Disclaimer: Not mine.
Figure pretty much everyone has seen the movies so not going to rewrite them.

Chapter 7

Darth Sepid moved quickly, practically dancing as he cut down his opponents, not caring about their cries of panic or pain. The woman they had been hurting cowers behind him, clutching at her torn and bloodied clothes. It's over in minutes and he turned to look at her, hearing her gasp as she saw his eyes. He pulls some credits free and tosses them at her. "Go get your injuries tended." He ordered, using the Force to make sure she would before vanishing into the shadows, heading back to his ship.

Dean winced as his table was knocked over. Why had he agreed to host a party for Anakin's eighteenth? He didn't remember hitting his head recently. But he must have to agree to host this lot. Sure it was great that Anakin had more friends than just him now, especially since they were closer to the Padawans age but Dean wasn't always sure they were the best influences on the kid. Oh they were perfect little angels when any Masters or older Knights were around but otherwise? He thought he'd had a bad attitude as a teenager, he'd been an angel compared to this lot. He saw the smuggled in alcohol and groaned, Obi-Wan was going to kill him. Why did he have to be off on some solo mission right in time for Anakin's birthday? He held some moral authority with Anakin since the teen looked to him as an older brother but to the others in the group he was just a Knight, and a young one at that.

Dean fought to keep his face blank as Obi-Wan lectured his poor Padawan. Unfortunately for the young man in question he had been discovered severely hung over in one of the meditation gardens the morning after his birthday…by Mace Windu. Dean respected the man greatly….he'd just never managed to warm up to him even with the Master being a friend of Yoda's. That hadn't stopped him sparing with him though. No one could deny he was a master swordsman, one of the best in the Order. And his style was different to most which made him the best way to learn how to fight a non-Jedi opponent. There was still at least one Sith out there and Dean was determined that if they ever met in battle he would do better than he did the day his Father died. Poor Anakin had been punished for being hung over and had thought that was it. He obviously hadn't counted on Mace telling Obi-Wan when he reported to the Council and now the poor Padawan was getting a harsh scolding. Dean fought down a wince when Obi-Wan turned on him next, after all he had been the responsible adult at the party.

Dean looked up from his notes as the door slid open and Anakin walked into his quarters, hair dishevelled and looking rather agitated. He put the datapad aside and stood up, steering Anakin over to the couch and pushing him down on it. "Anakin? What happened?"

"We've been assigned a mission, protection….of Padme!"

Dean blinked at that. Padme….ah, the Queen Anakin had met ten years ago before being accepted by the Jedi. "Okay so at least she's sort of a friend right?"

"I haven't seen her in ten years Dean!" Anakin exclaimed and Dean felt a pit form in his stomach as he felt the emotions swirling around his friend.

"So? Hate to tell you but with everything that happened back then…..she may not remember you."

"But she has to."

"Why Anakin?" He pressed, needing to know just how deep Anakin's feeling went. Oh Dean didn't really care about the no attachment rule, after all he'd grown up with his family, but he did know that certain emotions could be dangerous. Anakin just turned his head away, slumping tiredly and Dean sighed. "What else is wrong?" Anakin shifted. "Anakin?"

"Still can't sleep well."

"More nightmares?" Dean asked gently and the teen nodded. "What are they about?" Anakin just stared at the floor and Dean reached out to wrap an arm around the taller male, offering comfort. Anakin leant against him and Dean could feel his muscles trembling slightly in exhaustion. "Come on, you need sleep before going off to protect the fair Senator." Dean hauled him up and into the small bedroom, yanking Anakin's boots off before making him lie down. "I'll help keep the nightmares away." He whispered, running his fingers through Anakin's hair to help sooth him to sleep. It didn't take very long and Dean sat beside him, eyes closed as he focused on helping Anakin sleep without dreams.

Darth Sepid knelt before his master, head bowed and Sidious studied him, smirking slightly to himself. His youngest apprentice was coming along quite nicely. Samuel stood and Sidious felt a flash of jealousy, why did the younger Sith have to be so tall? "You have done well my young apprentice. I have a new mission for you. You will go to the planet Geonosis and there you will watch and observe. Soon the war will start and I must be sure everything goes according to plan."

"Yes Master." He responded and then left the room to prepare for the trip.

Dean grinned when the mission details came along, it was perfect! He quickly sent in his interest and went to pack his bag since even if he didn't get that mission he would be assigned one shortly. Things were becoming more and more tense and while he wasn't the most diplomatic he could handle negotiations. Two hours later he sent a short message to Anakin before boarding the Impala and leaving the planet.

Anakin glanced at his commlink and stared with wide eyes at the message. Dean was…..was he crazy? He could get in a lot of trouble if the Council worked it out! But he was also relieved and happy that at least someone was taking his nightmares seriously. He took a deep breath and left the speeder, following his Master towards Padme's apartment, heart racing at the thought of seeing her again.

Dean landed the Impala near the main structures and then shut the ship down, He stood up and pulled his hood up to shade his face from the twin suns even as he lowered the ramp and walked down onto the hot sand. He headed towards what seemed to be the residential part and soon a young man emerged, watching him warily.

