"He needs me!"
Jedi Master Mace Windu felt a muscle jump in his jaw as the padawan's voice trembled with forbidden emotion. The boy was too young to be without his master on such a hostile planet, certainly too young to attempt a solo rescue mission. The teen's eyes narrowed in a look that would no doubt send fear down his opponents' spines in his later years. However for the moment it merely made the Jedi master sigh with lost patience.
"Your master would want you in safety, padawan. Not gallivanting after him without supervision," Mace said with controlled calm.
"Then come here and supervise me," the padawan hissed.
Torn between amusement at how closely to boy was following his master's footsteps and anger at blatant disobedience, the master decided to give the fledging the latter. His own brown eyes narrowed menacingly, and instinctively the padawan's gaze dropped but maintained a scowl. Mace nodded solemnly. Greg had a tendency to avoid scolding Sherlock out right and instead used various tricks to make the boy see the errors of his ways. That would not be the case with Mace Windu.
"Padawan, you have directly disobeyed your master, and you are in the process of directly disobeying me. If this continues I am inclined to wonder if Lestrade is teaching you anything other than saber technics."
The boy's eyes flared in defiance and rage. Ah, yes. He had forgotten how attached the teen had grown to his master, after all Lestrade had been his rescuer in many ways. Perhaps insulting him had been pressing too hard.
But surprisingly Sherlock yielded. "I didn't mean any disrespect to my master. I didn't, he wasn't listening to me about…"
"It sounds very much like you were not listening to him either," Mace snapped.
Sherlock flinched. "Lestrade's not a bad teacher, don't…"
Mace pinched the bridge of his nose tiredly. Take away Mitsukuni's child from him? The temple would never survive the knight's attack on it, nor would he survive whatever assassination Lestrade would plan for him for suggesting such a thing. But that was not something the padawan needed to know at the moment.
"You must report back to temple, at once," Mace instructed without a hint of comfort in his voice. "I will find Gregory and get him out of whatever trouble he is in now."
"But, I am closer to his location! I could-"
"Sherlock Holmes, you would only endanger him further by going there. If you were captured or harmed they would have control over your master. Gregory knows how to stall and annoy, he will not be subdued."
"They'll torture him," Sherlock said quietly.
"Yes," Mace said, once again without compassion. "Obey him next time."
Oh Mitsukuni, can't you keep yourself out of trouble for more than a week at a time?
He remembered the silver haired padawan that used to keep himself close to Yoda's elbow and peered at him with adoration. That brat was in trouble with someone in the temple at least once a day. There was the one time he had toppled over several library shelves while practicing a new Force technic during class.
Madam Nu had wrenched the boy down, by the ear he might add, to Mace's sparring session and all but dumped Mitsukuni at his feet. The padawan had waited until the madam was gone before jumping to his feet grinning. "Oops," he had laughed. "Don't tell Yoda?"
"Patience," Mace said tiredly. "I will bring him home as soon as I can."
Sherlock's face contorted in what looked like pain. But he followed it with a dutiful "yes, Master".
Mace knew if Sherlock were anything like Lestrade, the boy would not be coming straight home.
He called a transport swiftly.
He went completely dead weight upon his captor's shoulders.
Feigning totally weakness, he attempted to take a few shaken steps and collapsed against one of the guards. The Zygerrian hissed with annoyance at having to drag the prisoner from the med room to the slaves' bay, and Lestrade made it no easier on him. The knight used small bursts of the Force to trip the two men holding him up at the least convenient times. On the way down the stairs one of them had taken quite a nasty tumble. Lestrade, hands chained tightly in front of him and to a link around his waist, was blameless.
They threw him ungracefully at the queen's feet. Long fingers seized him by the collar of his tattered tunics and forced him upright. He grunted in pain as his side burned him, his blood was only just starting to settle from the antidote. The queen sneered at him.
They were clearly in the space were slaves boarded ships to be delivered to other planets. Some Zygerrians were scattered around the various starships, making routine repairs and refueling. Barrels of fuel and blaster jelly were rolled in and up to ships. Lestrade hid his smirk behind a grimace as the queen shifted her hand to his hair and tugged his head towards an incoming group of humans. Women, children, men, and elderly were led into the center of port and forced to crowd around the young knight.
"You are here," the queen began regally, "to be transported to your new homes, your new owners. Some of you may think escape is the answer, but you are so very wrong." In one great tug she had Lestrade on his feet, hand still clenched tightly in his hair, and twisted his head to bare his throat. One of the children started crying.
"This man was the strongest among rebels. After the Jedi departed he stayed with you, his fellow members of his resistance and killed many of my men," she said pleased. "Witness your strongest human in chains at my feet."
He was shoved mercilessly back down to his knees, his head was forced low in submission as the queen continued to speak above him.
Around him the rebels shifted uneasily, recognizing he was not one of their own. The Jedi put his finger to his lips silently and hoped his message had sunken in. He received dubious glares.
"However," the queen continued, "one Jedi might yet be in our company." A familiar saber hilt appeared at his throat. It was nearly comforting to see, until it activated and his green blade singed his chin. He hissed.
"I will give the Jedi a chance. Step forward or be the ruin of this man's life," she declared.
Irony tasted bitter in his mouth. "And if he's not present?" Lestrade asked gruffly, the hand in his hair tightened impatiently.
"You had better hope he is," he was mocked. The young man snorted.
"Oh I think he is," Lestrade growled. The Force sprang open his wrist restraints in seconds, giving him plenty of time to snatch the saber from his captor's hand. A sharp Force shove sent the queen soaring back into her own guards, Lestrade welcomed the sensation of cool metal in his hand. He flung his weapon at incoming guards, relishing the sing of the whirling blade as it hit its mark. With a swift thrust of the Force the blaster jelly and fuel was launched into the northern wall, effectively blasting an escape route.
