A long time ago in a galaxy far,
BOUND BY THE FORCE
The death of Separatist leader Count Dooku has sparked panic among the supporters of the Confederacy of Independant Systems and an end to the war may finally be near. Hunting down the nefarious General Grievous has become top priority for the Galactic Republic, as the Senate will not allow the fighting to cease until the leader of the droid army has been destroyed.
With an end to the Clone War in sight, unassigned Padawan learners in the Jedi Temple eagerly await Jedi Knights to return from battle to continue their instruction. Among them are STAR BUTTERFLY, princess of the planet Mewni, and MARCO DIAZ. Inseparable friends since their Jedi training began as children, these two younglings are prepared for the next step of their Jedi training.
Little do they know of the unforeseen dangers that are about to befall them, and the prophecy unknown to the Jedi that they are destined to fulfill...
The Jedi Temple on Coruscant is a multi-faceted facility. It is a home to every Jedi Master, Knight, and Padawan, as well as a meeting place, and a tomb for warriors fallen. It houses one of the galaxy's largest collections of knowledge and a hanger for some of the most advanced starfighters ever constructed. It's myriad of uses turns the Temple into a massive center for activity during war time as Jedi generals strategize with the Republic's other military leaders and coordinate troops all across the galaxy. But, despite all of the constant bustle, and despite being located in the middle of Coruscant's incredibly busy planet-wide city, the Jedi Temple is considered to be one of the most beautiful and peaceful places anywhere.
At this particular moment, however, that was not the case.
The tranquility of the courtyard in the Temple's center was being interrupted by the cacophony of hums and cracks coming from the clashing of two lightsabers, the wielders of each ferociously fighting for supremacy. The two glowing blades twirled and spun through the still air, each duelist seeking a gap in the other's defenses.
The blades clashed again but did not bounce off one another as the one currently on the offense pressed hard against the other, attempting to wear them out.
"You won't get the better of me this time!" the attacker cried over the crackling of the blades. "I know all your tricks!"
The other flashed a smile of perfect teeth. "Do not forget who taught you those tricks, young one. I may have taught you everything you know, but I have yet to teach you everything I know."
"Could you two please stop trash-talking each other and one of you just win already? I'm getting hungry." These words came from Star Butterfly, spectating the fight from her seat on a large rock nearby.
Her best friend and fellow Jedi-in-training Marco Diaz did not avert his focus to look her way, but did acknowledge her request. "Fine! Watch this!"
He switched off his lightsaber and dove toward the ground underneath his opponent's blade. He tucked in his head and limbs as he rolled past Jedi Master Kit Fisto's legs and sprang back to his feet behind him. He pressed the activation plate on his lightsaber's hilt, the aqua blade hissing back to life as his arm swung toward the back of Kit's head. To his surprise, Kit had flipped his lightsaber backwards and upside down over his head to block the attack. Their blades locked again.
"Impressively creative move!" Kit exclaimed. "Very good, Marco!" He looked toward Star and winked at her. Star chuckled. "But not quite good enough." Kit let himself fall over backwards, flipping his lightsaber up so that it hooked Marco's from the back, catching the Padawan completely by surprise as the lightsaber was yanked from his grip and sent flying across the courtyard, the blade shrinking back into the hilt as it did.
Now lying on his back, emerald blade pointed skyward, Kit tipped the training saber backwards and bonked Marco on the nose with it.
"Ouch!" Marco yelped. The training lightsaber was not powerful enough to inflict any real damage, but it still hurt.
Kit jumped back to his feet and extinguished his lightsaber while Star enthusiastically applauded. "Woo! Way to show him how it's done, Master Fisto!"
Kit chuckled and took a flourishing bow, playing along as she teased Marco. "Thank you, Star, thank you. You're too kind."
Marco rubbed the back of his neck. "I have to hand it to you, Master. Just when I think I'm going to finally beat you, you surprise me again."
Kit smiled at him. "Marco, your skills with a lightsaber are very advanced for your age and experience. You should be very proud of yourself. If you continue practicing, I have no doubt that you will get the better of me one of these days."
Marco felt very humbled. "Thank you, Master. It's been an honor to practice with you these last few months. It really is very kind of you to teach me in your free time while I wait to be assigned a Master."
Kit placed a hand on Marco's shoulder. "No trouble at all. I've rather enjoyed dueling with you." Kit chuckled. "You know, even though you haven't beaten me yet, you have managed to keep me on my toes, so it is good practice for me, too. Keeps my skills sharp."
