Chapter 4: Storm


Anakin Solo had his lightsaber drawn. It's purple blade lit the darkness of the Mon Calamari night like a beacon. The rain drops falling from the sky of the mostly aquatic world touched his blade with a hiss every so often, little plumes of steam coming off of it. His face was grim and his stance was that of a warrior ready to attack. The garden around him and his opponent soaked in the rain not noticing the two people in its midst ready to battle. Anakin's brown hair was plastered to his head completely soaked as was the rest of him. His opponent was not much better, with her own green lightsaber hissing and her golden hair dripping from the rain that was turning into a downpour.

"Tahiri, stand back."

"You aren't going anywhere, Anakin."

He could hear her voice quaver just a tick, very unlike her.

"I need to leave, Tahiri."

"You need to stay and tell us what happened!" Anakin wasn't sure from the rain, but Tahiri might be…

No, that was as impossible as this whole situation.

"Let me into the hanger, now."

"Over my scared corpse!"


Earlier…


Luke had stood up and was gone before Anakin could thank him. His mind was more clear now, he knew what he had to do.

Now he just needed to get it over with. Think about the consequences after it was over. There is no past, there is no future, only the present.

Anakin stayed in the tree a little more, just to calm himself to the point where he was almost positive he would be able to actually talk with Tahiri without almost blushing himself to death.

Ok, so how do I say what I need to say? 'Yeah, Tahiri, remember that one time I blurted out to everyone but you how I loved you and you overheard me say it? Yeah, that was true.'

Nope.

'Tahiri, your hair is like finely spun gold and your eyes glisten like the rarest of gems. I can't live…' ah, screw it. She'd just laugh at me if I did that.

'Tahiri, I love you. And not just, like, best friend type of love. It's more of the endless depths of space kind…' This is certainly not helping.

Anakin hopped from the tree, lightly landing on his feet and beginning a slow and pondering walk back to his family's quarters. He was looking down and mumbling to himself when they found him.

Anakin was almost surprised, but not as surprised as he could have been.

"Little bro! Talked with the wife yet?"

Anakin stopped walking and pinched the bridge of his nose in exasperation.

"Jaina, Jag, enough is enough. You got your wish already, so please… just let me think."

Jag, who hadn't said a thing the entire last few hours after settling to listen to the family banter that was so unlike his own family. Then Anakin had blown a fuse, which Jag was positive he would have blown an hour earlier, and blurted to the girl he loved that he loved her. And now Jaina was dragging him around trying to get him to bug her brother even more. Frankly, he had had enough.

"Jaina, let's leave him be. He has enough on his mind as it is."

"But…"

"Jaina. If there is one thing I understand besides my claw craft, it is that girls are very hard to understand for men. Anakin doesn't need even more to think about right now. I'm sure he has gotten enough advice to do what he needs to do."

"Jag…"

"Not that I don't understand you, mind you. I understand you perfectly." Jag smirked. He would never admit any form of defeat to this girl.

She smiled and punched him in the arm. "Whatever you say, mind reader. I'll believe that when I see it."
Anakin shock his head with a smile as the pair walked away. At least they didn't get picked on all the time. Heck, it wasn't like she was that much older than him. Anakin was seventeen, Jaina was only a few years older, and Tahiri was…

Sixteen, as of recently…

Of legal age to marry in at least twenty-five percent of Republic systems.

Anakin nearly tripped over his own feet at that unbidden thought that was instantly banished into the depths of his mind.

Anakin's slight stumble did not go unnoticed. A friendly looking Mon Calamarian was hobbling over using his odd staff to support him.

Odd staff.

Anakin's hand sunk to the lightsaber at his side. Granted, he figured he was just being paranoid, but that staff was the right size to either be or hold an amphistaff. Anakin reached out into the force as the fish like being traveled the last few steps to him with a smile on his face.

Nothing.

Instantly he lit his lightsaber and swung it with all his strength towards the Mon Calamari. The 'stick' came up at equal speed and would have decapitated him if it hadn't been for his own lightsaber blocking it. The face of the Calamarian when wide with shock before grimacing in anger.

"Surrender, Vong."

