Sam felt him before he saw him, a tickle at the back of his mind. He turned slowly,
noting the Wookie nursing a shot of blue ale, two human girls giggling with a Twi'lek
male, and a sullen bounty hunter decked out in full armor along the length of the bar.
And yes, there his brother stood, leaning against the bar. Dean gave him a little smirk,
hooking his fingers in his belt, a blaster strapped to his thigh.
Dean probably figured Sam was at the bar to have a good time and get laid, all the
things Dean probably did on a regular basis. But Sam didn't spend a lot of time at bars.
He was nothing like his brother; he was far too focused on his studies for that. And the
Council kept him on the mission rotation, so he was rarely on Coruscant, unable to visit
the entertainment in the underbelly of the city planet.
In fact, he was on a mission now, as far as he could possibly be from Coruscant with its
bright but artificial beauty. This was Chandria, filled with large expanses of open land,
undeveloped forests and few cities. The people of course, wanted to keep it that way.
And there was no one better to field the delicate negotiations than the Jedi. Which was
why he sat here now, entertaining the governor's son and his friends in one of their
Mel Menten was charming, all polite words and flirtatious glances. Sam supposed in
another lifetime he might have found him handsome, in the way that a peaceful meadow
was beautiful in its simplicity and quietude. But such desire had to have been sacrificed
to the Force. A Jedi shall not know love, or so his master kept telling him.
Sam's master would not be so happy to know how little Sam liked that aspect of his
chosen life. Surely love was only another aspect of the Living Force?
Menten commented on the trade agreement, breaking Sam out of his philosophical
musings and into the moment. He pulled his mind back to the present with a snap,
determined not to lose concentration again, no matter how inane the conversation.
He answered as if he had been paying attention the entire time, refusing when Menten's
man offered to purchase another round of drinks. Sam smiled his refusal, attempting to
move things along when he saw his brother, standing at the bar, watching Sam with all
the intensity Sam remembered.
"Excuse me," he said instead, rising to move across the bar, faster than any man
"Hello, Sammy. Been a long time."
"Get rid of them," Dean hissed, nodded his head towards the crowd of young men Sam
had entered the bar with.
"Dean, I'm not on some, some pleasure jaunt. Those men are part of the team
negotiating trade contacts for this planet. I can't just dismiss them."
Sam hadn't changed at all, Dean thought. Still far too serious for his own good. "Force,
Sammy, even in a bar you're working."
"It's Sam-El," Sam snapped, finally seeming to lose a bit of that Jedi calm. "And I'm
always working, I don't stop being a Jedi because the sun goes down."
Dean reached out and tugged on Sam's padawan braid. "Jedi trainee."
Sam closed his eyes. Probably needed to meditate or whatever the hell they taught him
in the Academy. "What do you want, Dean? Usually you give me more notice before
one of your visits."
"When I can find you, or is it an accident I haven't been able to schedule a visit for the
past two years!" Dean let the anger show in his voice. Sam wasn't the wronged party
"I'm a padawan, Dean. I have obligations. By all rights I shouldn't maintain any contact
with you at all."
He was losing him, Dean thought, he had to pull this back to what was important. "Dad's
"Wait, what," Sam caught himself in mid-speech. Dean grinned, it wasn't often he could
shake his brother like that. "Aren't you living on the same cargo ship?"
Dean's grin faded when he thought of the seriousness of the situation. "He took the
cruiser to check on something. He was supposed to rendezvous with me two weeks
ago. He didn't make it. I went to our secondary location, no sign of him."
"He's probably delayed, or arrested," Sam ground out, "he is a smuggler after all."
Dean shook his head. "Dad's too good for that. And we have ways...if that had
happened, I would have known." Sam had to believe him. He was the only one who
Sam frowned and looked back at the table. One of the men he was with stared at them,
frowning at the conversation. "We can't speak here. I'm a guest at the governor's
palace." He gave Dean quick directions and his comm code and then moved back to
Dean watched him for a moment more. The years had changed his brother, instead of
awkward limbs and clumsy movements, Sam glided with a fighter's grace. If only they
had been able to keep him, Dean thought, instead of being forced to hand him over to
the Jedi. He turned and slipped out, he had preparations of his own to make.
Sam sensed Dean just before he heard the rocks clatter on his window. Now that he
knew Dean was in the area, it was easy to spot his brother in the Force. No one made a
disturbance quite like Dean, although Sam was unique in his ability to retain a
connection with his brother long after it should have snapped when he started his
He opened the window and shushed Dean, who was climbing nimbly up the wall using
some sort of suction cups. "My master is in the adjoining room."
Dean rolled his eyes. "That's so weird."
"Our ways are different," Sam murmured. "You know that."
"Yeah, well I can show you some places on the outer rim where you can pay a guy to
call you master..."
"Dean, please." Sam pulled him inside. He watched Dean dust himself off and peel the
suction devices from his knees and feet. Yet another piece of technology to help his
brother in his life of crime.
Dean pulled a data pad out of the black pack he had strapped to his back. "Fine, let's
get down to business. That's all you want to hear about anyway."
"Dean, that's not true."
Dean sank onto the bed, tossing the pad onto the soft mattress. "Comm codes work two
Sam sat next to him, reaching hesitantly to touch Dean's shoulder. Before he could
answer though, the door to his room slid open. He jumped off the bed, straightening as
his master entered the room. He had been so engrossed in Dean, he hadn't even
noticed the change in the training bond that told him his master was awake.
