The story will at some point get quite jumpy, because this turns into sort of an addition to the actual storyline

The story will at some point get quite jumpy, because this turns into sort of an addition to the actual storyline.

Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars.

For two days M'kael searched for Dooku among the desolate ruin of the Squalor, relentless. For, though he really knew it was hopeless, he needed time to think on what Dooku had said. And what better way to focus his mind, than to consume it in the sharp, directed vigour of the predator?

So he thought, and he searched.

In turn, he knew, the Black Dawn were following him; he could often detect their shadowy black forms amongst the indifferent grey, but could never get close to them. They were like the rats, that scattered back to their ruins as the blue-coated Jedi silently passed.

He didn't care for their watching him, because he knew they daren't attack. It was the single, and only, thing that everyone knew him for- his ability to kill, and not to die. The Society of Black Dawn was inherently a coward's organisation. For all their philosophies- honour, courage, passion- they were all far too scared to die.

A little, thought M'kael, like the Jedi. We both were brave, once…

--

On the third day since M'kael's unexpected exodus from the Temple, Mace sat alone on a simple cushioned stool, rubbing his eyes.

The Jedi council had had precious little time to consider M'kael's departure, or Anakin's arrival, for Yoda had that same day made a statement they had could never have anticipated; and the following proposal had filled him with dread. Quite why it should, more than anything else he had faced, he didn't know- their enemies were all but gone, and the Temple did not face the same peril it had so many times before. Yet the wise Master's words had seemed particularly relevant to him, and perhaps it was true- in the absence of struggle, the Jedi order had lost some of its passion. But with the arrival of Anakin, he felt sure that this was on its way to changing…

Anakin.

He didn't like the boy, though why he shouldn't he had no idea. It could not be envy, of the boy's obvious potential: Mace had long ago learned to master such a primitive emotion.

It was certainly not contempt. Such an emotion was not only primitive but also meaningless, and justifiable in a simple sentence: No matter who I am, or he is, in one hundred years, or a thousand, we will both be dust…

Not anxiety; Mace worried surprisingly little, and was confident enough in his own, and the council's, ability to deal with any problem that any one boy or man could produce.

Indeed, it didn't even seem to reach concern. The boy seemed genuinely good-hearted.

But he had been wrong before…

Yoda's words returned to him, haunting.

I sense much fear in you.

Mace understood fear, for it was part of a complex web of dangerous emotions that he alone had learned to utilise as part of his own unique fighting style.

Fear is like a fungi. It spreads… and it has a habit of growing.

Closing his eyes, he blotted out all thought, focusing his mind on the forgiving silence all around.

Slowly the worldly matters began to fade away, every emotion passing him by, leaving only a serene emptiness. He felt total Oneness, a state of absolute calm, patiently approaching…

The silent tranquillity shattered with a loud rap on the door, which immediately opened.

Slightly agitated, he opened one eye. He had expected M'kael before he saw him.

The tall blue-coated figure leaned on the frame, holding back an unhappy automatic door with his boot.

Managing to disguise his annoyance, and refusing to be baited into verbal attack, Mace asked, "Was your venture successful?"

"Fairly," M'kael agreed, "I think I scared them a little. Have you seen my young friend Anakin around?"

"He left," Mace replied, "With Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan. They're going to Naboo to aid the queen in her battle with the Trade Federation."

M'kael breathed out through his teeth. "Why did you let him go?"

"I have no right to hold him here. Or inclination"

"I do. He's my slave. I own him! You can't just let him wander the universe!"

Mace frowned. "I don't believe we are allowed to own slaves, M'kael. Anyhow, do tell me: What use would could have for a young boy slave? I did not know you were that way inclined…"

"Ah! The legendary Mace Windu humour!" M'kael said sarcastically. "Never pictured you as a comedian for a second!"

"All the same, what use do you have for him?"

"Shut up!" M'kael snapped.

This was the first time Mace had ever seen M'kael genuinely agitated- he could tell easily enough that precious little could penetrate M'kael's unique atmosphere of mild disinterest.

Now seemed a curious time…

"Ah well. The Force has a sense of humour, I suppose." said M'kael suddenly, snapping Mace from his thoughts, "I guess I oughta go after them."

"You will get in the way of the mission," said Mace stiffly.

"And Anakin won't?"

M'kael turned to leave… and stopped. For the briefest second his hand was on his side, and there was the slightest hint of pain written on his features.

Then the boot had released the door, which fled greedily back into place.

And Mace was alone…

R&R please. If you haven't recently then please review for the last few chapters. Sorry about the continual long waits. Can't guarantee anything.