"Yun-Harla ruhg Yun-Yammka…" The disguised Yuuzhan Vong whispered before spinning and throwing Anakin off balance. The spin also brought a pair of razor bugs. Anakin was forced to fall completely to the ground to dodge their first pass. He rolled to the side to dodge and just missed the head of a particularly deadly looking amphistaff.

This guy must be elite.

Anakin blocked the next attack, quickly pushing the Vong back, and then spun around cutting the two returning bugs in half. The amphistaff came back at him, this time going into its more whip like state. Anakin knew better than to try to block. So he charged inside the attack taking only a slight hit in the shoulder that he knew would draw only a little blood. His lightsaber came in and slashed across the Vong's chest. He felt it sink in a little.

Kill.

But instead of collapsing in a pool of its own blood, the Vong just punched him in the face, flinging him back and to the ground. Anakin did a hand spring and was instantly back on his feet. He saw that his cut had indeed cut, but only through the thicker Mon Calamari gablith masquer. Underneath he could see the armor all warriors wore. Anakin raised his lightsaber and once again charged, this time taking the attack. The Vong did something unpredictable and flung another pair of razor bugs at him before throwing one of the small daggers at him as well, and then charging behind his projectiles. Anakin sliced one bug, ducked the second and, to the surprise of the Vong, caught the dagger. Anakin then brought his saber up, blocking the amphistaff, and then spun in and stabbed the dagger into the unarmored armpit of the Vong. Anakin then pushed back and spun in midair to cut the second bug.

The thing now in front of him growled. It stuck its hand into its clothing, reaching for something. Instantly time seemed to slow. Anakin could sense the danger coming from the creature, realizing that even after just a few moments of fighting they had drawn a crowd and that it most likely knew time was short before help came…

Suicide attack.

Anakin had a choice to make. He knew he could easily run and not worry about it with his new speed. Or, he could risk the attack and make sure no one else got hurt. Or…

I can make sure that attack never happens.

Anakin went for the third option.

Remember the people you need to protect. Protect life. Protect the Force. Concentrate on the love of others.

And focus it into a desperation filled with my desire to protect. And let it go…

To anyone who had been watching, which happened to be a rather large group, it looked like the battle hadn't ever stopped. It had merely been a very intense thirty second battle that shouldn't have ever taken place. Time had not slowed to a crawl, instead they only saw Anakin swing his right arm up in response to a growl from the invader.

And everyone saw the unthinkable.

Anakin Solo, Jedi prodigy, shot a single bolt of Force energy from his finger tips and directly into the body of the Yuuzhan Vong.

It instantly stopped its heart.

The crowd instantly went silent, not one person moved as the now smoking body of the Vong collapsed to the ground. Anakin's world came back into focus and he managed to comprehend exactly how many people he had attracted and, more importantly, who he had attracted.

There was Jaina and Jag, staring at him with open mouths.

There was Uncle Luke, a shocked expression on his face.

Anakin's own eyes went wide. He realized a little too late that what he had just done was commonly know to be a very dark side power.

"Ah… Poodoo."

And then, before the eyes of everyone present, Anakin Solo disappeared. From their sight and from the Force.


"I can tell you're happy, Tahiri. And with good reason, I guess. The one you love loves you back. Everyday I live I get to revel in the same feeling."

Tahiri smiled at the woman sitting next to her.

"Thank you, Mrs. Solo…"

"Please, call me mom."

"I… I can't do that…"

"Of course you can. You should get used to it for when I actually am."

Tahiri almost choked on her caf while finding out exactly how much blood can concentrate in one's face.

Suddenly, though, her face went pale. Anakin was fighting someone, somewhere. They could both feel it.

"Mrs. Solo…"

Leia held up her hand to signal for quiet. Tahiri felt her stretch her presence in the Force with skill and experience, searching for her son. Tahiri was almost as connected with Anakin as Leia was, so when thirty seconds had passed and suddenly Anakin went from calm to worried for an instant before his presence flooded with power and the fight was over both of the women sighed in relief. Until a few seconds later when they both felt Anakin completely vanish.

