Alright. It has been brought to my attention, twice, that I focus on Tanya a lot. There's a reason for that.
My OC's - Milan, Mothalia - and Papanoida, yeah I could shed a little more light on them. But everyone else – Jedi, Senators - , we know their story. The reason why this is centered around Tanya is because fic 1 is surrounded around her. The universe is trying to figure her out. People are trying to figure her out. And when people who know her appear, others want to know more. She's an enigma.
This fic is mostly about Tanya and her adjusting, and people adjusting to her. And I'm also using her to bring in lesser mentioned Jedi. The entire series has been about Anakin, Obi-Wan and Ahsoka. I love them, but there are 20 other Jedi. But with this chapter, I'll try not to put her in the spotlight for too long.
Whether or not we realize it, the decisions we make change the lives of others for better or worse.
A few minutes after Tanya left for a reason unknown to them, Ahsoka invited Milan to her room so the two could become better acquainted. Ahsoka fixed a batch of special mint tea meant to calm the chi and nerves. Milan was grateful for the cup. After all that's happened, her nerves needed all the help they could get. What with Kashjeen's suicide, Tanya's god like punch, and the sudden appearance of Hondo, Milan wasn't sure what way was up.
"It seems like every time I see her…" Milan touched her aching heart, "I grow farther and farther away." Opening the palm of her hand, Milan imagined she could see Tanya smiling up to her with a childish impishness. "I know so little of her."
"I know how you feel." Ahsoka joined Milan on her bed. "I never knew about Hondo until now." She lowered her sights somberly to the rippling tea. "It seems like Tanya still keeps secrets."
"Not secrets." Milan assured her, taking a sip of her tea. "I believe Tanya just wants to keep her old life from her new life." She smiled warmly to Ahsoka, "She does enjoy being with you. It's just the whole situation with Kashjeen tat's forcing her to shut down."
"Why was Kashjeen like that, anyway?" Ahsoka asked in outrage. "What made him hate Myra, Rolen, and Tanya so badly he'd actually kill himself?"
Milan shook her head sadly. "I've known Myra, Rolen, and Kashjeen since childhood. Even I cannot answer that."
Ahsoka's eyes widened in shock. "You've known them for that long."
"Yes." Milan smiled. "And let me tell you…things were universally different when we were children.
"I know I shouldn't be too surprised." Windu admitted first hand, sipping his tea. "If Boba is Jango's son, then it serves to say he too knows what became of his father." He faced Hondo with an inquisitive glance, "But why would Tanya not speak of him…ever?"
"He was there." Hondo remarked impassively. Dread filled Windu's heart. "Like Tanya, Boba witnessed the execution of Jango." He narrowed his eyes ominously, pointing a damning finger, "He also has a fire of vengeance burning deep within his heart." Windu nodded in understanding. Once again he was not surprised, but guilt ridden he had changed the lives of two young people so drastically. "This is the reason why you are just hearing about him."
"But if that's true, why was Tanya the only one to come after me?" He questioned, demanding to understand the origin behind Boba. "Where was Boba the entire time?"
"Living with my ex-wife, Aurra Sing."
"Why was he there?"
Hondo unleashed a perturbed sigh. Windu knew he was treading onto dangerous grounds. Hondo knew it was not his place to tell. But he also knew, as of seven and a half months ago, Windu was Tanya's guardian. He needed to understand. "Because Tanya knew – one way or another – she would not come back."
"I think her moods are due to the new lightning ability she has." Anakin proclaimed in the briefing room. Yoda and Papanoida listened to his claim, not finding it unjust. "It is an ability that corrupts the mind. Maybe Tanya's is being corrupted."
"Actually," Papanoida erected a finger, "I must protest against that claim, Master Skywalker." He announced politely. "Any new ability discovered, Tanya occasionally has mood swings. Jango, Hondo, myself, Scroop, and Carver all agreed it was from a sudden increase in her powers."
"Agree with you, Chairman, I do." Yoda spoke up. "Suffer a similar affliction, all Jedi young one do." Yoda smiled to Anakin. "No different were you, Skywalker. Master Windu especially."
"Master Windu had mood swings?" Anakin questioned.
