An: I apologize for the long delay b/w chapters. RL became hectic. Many thanks, as allways, to OperaGoose, my talented beta, and to all of you who reviewed.
Sherlock rocked back, snapshots of memory flashing through his mind.
John stumbles off of the transport that had brought him to Tatooine. Betrayal and anger burn through his veins, searing him to the core. How? Why?
The Force, so empty moments before, sings with more power than John had ever felt before, even when surrounded by fellow Jedi in the temple. He reaches for it, even as it reaches for him, instinctually soothing him
Sally Donovan stares at the fourteen-year-old with horror, shielding the boy she thinks of as her own behind her. "No. NO! Leave! Leave now!"
John can hear everything she won't say through his own crushing disappointment. 'Dangerous. Already wrong enough. Have to keep him safe. Have to keep him normal. Normal is safe'
John jerks awake with a start. Sherlock. He reaches out, past the shields he has erected around himself and through those he has in place around the younger man. The force-sensitive is dreaming. A vision of the future. One that is hideous and violent and filled with blood. John takes it from him with care, soothing the mind he takes it from as best he can without intruding
He's gotten a glimpse, a small glimpse at what it is like inside Sherlock's head. Every day. All the time. And it's wonderful. Beautiful . John really can't quite believe that anyone is capable of thinking like that. He wishes he could see it, experience it all that time
John is fairly certain he's in love. With Sherlock's mind, with his sarcastic wit. The glimpses that John gets of his thoughts, of who he is. He convinces himself it's platonic, brotherly – the kind of love that the Jedi encouraged. And then he sees Sherlock in the marketplace, and he feels he's been struck over the head. Desire so strong he's surprised the younger man (and he is a man. There's no point in denying that) can't feel it across the street, along with an attraction so powerful it feels as if it is physically pulling him towards Sherlock
And overshadowing every memory was the all-too familiar grief of someone longing for someone he knew he could never have. The same, burning, building, aching Sherlock had been experiencing for the past four years, intensified one-hundredfold the past few days.
For the first time in years, Sherlock hoped.
All connection with John's thoughts and feelings was suddenly severed. His sapphire eyes met Sherlock's, filled with a yearning that Sherlock could no longer feel, but could now see plain as day. He couldn't fathom how he had missed it for so long.
"John…" Sherlock began, hand reaching towards the man without his conscious permission.
Blue eyes bored into Sherlock's filled with conflict. "No," he said at last with no great force. "No," he echoed again, more wistfully before fleeing in the direction of his quarters on the ship.
Sherlock jumped to his feet to follow John only to find his way blocked by Captain Lestrade.
"Move," he begged him, startled to find that his voice was infused with the Force.
It had no effect on Lestrade, however. "Listen," he said, placing a reassuring and restraining hand on Sherlock's shoulder. "I haven't an idea in any of the nine hells what just happened, but that was a man who needed space to sort himself out. " Lestrade started into Sherlock's eyes intently. "Give him that space."
Sherlock, for once in his life, did as someone tells him, utilizing the "space" to sort through his own thoughts and emotions.
Slumping into a nearby chair, Sherlock wrapped his arms around himself. As he sank into contemplation, he cursed his body for choosing now of all times to assert the fact that deep space was colder than his desert home world.
John loved him. John loved him, not as a brother or a friend. He didn't love his looks, he loved him. He found the intricacies of Sherlock's mind fascinating, amazing, beautiful. He loved what had caused Sherlock to feel like a freak and an outcast, but was still a central part of his identity. John knew him and loved him not in spite of, but because of it.
John wanted nothing more than to see exactly how Sherlock's mind worked as often as possible, but he was a man of strong moral fiber. And if he thought something was wrong, he would do anything to keep it from happening. Even if it meant denying himself something he desperately wanted.
Damn the Jedi Code. Damn it to the deepest depths of any hell he could think of. Because what he felt? What John felt? That couldn't be wrong. The Jedi Code was about the Jedi – he and John could change it any way they wanted, now that they were all that was left.
All he had to do was change John's mind, convince him that he wasn't wrong. That they weren't wrong. It would be difficult. John Watson was one of the most stubborn men Sherlock had ever met.
But if Sherlock loved one thing more than he loved when things got interesting, it was a challenge.