Star strolled up beside Kit and gave Marco a sly, teasing look. "He still hasn't beaten you, though, Master. That means he's dead. Fifteen or sixteen times over, he's dead."
"I believe the count is up to seventeen now, actually, Star," Kit laughed.
Marco groaned. "Hey, I have an idea. Why don't you take a turn dueling with Master Fisto?"
Star pointed across the courtyard in the direction Marco's weapon had sailed through the air. "And why don't you retrieve your training saber from over there with the Force?"
Kit made a few inferences in his mind based on that exchange, but he said nothing and continued to observe.
Marco turned red. "I can! I will! Watch me!" He held his hand out toward where his training saber had landed and focused, calling it to his hand with the Force. The lightsaber twitched, and then slowly dragged along the stone floor, bouncing over the gaps in the rock. It took a painfully long time for it to halve the distance to where Marco stood.
Star shook her head. "This is hard to watch." She held out her own hand and the training saber rose off the ground before rocketing into her hand.
Kit's dark, black eyes involuntarily narrowed in thought. "Marco...I think you and I have been practicing the wrong skills."
Marco looked away in embarrassment and said nothing.
"It isn't his skills in the Force that are lacking, Master," Star said. "It's his connection to the Force."
"Yeah..." Marco said quietly. "My midichlorian count is just barely high enough for me to be Force-sensitive. No matter how hard I try, I'm just...too weak." He kicked a pebble on the ground. "Not much I can do about that."
Kit knelt down to be closer to Marco's height. "Marco," he said quietly, "the strength of your connection to the Force does not change your ability to use it. You should be able to use the Force just as effectively as myself and Star. It will take a great deal of concentration and focus, far more than other Jedi, but..." He gave Marco a determined smile. "I know you can do it."
Marco had his doubts. His Jedi training had begun when he was barely old enough to walk, and he had not improved much. "What makes you so sure?"
"Your lightsaber skills, of course. You must have a great deal of self-discipline to become as good with a lightsaber as you are without being able to feel your opponent's movements in the Force. If you can become as good as you are with a blade, you should also be able to learn to use the Force as well as any other Jedi."
Marco could not help but smile. "Thank you, Master."
Kit stood up again. "In fact...I am so confident that you can and will learn the ways of the Force..." He paused. "With Count Dooku gone, the war is not likely to continue on much longer. When the fighting is over, how would you like to be my apprentice?"
A feeling of shock washed over Marco like a wave. When it passed, his face lit up, and he opened his mouth to accept...
...but then he caught sight of Star's face. Her nearly perpetual glow of positivity had vanished in an instant. She stared at him, and Marco thought she looked almost frightened.
His elation faded. "That is...an amazing offer, Master Fisto. I will..." He swallowed a lump in his throat. "...certainly think about it."
Kit was rather confused, but he did not dwell on it. "Of course." He turned. "Now, I'm afraid you two will have to excuse me. The council is convening shortly and I do not want to be late."
The two padawans bowed to the Jedi Master, and he returned the gesture.
"Padawan Diaz, it was a pleasure to practice with you, as always. I look forward to our next encounter."
"As do I, Master."
Kit handed his training saber to Marco and then turned to Star. "And next time, you will not get out of a duel with me, too."
Star laughed nervously. "Heh heh...greaaaat."
"So long, you two." And the Nautolan Jedi Master left.
Now alone with Marco, Star strolled over to her friend's side. "So...can we go get some food now?"
"Is food all you ever think about?" Marco asked, looking for any reason to repay her earlier teasing.
The words that came out of Star's mouth were not the same ones she was thinking. "Yeah, pretty much."
It was only three words, but in the seconds it took his best friend to say them, Marco's eyes were reading anxiety on Star's face, and his ears caught a nervous tick in her voice. Something was off, something that had not been there this morning or even when he and Kit had begun their mock-duel. It was clear Star had something weighing on her mind, but Marco decided not to bring it up.
At least, not just yet.
"Alright, I could go for some food, too. Lightsaber dueling works up an appetite."
"Oh? I didn't know you could be hungry when you're dead."
Marco scowled and rolled his eyes. "Let's just go."
Britta's Taco's was something of an enigma. Standing amidst all of the glittering and luxurious night clubs, theaters, restaurants, and the Galactic Senate building and Jedi Temple in Coruscant's uppermost levels, Britta's Taco's was a tiny establishment with outdoor only seating. It was the most inexpensive and easily accessible food in the upper levels, which made it particularly popular with construction workers and technicians who worked in the upper levels but lived further down in Coruscant's endless layers of buildings. The place served food that they referred to as "Mexican," and while none of the patrons could figure out what that was, most agreed that they would much rather eat their fill at Britta's for a handful of credits than spend a fortune at one of Coruscant's top-tier dining venues.
