A/N- Woo! So, I've been busy, but I haven't forgotten about this story, not by a long shot.
I keep promising updates, but the last months of college were chaotic (I applied to transfer out of my college, which took up a huge chunk of my time and the rest had to be spent keeping up with my classes). Then I ended up deciding to stay at my current college, but at that point the year was pretty much done and I had end of year projects and papers to complete. So here I am, finally able to give you guys updates while I'm on summer break.
The chapters might be a bit short, but I'm trying to break some writer's block here so bear with me.
Thank you for your support and patience!
As the rays of morning light struck the Academy's rooftops and scattered dots of light across the grounds, a shadow fell over the forestry. Had anyone been awake at the early hour, they would have noticed the distinct change in lighting.
But no one was about. The only beings awake were the little creatures scurrying across the jungle floor and disappearing into the foliage. The wind sighed and wound itself around the leaves of the trees as though it were brushing bangs from their faces.
The change in temperature had woken Anakin. He was the only one who noticed. He was usually awake and sometimes walking through the jungle at this hour, simply because it was the only time he was allowed to be alone. At all other times he would be under the close watch of his uncle or siblings because of his cold shoulder treatment of those around him.
He hated that everyone seemed to think he had problems. Just because he was different and didn't warm up to people like his brother and sister, everyone seemed to peg him as a case for scrutiny. If he wasn't a Jedi, he was certain his parents would have assigned someone to help fix whatever was wrong with him.
It was at the point where he could care less what anyone else thought. But, as it turned out, Zekk seemed to understand where Anakin came from. The older boy had nothing to lose, or so he told Anakin when he came to find the younger Jedi.
"There's nothing wrong with you, Anakin. It may seem like a bad thing, but not everyone wants to get close to you because they think there's something wrong with you," Zekk said. "I don't always want to accept that myself, but it's more or less the truth."
So Anakin had found himself an ally among a sea of Jedi who were supposed to be able to sense each other's emotions. But Anakin knew they didn't have a clue what he was feeling. And Zekk, who didn't use the force to figure out what was going on with Anakin, knew more than they did.
He heaved a sigh and slid out of bed. His feet cringed as they touched the floor. He couldn't understand why Tahiri was able to walk around barefoot on it. Maybe he wasn't the only one who was misunderstood. He shook his head. He had left things off with her on a weird note. He'd have to make it up to her somehow, but at the moment he wanted to be alone.
It wasn't anything new and if he were honest, he'd say he was honestly sick of wanting to be alone. It never did anything for him except to widen the gap he already sensed was growing between him and his family. He wasn't too concerned about hurting anyone who might or already thought they were his friends. No one who got close enough to know Anakin Solo would stick around too long to begin with.
Except for Tahiri Veila.
Now she was an enigma for Anakin. For the life of him he couldn't figure out what she wanted from him. Was it his family's connections? That couldn't be it. She didn't seem to know anyone famous from her own foot. It certainly surprised him that Uncle Luke had found her at all on that basis. She seemed like she could fit the profile of a regular country bumpkin who didn't know the difference between a Jedi or a Sith or even knew if the Rebellion took place at all.
Maybe it was it was for the best. It seemed odd that she took interest in him at all. She had nothing to gain by spending time around him, except for the occasional approving look from Luke Skywalker. The whole situation didn't add up for Anakin and he was used to things making sense.
He didn't believe for one second that her intentions were pure. No one's intentions were ever completely selfless and Anakin was determined to prove the same of Tahiri. But for now, he jumped over a tree root and tripped, staggering for a second and landed partly on the ground. He wasted no time in righting himself before dusting off his pant legs. Then he looked up. The forest was completely cast in darkness. And it only took him half a beat before he sensed something was off.
He began to run, or rather his legs began pumping faster and faster as the perspiration beaded on the back of his neck and on his forehead. He hadn't really expected to be doing morning running exercises so early in the morning, but, he thought to himself, there's a first time for everything.
He chanced a glance behind him, wondering for the first time since he began running, what it was that had prompted him to run. There wasn't anything there. Only the jungle vines, roots and trees. Still, though, the shadow over the tree tops remained. He stopped, caught his breath and wiped the sweat from his forehead.
The wind stirred the nearby bushes and the leaves swayed in place. Anakin looked up. Something struck him in the back of his leg and he went down for a second before he jumped back up. But his leg gave out. He grimaced for a second, looking down to see if it had begun bleeding. There was only a dark spot on the pant leg where whatever had hit him, burned a hole. He tried moving his leg and felt cold fear wash over him. It was a stun gun? He hadn't ever heard of one that just numbed the nerves of one region. He tried once more to move his leg but was sent into the dirt by another blast to his other leg. A third hit him in the back.
"Anakin!" The voice rang through the trees. He tried shaking his head and opened his mouth, but no words came.
"What are you doing to him?" The voice demanded, but another joined it before he could say anything more.
"Take him too."
Anakin tried moving his head, but a final blast rendered him unconscious.
Tahiri woke to the sound of birds chirping in the distance beyond the window. It wasn't something she was used to from the desert. If there was any chirping or sounds in the distance there she had learned that the best thing one could do was run and not listen for clarification. Yet here on Yavin 4 there was no such fear. In fact she felt quite at ease.
Her feet lightly touched down on the cold floor and she relished the feel for a second before she glanced up. Her Jedi senses were still dormant as her body woke itself up, but she felt something different this morning. After a moment of loud chirping the jungle had fallen silent.
Tahiri walked out of her room, looking around for signs of life in the halls, but everyone seemed to be slumbering away without a worry. If no one else was awake, why was she? She sighed, rubbing her eyes. By rights she knew she didn't and shouldn't be awake at this hour, but her body seemed more alert now than ever. It was driving her to keep walking.
The cold floor turned to gritty dirt and soil and she pushed branches from her line of vision. Still the sounds of the jungle seemed muted.
Her toes dug into the soil, it was cool and soothing against the rough pads of her feet. She shut her eyes and then winced. Her eyes went to her left foot where her biggest toe was bleeding. It had shifted back instinctively from the small object half buried in the dirt. She reached down and pulled it out.
"This is Anakin's-" Her own thoughts cut her voice off as her eyes snapped to the ground where there were scattered broken pieces of trees, bushes and a wide open view of the sky. She turned on her heel and sprinted back towards the Academy. She didn't need the force to know something bad had happened.