"Can I help you?" He called out and Dean lowered his head.

"I am looking for Shmi Skywalker." He answered calmly, the wind pushing his cloak back, revealing his lightsaber.

"Owen Lars, you better come in and talk to my Dad."

"Thank you." Dean followed him down into the home and looked over as a man floated out in a chair, the remains of one leg heavily bandaged.

"I'm Cliegg Lars, Shmi is my wife. Why are you looking for her?"

"Jedi Knight Dean Winchester sir, I'm here on behalf of her son, Anakin. Is she here?"

"Come sit down." Cliegg pointed at the bench and Dean sat down, accepting the offered drink from the young woman.

"This is my girlfriend Beru." Owen introduced her and Dean smiled at her.

"Thank you."

"Shmi is…almost a month ago she left the house early. We found Tusken Raider tracks. Twenty nine of us set out after them and only three others made it back. I'd still be out looking for her if it wasn't for this."

Dean closed his eyes, this explained Anakin's nightmares. But almost a month…..was there any chance she was still alive? He had no choice but to go after her. "I'll need to know where you searched.

"Sir, it's been so long….."

"I know the odds, but Anakin is practically a little brother to me. I have to try. And I have ways of searching you don't. I'll bring her back." The dead or alive went unsaid.

Anakin opened his eyes and stared at the ceiling, surprise he'd slept the night through with no nightmares. He rolled out of bed and dressed before heading out onto the balcony to stare out at the water. Did that mean Dean had found her?

"You slept better last night." A soft voice called and he turned to smile at Padme.

"I did. I am sorry if I disturbed you before."

Dean dropped off the cliff and crept closer to the camp, following the feeling of pain towards one of the huts. He cut it open quietly and slipped inside, seeing the figure bound to a pole. He moved over and gently untied her hands, lowering her to the ground. Pained eyes fluttered open and she stared up at him dazedly. "Ani?"

Dean shook his head. "My name is Dean, Anakin sent me. I'm here to get you out." He whispered as he got out his medical kit and went to work trying to stabilise her enough to be moved. "I'm going to take you home." He promised, the Force flowing between them. He was no Healer but he had been around enough to have picked up a few things. He finally wrapped her in his cloak and picked her up, carrying her from the camp without anyone noticing them. He sped back to the farm as fast as he dared with his precious cargo and heard Cliegg cry out as he stopped in front of the house.

"Is she?"

"She's alive but she needs more help than I can give." Dean answered as he lifted her off the bike.

"We can't afford the hospital." He admitted as Dean lay her on a bed. The Jedi nodded and headed for his ship, returning with a bag full of funds.

"Here, take this."

"I can't…"

"You can. Anakin's family which means you are too." Dean smiled and then pulled out his commlink as it beeped. "Excuse me, I need to go." He went back to the Impala, activating the comm to see what the message was. His eyes widened in alarm and then he was powering up the ship and taking off, heading for Geonosis to help the others save Obi-Wan.

Dean landed and quickly gathered everything he thought he might need before heading towards the large stadium, figuring that was where everyone was. Sure enough he soon came across Mace Windu who nodded and motioned for him to head down a corridor so he obeyed; lightsaber in his hand. He hid in the shadows, wincing when he saw Obi-Wan wasn't the only one tied up in the middle of the arena. It looked like Anakin and the Senator had attempted their own rescue and failed. He tensed when he saw Mace confronting Dooku and then the fighting started. Dean flipped down onto the arena floor and blocked several blaster bolts meant for Obi-Wan who turned and nodded when he saw him. Dean grinned and then dashed off, losing himself in the fight. He kept a tight rein on his emotions as he fought but couldn't help the adrenaline coursing through his body or the heady feeling of exhilaration that came with something so uncomplicated as a good old fashioned battle. But the tide soon began to turn against them and he began backing towards the others until all the survivors were grouped together. He had to admit he admired the Senators spunk as she fired fiercely at the oncoming droids. Dean took the chance to catch his breath as Mace and Dooku argued before bringing his guard up again as the droids prepared to attack again only to look up as ships suddenly filled the air, smiling as he felt his old Master amongst the soldiers. He leapt onto one of the ships and grabbed onto a convenient strap as it took off again, several other Jedi with him.

When the ship landed he jumped down and took off to meet the enemy again, ignoring the tired ache in his muscles as he moved through the droids and Geonosians. Seeing one run with something important looking in its hands he took off after it and into the caverns, swearing softly when it vanished from sight. He fell back and rolled back to his feet, lightsaber coming up defensively as he heard the familiar snap hiss of another lightsaber activating. A cloaked figure emerged, red lightsaber in hand and Dean swallowed. He was worn out already but to have to face a Sith now? The Sith attacked and Dean blocked, spinning away from him before attacking in return. Dean took a deep breath, letting the Force fill him, easing his weariness as he defended himself. He blinked suddenly, the Force trying to tell him something but he was rather busy trying to keep his head attached to his neck. He managed to hook a foot behind the Sith's knee, sending him to the ground with an oomph of surprise, the black hood falling back as Dean brought his lightsaber to rest against his throat but then Dean froze, staring into yellow eyes. "Sammy?"