The taco stand was Star and Marco's favorite place to eat. Sure, they could eat in the Temple's mess hall, and as Jedi they would be honored as welcome guests nearly anywhere. But here, they were just two teenagers out for a bite. They preferred it that way, going so far as to trade their traditional Jedi garb for more comfortable clothes that would easily blend in with the crowd at Britta's.
Marco watched Star chewing her food. Gone were the brief glimpses of anxiousness he had detected half an hour ago. She seemed to have returned back to her usual joyful self.
I bet I know what's on her mind, Marco thought. But I won't ask her about it just yet. Let's see, just make normal conversation. Don't let her know I know something is wrong.
"What do you think the Council talks about?"
Star swallowed. "Huh?"
"The Jedi Council. I've never been called to appear before them, and I've never asked what they say in there. What do you think they talk about?"
At that very moment...
"What about the droid attack on the wookies?"
"It is critical we send an attack group there immediately."
"He's right. It's a system we cannot afford to lose."
"I guarantee you, nothing even remotely interesting." Star took another bite of her burrito and continued speaking while she chewed. "They're probably all just like 'Blah blah blah ba ba blah General Grievous, blah blah disturbance in the Force, blah blah blah Chancellor Palpatine. Blah. Blah. Blah."
Marco laughed. "Can you just imagine the Jedi Council members staring at each other fish-eyed and mumbling 'blah blah blah'?"
Star snorted through a mouthful of burrito. "Oh, man. I'd totally cut off my left arm to see that!"
When they'd both calmed their laughter and resumed eating, Marco thought to himself Okay, this is good. I got her to laugh. Let her forget all about whatever was bothering her and feeling comfortable, and then I'll try to ease into asking her about it.
"So..." Star began as Marco took a sip of his drink, "why didn't you accept Master Fisto's offer?"
Marco nearly choked. Because I saw the look on your face. "Because I saw-" Don't say that, idiot! "-I, uh, I saw that Aalya Secura doesn't have a Padawan and thought, hey, who wouldn't want to train with a beautiful Twi'lek, you know, maybe, uh, maybe..." Woooowwww...smooth move, me.
Star furrowed her brow at him. "Marco, we've been friends for, like, twelve years. I know you're lying. I remember when you first asked Kit if he'd teach you some lightsaber moves, you went on and on about how amazing it would be to train with him. You'd probably have a poster of him on your wall if such a thing existed. I thought you would have jumped at the chance to be his Padawan when he offered."
Marco sighed. Well, I guess I'm gonna have to bring it up now. "I didn't accept because..." He turned his eyes downcast. "Because I saw the look on your face when he asked me."
Star blushed. "What? What look? I didn't have a look!"
"You know, I can tell when you're lying, too." Star said nothing in reply and stared at her food. "Come on, Star...just tell me what's wrong. You know you can tell me anything."
It was Star's turn to sigh. "I...I have been dreading this day for a long time, and I knew it would be coming soon...I just didn't think it would be...today."
Marco was confused. "Huh?"
"Marco...I...I don't want to be a Jedi," she said slowly.
Marco blinked in shock, but could not find his voice.
Star continued. "They started our training when we were so young, told us all the rules and we just accepted them because we didn't know any different. But the last couple of years...We've made friends outside of the Order, and I'm starting to see that being a Jedi..." She shrugged. "Honestly kinda sucks. And now I don't want to be one. Plus, I don't want to have to get involved in this dumb war! I can't imagine having to..." She thought of her lightsaber laying on her bed at the Temple. "...kill someone."
Marco was not even sure where to begin. "Uh...well, I mean...yeah, I don't really want to get involved with the war, either. But, hey, it's not like we're prisoners of the Order. You can always just leave. You could go back to Mewni and be a princess again."
Star rolled her eyes. "Yeah, because being a princess is sooooo much better than being a Jedi. That's, like, even more rules!"
"Okay, fair point. But you still don't have to stay. It's a huge galaxy, you could go anywhere and do anything! What would you rather do?" Wait, am I trying to convince her to leave? That's not what I want! I want the opposite of that!
"I don't know...that's why I haven't already left. Well, that and-" She broke off.
Marco waited for her to finish, but it did not appear she was about to speak again. "And what?"