"Indeed." Yoda chuckled. "Reveal too much I will not." Yoda chuckled. "Master Windu's tale, this is. For Master Windu to tell it, it is." Anakin groaned in disappointment. And he had hoped he would learn something about the ever cryptic Mace Windu. So much for wishful thinking. "Much like Tanya, Master Windu was. Distant, quiet, kept to himself. Not one to open up."
"So he hasn't changed much." Anakin joked. Yoda laughed as well, finding the truth in the young Jedi's words.
Master Windu was skilled, talented with the force. Able to use the force with melee he is. Detect shatter points, created his own style of saber battle, and so forth. But the more his powers grew, as did his aggression. A powerful strain the force puts on the mind. Control and maintain it we must. Master Windu's aggravation, flaring out of control it was. Would not work properly. It would come out in bursts; develop a mind of its own.
Frustrated and angered, Windu became. Made worse it was by the death of a fellow Padawan whom he held with high esteem. Angered he was. Sought vengeance he did. Reach him, no one could.
At the time, Count Dooku, best at force control he was. Trained Master Windu he did. Reminded him, "Be one with the force. Never command it. Open your mind." Disregarded his word, Windu did. Give up, Dooku did not. Forced Master Windu to open up, he did. Master Windu, when he came clean about his inner thoughts, gained a whole new control over the force, he did. Trained and studied hard he did.
(Yoda Story End)
"Of the same cloth Tanya and Master Windu are cut." Yoda assured Papanoida and Anakin, gripping his cane. "Calm her, Master Windu can."
"I do not doubt it." Papanoida agreed. He stared out the window, his thought focused on Tanya and Windu. "But I still worry."
Boba clicked the hammer of the pistol blaster back, keeping it and the laser pointer locked onto Tanya's forehead. Tanya was not dismayed, nor was she terrified at the anger burning in Boba's eyes. She was pleased. Pleased to see her younger brother – as the case may be – alive and well.
"What are you doing here?" Boba demanded to know.
"I was out for a stroll." Tanya shrugged. "Thought I'd come by and visit." She smiled menacingly. "Is it wrong for an older sister to see her younger brother?"
"You're not my sister!" Boba howled. Tanya's ears drooped. "Not since you betrayed dad!"
Tanya's brow furrowed sharply, her ear erecting like horns. "How DARE YOU make such a claim!" Boba nearly jumped from his skin. "I would never betray dad! Dead or alive, my loyalties are to him!"
"Then why are you serving the man that killed him?" Boba shouted.
"It was part of my arrangement!" Tanya blurted. It was odd to say after all that time, though. Were it seven months ago, Tanya would have gladly said it was an arrangement brought on against her wishes. That she only became and remained Windu's Padawan because she lost the wager. But now…it's more of her choice. Her duty. Her moral obligation to remain by Windu's side, continue the Jedi order, and succeed her master and take on a Padawan of her own. "I lost a wager. I became his Padawan. I'm a girl of my word."
"Even if your word forces you to work with the guy who killed dad!"
"Dad gave me a holo-message stating he didn't want to be avenged for his death." She narrowed her eyes challengingly. "I'm sure you received one as well!"
Boba hissed through his gritted teeth, spitting to the ground in spite. "How did you know I was here?" He quickly changed the subject.
Tanya allowed the denial to slide. "How did you know I was coming?" She responded calmly.
"I asked you first!" Boba blurted. It was unnecessary though. Boba knew how she found him. Someone ratted him out. "Who told you I was here?"
"Dad's old friend, Hondo." She answered, wishing to dispense with the pleasantries – or lack thereof. "And I'm sure he told you I might stop by."
"I wish you hadn't." Boba's hand trembled. "I wish you would have just stayed in that temple you've decided to call home!" He snapped resentfully. "I didn't come here to see you!"
Tanya's smile faded. Her brow furrowed, her eyes dimmed dangerously. Boba staggered back, knowing that seriousness all too well. "Don't give me that." Tanya ordered sternly with a low ominous tone. "Out of all the planets in the universe, you came to this one. The planet – I'm sure you've known – I've been living on for the last seven months!" She swiped her hand, knocking the gun from Boba's. Boba stumbled. Tanya pounced and pinned him to the floor, hands above his head. Boba stared up into her dark eyes, feeling them "Not to mention your hotel is only a mile from the Temple. You may not have intended to see me," She leaned down, her hair touching his face, "But I know you were hoping you would."