"It's a bit late for guests, Sam-El," Master Jesmor said softly. He was the epitome of
Jedi calm, Sam had rarely heard him raise his voice, even when angry.
"Master, I..." Sam started to say. He stopped and took a moment to regain his
composure. Why did Dean always do this to him? "This is my brother, Dean."
Jesmor inclined his head. "We've met before, though I dare say young Dean does not
Sam mentally pleaded with his brother to be civil for once. Of course, that would depend
on Dean not being himself.
"Oh, I remember," Dean said, standing. He stood between Sam and Jesmor, as if to
protect Sam from the other man, which was silly, really. "Sammy was 15."
Please don't bring that up, Sam thought. The last thing they needed was another round
of how Jesmor wasn't Sam's father. "Dean's father is missing," Sam interrupted.
"Our dad," Dean gave him a look. "I need Sam's help to find him."
Dean had his fists clenched, and stood in a fighting stance. He was willing to face off
Master Jesmor and for a moment, Sam was flattered. But Dean needed to learn that
Sam wasn't that little boy anymore, he was nearly a Jedi Knight. Sam put his hand on
Dean's shoulder, exuding calm vibes through the Force. Dean settled a bit, his muscles
becoming less tense.
"Sam-El," His master said, "Your situation is unusual. Few Jedi keep ties with their
"The three of us," Dean said, "that's all that's left."
Sam looked away for a moment, his throat tightening at the thought of what Dean
implied. Mom. He didn't remember her at all, though he knew of the terrible accident in
which she was killed.
Master Jesmor nodded. "How can we help?"
Sam gasped. Jesmor merely raised an eyebrow, "We are Jedi, Sam-El. We help
Dean grasped the data pad. "This is the last transmission I had from him..."
Dean didn't expect to be here sitting in the cockpit of the Impala with Sam at his side.
Turns out Jesmor wasn't such a bad guy after all. Although, Dean figured, if the old man
knew about the bounty the Hutt's had taken out on their father, he probably would be far
more wary of letting Sam go on this trip. Even so, he had requested Sam be back
before the conclusion of their mission on Chandrila. Dean hoped that would be enough
Dean plugged in the coordinates for the hyperdrive, watching Sam out of the corner of
his eye. Sam had an earpiece in, listening to Dad's last transmission. Dean wondered
what Sam thought of the ship. He and Dad had lived in the YT-1100 Corellian transport
for all of Dean's life. Sure, the ship was getting up there in age, but it was Dean's home,
in a way a planet could never be.
Dean waited until they cleared the planet's atmosphere, moved the minimum required
distance, then pushed the ship into hyperdrive. He sat back from the console. They had
time before the ship reached its destination.
He turned and touched Sam's arm to catch his attention. Sam pulled the earpiece out,
looking at him.
"There's something you need to know."
Sam sighed. "What illegal activity have you gotten yourself into now?"
Dean waved his hand, "That's exactly what I'm talking about. You think Dad and I are
criminals, smugglers and you don't even know."
"You're telling me you're not running Spice from the Outer Rim?"
"Well, we do that too." Dean ran a hand through his hair. "Dad told you Mom died in an
accident. He was waiting until you were older to tell you what really happened. But then
the Jedi took you and he never got the chance."
"Just, just listen, Sammy." Dean couldn't look at him as he told the tale, their mom
pinned to the ceiling, the flames igniting from her. Dad's quest to find what killed her at
Sam loosened the buckles and sprang out of his chair. He paced the confines of the
Impala, hands caught in the length of his Jedi robe. "I need to meditate."
"That's just great," Dean bit out, "you do that, I'll try to keep the ship running."
But Sam didn't bite back, he merely sank gracefully to his knees in a smooth fluid
movement. Force, but Dean could watch him move all day. It wasn't natural; no man
Sam's size should be able to move like that. Cursing in Huttese, he turned away. There
were things he needed to do, maintenance that needed to be performed.
Sam drew on the calm exterior of a Jedi just like a cloak; he was troubled, and he didn't
want Dean to know. His demeanor only served to piss Dean off and that was fine. Just
as long as he didn't guess.
Somehow Sam had known how his mother died. He had been dreaming for weeks of a
figure, bound to the ceiling, burning in bright flame. He had pondered the image,
uncertain whether it was a sending from the Force or not. But why would the Force
show him his mother's death? Was it foretelling Dean's visit? Could their father be on
the trail of whatever had killed her? And could Sam's force sensitivity somehow help?
They had arrived and docked at the Semaris space station. Their father's itinerary had
this location as the last place he visited. Sam used his Jedi connections to get a
meeting with the commander of the station.
"I don't understand, Ser Jedi. What interest do you have in this man?" the commander
stood behind his desk, staring out the viewport, watching as hundreds of ships made
their way into docking stations or out into the darkness of space. He was a Besalisk,
and clasped one set of arms behind his back, the other crossed over his chest.
Dean stood at the door, legs spread and arms crossed over his chest. He was posing
as one of the many pilots the Jedi employed. Few pilots looked as dangerous as Dean,
Sam thought. His brother was not a person to trifle with.
"I'm afraid that is Jedi business." Sam gave his most beguiling smile. But inside
something felt wrong. Commander Reyner seemed perfectly honest and willing to help.