Leia, who had stood up, collapsed back into the chair as she felt Anakin's presence in the Force forcefully remove itself from her senses. Tahiri felt dizzy and for some reason felt tears pool in her eyes.

But they were gone a moment later.

"I need to find him." Tahiri jumped out of her seat next to Leia and almost made it a foot before she felt a hand on her shoulder.

"Tahiri, I'm sure you know this, but Anakin did that on purpose."

"I know."

"If Anakin is hiding, there is not one person on this planet who could find him."

"Not to sound disrespectful, Mrs. Solo, but I'm not just anybody."


The dusk found Anakin not found and Tahiri equally as missing. The parties involved, the Solo family and the Jedi masters on the planet, were all gathered in the Jedi Temple in a secure area. No one was talking, everyone seemed to have completely forgotten that they were in the middle of a war. When the last person was seated, Luke stood up.

"I'm glad you all could come in such short time. For those who don't know, Anakin is missing."

"Anakin Solo missing? Is this something unexpected? That kid is always getting into trouble."

"Agreed, Corran. Anakin disappeared from the Force immediately after defeating a Yuuzhan Vong assassin."

"Assassin? They aren't usually so subtle."

"Their tactics have obviously changed now that they can't make any more voxyn. The problem isn't that Anakin defended himself. The problem is in the way he defended himself."

"Exactly what are you talking about, Luke." Leia and Han were seated at the discussion, but besides the fact that Anakin was missing, which they already knew, they knew nothing of the situation.

"Anakin seemed to be holding his own against the Vong quite well when he used a forbidden Force ability, lightning."

The faces of the Jedi Masters went serious, Leia almost gasped, Han Solo just sat there and thought. It was Corran Horn who first spoke.

"Luke, did you sense anger or hate?"

"Surprisingly no. That is what stopped me from stopping him."

"But if there was no hate…"

"He still used the Force to kill."

Silence again.

"What now?"

"We find him, question him, and come to a decision on what to do."

Corran Horn stood up.

"I know that no one here knows the whole situation. Anakin does have a lambent in his lightsaber that allows him more insight into the Vong, and he might have sensed something. Did you find anything on him?"

"Yes, actually. Besides an abnormal quantity of bio-weapons, he also had a small creature we are testing as we speak. Cilghal thinks it is a disease carrier."

"There is a motive right there. Luke, when we find Anakin I intend, and have intended, to take him as my personal apprentice."

"Heh, like that'll happen." Han Solo was grinning. As one of the two non Jedi in the room next to Jagged Fel, he didn't see what was so wrong with using the Force like that as long as his son wasn't going to become the next Dark Lord. "Personally I approve of Anakin's choice until I find other reasons to disagree, but the real question with talking Anakin as your apprentice is whether you can take care of and teach two hormone stricken teenagers."

"Two?" Leia decided to ease Corran Horn's confusion.

"Tahiri isn't going to let him out of her sight again, especially not after this last stunt." Luke signaled for quiet again.

"You are all assuming that we find them. Tahiri isn't nearly as good as Anakin in blocking off the Force, so finding her will be easy. I can already sense her only a few kilometers away. Anakin, on the other hand, has had enough time to get half way across the planet in a speeder or, though I hope not, off planet. To my shame I must have looked very shocked at his actions to have driven him away with just a look…"

"Don't blame yourself, Luke. We won't know why he left until we find him. So let's go."

"Right. Find Anakin. And may the Force be with you."


Anakin wasn't running.

Or so he told himself over and over again.

He just needed to cool off. The stupid day was going exactly the wrong way. It had started off fine, but at dinner his day had gone from normal to absolutely confusing, then it had changed to worrisome, and then, finally, to horrible. He had done the taboo. He had shown some of the last people he wanted to show his abilities. Now all he could think of was what excuse to give his family, his Uncle, and the entire Jedi order.

You don't need an excuse besides the truth.

What? The truth that I learned to do that while I was unconscious and dieing? That I have a voice in my head that tells me to do these things? That I have a portion of a former Jedi Master's soul in my body that I collected accidentally in my half dead state? They would nod and smile and send for the authorities.

It didn't help that the one person he really did not want to see was hot on his tail.