"Why not?" Boba slipped his hands from her grip, and grabbed hold of her collar. "Why should I be denied my vengeance?" He tucked his feet under her stomach and kicked her into the couch. Boba sprang to his feet. A blade of the knife in his hand flicked out. "The murderer of my father must pay!" Boba charged forward, "As will his betrayer!" He lunged the knife for her neck.
Tanya's pupils narrowed into slits. Her hand shot out, grabbing hold Boba's fist. The knife missed her flesh by a centimeter, caught her middle and ring finger. "The murderer of your father?" Tanya pushed back. Boba tried to fend her off. He had forgotten how strong she could be. "Has my two year absence caused your memory to elude you? He was my father as well." Tanya drilled a punch into his stomach, robbing the wind from his lungs. Boba dropped to his knee, gasping for air. "And you've never been able to beat me in a fight."
My father, the king, and Rolen's mother, the Duchess, had met Myra and Kashjeen's Father, the Duke when all of us were five years old. Rolen, Myra, and Kashjeen were brought to the palace due to the other nobles wishing to show their progeny what they themselves would be in charge of one day. For Myra and Rolen…it was…the beginning of a match made in heaven. Kashjeen and I, on the other hand, were the best of friends and the greatest of partners.
As the years went by, the four of us were put through hours of rigorous study for our future roles as leaders of Aquatis. History, palace and planet affairs, allied planets in need, creating alliances – the whole nine yards.
Myra and Rolen were always together. When reviewing notes from previous counsel discussions, they would break the work in half. Myra would read up on previous counsel debates, while Rolen would sit through the discussions – and vice versa. They were their own little tag team. It was adorable.
Kashjeen was the most studious of all of us. By the time he was 15, Kashjeen had backhand knowledge of each planets affiliations, their main counsel, and their capital cities. I came in second to him. He became my adviser when my dad would make a decision I didn't agree with. Kashjeen would explain the reason behind it and give me a dissertation to relay to my father for later. It was because of him that I learned it paid to be patient, listen to all sides, and ensure you are able to give a fair and just ruling should the moment call for it. But despite all of his hard work and dedication, the laws of our land did not play into his favor.
When my grandfather was king, he ruled that men would be the counsel and make all decisions that would benefit our planet. Mantisan, Nekaltisan, even some Eeltisan were put on the counsel. All were men. When my father met my mother and discovered her wisdom in state affairs, my father had hoped my mother could become part of the counsel. She was denied harshly. So when it was his turn to rule, my father made a law many years ago to spite my late grandfather. That the eldest would become the next in line to inherit their parents' place. No matter the gender.
Unfortunately, when it came time for them to ascend, Myra and Rolen were the ones to become the new Duke and Duchess. Meanwhile Kashjeen was left in his older sister's shadow, forced to keep her files straight and help her plan out dates. It wasn't the life he chose, but it was unfair to him – and in my eyes as well – that he studied his entire life only to be denied a place amongst the wisest and most impartial of our people.
But with time – that is, months of seeing a therapist – Kashjeen did come to accept his role and was granted a place by his sister. He served as a secondary counsel. A majority of our counsel approved of his ideals. On occasion he was asked for his advice.
A year later – a couple months after Myra's 21nd birthday and Rolen's 24th - , Myra and Rolen married each other. Kashjeen and I were part of the ceremony. Best man and bride's maid. It lightened his mood. He loved having an older brother. Another year had passed and Myra had become pregnant with Tanya. That's when I began to notice Kashjeen's resentment towards her had returned. And it continued to grow with each day that drew closer to Tanya's conceiving date.
To Kashjeen's heart, it meant his family was growing. He would have a little niece. A daughter like figure he could help raise. Teach her the ropes of politics. But to his pride…it was another road block to his rightful place. But he accepted it. And when Tanya was born…his heart melted with love. That was…until Myra and Rolen made her next of kin to inherit the title of Duchess.