The entire station felt strange in the Force, almost sluggish. "If you would be willing to
provide me with the data from your security force, I'll be happy to search for the
That served to sufficiently startle the commander. "No, no, that will not be necessary. I'll
have my staff turn over the information as soon as possible."
An hour later the commander's secretary had handed them a data chip with all the
information they needed - any record of their father's whereabouts during his time on
the station. Sam thanked her and then strode from the offices, Dean at his side.
"Nice work," Dean told him. "Did you use your Jedi mind powers?"
"Contrary to popular belief, Jedi mind powers are more limited than that." At Dean's
snort Sam added. "Besides, he was perfectly cooperative without my having to push his
mind." He smoothly dodged an R2 droid making its way through the corridor on the way
to the docking bay.
"He didn't want you looking through the station's data logs," Dean sounded impressed.
"that means he's hiding something."
Sam held up the data disc. "Let's review this on the Impala."
Oh yeah, Dean thought, flipping through the streams of data on the main screen of the
Impala, definitely something strange going on at the station. Sam was on one of the
smaller screens, going through the data the commander had given them, records of
where Dad had gone while he was on the station, as captured by droid cameras. Dean
had let him do it, using the computer on the Impala to find information using less legal
"I think I know why Dad was on Semaris," Dean said.
Sam looked up from his screen. "Why?"
Dean pointed to his screen. "There have been various incidents reported, usually
involving single-man cruisers. The ships end up at the same coordinates drifting in
space, the pilots missing."
Sam stood and came around to look. "What does that have to do with Semaris?"
"Each of the incidents happened immediately after the ships refueled at Semaris."
"And no one noticed this?" Sam sounded surprised.
Dean shrugged. "If it was investigated at all, I'm sure they looked at the region of space
where the ships ended up. Dad must have put it together. We just have to find out
where he left off..."
"His ship wasn't one of the empty ones found, was it?" Sam asked.
"No, like I said, I would have heard if anything like that crossed the wire."
Sam moved back to his screen and flipped through the data. "I've put together all the
places Dad visited while on the station. The droid cameras matched video of him to the
video we inputted. He rented a room on the North side, and made frequent visits to the
shopping district and the public park..."
"So we check out the room. What name was he using?"
"Burt Aframian." Sam turned in his seat. "Dean, there's something else. There's
something wrong in the Force on this station."
Dean frowned. Not that Sam's Jedi status hadn't come in handy while working on the
station commander, but he didn't like to hear about what those crazy wizards had done
to his brother. He had long ago let go of any trappings of religion, he'd seen too much to
believe in a benevolent Force, despite his brother's vocation. "Wrong how?"
Sam pursed his lips, his forehead crinkling in concentration. "There's always something
off on space stations, the Living Force is weaker, although the Unifying Force usually is
"Sammy, try speaking Standard and not Jedi-ese."
Sam stood, his shoulders stiff. "I can't explain it. It just feels wrong."
"Well, when you can explain it, let me know."
"Dean, just because it's a Jedi sense, doesn't mean you can discard it as being not
"Well the next time your Jedi senses tell me something useful, I'll be sure to keep that in
Sam snapped his mouth closed and turned back to the screen, fingers harsh on the
Ok, fine he'd offended Sam. At least he had pushed him into showing some kind of
emotion, not that damn Jedi calm all the time.
Dean sighed. "Ok, let's decide what we're going to check out first." He moved to the
back of the Impala and pulled open the secret cargo compartments in the floorboards.
He picked out a few different tools, no telling what their dad was after out here.
Sam had known Dean was uncomfortable with his Jedi senses. Ever since they were
children, Dean had deflected any talk of the Force. He didn't want to know what Sam
sensed, even if it was danger. Sam tried to release his anger at that. Dean didn't
respect what Sam had spent his entire life working towards. Dean considered it a joke.
He knew he would need plenty of time in meditation later to take care of the anger that
burned in his stomach. Sam couldn't deal with it now, not while he and Dean had to
work together to find out exactly what had happened on this station.
"This the room?" Dean stopped walking.
Sam took a moment to get his bearings. They had traveling to the assigned temporary
quarters in the north side of the station. "23J?"
Dean nodded. He looked around, waited for the two protocol druids to pass by, and then
made sure no one was watching or coming along the hallway. He pulled a device out of
the pack he had taken from the Impala.
"Any reason we couldn't have approached the quartermaster about opening this room
instead of using another of your illegal tools?"
Dean attached the device to the palm lock on the door and pushed a button. "You put
way too much faith in the authorities. There's no telling what happened to Dad. How do
you know they didn't have something to do with his disappearing?"
The device let out a beep and cycled through. The door slid open. Dean flashed Sam a
grin and ducked inside. Sam followed.
The lights cycled on, sensing their arrival. Sam opened his senses, trying to move past
the sense of wrongness that pervaded his spirit from the moment they stepped on the
station. Here, of all the places they had visited, Sam felt like he could breathe. The
darkness wasn't so thick. He wished he could sense if their father had been here, but
his senses didn't work quite that way. Dean was the only other person besides his
master who Sam was connected with so strongly.
Sam didn't mention any of this. He watched as Dean ransacked the room, pulling out
some data holocubes. "Let's see what Dad came up with."
They spent nearly an hour reviewing the information, which included more detail of what
Dean had put together before, including profiles on each of the pilots who had
disappeared after leaving Semaris. Sam had pulled up a map of the station marked with
all the locations the victims had visited. "It looks like the one place they all had in
common was loading dock D," he said absently, "there is a network of catwalks above
the area, it looks like this one," Sam pointed at the spot on the hologram, "is the point
they all had in common."
