interfere, and leaned back, gazing at the speeders that passed them. They had right of way, as Sith—no one would interfere with official Sith business—but Qui-Gon rarely took advantage of that legal pull. They followed the calm speed of the traffic and eventually pulled off into a dive, heading down towards a huge, cleared area, filled with fountains.
The Imperial Palace wasn't so far from here; the Dims Park was the one right underneath the huge, impassable wall that surrounded the Palace. Mist made it hard to see for parking, but computerized routes led speeders through on a vector right into clear places, in a lot hidden just underneath the false ground.
Tanon was glad to jump back out and stretch his legs again, though it had been a short drive. He had already been sitting (mostly) for the entirety of the holoball game. Now—he assumed his Master had some sort of meeting or there was some event that was to occur in the park. Qui-Gon wasn't one for unnecessary exposition.
"Where are we going?" Tanon eventually ventured.
Hey, who called it? he thought. "With who? Why?"
"With the Chief of Security. You certainly ask a great many questions today."
Tanon took that as a sign he should stop talking, and fell silent. He supposed he should try stay on Qui-Gon's good side from now. It wasn't every day you were apprenticed to a member of the Sith Council, after all.
"Hurry up!" cried Morthain Li through the rusted grate, and Anakin Skywalker winced, jerking back to reality—they were standing in a foot of stagnant water in stained robes, passing up younglings to Morthain, who leaned through the opening to pull them through.
The roaring swell of water drawing closer could already be heard, bouncing off of the scum caked walls.
Anakin bent down and took the next youngling from Turgoes, passing her up through to Morthain. She vanished through the grate into safety. The other three were looking quite uneasy by the time, but Anakin gave them a reassuring smile. "We'll make it…"
They were passing up the Rodian, the second to last, when a frantic shout from the sentry broke them out of their meager hope.
"Lock up! Lock up!"
The sentry was safe; he had a sealed box. The Jedi, however—Anakin swore and jumped down, leaving Morthain to haul the Rodian boy up. He shoved Turgoes up and swept up the last girl from the water, leaping onto the ladder and clambering up.
A white wall of water rushed towards them.
Morthain slammed the cover over the entrance shut with a barely audible "Sorry, Skywalker." The scream of the water tore the voice away, and Anakin was barely able to shelter the girl from the torrent that smashed into them.
And then there was only a white roar of screaming water from above. It swept Anakin and his charge away, the surge of liquid sweeping them down into the depths of the Coruscanti sewer system. When it had settled, there was no trace of either Anakin or the young girl.
A/N: And, for anyone who intends on reviewing, I love constructive criticism—by which, I mean, I love knowing what you think I've done right and wrong. However—I'd ask that you don't criticize things like "Why the heck is Qui-Gon a Sith?!" because—these are things relating to the AU that will be explained in time. Yes, some things in here don't seem right for "canon". That's because they're not. Constructive comments will be returned in kind. Flames will be ignored.