I don't know why he waited four years. I'm not even sure why I believed Tanya could kill her parents. Kashjeen…I was just so close with Kashjeen…I didn't want to believe he went to Pokitaru that day. Despite him…returning that day covered in sand native to that planet. I blamed Tanya…a four year old…for a death I knew she could never commit even if she were half crazed. I made Kashjeen my royal adviser, hoping to comfort him with his loss. We both needed to be comforted. We lost our friends…our family. But I was too blinded by my need to keep up the appearances to realize he was relishing in my pain and he was using our resources to hunt Tanya.
(Milan Story End)
Milan did not need to explain the rest of the story. Ahsoka was fully aware what transpired later. She slumped into the wall of her bed. A hand to her forehead as her mind tried to comprehend the madness. "So Kashjeen didn't just decide to kill Myra and Rolen overnight." She stated, flabbergasted. "This sort of hatred…was brewing for years."
"And I didn't realize it until it was too late." Milan sunk into herself, into her sadness. "Too late for all three of them."
Ahsoka touched a hand to Milan's shoulder, "You can't blame yourself for what happened."
"No but I could have prevented it."
"You couldn't have prevented this anymore than Tanya could've prevented Jango from dying."
"I allowed such turmoil between my three best friends to grow."
"No! Kashjeen did!" Ahsoka boomed. "He allowed a meaningless position to corrupt his mind, and he killed his own family for it! Now he's dead because he couldn't live with the horror of what he's done." Ahsoka pointed to the door. "Now Tanya has to live with those screams all on her own!"
Milan sighed heavily, understanding where she was coming from. "Unfortunately the horror doesn't end there." She rasped. "What am I going to tell Saia?"
"Was that Kashjeen's wife?"
"No. That's his 12 year old daughter."
Ahsoka shot from the wall, nearly launching herself from the bed. "Daughter?" She gasped. Milan glanced to Ahsoka sadly. This wasn't a topic talked about very often. Ahsoka added up the relationships in her mind. A number of implosions blew her mind sky high. "Tanya…has a cousin?"
"That's four years younger than her." Milan added.
"Does Tanya know?" Milan shook her head sadly. "Why?"
"After what Kashjeen did, I knew Tanya wouldn't want anything to do with him or his family." She explained, speaking in speculation. "Plus I was afraid she would do to him what he did to her."
"But she still deserves to know."
"Yes, and I will tell her when the time is right."
"When is that, My Lady?" Ahsoka asked, trying to remember her manners.
"When Tanya no longer desires vengeance against him." She massaged her neck, knowing that day may never come. "Besides I don't know where Saia is." Ahsoka bobbed her head, gawking in disbelief. "After I exiled Kashjeen, Saia ran away looking for him. I hadn't heard from her, so I'm not sure if she knew about what happened on Aetha. I'm not even sure if she knows what's happened."
"So what will you do when you find her?"
"I haven't thought about it." Milan admitted. "You would think the last couple of months I'd be searching for her like mad." Her bottom lip curled into her mouth. She bit on it, fighting back the tears. "But she was vehement that I stay away. I never told her why I banished Kashjeen. As I'm sure Kashjeen never told Saia about Tanya. There are a number of secrets being kept."
"Then you need to be the one to break the silence!" Ahsoka ordered. She calmed herself when she remembered Milan was a queen. But that didn't stop the rage. "Anger, hate, secrets, lies – it's no wonder Tanya grew up the way she did. And no one is trying to help! Now Saia risks having that same life, knowing that same pain! But you're more worried about relationships!" Ahsoka rose from her bed, putting the tea on the inn table. "Unless someone comes clean, there won't be any relationship. Saia and Tanya both will denounce their homes, their lineage, and ultimately – after 12 years and being able to fix it once – Tanya will never want to see you, either!" Ahsoka marched for the door. "Think about that!" The door slammed behind her.
Milan flinched and curled into herself. The guilt in her heart bubbled deep inside. "When those too do meet…" She mumbled, "How do I explain the hatred between their families?"
Boba had his feet spanned, grinding the ball of his foot into the ground to prepare himself to pounce. In both hands was a serrated edge dagger, gleaming in the shadowed light. Tanya held her own knives, thumbs on the end of the hilt. Either one could wield the light saber or the blaster. But it would be too much of a risk. The blaster could hit someone in the next room, and Tanya didn't need Hondo knowing they didn't…peacefully resolve their issues.
"Make peace with the force, Number Eight!" Boba hissed, charging.