He looked up when Dean didn't answer. Dean had knelt near the door, pulling a small
metallic circle from the wall. He clicked it off.
Almost immediately Sam felt the dark energy that had invaded the rest of the station. He
stood. "A Force dampener?"
"He was worried," Dean frowned. "You couldn't tell?"
Sam took the disc from his brother. "I could, but it was almost a relief from the rest of
the station. It's..."
"Wrong?" Dean echoed his words from earlier.
"Dark," Sam countered. "We need to check that catwalk. Can you little device get us into
the restricted area?"
Dean flashed him a grin. "Oh yeah. Let's go."
The lock scrambler worked just as well on the restricted locks as it did on the residential
ones. Dean grinned at Sam as the door slid open. "We have to hurry, it scrambles the
lock, but that won't help if the droid cameras are monitoring this hallway."
"You didn't think of that before we started?" Sam snapped as he stepped over the
threshold. "I have a bad feeling about this."
Sam seemed to be on edge since they left the shielded area of their father's rented
quarters. Dean wasn't sure if that was because Sam was pissed off about the Force
dampener, or if he was really sensing something bad here.
There was one way to tell. Dean pulled out the EMF meter, flicked it on and started
sweeping along the catwalk. They were above the hustle and bustle of the loading
below, cargo being transferred from ship to bay, then back to ship again. This seemed
to be a connection to a maintenance deck, one of many catwalks that spanned the
length above the large cargo area.
The EMF began to squeal when they reached the center of the bridge. Dean turned to
explain it to Sam, when he noticed all the blood drain from his brother's face. "Sam?"
"Something..." Sam started to say, then whirled and flicked on his light saber. Dean
didn't even see him grab it from his belt. Behind him stood a girl, dressed in a long white
gown. Dean could see right through her.
It was a Dark Force apparition, had to be. Dean had dealt with those before, had the
blaster configured to deal with it. Of course, he hadn't figured to the spirit being drawn to
the Jedi in Sam like fur on a Wookie.
It rushed him, not needing to walk, but gliding, almost flying. Sam leapt off the catwalk
and Dean leaned over, his heart thumping a staccato against his chest. The spirit kept
after Sam as he flipped and dived from catwalk to catwalk, swinging in a feat of
She caught up with him by going through one of the bridges, plunging her hand into his
chest. Sam staggered back, his light saber disengaging.
"Sam!" Dean shouted. He had no choice, he had to take the shot and hope the blast
didn't recoil on Sam. He aimed and shot, blue waves of energy pulsing around the spirit,
which let go of Sam and dissipated into the air.
"Drop the blaster! Hands in the air!"
Of course the Bantha brains in security would pick now to find their tampering. Dean
drooped the blaster and surrendered. He shook his head at Sam, hoping his brother
would have the sense to stay down there. He could handle this. Dean let the security
forces escort him away.
Sam watched the security forces lead Dean out. He remained crouched on the catwalk,
casting out his senses, but the feeling of darkness had dissipated. Sam shook his
head, clasping his light saber back on his belt. What was that thing? It had reeked of the
Dark. And how could Dean's blaster harm it, when the light saber had passed right
through it? The encounter only left him with more questions
Sam needed answers, and he needed to get Dean out of custody. The first he could get
from the computers on the Impala, and perhaps it would be better to do with Dean out of
Dean decided that the holding cells in the Republic rated at least an 8: well-lit, seating
available, droid cameras not too visible. He leaned back onto the hard chair, the
cushions could be a bit more comfortable. Although anything rated better than his one
stint in a Huttese jail. Oooh, so not going back to the Outer Rim for a while.
The door slid open and one of the security guards entered the room, followed by a
floating droid with a vid camera. "Just checked with the Jedi temple. There's no Del'ran
Weran in their employ."
"Those Jedi. So fickle." Dean flashed a grin.
The guard slid into the chair opposite him, the droid continued to float around them. "I
don't think your name is Del'ran."
"What clued you in to that little bit of genius?"
"You mean despite you conning a real Jedi into thinking you're legit? Or is he helping
you look for your partner."
"Partner?" Dean echoed.
"The owner of the illegal Force-dampener in the fourth quadrant."
Dean didn't say anything, he wouldn't confirm this guy's connecting him back to his dad.
"I think you know exactly what's going on here. Why there are holocubes of data littering
that rented room. And what this means...Dean."
Dean looked up sharply as the guard put a holocrom onto the table. He hit the button
and a tiny hologram of Dad appeared, saying only "Dean, 35-111."
"What's the keycode to decrypt the data?"
Dean snorted. "What makes you think I know?"
"I can wait. And you're not going anywhere until you start talking."
Dean sat back in the chair, slumped down and spread his legs, getting as comfortable
as he could in the hard backed torture device. There wasn't an officer of the law he
couldn't out wait.
It turned out he didn't have to wait nearly that long. The door slid open yet again to
reveal another security officer followed by Sammy. "Lt. Nefler, we need to release this
man into Jedi custody."
Nefler stood. "Harold, what are you doing..."
Sam waved a hand in the air, a casual gesture. "Everything is perfectly fine. You will
release this man into my custody."
"Everything is just fine," Nefler murmured. He turned to Dean. "You are released into the
Dean leapt up from the chair, taking the holocrom his father had left with him. He didn't
know how long this mind whammy was going to last and he wasn't going to stick around
to find out. He followed Sam out of the holding area.
