Fear Itself

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This came to me after playing the PC game Star Wars: Jedi Academy. It follows the final cut scene. I wondered what would happen to Rosh and how Jaden would react.

DISCLAIMER: I don't own the Star Wars movies, games or any of the characters. This is just for fun.


"There's still a galaxy of trouble out there." Kyle Katarn smiled. "You ready for another mission?"

"As luck would have it," Jaden answered, "I am." He glanced at his friend. "When will Rosh be ready for duty?"

Master Skywalker cocked an eyebrow. "Medically, he's fit now. Why do you ask?"

"Rosh and I have never worked on the same mission before. I thought he might be willing to work with me on this one."

Rosh glanced at him, surprised. "You'd want me along? After what I did?" He looked down at the floor, rather than meet his friend's eyes.

Jaden regarded him seriously for a moment. "You made a mistake. Are you going to repeat it? You saying I can't trust you?"

"NO! I-I mean, I won't do that again. I-I learned my lesson."

"Yeah." Jaden nodded. "I think you did." He turned to Master Skywalker and Kyle. "I think what he went through is one of the hardest things a Jedi can face, running headlong into his own limitations like that. Shattered that overconfident attitude of yours, didn't it?" He looked back to his friend.

Rosh just looked at the floor.

"I think the best thing to do now is remember that lesson and get back to work. You have the skills; you know the 'how'. Now you just need to remember the 'why'."

"Am I ready?" Rosh asked quietly, more to himself than the others. "I messed up bad."

"Are you afraid?" Kyle asked. "Afraid of failing, of falling again?"

"I-I shouldn't be," Rosh frowned. "A Je-"

"You don't think Jedi are fearless, do you?" Jaden asked incredulously.

"Well…aren't they?"

"No," Master Skywalker shook his head.

"Definitely not," Jaden agreed. "I never did tell you about my first lightsabre, did I?" Rosh shook his head. "I ran into this old soldier. It's a long story, but he gave me some advice. 'Never go into a fight beside someone fearless. Life is already too short.'"

This startled a laugh out of Kyle, who had received similar advice when he was a young soldier.

"You defeated Allura," Rosh looked up in surprise, "and Tavion herself! What would you be afraid of?"

"Aside from my own temper?" Jaden asked quietly, forcing Rosh to meet his gaze. After a moment, he nodded, acknowledging the point.

Jaden smiled and continued in a lighter tone. "Plenty of things. Rancors for instance, especially the giant mutated variety." He shuddered at the memory. "That thing on Tanaab was gulping down cultists, lightsabres and all, like they were made out of candy."

"I look forward to that story…I think."

"Giant worms capable of swallowing a person whole," Jaden continued. Rosh paled slightly. "Heights."

"Heights?" Kyle looked at his former student, startled.

"Didn't used to be," Jaden allowed.

"What changed?" Rosh asked.

"Corellia," Jaden said simply, remembering the tram and the frantic race to prevent its crash.

"It wasn't that bad," Kyle snorted.

Jaden gave him an annoyed look. "Says the man who wasn't jumping from one speeding tram car full of heavily armed mercenaries to another, thousands of feet above having your remains collected with a mop." He glanced back to Rosh. "Lately, though, the thing that really scares me is hearing Kyle say, 'This'll be a milk run.'"

"Oh, hey!" Kyle gave him a mock offended look. This time it was Master Skywalker who chuckled.

"Seriously," Jaden nodded at Rosh's confused expression. "I'm starting to suspect a causal relationship between Kyle's optimism and near-death experiences."

"Sounds like you've got some interesting stories," Rosh grinned.

"You'll get a chance to hear them," Master Skywalker said, "on your way to your next mission."