"Not before you meet your maker, Nine!" Tanya lunged. Both right hand daggers collided. Blue and white sparks speared like fireworks. Boba and Tanya recoiled and lashed with their other knives. They met with the same ferocity. The sparks flashed again, igniting the anger in the strikes.
Neither one letting up or so much as staggering their feet, Tanya and Boba lashed their daggers out. Each strike met the other with the same strength, same ferocity of the other. Each one repelled the other. The metal tolled louder, ringing in their ears. The muscles in their arms felt the other connect. The sparks flared brightly, alighting the hatred in the brown and purple eyes.
Tanya stepped in, increasing her position. Boba stepped back. Tanya took this chance and went for the kill shot in his neck. Boba lashed a foot up, kicking the knife into the ceiling. He looped the foot around, swinging the other around and connecting it with her stomach. The foot powered into her stomach, nearly rupturing her abs. Tanya staggered back, grunting in discomfort. Boba moved in. He turned the daggers so the hilt faced upward and dealt a barrage of punches into Tanya's face and stomach. Tanya shoved him away, and staggered back. Boba flipped forward and powered his feet into her stomach. Tanya I forgot he can deal powerful kicks. Boba roared out loud, his knife raised for her chest. But so can I! Boba lunged his hand. Tanya rolled to the side. Boba's knife pierced the wall. Tanya rose to her feet and kicked her knee into his stomach. Boba gasped, feeling the wind leave him again.
"You've gotten stronger, Boba. I'll give you that." Boba staggered forward. Tanya grabbed a fist full of his hair and yanked back. "But prison and the Jedi have served me well." She aimed him to the door and plunged her foot into his back. Boba flew face first into the apartment door. The door opened as he slid down. "That looked like it hurt." Tanya summoned her discarded knife back into her hand. "At least I hope it did." She gripped the knives by the blade and threw them like darts. Boba whipped around and pressed the button on the side of the wall. The door opened. The knives soared out and impaled the wall in the hallway.
Panting heavily, Boba glared back to Tanya and then fell into dismay. Her smile, her eyes, her entire person – Boba wasn't sure if it was their being parted for the last two years, or the jetlag from the long trip. But he was sure of one thing. Tanya wasn't…her old self. "Prison changed you."
"What'd you expect?" She spat. "Did you expect smiling, giddy, always loving Tanya to still be alive after all this time?" She lowered her head somberly. "Though I will admit, the Jedi – Mace – are slowing bringing that back. Mace, Ahsoka, Jar-Jar, everyone in that temple is reminding why it is I should enjoy life!"
"Enjoy it?" Boba scoffed. "They keep taking everything from you! Look at Kashjeen!" Tanya gaped in aghast. "I know all about it! There's not a single person in the Creed who doesn't know!" Tanya narrowed her eyes. The Creed knows? "Because of that murderer you couldn't attain vengeance for your parents! Now you can't attain vengeance for dad! Can't you see they're hindering you?"
"Then what would I do?" Tanya challenged. Boba was taken aback by the question. "Tell me Boba, what would I do after I got my revenge? Should I Prove that I'm no better than Kashjeen? Or maybe I should rob the Jedi of someone they all revere as a brother?"
"They robbed us!"
"Kashjeen robbed me! Mace saved me!"
"So did dad!"
"Mace saved me from rotting in my insanity! Ahsoka helped me bring peoples close! Jar-Jar and Padme made me care again!"
"How can you defend them? Especially him?"
"I'm not." She rasped. "I'm stating facts. They saved me, Boba."
"That may be…" Boba bit his lip, "But I can never forgive him." His lip quivered. "I can never forgive him."
"Neither can I." Tanya assured him. "I will never truly forgive Mace for what he did." Tanya meandered to Boba and placed a hand to his shoulder. "But I can't hold it against him his whole life." She knelt down. "Nor can I ask you to put aside your pain."
"Then what are you asking?"
"That you go back to Aurra." Boba clenched his fist tightly. His arm trembled. "Go back to her."
"Why did you leave me with her in the first place?" Boba asked, his shaking voice demanding an answer. "I know you said it was so I could be looked after. But why didn't you take me with you?"