"So, using your Jedi mind powers to break me out of jail? Going to tell your master
Sam leaned back in the co-pilot's chair of the Impala, ignoring Dean's teasing and the
twinge of guilt at what Master Jesmor would say. "I did some looking while you were,
ah, in jail."
"Your welcome for that, by the way."
"You're going to have to explain that blaster, and that woman in the catwalk..." Sam
interrupted himself, needing answers if Dean was finally willing to talk.
Dean sighed, still focused on inputting coordinates into the navicomputer. They had left
the station behind, not wanting the Impala to be tracked by the wrong authorities. "It was
a Dark Force ghost."
"That's the kind of thing you and Dad go after."
Dean nodded. "The blaster's been modified. It'll disperse the ghost, but only
Sam frowned. "I did some looking. There was a woman who committed suicide on that
catwalk. That's the kind of thing that can create a Dark Force spirit?"
"It's not the only thing." Dean held out the holocrom he had taken from the holding cell.
"This is Dad's personal journal. It goes into detail about these kinds of things. You
should take a look later."
"What was it doing with the security crew?" Sam reached out to take it.
"I think he left it for me. It's got a message with coordinates, scrambled in our code, of
course, so those idiots in Semaris couldn't figure it out. The password is Mom's name."
"Mar'ee" Sam breathed. The holocrom erupted into a collection of light and sounds,
screens of data in full hologram form. Sam knew it would take time to synthesize all he
Something occurred to Sam. "He couldn't have known you'd follow him. He left in a
hurry...Do you think he's in trouble, Dean?"
"I don't know," Dean said, "But I know he'd want me to pick up where he left off. Hunting
those Dark Force bastards, saving people."
"Dean..." Sam was interrupted by a strange squealing noise. The lights in the cabin
flickered, and all the computer screens began to blank out, one by one.
Sam shut down the holocrom, drew his lightsaber and settled into a fighting stance.
That dark feeling from the space station crept in on him all of a sudden, like a clenching
in his chest.
Slowly the screens came back to life, a string of numbers repeating over and over.
"She's here," Sam whispered, whirling around.
Only to see the woman from Semaris, glowing with an unearthly pale light, dressed in a
long white dress. Instead of attacking Sam, she merely whispered, "Take me home."
The instrument panel continued squealing and Dean ran over. "We're losing power to
the engines, systems are failing all over the ship. Blast!"
"Take me home!" she all but shouted now.
It clicked then, why those ships had ended up pilotless hanging in the emptiness of
space. Sam ran over to the navicomputer. "We have to change course, Dean, or else
she'll tear the ship apart!"
"And end up like those poor bastards? No way." Dean leaned over the panel, as if
protecting the Impala.
The entire ship shuddered, throwing Sam against one of the captain's chairs. He
grabbed on to the back of it, holding himself steady. "Dean!"
"Dammit." Dean leaned over and cleared the previous course he had been plotting. He
entered the numbers flashing on every screen and slammed down the hyperspace
lever. The ship slid into hyperspace smoothly, all systems returned to normal and their
"Force, Sam, now what?"
Sam slid back into his seat. "Check Dad's journal, but I have a hunch."
"I hope it's a good one."
Sam ignored him and pulled up the research he had found on this Dark Force Spirit
when she wasn't a spirit, just a woman named Conna Welco. Why would she send them
to empty space, it didn't make any sense. His head snapped up and he double-checked
the coordinates from the navicomputer.
She wasn't leading them to empty space. The coordinates led to a planet. Welco's
home planet. But why did the other ships come out of hyperspace too soon?
"Dean," he said, "I've got an idea..."
Dean frowned at the wires coming out of the instrument panel. If Sam's idea was right,
he'd just saved their lives. If he was wrong, well, it had been a nice ride, thank you very
Who the hell ever heard of tricking a ghost? Even if the spirit seemed way too familiar
with his baby, Dean patted his ship gently, there was still no way to tell if she would still
force the ship out of hyperspace early, even after Dean's fiddling with the navicomputer.
He slid out from under the panel. "I have a bad feeling about this."
"It'll work Dean, it has to," Sam said.
"Did the Force tell you that?"
Sam didn't even twitch from the copilot's seat. Damn, Dean thought, he must be losing
"I hope it will tell me when she comes back. You've got any more of those modified
Dean grinned. "Thought you'd never ask."
The time seemed to tick down quicker than normal. Dean sat on the edge of the
captain's chair, watching the false numbers move on the navicomputer. As they passed
through the region of space where the other ships came out of hyperspace the ship
began to shudder. Sam stood and unhooked the blaster Dean had given him from his
"Is she here?" Dean demanded looking up from the control panel.
"Close," Sam whispered.
The ship shuddered again. Dean ran his fingers down the control panel. "Hold it
together baby. Hold on."
The panel lit up, the hyperspace alarms started going off. "We're coming out of
hyperspace, and I can't tell you where because I scrambled the damn coordinates
myself," Dean shouted.
When Sam didn't answer, Dean turned around. The Force ghost was back and she had
Sam cornered, her hand plunged into his chest. "SAM!" he grabbed his own blaster and
scrambled out of his seat.
"Dean..." Sam whispered.
"No," Dean had to get close so he wouldn't hit Sam. He fired the blaster and the Ghost
disappeared, only to reappear behind him. He whirled to blast her again and the ship
rocked to one side, throwing him off his feet. "Sam, the ship..."