The rebels began herding the other humans towards the gaping hole, leaving Lestrade deflected the shots until they were safely outside. He ran behind them in a flourish of green, his side burned aggressively as he twirled his saber, but it was ruthlessly ignored. Sort of.
Stars it hurt. He just wanted some bacta and tea, not necessarily in that order.
And his padawan, bratty though he was.
The knight charged in the other direction of the escaping humans, making sure the Zygerrians caught sight of him as he did. They all chased the Jedi down, not one turning towards the slaves' direction. He continued to flee without grace, his heart pumping at a terrible speed for a man with poison in his veins. He nearly doubled over as a particularly nasty cramp took his stomach by storm. Guided by the Force, he darted up an unnoticeable path and crouched low.
He gave the Zygerrians time to run pass him, and more importantly gave himself time to rest, before he began running back in the opposite direction. It was not a fast run, but it was all he could manage with the pain blooming in his side.
He was forced to dive behind a tree as a lone Zygerrian scouter appeared in front of him. He prayed silently he had not been seen.
The large male moved on without a second glance at his hiding spot.
With the rebels, but I can come-
No! No, stay there, young one.
Master Windu will take too long to reach you, I can help!
Curly, you are to stay where you are!
Lestrade was caught off guard by an impending Zygerrian and tackled without mercy to the ground. They rolled together gracelessly, hissing and spitting curses at each other. Lestrade had the sense to deactivate his saber before they rolled, thankfully a childhood lesson with training sabers had taught him the unsafety of rolling with an open blade. The Zygerrian pounced on him, attempting to seize the hilt while its owner was temporarily stunned. Lestrade swung and activated it at the same time, slicing clean through the Zygerrians torso.
"My apologies," he muttered.
His side was crying out to him, begging him for medical attention. With a soft groan he placed pressure on the torn wound, blood squirted out from between his fingers and dribbled down his side.
He managed to limp heavily to a near tree and leant against it exhaustedly. The wound was one of the worst he had ever endured, the loss of blood combined with the poison made him woozy. Something was tugging his saber out of his hand, he released it without argument. "You shouldn't have run away," he was scolded by a childish voice.
"And you shouldn't be here," he chided in return. "Go back to your mother."
"But I disarmed you!" she exclaimed excitedly, holding his saber above her head.
A flick of the Force and the cold metal touched his palm devotedly, he clipped it to his belt. Nitra glared up at him, her hands placed on her hips in confidence as she pulled at his arm demandingly. "You've got to come back with me," she said assertively.
Lestrade felt his lips twitch at the familiar whining tone which accompanied a small pout. Sherlock often used the same technic on him when something was desired. By the Force he hoped the boy was alright.
"You only have enough antidote in your system for another hour. You've got to come back!"
Lestrade pushed himself away from his tree, his movements slow and sluggish. He trudged away from the feline-child, who followed closely at his heels. "I need to find my padawan," he said weakly. "That is the only thing I've got to do."
"Why?" Nitra pestered him, not stilling his walk, but reaching up for his saber again.
"Because he is foolish and afraid. I fear for him," Lestrade explained. "I fear he will attempt to reach for me." As he had in the past.
"And if you die? Cause you will if you don't find medical attention," Nitra said blandly.
"I have no intention of dying today, little one," Lestrade said gently. He clipped his saber to his belt as an afterthought.
"Go back to your mother," he hissed pained. His side bled profoundly through his hand, he swore softly.
Nitra looked at him with disappointment. "You are not very good at escaping."
Lestrade managed a weak smile, thinking back to a time when he could escape from nearly anything, save for Mace. Now a days he had to be more cautious, usually he had Sherlock in tow with him. Brilliant as his padawan was, it was often difficult for the boy to make an escape without causing some disturbance.
"I suppose not," he agreed quietly, hearing trampling noises off to his side. It took moments for the feline guards to tackle him to the ground violently, despite the fact that Lestrade put up very little fight. Pain shot through him as they pinned him to the ground, the knight gasped for air sorely.
"Yield," someone growled at him.
He lifted his eyes to the guard holding him and as a last act of defiance maintained a cold glare until he was knocked unconscious by the butt of a whip slapped across his skull.
His head bounced painfully off the ground before blackness swept through him.
"We could use you, Jedi."
Sherlock said nothing, he simply resumed stuffing a pack full of supplies. Things such as water, light food, tea, only the necessities made it into his pack. Force help him if he directly disobeyed his master and did not bring tea to apologize.
"I have no interest in staying here," Sherlock said coldly.
"You could help us, free slaves with us. Surely a man of peace would not turn a blind eye to our struggle on this planet," one of the elders pleaded.
Sherlock shouldered his bag of supplies with a stubborn head shake. "I am not going to abandon my master to those slavers. You should evacuate while you can, no doubt they will seek you with a vengeance."
"Jedi," someone said calming, trying to pacify him.
The door behind them burst open, causing the rebels to jump and Sherlock to draw his saber. The sight that greeted him was bitter sweet to say the least. Men, women, and children, covered in filth and collared stood in the doorway, led by a recognizable few dirtied rebels. One of the leaders stepped forward and embraced his comrades, prompting the others to reunite with their fellows as well. Even Sherlock was seized and embraced by one of the elderly men.
"Your master is an incredible man, a remarkable man," the man wheezed.
"Where is he?" Sherlock demanded swiftly. "Is he unharmed?"
"Poisoned," one of the lead rebels remarked, "there's a horrible gash on his side. Somehow he still managed to free us all. I am sorry, son, I wish I could say clearly where he was, but we were separated. He used himself as a distraction."
Sherlock hand reflexively tightened over his hilt as silence was his only answer.
"Tell me everything, in great detail," Sherlock ordered quietly.