Tanya cupped his cheek. Boba flinched at the warm hand, almost forgetting how gentle she was. "So that you would never see me as the monster I once was." Boba's eyes widened. "There's a monster still deep inside of me Boba. I never wanted you to see it. So I left you with Aurra."
"I didn't join Mace because I wanted to. I joined him because I lost a bet. Not to mention it got me out of jail 2,998 years early." Tanya faced a number of life sentences after she was sent to prison. Every life she had taken was ten years on her sentence. "But after a while…after someone nearly died," Jar-Jar, "I…they grew on me. They taught me there was more to life than revenge." Her shoulders sank. "Which…explains why…Mace kept me from killing Kashjeen."
"So you aren't going to leave him?" Boba asked as a final question.
Tanya sighed heavily and backed away. "No."
"Then…" Boba discarded his weapons to the table in the middle of the room. Side arm pistol, knives – all of it except for two electric batons. "We settle this." He declared. "The loser adheres…to whatever fate the winner decides."
Tanya gripped her saber. Somberly she stared at it, horrified she had to use it against her own brother. "Very well." She agreed sadly.
Tanya and Boba, despite being of different parents and Boba having Jango first, those two were inseparable! Boba was a year old when Tanya was found, of course. He is three years younger than her. But Tanya still looked after him as if they were blood. When I first met those two, Tanya would not let him out of her sight. The same was said for Boba. He watched over Tanya as best as he could.
As they grew, both were put under rigorous training by Jango. Gun wielding, hand to hand combat, infiltration, and of course a little bit a schooling her and there. Boba and Tanya would always spar to see who was improving the fastest and who would be left in the dust. Of course they both equal. Boba kept with Tanya just as she kept up with him.
The ultimate test of their training came one day. The Hunter's Creed initiation contest. Traversing harsh terrains, gun slinging, facing the final thousand in back to back rounds of grudge matching. Despite what you might believe, there was an entire planet worth of bounty hunters there that day. Boba and Tanya bested nearly all of them.
Then their fight came up. The sparks were flying in that arena. Boba would shoot and Tanya would dodge. Tanya used the force, Boba would break her concentration with flash grenades. Punches, kicks, lances, swords – every weapon you could think of was flailing between those two in a never-ending blur. But in the end, Tanya was victorious, earning her place as number eight. In the end Boba became number nine. Since then, those two sparred even harder, keeping one another on their toes. In a way, the Creed Trials brought them closer. They both felt as if they had lived up to Jango's expectations.
'Sigh…' But…after the Geonosis incident…those two drifted apart. Boba and Tanya both witnessed the death of their father. Tanya may have been the one to act out and fly into a frenzy, but Jango's death hit Boba harder.
Tanya was determined to avenge her father, so she left Boba in the care of my wife – at the time – Aurra Sing. Boba was…distant in the mind. His eyes were blank, his soul void – a mere shell of what he once was. Tanya pleaded to Aurra to keep him safe…for she knew she would not return. Even if she had killed you Master Windu, Tanya would not face Boba. For after she killed you, I knew and many others knew, Tanya would be regressed into her most primitive of states. She would forever be the assassin.
Word had reached Boba Tanya had been sent to jail. His heart shattered. His father, his sister – his entire family had been taken. His hatred toward you had grown. So for those two years he trained like mad. 16 hours a day, the remaining 8 for rest. When he had planned to free Tanya from prison, she was already in your care. Boba became infuriated. But he thought it would be good to wait. For all he knew, Tanya would kill him where he slept. He waited these last seven months for word of Windu's death. It never came. Worse. He discovered Tanya had befriended you. Worst of all he discovered that she looked up to you the same way she looked up to Jango. So he deemed her a traitor.
(Hondo Story End)
"If that is so," Windu spoke up firmly, "Then Tanya is visiting someone…who is a mere shadow of his former self." Windu lowered his head. "I have ruined what should have been a lifelong relationship. Turned two young people into to their darkest and most primal of instincts."
"But you saved one." Hondo assured him strongly. "Before she met you, Tanya was nothing more than an animal in a blind rage. Jango could not tame her." Hondo wagged a commending finger, "But you did. In a matter of months you've managed to tame Tanya."
"Is that your way of saying I can tame Boba?"