"Got it," Sam crawled across the floor. Dean covered him, firing again and again, but the
ghost was never gone for long.
Sam was at the controls and Dean could see him pushing forward on the levers. "Sam,
get cleared to land..."
But Sam had it covered, it seemed. Dean rolled as the ship dove, keeping out of the
way of the Ghost. They hit the landing pad with a thunk, overshooting a bit. Dean
winced at the sound, knowing Sam was inexperienced in flying the quirky Impala.
The Ghost reappeared again, but she was screaming, "I can never go home, never go
Dean stood back, watching as more blue ghosts appeared in the Impala, seeping up
from the floor. They surrounded Conna, holding on to her, tugging at her arms and
clothes as she screamed. They pulled her down into the ground, through the floor of the
ship where they all disappeared.
He slumped over, tossing the blaster to one side. "You're going to have to explain that
"Just a hunch," Sam turned over. "She was wanted for murder in the Republic. It was
while she was on the run that she killed herself. Dad's journal said Force Ghosts were
often constrained by what they did in life. She wanted to come home, but she couldn't
because her victims would find her."
"Which is why all the ships popped out of hyperspace," Dean said. He stood and looked
at the ruin of the control panel. "I hope you didn't scratch the finish. That was one hard
Sam let Dean work on getting the Impala flight worthy again. They couldn't leave the
navicomputer in that condition. He took the opportunity to meditate in the copilot's
quarters, the one he was using during their journey.
He closed his eyes and knelt on the cold floor. No matter how he moved to clear his
thoughts, Sam still couldn't sink into the quiet of his mind. His center eluded him.
Something tugged at his consciousness, there was still something off in the Force. He
suspected that the residue from the Force Ghost still lingered in the Impala.
Sam sighed and straightened. He was expected back soon. Master would help him find
his center again, would have answers for his questions. Dean had come into his life
again and stirred everything up, turned everything Sam had believed upside down. Now
he knew he had no idea what kind of man his father truly was.
He looked up as Dean appeared in the doorway.
"Just wanted you to know the navicomputer is fixed. We're good to go."
"Thank you, Dean." Sam stretched. He would be going back to Master Jesmor, back to
his training. It was time to put on the mantle of a Jedi again.
He nearly flinched when Dean reached forward and tugged on his Padawan braid. His
brother used to do that all the time when they were both in their teens. It was much
shorter then, minus the beads that marked his progress in the Force.
Dean frowned and Sam wondered if he realized what the length meant, how close Sam
was to his goal of becoming a Jedi Knight. "We could just check out the coordinates
Dad left me."
"Dean," Sam closed his eyes for a moment.
Dean let go of his braid. "I'll take you back."
They had come much farther off course than originally planned. Sam sent a message
ahead with his estimated time of arrival. He hoped his Master wouldn't be too angry with
him. This far out of space, the training bond was stretched to its limit. He could feel no
more than the lingering trace of his Master in his mind. Enough to know he was alive
He was aware of Dean looking over from the Captain's chair. Now that they were safely
in hyperspace, the coordinates programmed correctly, there was little for him to do until
they reached Chandrila. Of course, he would want to talk.
"What do the beads mean?"
Sam reached up and fingered his braid. "Oh. They represent my areas of study. The
yellow is my light saber skill."
"That was pretty wizard," Dean offered.
Sam laughed. "Thanks." Too bad he didn't have time to show Dean was he was really
capable of, when he was fighting flesh and blood opponents and not intangible ghosts.
All too soon the ship was coming out hyperspace, with a bit of a shudder that had Dean
frowning at the panel. Not completely fixed yet, then.
It seemed all too final this time. Dean let him off at the palace's spaceport. They had
arrived during the planet's night, most of the inhabitants were asleep. Sam slung his
pack over his shoulder, straightened his Jedi robes and walked towards the temporary
quarters he shared with his Master.
He had asked Dean if he wanted to stay the night. He needed to stick around to refuel
anyway, there was no reason to spend the night in the tiny captain's cabin on the
Impala when Sam could offer to share his more luxurious apartment. Dean had just
smiled and said, "Another time, Sammy."
The guards let him pass with barely a nod. He took the lift to his level and walked to his
assigned door. Sam placed his hand on the security panel and the door slid open. He
sensed his Master in the adjoining room, and while Sam didn't want to wake him, he
didn't get the soft muffling that usually happened when his master slept.
"Master?" he whispered, sliding the door open. The bed was empty, but Sam could hear
the sonic shower running in the background. "Master Jesmor? I'm back." Sam moved
into the room.
Something felt off, a thickness in the Force. Sam frowned, trying to follow the feeling,
think why it bothered him. The link in the training bond suddenly narrowed, causing him
He moved towards the shower, intending on making sure his master was all right.
Something wet hit his forehead. Sam reached up to rub at it; his fingers came back
stained red. Then he looked up.
Master Jesmor stretched out pinned against the ceiling, his midsection stained with
blood. His eyes bored into Sam, they were cold, so cold and empty. And then the
flames started, erupting from Jesmor, engulfing him in their glowing orange light.
"No," Sam shouted, "Nooo!"
The thread of the training bond in his mind stretched and then snapped. Sam collapsed
under the strain. There was nothing, there was flame, he was surrounded, he could not
Just when he thought it was over, before the darkness came, there was a spark of light
in his mind, and pulling him up and away.