"We're coming up on Alderaan," Lestrade said, voice cutting through Sherlock's train of thought. "You might want to come strap yourself in."
Sherlock followed after the older man gratefully. They would be on Alderaan in a matter of minutes and then John would be unable to continue avoiding him. And Sherlock wasn't sure how much more time he could take cooped up on this freezing death trap.
Sherlock belted himself into the jump seat, staring out into the white of hyperspace.
"Are you going to tell me what it was that happened back there?" Lestrade inquired breaking the silence as he flipped a switch.
"A disagreement regarding a few of the key disciplines of our organization," Sherlock remarked with a façade of calm.
The captain gave him a long, searching look before it became a sympathetic grimace. "I heard stories about the Jedi, you know. When I was in the academy. Met some people who had worked with them before the purge. They talked about how unnatural they were. One guy knew some bits of the Code and would quote it – mockingly of course, and only out of the earshot of our superiors. A few phrases stood out to me. Things like 'there is no passion' and 'attachment is forbidden'. "
"Was there a point to this charming anecdote?" Sherlock spat defensively at the captain.
"I'm just saying, don't get your hopes up. The Jedi started training kids who had potential practically at birth. If someone's been told his entire life that something is wrong, is it really so surprising that he's a little apprehensive about giving it a go?"
"Yes, thank you for your input," Sherlock drawled sarcastically. "Now, don't you have a ship to pilot?"
"I hope he makes you cut your hair," Lestrade retorted with a chuckle before adjusting a control that caused the lines of the stars to gradually solidify into points.
The soft hum and smooth ride Sherlock had grown used to over the past several hours disappeared in an instant, the ship rocking under the force of several impacts from large objects. The space debris was everywhere, pelting relentlessly against the ship. Lestrade swore, adjusting the controls frantically.
"Must have landed in the middle of a meteor shower," he worked out between swears and tricky maneuvers. "I don't understand. The coordinates are right, but Alderaan is nowhere to be found."
Sherlock understood. The large debris at Alderaan's coordinates without the planet coupled with the frankly agonizing shock-wave that had torn through the force left only one possible explanation.
"Force," Sherlock heard a familiar voice exhale painfully. John's force presence, muted and shielded as it was, echoed that shock and pain.
"What?" Lestrade asked, turning and no doubt taking in the expression on the faces of both his force sensitive passengers. "What?" he demanded.
"They destroyed it. They blew up a planet," John said slowly, fists clenching tightly. He took a deep breath, and Sherlock could feel his control, which had been fraying, solidifying once again.
"How?" Lestrade asked when he was capable of forming words once again.
"That," Sherlock said pointing at a large object through the viewport he had erroneously assumed was a satellite of Adleraan recently freed from its orbit.
"Not a moon, a space station. One which already has us in a tractor beam, if I'm not mistaken."
Lestrade's swears made it clear that he wasn't.
Sherlock's suggestion of concealing themselves in the smuggling compartments combined with John's stroke of brilliance regarding luring the stormtroopers into the ship and relieving them of their uniforms allowed them to avoid detection as they ensconced themselves in a nearby control room.
Sherlock reached cautiously outwards with the force to try and get a sense of their surroundings. Immediately his senses detected a thick, dark, cloying presence causing a disruption within the force. It felt overwhelmingly wrong. Sherlock shuddered.
"John?" he asked, shaken.
His master's face was more serious than he had ever seen it. "I feel it."
"What…what is it?"
"Lord Moran," he said, gaze fixed on things beyond his eyes. "Stay here. Stay in control and shielded. I'm going to go shut off the controls for the tracker beam."
Sherlock opened his mouth to protest, but John cut him off with a glare. "You aren't ready yet. Now, stay here."
John exited without another word.
It didn't take long at all for the entire situation to become unbearable.
"I" Sherlock said, after what felt like an eternity simply sitting and waiting while John put himself in danger, "am bored."
Lestrade made a noncommental noise in acknowledgement.
Sherlock, unsatisfied with Lestrade's response, turning his attentions on the astromech droid currently fiddling with the consul of the computer terminal, taking in the brief flashes of readouts as the driod sorted through data far faster than Sherlock's visual cortex or the screen could keep pace with.