You would think she wouldn't be able to find me when I'm blocking myself off from the Force. But no, Tahiri just has to know me that well…

Anakin could sense her easily through the Force, diverting her own probing senses. She stood between him and his goal and she seemed to be instinctually moving around his target in synchronization with his own movements.

How is she doing that?

She… she is sensing your diversionary pulses, Anakin. I didn't think someone could do that…

What?

You are pushing her senses away from yourself, and always in the same way. She must be concentrating very hard to be able to feel where she is been pushed away. Most Jedi wouldn't even be able to consider that they were being thwarted.

Tahiri, always full of surprises.

But he knew he would need to end it soon, he was getting very tired of deflecting the concerned seeking presences of his family and the other Jedi now searching for him. He needed to reach his goal so he could… What?

Escape?

Anakin shrugged off that thought and started heading directly towards his goal.

Even if Tahiri could sense him, she certainly couldn't stop him. Night had fallen and it was time to let the people cool off.


Tahiri, on the other hand, had no idea what she was doing. She was just wandering around the hangers for the Jedi spacecraft, trying desperately to think like Anakin. She still had no idea what had gone on, but she at least had some idea. Anakin had gotten into some sort of battle and now he was hiding. She couldn't think of any reason why he would run off after that unless…

But Anakin wouldn't do that. He was the strongest Jedi Knight, and he wasn't going to do something like that…

And so she was searching desperately around the place she feared he would go the most for any sign of his presence. Her instincts were rebelling against her mind. She wanted to go search through the places he normally was, but something told her to stay in her search pattern, and every once and a while change just slightly.

Tahiri stopped moving. She was right in front of the side entrance of the hangers. Inside was Anakin's X-wing, fueled and armed for emergencies. If he was going to go off planet there was no way he could possibly do it if she was there. He wasn't the kind of person to use someone else's ship.

Tahiri quickly went inside and locked the door behind her. She walked down the rows of various spacecraft, A-wings, B-wings, X-wings, and some E-wings. She soon reached Anakin's spot, and was relieved to see that his ship was still there.

Relieved until the door she had just entered unlocked itself and flew open.

Tahiri spun and looked down the rows of ships and into the open door. She didn't need to see anything but the silhouette.

"Anakin. What are you doing?"

He didn't say anything also he quickly walked forward. He was sweating profusely, more then she had ever made him in their spars. She figured it was from shielding himself from the Force. He walked until he was only a few meters from her.

And the ship.

He tried to jump over her, but she saw it coming and jumped as well, colliding with him in midair. Anakin tried to slip from her grasp as the fell, but she managed to hold on. They fell with Tahiri on top of Anakin. She instantly got off of him.

He had just tried to get past her.

She was furious.

No, more then furious. Tahiri felt…

Sad?

Anakin regained the breath that had been knocked out of him and stood up. His hand was on his lightsaber for a moment. Then he saw the face of the girl he loved. It was not her usual angry face that he expected. It looked like she was about to cry.

"Tahiri…"

Tahiri didn't let him speak. Anakin was assaulted by the Force too quickly for him to stop. He was sent flying straight backwards though a large window in the side of the hanger. Luckily for him, the Force push hit the glass before he did and broke the glass, scattering the small shards. He remained mostly uncut besides a few minor scratches.

Tahiri came quickly out through the window, just in time to see Anakin get back up.

"Why?"

Anakin had to spit a little dirt out of his mouth. He had landed in a small garden planted on the side of the hanger. His hand stayed away from his lightsaber this time. It stayed that way until he saw a green saber in front of him. Held by his best friend.

"Why are you trying to leave?"

Anakin had to light his saber as Tahiri advanced. He backed up a little into the small path through the garden. Many exotic plants surrounded the two and if it wasn't for the fact that lighting was minimal and that it was starting to drizzle it might have been romantic.

"I need to leav…"

"NO, You don't!"

Anakin was struck silent by the absolute desperation he sensed in his friend. She looked haggard, like she had been up for days instead of hours looking for him.

"Tahiri, I need time to think and…"

"Think HERE! Think with me! Remember Master Ikrit? He said we are stronger together than we ever could be apart. Let us… let me help you."