Dean. Dean. Dean. DeanDeanDeanDeanDean.
Everything seemed to happen so fast after Dean pulled Sam out of the burning room.
He didn't have time to second guess himself, wonder what would have happened if he
hadn't decided to take Sam up on his offer. But he had and now Sam was alive.
They had a lot of questions to answer, and sticking around made Dean uncomfortable.
For once he was considered the hero and he didn't end up getting interrogated by the
Governor's guards. However, the Jedi were on their way, and Sam, Sam was still in the
"Ser Windchaser?" a light accented voice interrupted.
Dean turned away from the observation window where he waited to be allowed to see
A Jedi Knight stood in the doorway, cloaked in that imperturbable Jedi robe, his hands
clasped in long sleeves. If it weren't for his reddish hair and bright blue-green eyes, he'd
look like any other knight Dean had ever met.
"I am Knight Kenobi. I was sent by the temple to straighten things out here."
"Right." Sam was still bound by his Jedi-ness. "Look, all I care about is my brother."
"Just, call me Dean, Knight Kenobi."
Kenobi gave him a half smile. "My name is Obi-Wan."
Dean wondered if they taught charm at the Jedi temple. Obi-Wan wanted to know
everything that had happened. Dean didn't have to lie, he honestly didn't know. He had
only gotten there just as the fire started to engulf the room. For the rest, Obi-Wan would
have to ask Sam. And Dean was damn sure no one was going to talk to Sam before he
Before he could make that clear, Sam appeared in the waiting room. "Dean? Knight
Kenobi?" his voice broke on the other Jedi's name.
His eyes were red rimmed, his cheeks sunken. Sam's normally crisp Jedi uniform was
rumpled and wrinkled. Dean wanted to grab him and hide him away.
"Padawan Windchaser," Kenobi bowed slightly. "I'm sorry for your loss."
Sam nodded, "You're going to investigate Master Jesmor's death?"
Kenobi nodded. "My padawan is currently ensuring Master Jesmor's work is
"The treaty," Sam said. His voice had an echo to it, as he wasn't quite focusing.
"Sam, are you all right?" Dean asked. "Did they let you go, or did you ditch the healers?"
"I'm fine," Sam said. He reached out and grasped Dean's arm, fingers digging into his
No, Dean thought, you are not fine.
Kenobi was staring at them. "I see," he murmured. "Have you ever been tested for
Force sensitivity, Dean?"
Dean started. "I thought I was when Sam was. When we were kids. What's the
"You should head to Coruscant immediately," Kenobi said instead of answering.
Sam was shuffling closer to him, until they were touching all along their sides. "Sam?"
"I just..." Sam's voice sounded small. Then he gasped and whirled on Kenobi, "You
don't think I...how is that possible?"
"When a training bond is forcibly broken, it is best to replace it as soon as possible.
When my own Master was killed, I was given my Padawan..."
"No," Sam said, "Dean's not Force sensitive, we couldn't have spontaneously..."
"Sam," Dean growled. "What's going on?"
"I think," Sam ducked his head, "it would be better to wait until we got to Coruscant."
Dean felt something then, something flutter across his mind.
"Dean," Sam said, but his lips didn't move.
Sam knelt in the meditation garden of the Jedi temple, surrounded by fragment blooms
and lush green foliage, the better to forge a connection to the Living Force on a planet
transformed into a giant city. He was the picture of Jedi calm, his hands placed properly
on each knee, his eyes closed, not a spark of emotion on his face.
Inside though, inside he could not be still.
Master Yoda had greeted he and Dean as they exited the Impala. Sam found he did not
want to be separated from Dean. He feared he knew what that meant, but did not
believe it until Yoda had spoken.
"Foresaw, I did, bond with your brother would your life one day, save."
Sam kneeled before the tiny Jedi master, "You knew this would happen?"
Yoda shook his green head sadly. "Work not that way, visions do. Only saw his
importance in your life."
"That's why you allowed him to visit. Why I was the only child in the temple to have
connections to my family." Sam clenched the fabric of his tunic in one hand. "Master,
why? What does it all mean?"
"Tell you, I cannot." Yoda tapped his cane, slowing making his way across the room.
"Know this. Bond with him, you always had."
"Meditate on this you will."
And so here he was, alone in the temple gardens. He let Dean into his quarters, told
him to wait there. But no matter how far away he was, Sam could still sense him. He
always had been aware of Dean's presence in the Force and the only strangeness was
that he had never found that odd. Now the part in his mind that signified "Dean" was so
much greater, encompassed far more than his training bond with Master Jesmor.
Master, he though with a pang. If he could only ask Jesmor what he thought, what Sam
should do. He would never see the man again, never feel his gentle hands correct his
light saber technique, never turn to ask a question, hear that dry voice remark on the
inevitability of the Force.
Your focus determines your reality, Padawan.
How many times had he heard that? Sam had thought it referred to training, to setting
goals. But now he knew, his focus had changed utterly.
The Jedi had failed him. There was Darkness out there, true Darkness and they were
content to be pawns of the Republic. They still had no more information about the Sith
who had killed the famous Qui-Gon Jinn, who knew if they would ever know what had
killed Master Jesmor.
But Dean knew, or at least he and their father had a better idea where to look. Whatever
it was had also killed Sam's mother.