The robot's code, repeated trills and beeps, coupled with the readout currently on the screen painted an interesting picture. Sherlock went over to the consul, taking in the information with interest. The Prince was here. And scheduled to be executed, if the information could be trusted.
This, Sherlock could handle. This would let him feel useful. And something told him that this man needed saving. And he needed it now.
Trying to convince Lestrade would take too long. Sherlock went with the fastest solution. If he left, Lestrade would feel obligated to follow. And Dimmock would feel obligated to follow Lestrade. He would need both of them to execute his plan.
Grabbing a communicator, the helmet, and his blaster, Sherlock walked out the door, tossing a careless "I'm off to spring a generous royal rebel from the detention center. If I'm not back in an hour, I've been captured or killed."
Smirking, Sherlock made his exit, listening to Lestrade swear profusely before following him.
Mycroft turned as he heard the mechanism on his door starting to turn. Possibilities scrambled through his brain – options and outcomes flitting in and out as he tried to settle on his next course of action. He knew an official order had been signed for his execution, but the odds were relatively low this was his immediate fate. While Prince Mycroft had managed to resist the mind probe, he doubted he would be able to resist Lord Moran invading his mind for anywhere near long enough. Mycroft would sooner die than give him what he wanted. The Prince of Alderaan sat up as the door began to ease open, spine straight and shoulders back, determined to meet his fate with dignity.
But this…was no quite right. All was not as it appeared. The hall smelled of charred flesh and recent blaster fire, and the stormtrooper before him was too tall.
There were several possible explanations, but Mycroft would require more data before he could make a determination regarding the truth of the matter.
"Aren't you a little tall for a stormtrooper?" He drawled, hoping to provoke a response that would give him more information.
"iNine krething hells!/i" the man in the uniform cursed. Loudly and emphatically.
From the expletive, Mycroft learned that the man was young – on the cusp of adulthood. No more than twenty standard years yet no fewer than 16. He was from a rural, outer-rim planet. One controlled by the Hutts, judging by his accent and chosen curse. Mycroft learned all this, yet he could find no motivation for the swear to have been uttered. Mycroft arched one eyebrow in a quest for more information.
The man in the armor pulled off his helmet by way of an explanation.
Mycroft stared at the face before him, searching for words only to discover he had only one. Acting on instinct alone, the prince stood and crossed the room in a few short strides before wrapping his arms around the curly-haired figure before him.
"Brother," he exhaled in wonder. "My brother."
A part of Mycroft's brain assimilated the data now available, matching up timelines and previously known facts to form a picture of the current situation. His parents…their parents had clearly seen the signs of the coming danger in the senate, and had chosen to send their children away for their own protection. They were affluent and well-connected, Mycroft's own adoption spoke to that. In organizing the rebellion, he had seen just how well-connected they had been. So why had his brother been sent so far from civilization?
The majority, however, was basking in this newfound information. He was not alone. He still had kin. And he would do everything in his not insignificant power to ensure he wouldn't' lose the only family he had left.
"Kid! We're about to have company!" a fast approaching rough, masculine voice shouted. "What the hell is taking so long?" The voice asked again, the man it belonged to walking into view.
The expression on his handsome face turned to one of comical surprise when he saw the two men locked in an embrace. Mycroft's brother (his name. He didn't even know his name) used the distraction of the new arrival to escape the Prince's grasp.
"Captain Geoff Lestrade, this is Prince Mycroft Organa." There was a lengthy, contemplative pause before he added "My brother. Prince Organa," he continued introducing, "this is Captain Lestrade, formerly of the Imperial Navy, the owner and captain of the ship that brought us here, and a reluctant member of your rescue party."
"Us," not "me" Mycroft noted with some interest. And a rescue party did not typically consist of two only two people. At least one additional individual had traveled with his brother. But who? And what was his relation to Mycroft's brother?
"Why didn't you tell me we were here for your brother?" Captain Lestrade asked, tone exasperated but body betraying the urgency of their situation.
"Simple," Mycroft's brother answered. "I didn't know. Now, I believe you said something about company?" The curly haired man asked, raising his blaster before pushing past the Captain into the hallway.
Captain Lestrade stared at him in openmouthed shock for a long moment before following Mycroft's brother out the door, shouting "Oy, Sherlock! What the in the hells is that supposed to mean?"