"You can't understand…"

"I can't understand? What can't I understand? Almost turning to the dark side? Been there. Unspeakable pain? Done that. What exactly are you going through that I can't understand?"

"I killed with the Force and I did it on purpose and I would do it again."

Tahiri was silent for a few moments. The rain began to fall a little harder.

"I don't care. I'm sure you have a reason for believing that. I believe that you are still on the side of the light, I felt no hate in your presence while you were fighting."

"I could have been hiding it."

"You aren't that good, Anakin. I'm still the second most connected person to you next to your mom. And in some ways I'm closer."

"Tahiri, I need to leave, now. Before the others come."

"I won't let you leave, Anakin. Not when… not now that…"

"Tahiri, stand back."

"You aren't going anywhere, Anakin."

He could hear her voice quaver just a tick, very unlike her.

"I need to leave, Tahiri."

"You need to stay and tell them what happened!" Anakin wasn't sure from the rain, but Tahiri might be…

No, that was as impossible as this whole situation.

"Let me into the hanger, now."

"Over my scared corpse!"

She lunged at him. She could see he was tired from holding off the Jedi searchers. He was slow on the reaction, slower then ever before. Her blade pushed him back as they locked and he was forced to retreat a few steps.

"Tahiri…"

"I don't want to hear it! I would rather die then be without you again!"

Anakin looked surprised to hear her say that, but how could he truly be surprised. She had been throwing him not so subtle hints for the past two years!

"Tahiri… I meant what I said… back at dinner."

This made her go still.

"I really do love you. And not like I used to, not just as a best friend. I… I don't think I could ever be satisfied with just a friendship between us… but if I stay here the Jedi Masters are likely to put me on trial. Force lightning is illegal in the Jedi Order, it is strictly forbidden to learn or use. And I did both!"

"So? Rules change! People change! And you are no Sith!"

"No, I'm not. But am I really a Jedi?"

"How can you say that?"

"I disobey the Jedi at every turn, I give in to my emotions all the time, and I do it with the knowledge of my actions. I do it on purpose! My path in the Force is not the path of the Jedi…"

"So? I'm half YUUZHAN VONG, Anakin! My path is my own, just as yours is your own, and Luke's is his own! You are of the light side of the Force, Anakin, and they will see that! Stay!"

"I can't!"

"You can!" And it was then that Tahiri did the bravest thing she ever did in her life. She shut her lightsaber off and used all her speed to run and tackle Anakin who still had his lightsaber on. Anakin shut it off before she reached him, but she never would have been able to know he would. She wrapped him in an embrace and they both landed in the soil of the garden, off the path, with Tahiri on top. Anakin's face was only inches from hers, her damp hair hung in his face, but he could clearly see the tears that flowed from her eyes.

"Stay…" Tahiri whispered to him, her lips almost touching his own. And then they were. Anakin froze completely as Tahiri kissed him.

This attack was not what he had been expecting.

He didn't even have time to think, or use the Force.

And that was how Luke, Leia and Han found them only a few minutes later. Tahiri laying on top of him, their lightsabers unlit in their hands, and the two caught in a kiss that drew them away from the world. Han Solo smiled more then the others.

"Well, one thing I can say about my son, he does have the good old Solo charm."

Neither of the two even heard him.

Luke cleared his throat.

They kept at it.

Leia walked over to the two.

"If you two keep that up I'm going to ship you to a system that allows more marriage over minors and not let you back until I have grandkids."

She found that her 'threat' didn't work the way she wanted. Anakin opened his eyes, which were much too hazy to actually comprehend who he was looking at, rolled them, and then closed them again. All without breaking their kiss.

"Well!"

"Beautiful, I think they don't care."

"Well, they can't do that forever."

Luke's comment seemed to bring them around a little. Anakin's eyes opened and lost the slight dazed looked. Tahiri rolled off of him before jumping up with a blush that accentuated the three vertical scars on her forehead. This allowed Anakin to stand up as well, but unlike Tahiri he chose to take her hand in his instead of blush.

"Uncle Luke."

"Anakin."

"I guess it's time to tell you everything that I saw when I was dieing. That will explain my... abilities."