He let out a sob, his resolve to meditate in silence crumbling. Sam had known, he had
seen the image of a figure burning on the ceiling. He had never had visions before,
thought they were not part of his gift. He should have told Master Jesmor, should have
asked his advice instead of dismissing them as dreams.
Sam swallowed as he straightened. There was only one sensible course of action and
the force brightened within him as he came to his decision.
Dean wasn't in his quarters where he left him. Sam didn't mind, he already knew where
his brother was. This way was better.
First he dug through his closet until he found his one set of civilian clothing. Then,
slowly, he pulled his light saber off of his belt, laying it carefully on his bed. He
unhooked his belt, unwounded the obi beneath and folded both carefully. Next he
removed the tabard, both tunics, every last vestige of his Jedi uniform. Sam folded
everything, leaving it in a neat regimental pile on his bed. He decided to keep his boots,
they were too well worn to be used by any one else.
All he wanted to keep fit into his pack. Sam filled it quickly, the fabric of his civilian shirt
feeling strange against his skin. He already felt the lack of his Jedi robes, he missed the
weight, didn't know quite how to stand without them.
Before he left, there was one last thing he wanted. Sam slipped into Master Jesmor's
adjoining quarters. His master loved music, loved collecting different instruments and
means of making music from different planets. Sam ran his fingers along the glass
chimes from Alandor. As much as he loved the piece, he could not take it with him.
There was one thing, the only thing he wanted to remind him of Jesmor: a small carved
wooden box. Sam tucked it into his pack before turning and leaving the quarters he had
called home since he was twelve.
He found Dean in the commissary, chatting with some of the young padawans. Sam
smiled and rolled his eyes at his brother's obvious flirting.
"Sorry, padawans, he's not staying," Sam said, coming up behind his brother and
placing his hand on the small of Dean's back.
Dean didn't startle at the touch, though he did do a double take when he saw how Sam
was dressed. Come to think of it, Sam didn't think Dean had ever seen him in civilian
garb before. They said goodbye to the padawans and exited the room.
"I'm coming with you," Sam said.
"They're giving you a leave of absence?" Dean asked, "Because I didn't think Jedi went
"They don't." Sam led the way along the corridor, intent on the Jedi Council chamber.
Dean stopped him with a hand on his arm. Dean's touch was like a soothing balm,
settling his emotions. Sam closed his eyes for a moment, reveling in the bond. "Sam."
"Trust me, Dean."
Dean didn't say anything more until they reached the Council chamber. Sam was
expected and the doors opened at their approach.
The council members were assembled, although truly it was only Yoda Sam had come
to see. Sam walked into the room, keeping his eyes on the diminutive Jedi master. The
last time he had been in here, Jesmor had been at his side. Now he bore this weight
alone. He could feel the whisper go across the room: that he dared appear out of
uniform. No matter.
Sam dropped to one knee before Yoda. "Master."
"Padawan Windchaser," Yoda said. "Meditate did you?"
"I have." Sam swallowed. He unclipped his light saber from his belt and held it out
before him, placing in on the platform at Yoda's feet. "I can no longer follow the ways of
"Sam," Dean's voice broke.
Sam ignored him. He brought his hands up and unbound his padawan braid, his fingers
catching on the beads. One clattered to the floor, making a loud clank in the otherwise
"So certain are you?" Yoda asked.
"I need to find Master Jesmor's killer."
"Revenge is not part of the Jedi Code." Mace Windu said. He frowned at Sam from
"Hence my desire to leave the order."
"You are being hasty, Sam-El." Adi-Gallia spoke in her soothing voice. "Grief
overwhelms you. But you can find a new master; you can become a knight. Do not let
passion sway you."
"There is no passion, there is serenity," Sam murmured, the words of the Code carved
into his soul.
"We can break this unsuitable bond with your brother," Mace's voice cut in again.
Sam could feel the anger coming from Dean. He swallowed against it, trying to not let it
overwhelm him. The Jedi had taken him from Dean once before, Sam knew Dean would
not permit it now.
"That bond is the most important thing I have left," Sam said, his voice strong. "I will
form no other. I cannot complete my training. I no longer wish to."
"Become one of the Lost, you will." Yoda stepped forward. He lay one small on hand on
Sam's shoulder, then reached forward and used the Force to slice off the now empty
lock of hair that hung down his shoulder. Sam let it fall to the ground. "Goodbye, Master
of my Master." He rose and turned away, feeling the eyes of the Council on him.
Once they were out of the room, Dean grabbed his arm again. "Sam, you..."
"I had to."
"Being a Jedi was all you ever wanted."
Sam turned away. "They don't know what killed Master Jesmor. There is a galaxy of
things out there they don't know about. Instead they are at the beck and call of
politicians. You, you make a difference."
"I try." Dean murmured. "Does this have anything to do with?" he made a gesture
towards his head.
Sam didn't know how much Dean picked up from the bond. He may have a slight
sensitivity to the Force, being Sam's brother, but nowhere near enough to master it. "It
won't be so strong, over time." He didn't offer to break it, he didn't want to.
"Well, come on, I've got cargo on Dantooine that needs to be picked up." Dean turned
and started walking towards the spaceport.
Sam grinned and followed. "I always said you could use a first mate."
Sam took one last look at the temple before they left. He felt a pang at leaving his
home, but the Force sung within him. He knew he was doing the right thing. Goodbye,
"Sam, you coming?"
"Of course," Sam ran up the ramp of the Impala. " We have work to do."