Mycroft followed them, filing the name away. Sherlock, he thought. It suits him.
"Shut up, Lestrade," Sherlock snapped at the captain as Mycroft entered the small, grated hallway. His grey eyes alight with a level of intelligence Mycroft had never seen save in his own reflection. "I'm thinking."
Mycroft took stock of situation in a matter of seconds, observing the oncoming, well-armed stormtroopers pouring through the only obvious exit.
"When you concocted this no doubt very well thought out rescue plan, did you have a plan for getting out?" Mycroft enquired, keeping his tone entirely pleasant.
"He's the brains of this operation, sweetheart," the Captain told him, firing a blaster at the approaching storm troopers.
Mycroft's stomach twisted uncomfortably as he realized exactly what they were going to have to do to escape, but he quickly banished the sensation and scoffed at himself. Survival was far more important than sanitation. His brother's brow was still furrowed in thought, and Mycroft realized he would have to initiate the unseemly process himself. He tugged the gun of the captain's hand, as he was the least consistent shot out of those in the immediate vicinity (and how can Sherlock shoot better than someone trained on a blaster when he's never held one before today?) and aimed it at the grating.
Mycroft gestures for his brother to proceed him, his posture and expression making it clear this was the only option. Sherlock's expression made it clear what he thought of his newly discovered brother's protective instincts. The younger man clearly had enough sense to know that this was not the place to assert the independence he had experienced unhindered those twenty or so year prior, but his intelligent, piercing eyes made it clear that an argument was forthcoming. This entire conversation was conveyed in a few looks exchanged over a matter of seconds, Sherlock rolled his eyes before leaping lithely and recklessly headfirst into the opening.
"Into the garbage chute, if you'd be so kind, Captain," Mycroft ordered, firing off a few parting shots before tossing the blaster back to the utterly befuddled grey-haired man and following reluctantly after his brother.
He landed just in time to watch Sherlock, brow furrowed in concentration, hold a hand before the obviously locked door, only to have it spring open moments later without his brother so much as laying a hand on it.
Mycroft stared at him in horror, running on auto pilot as he dodged blaster shots and sprinted through corridors after his sibling and the handsome captain. His eyes were fixed on the weapon clipped to his brothers' belt that bounced against his hip with every step.
A Jedi. He was a Jedi. Beings who were hunted down by the empire with a fanatical zealously, a priority above all others.
He was all Mycroft had left. He had to protect him, keep him safe. Yet Sherlock's very existence put him in danger, only augmented by whatever tasks he performed for the rebellion or for his order.
I will protect you, Mycroft swore to himself as he trailed after his brother. No matter how you feel about it. I will protect you at the cost of my own life. I will keep you safe even if you hate me as a result. You are too important for me to be put off by a trifling matter like you good opinion of me. I will protect you even if the price is your regard.
You are all I have.
Mycroft was broadcasting his thoughts. Thoughts directed at Sherlock. Thoughts filled with protectiveness and love so strong it was nearly painful to be shown. How could a bond so deep have been forged so quickly?
Sherlock was unable to keep himself from reacting. Today had been too much. His entire world had been shaken at it's very foundations by emotional upheaval after emotional upheaval. Sherlock was by no means the reasoning machine many assumed him to be, but his experience with emotions, especially now that they had been augmented by his discovery of the force, was nowhere near enough to handle the strain and turmoil from the past 48 hours.
Mycroft's love was too much. The last straw, as it were. Sherlock's newly constructed shields cracked slightly under the force of the emotional onslaught.
The cracks weren't much, but they were enough. Sherlock could feel the malevolent presence two decks up take immediate notice. The dark presence immediately began throwing itself against Sherlock's shields, pressing against the cracks and trying to tear them open even as Lord Moran rushed towards him.
"Sith!" Sherlock swore appropriately.
There were two immediate options – run, as far away and as fast as he could, and pray that they reached the ship before Lord Moran reached them or tore his shields to pieces. The other was to stop where he was, focus all his attention on repairing and reinforcing his shields and pray he had enough time to finish and conceal himself before Moran arrived.
Neither was remotely encouraging, but given the circumstances, Sherlock knew which would be more useful. He ran, trying to hold his shields as best he could as the group fled. It wasn't his location he was worried about, it was everything else Moran could learn from his mind.