"Oh no." Hondo laughed heartily. "You are the worst person to do that." Windu rolled his eyes, appreciating Hondo's blatant honesty. "That is why I sent Tanya. She is the only one who can reach him." He checked the time on his holoprojector. "And right about now they should be trying to kill each other."
Windu arched a confused brow, "Wait a minute. You knew they would fight?"
"Tanya isn't permitted to fight. Her ribs cannot take too much strain."
"And this will not be a strain on the bodies." Hondo assured the Korun. He prodded his head and chest, "The only strain will be on their hearts and minds."
Windu furrowed his brow resentfully, leaning in toward Hondo. "What were you hoping to attain from this little game of yours?"
"Game?" Hondo laughed. "No, no, no. This is no game. This is a test."
"What sort of test?"
"To see who can stop."
The sun had begun to set. A warm orange glow cast itself over Coruscant. Many who hide away during the day had come out to embrace the arriving night.
Boba and Tanya roared at the top of their lungs. Tanya's saber collided with Boba's batons. The powerful surge of electrical energy flared, igniting sharp sparks from the saber. Boba and Tanya pushed back, skidding to a halt. The two bore the balls of their feet into the roof ground of the hotel. Dust kicked up behind them as they charged. Tanya held the saber like a lance. Boba crossed the baton in front of him.
Tanya twirled her saber and swiped for Boba's feet. Boba leapt into the air. The saber grazed over the plastered ground. Boba flipped over Tanya, landing behind her. Turning on his heels Boba jabbed a baton for her back. Tanya stretched her arm back, catching the strike with her saber. Boba retaliated quickly with the other. Tanya turned and grasped his wrist. The saber and baton struggled for dominance. Boba and Tanya wrenched their arms, seeking to discard the enemy weapon. The saber and baton fell from their hands.
Boba gripped Tanya's free hand and pushed. Tanya dug her feet into the ground and pushed back. Lightning surged between their eyes. Tanya arched Boba's one wrist back, keeping the one baton away from her skin. Boba kicked a foot out, striking Tanya's knee. Tanya kicked his leg, striking the side.
Dancing around, dodging and evading, Tanya and Boba heatedly kicked at each other's' legs. Eventually they broke away, dealing several punches, only to have the other block and parry them. Their fists connect knuckle by knuckle. A powerful shock shot up their arms. Ignoring the shocks, Boba and Tanya continued their flurry of heated strikes. The legs connected in the same manner. A strong shock shot through their bones. Never had Boba and Tanya imagined the other could have become so strong in such a short time. But neither one was going to let up.
Boba climbed his feet up Tanya's body and kicked off, flipping back a few feet. As he touched the ground, Tanya charged. She connected a fist with his face, then countered with two more strikes to his stomach. Boba grasped Tanya by the head and crashed his forehead into hers. Tanya staggered back, seeing double. Boba rammed his only baton into her stomach. Tanya cried out as the electricity traveled through her body.
Tanya's hand stretched out. Her fingers curled in like claws. The lightning which she lacked control of swarmed around her fingers. As the baton fell from her stomach, Tanya placed her hand to Boba's shoulder. She curled her fingers into the shoulder. The lightning traveled from her hand and into Boba. The young Fett wailed in pain. Tanya shoved him away. Both fell to their knees, panting heavily with exhaustion.
"What is that?" Boba wheezed. "What power is that?"
"A curse…only a small few of Jedi are actually bestowed with." She coughed. "Just my luck that fate had me draw that straw!" She spat, gritting her teeth. The glow of the afternoon hued them like they were fangs. "A power which feeds on the anger and hatred of a Jedi chose me, a person forever imbued with anger and hatred, to wield it. I'm fate's little joke."
"Fate always plays a cruel joke." Boba informed her. "Look at us, look at the youngling in the temple – why do you think any of us were put in the lives we were?"
"Even the eldest of people don't know the answer to that." She answered him derisively.
"Exactly." Boba whispered. "Which is why…" He gripped the dust on the ground, trembling in his anger, "I cannot understand…why fate would pit us against each other." He stared to Tanya with tears in his eyes. "Why would fate place you with the man who killed our father? Why would fate have me come here to relish in that mockery?"