Star picked up what was left of her burrito, looked away from Marco, and crammed the entire thing into her mouth. Marco started at her for two solid minutes while his best friend struggled to mash the burrito with her teeth enough to be swallowed, refusing to let himself become distracted by the speeders whizzing by overhead and the variety of beings milling around them at the Taco stand. When she had nearly swallowed all of the burrito, Star picked up her drink and quickly washed it down.
As soon as she'd set her drink cup back down on the table, Marco repeated "That and what?"
Star bit her lip. "That and...you."
Marco's heart skipped a beat. "Me?"
"No one ever asked me if I wanted to be a Jedi. They just brought me here and trained me, and I hate it. But the one thing that I've loved about all the years I've spent here is that I got to meet you. I wouldn't trade the time I've spent with you over the years for anything." Marco could not help but smile as she leaned forward a tiny bit. "I was in the library by myself one day and I heard Madam Jocasta say to Master Yoda 'I'm surprised that Diaz boy isn't with her. Those two are practically inseparable.'" Then Star closed her eyes. "I always knew that someday we'd be assigned Masters and that would probably be the end of us spending time together. I've dreaded that for a long time. And now...Master Fisto wants to teach you. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled for you. I know how much you want to be a Jedi and how much it would mean to you to train with Kit, but...I don't want you to disappear. Without you, I don't have or even want a place in the Jedi Order." And she looked away.
Again, Marco was not even sure where to begin in the landslide of information he had just been hit with. He reached across the table and took one of her hands in his. She looked at him, her eyes shimmering slightly with moisture. "Star...I-" love you. "-don't want to lose our friendship, either. I'd be lying if I told you I didn't worry about being separated when the time came for our training to continue, too."
Star wiped her eyes with the sleeve of her free arm. "Really?"
"Of course." He gave her hand a squeeze. "Star...you know how excited I am to become a Jedi Knight. But if I have to choose between completing my training and being able to always spend time with you like we do now...I'd choose you every time."
Star managed a small smile.
"Look, I probably won't be assigned a teacher officially until after the war is over," Marco went on. "Once the Clone Wars have been resolved, if you want to leave the Order..." He swallowed nervously. He was positive that this was truly what he wanted, but he was still scared to say it. "I'll come with you, anywhere you want to go."
"You...you would really give up on becoming a Jedi?"
"I sure would." And he gave her a reassuring smile. "What do you think?"
Star squeezed his hand back. "I think...I think you should tell Master Fisto that you accept his offer."
Marco felt like he had just been blindsided by a speeder bike. "...what?"
"You shouldn't have to give up on your dream just to make me happy."
"But I don't want you to be unhappy. Seems to me the way we'll both be happiest is if we both leave."
"I know, but I know you really want to be a Jedi, so...I will stay."
"I'll be okay. As long as you promise me that no matter what, you and I will always be best friends."
"I promise you, Star. No matter what happens, I will make sure that we see each other as often as possible, and we will never stop being friends."
Star's face morphed into a determined grin. "And someday, when our training is complete, you and I will be the most tail-kicking Jedi duo the galaxy has ever seen!"
Marco squeezed her hand hard and she squeezed back. "You bet we will!"
A huge thank you to andychipss on Instagram for the amazing cover art! She did a fantastic job!
I made a legit opening title crawl which you can watch on YouTube! Link is on my bio page, right at the top!
Okay, hey everybody! I have to put my first author's note at the end of the chapter so that it doesn't disrupt the opening.
I am trying very hard not to commit the fanficing sin of jumping into the action too soon instead of first giving a good set up, but you know where I chose to start this based on the title crawl so you know it's about to pick up real fast. If you want to know what to look forward to in this story, here's some extra info:
Plenty of characters from SVTFoE will be in this story, but none of them show up for the first couple of chapters. Tom, Janna, Buff Frog, Moon and River, even Pony Head (yes, the floating severed unicorn head is in this story, though probably not how you're expecting) and others will all be worked into the Star Wars lexicon. Plus, there will be appearances from a number of Star Wars characters besides Kit Fisto, (but I won't spoil who) and plenty of in-universe Star Wars locations. When I say crossover, I mean CROSSOVER.
Fair warning: this story is going to be violent and there will be some character deaths, so if that isn't your thing, maybe don't read any further.
I'm not sure how often this will be updated or if I'll even actually finish it. (This story is gonna be LONNNNNG.) I never finished my Phineas and Ferb Star Wars story, so who knows how long it will be before my resurgence for fanfiction writing fizzles out? But right now I am really into it and I'm cranking out a chapter every few days, so we'll see how far I get.