They were able to make it to the hangar bay before he found them. Sherlock rounded the final corner, only to slam into Lestrade's back as the man froze staring at the figure before them, his sudden influx of fear palpable in the force.
Lord Moran cut an imposing figure, dressed entirely in black. The few inches he stood taller than Sherlock, coupled with his force presence, made Sherlock feel as if the Sith towered over him. His yellow eyes glowed fiercely under his widow's peak of dark hair. His lips were twisted with a small smirk, equal parts amusement and disgust. The blood red lightsaber held casually in one hand hummed ominously as the dark lord took a few leisurely steps closer.
"Which one of you is the little Padawan I get play with?" Lord Moran asked, deep voice filled with dark pleasure.
Sherlock took a deep, fortifying breath before beginning to step forward, only to find himself stopped momentarily by a hand grasped tightly around his bicep. Sherlock looked over his shoulder and met his brother's eyes.
Don't, the prince pleaded silently with both his mind and his expression
I have to, Sherlock tried to make clear with his eyes.
There was no choice. He was the only hope they had.
Mycroft kept his gaze fixed on Sherlock's for several long moments before inclining his head in the barest hint of a nod. His fingers loosened, but he didn't release Sherlock entirely. Sherlock shook him off and stepped forward, focusing on the upcoming confrontation instead of dwelling on the overwhelming sense of terror coming from behind him.
Moran's force signature became infused with dark amusement.
"Little Jedi," he cooed mockingly, "come to face the fate of all those before you. You will pay," he said, turning deadly serious. "You will all pay for what you took from me."
Sherlock did not allow himself to become sidetracked by Moran's words. If he survived this, there would be plenty of time to dissect the meaning later.
Instead he walked forward with long, purposeful steps, stopping a yard away from the Sith and assuming a defensive stance (the only stance he knew) and calling his lightsabre to his hand, unwilling to turn his attention away from the sith lord even for a second.
Moran's eyes zeroed in on Sherlock's lightsaber, and his entire force signature shifted. While he had been darkly amused and slightly wrathful moments before, the sith was now murderously irate. The pure, unadulterated rage directed at Sherlock was enough to make the younger man feel ill.
"Where," the sith hissed furiously, "did you get that?"
"From his master," a familiar, warm voice said from a hallway to their right.
John Watson walked forward, his posture and expression perfectly tranquil, the lightsaber casting a green glow over his features looking like an extension of his hand.
"You," Moran snarled, his face a study in wrath.
"Me," John said serenely, idly whirling his lightsaber as he stepped between Sherlock and the Sith lord. "It's been twelve years since our last battle, Lord Moran. Twelve years I've spent becoming stronger in the force. I bested you as a teenager. Care to see what will happen now that you're past you're prime and I'm the strongest I've ever been?"
"Beginner's luck," the Sith spat at John, his rage palpable even to the non-force users present.
"Was it?" John asked. "Then why can't you even find my force signature to try and attack me? If I wasn't standing right here, you'd never even notice me, would you? And that just drives you mad." A pause, considering. "Well, madder."
Sherlock stared at John with horror. He was goading an angry Sith, baiting him. Ensuring all his attention was on John so Sherlock and the others could escape.
Sherlock found John through the tentative bond that had begun to form between them. No. Don't do this. You can't do this.
I can and I must, John replied through their connection, his thoughts tender and bittersweet. Try and stay safe this time, alright?
The words John was speaking aloud slowly trickled into Sherlock's awareness despite his growing horror. "Tell you what, I'll try and make it easier for you, since you clearly don't have a chance the way things stand."
And suddenly, there was John.
Bright, beautiful, good John singing through the force, emitting light so strongly that even Moran's force signature seemed joyful.
He was all Sherlock could sense, all Sherlock could see, and he was drawn to his warmth and goodness like a moth to a flame.
Except he couldn't go to him. There were strong hands wrapped around him, dragging him towards the Falcon, up the loading platform, dragging him away from John. He fought them, but only half his focus was on his surroundings the rest was with the only person that mattered.
Until suddenly, just as quickly as the light had come on and filled a space in Sherlock he hadn't known was empty, it was gone.
John was gone.
Sherlock collapsed against the strong arms wrapped around his physical body and wept.