"Perhaps fate has deemed we should be enemies." Tanya shrugged. "Or maybe he is putting our bond to the test. I don't know." She answered somberly. "But I do…know this…" She grunted, struggling to climbed to her feet, "I'm not abandoning Mace or the temple. Nor will I forsake our father, his teachings or you." She glared to her fuming younger brother, "But know this, Boba. If you ever come to Coruscant with the intent of killing my master," She summoned her saber to her hand and ignited the orange beam, "I will end you the same way Mace ended our father. With your head bouncing along the ground and your body rotting in a desert wasteland!"
"PFFT!" Boba spat to the ground. "You'd really do that to me?"
"I don't want to." She admitted sadly. A weak yet warm smile graced her lips, "In fact I'd love it if you would stay on Coruscant and live with me." Boba sank into himself with guilt. Tanya shook her head, "But I know for a fact you will never forgive Windu. And I can't worry about you and him day in and day out." Pleased with her ruling, Tanya meandered to Boba and knelt to him. "With that being said," She flicked his forehead, "I'm declaring this my win."
"WHAT?" Boba boomed. "No way! I won!"
"Noo, I got you on your butt," She explained, dusting herself off, "And I rose to my feet first." She grinned widely, and raised two finger to his face, "Ergo, I won."
"That's a load of crap!"
"That's life." She grinned.
"UGGHH! I don't believe this!" He pouted.
Tanya giggled lovingly. Her arms snaked around him, bringing him into a warm hug. "Take care of yourself, Boba." She chimed whole heartedly. "And the next time you and I meet," She kissed his forehead lightly, "Let's discuss things over smores and hot chocolate, rather than a gun to my head."
"Fine." He agreed with a chuckle. "And you make sure those Jedi don't kill you."
"Who me?" Tanya bounced a fist off her chest. "I'm built to last."
"And I'm built to outlive you."
"That's true." The two threw their heads back and laughed.
Tanya tossed Boba back his baton. Waving good-bye, Tanya meandered to the edge of the roof. Boba watched Tanya as she vanished into the dark alleyway below. For a brief moment it felt as if Tanya would be taken from him for all of eternity. It was then he remembered. When Tanya makes a promise, she keeps it no matter what.
"We will see each other again, Tanya." Boba whispered. "I know it."
Tanya walked out of the alley, heading for the garage where she parked her airspeeder. She thanked the astro mech who watched it and sent him on his way. She almost collapsed with relief to see that speeder.
"Not the outcome you were hoping for." She announced, smiling to the shadowed doorway to the left of the small garage. "But at least you got a decent show out of it." From the shadows, a pale skinned, skinny woman in an orange jumpsuit, and with a shaven head and brown pony-tail emerged. She smiled darkly to Tanya. "Good to see you, Aurra. And here I thought the top three didn't bother to come out and play."
"I may be third in the ranking, but even I find a good sibling rivalry worthwhile." She leaned against the speeder, prompting Tanya to back away a couple steps. "You and Boba are my soda and popcorn show."
"I'm glad we're a source of amusement." Tanya thanked sardonically. She pushed Aurra away from the speeder. "But the show is over." She jumped into the vehicle. "I have to get back. As I'm sure you have other jobs besides spying on us."
Aurra snapped a hand to Tanya's preventing her from starting the speeder up. Tanya's eyes widened as Aurra smiled sadistically into her eyes. "This life you live will come to an end." Aurra warned her ominously. "One way or another you will be dragged back to your life of a hunter. The Creed, dispersed or not, owns you."
"No one owns me!" Tanya shoved her away. "Least of all you!" She growled.
"Pretending to be the hero doesn't make you one!" Aurra spat disdainfully. "We all know what truly lies beneath the smile you wear!" Aurra turned to the street. "We all know the monster you really are."
"That you do…" Tanya trailed off. "Two years have passed since anyone has seen me." Her eyes flared, narrowing into slits, "Which is why I suggest you tread carefully upon my turf!"
"I will take that as a challenge." Aurra laughed. "Till next time, Tanya." She chortled, wandering down the street. "I look forward to crossing swords with you." With that said, Aurra vanished down the street, leaving Tanya with her already rattled nerves.
"That brazen bitch." She bit her lip, drawing blood, "Next time…" The slit pupils turned grey, "I'll kill her!"
That's all for now. I'm thinking of bringing Barris in since the series refuses to explain what happened after the whole grievous moment in season 2.
See you next time.