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Chapter 3

A few days later, the Falcon landed next to the academy.
Jacen didn’t look forward to seeing his little brother, so he stayed in his room. Anakin, who had already went through so much with his parents, better shouldn’t know his brother acted the same way as the people he’d just left. Jacen just wondered why Anakin didn’t feel the same as all others of his family.
Well, all others except their uncle Luke. The Jedi-Master knew he had to concentrate on his task and had to prepare his students in case Brakiss should really come and kidnap more of them. He had to prepare them to face the dark side.

Jacen spent hours running his fingers over his table and drawing patterns into the dust without really knowing what he was doing.
When he stretched out with the force, he could feel distantly his family, but never any emotions from them. He felt so blind without Jaina.

It was already dark when a soft knocking on his door managed to get through to him. He only tilted his head, but didn’t say a word when Anakin entered.
“You shouldn’t have come. I am no more different to mum and dad.” Jacen announced.
“Maybe.” Anakin said calmly and sat down on Jacen’s bed.

Jacen still drew his patterns into the dust, repeating the same pattern over and over again. He didn’t know why he drew it or what it was, it seemed familiar and yet unfamiliar at the same time. How could he have known that it was the pattern his sister would forever carry with her as a scar?

“Don’t you want to sit down?” Anakin tried it again. Jacen hadn’t even noticed he’d said it already twice.
Lifeless, like a roboter, he went over to his bed and plopped down next to his brother. He knew Anakin was watching him closely, he could feel his gaze. The old Jacen would have probably pitied the young boy, but Jacen found he just couldn’t. It felt like all emotions had drained from him except a few ones like desperation and pain.

He was tired; he wished he could finally sleep. Sleep forever. But somehow, life refused to let him go.
Maybe he still had a job to do but if there was any, Jacen couldn’t see it.

“How are you?” Anakin tried to start a conversation. Jacen only shrugged. How should he feel?
”Don’t you feel it too?” He asked, getting slightly angry about his brothers lack of reaction to their sisters captivity.
“I can feel it.” Anakin admitted. “But I don’t allow my feelings to take over.”
“Why are you not as desperated as I am?” Jacen almost screamed at him, his voice reflecting the words.
“Because I know Jaina won’t fall.” Anakin said, locking eyes with his big brother.
Somehow, Anakin’s calm answer took some of Jacen’s pain. He just hoped he as right. And when he thought about it again, he knew that Jaina was strong and would never ever betrayal them.

Obviously Anakin had noticed the effect of his voice, cause he asked whether Jacen would like to eat something.
Strangely enough, Jacen felt he was really hungry and so the brothers went to find some food.

After they had examined the academy’s kitchen, then decided to use the falcon’s food synthesizer.

An hour later, Leia Organa Solo and Han Solo entered their ship. Both looked pale, Leia’s eyes were red-rendered but otherwise, they both had a blank expression on their faces. When they passed by without a word, Jacen finally understood why Anakin had so feverly wanted to be as far away from them as possible.

When Jacen later left, he turned around at the bottom of the ramp. Anakin stood at the top of it; a silhouette against the light that came out of the ship.
“Do you want to sleep it Jaina’s room?” It hurt to ask, but Jacen forced himself to make the offer.
“You would allow me to sleep in her room?”
Although he couldn’t see his face, Jacen heard the surprised in his brother’s words.
He nodded.
“Thanks, but no. I’ll better stay here and take care of mum and dad.”
“Thank you.” Jacen said, before he turned around and went through the darkness to the temple.
Behind him, he could feel Anakin smiling.

* * * * *

The following weeks were long and hard. Anakin was able to reach the real Jacen behind his mask only a handful of times. That was already more what their other friends had managed.
Anakin got more and more frustrated with the situation, but he refused to give up. He’d already lost his parents, he didn’t want to lose his big brother too.

So he kept trying to talk some sense into Jacen, but had to find out the boy was even more stubborn than his twin sister – what nobody had expected before. It seemed that Jacen had decided that a life without Jaina wasn’t worth living and just waited to die.
His friends did their best to prevent that. Lowie and Tenel Ka fed him every day and Anakin made sure Jacen couldn’t get any suicidal ideas.
That would prove to be good.

* * * * *

Brakiss, master of the shadow academy, was happier than ever. Everything was perfect.
Soon, he promised himself, more Jedi-students would join him. With Jaina on his side now, nothing would be able to stop them. She was even more powerful than he had dreamed of. But she was still a Skywalker and the force was strong in that bloodline. Even stronger than in Tamith Kai.
The shadow academy had a new dark Lady.

The door behind him opened quietly and Jaina entered. She approached her master, who was sitting on the floor and smiling cruelly while he studied his latest picture on the walls. All other pictures showed natural disasters, but this one was different. It was a photo of two children, fighting for life and death against each other with their lightsabers. They were twins.

Brakiss turned his head around to look at the girl from the photo, who waited silently behind him.
My creation. He thought in awe. Beautiful.

Jaina sat down beside him and leaned her head against his shoulder. Her master put on arm around her and stroked her pretty face for some minutes with the other one before he spoke. He noticed she was still trembling every time he touched her, but she didn’t resist. She knew he was too strong.

Brakiss sighed and drew her nearer, till there was no space left between them. He could feel her soft breathing against his throat.
“If you were a bit older….” He sighed.
Jaina looked up to him and gently separated her body from his.
“Master, why did you call me?” She said, playing with his hand. It would be deadly for her to show any sign of refusal of him.

Brakiss stood up and helped her to her feet. They stood there in silence for a long moment, just looking at each other; their bodies almost touching.

“We have detected a very strong force-sensitive human on Coruscant. His name is Zekk.” Brakiss watched fascinated as Jaina stared at him in horror.
“Zekk is force-sensitive?” She finally managed to get out.
“Yes, and also very strong.” Brakiss crossed the last bit of distance between them with a single step and wrapped his arms around her waist, resting his head on her shoulders.
“I want you to bring him to me.” He whispered in her ear.
“Yes, master.” The girl replied, showing no emotions.

Brakiss released her and sat down again to meditate. Jaina understood and left his room. But she couldn’t escape the feeling he was playing with her.

Inside his chamber, Brakiss smiled.
The shadow academy had a new dark Lady.

* * * * *

Jacen stood at the top of the ancient Massassi temple. Thick fog was laying over the sleeping landscape under his feet, the cold wind yanking his robe.

It would be so easy now to end his life. All he had to do was to jump down from the platform on the top. The fall would surely kill him and forever redeem him from his sorrow.

Jacen breathed in deeply and closed his eyes for a brief moment.
So, that’ll be it. He thought. This is how it ends.

Three steps took him to the edge of the platform. The jungle lay in front of him now and with it, the end of all his pain. It was just a heartbeat away.

I’m sorry, Jaina. I'm not strong enough to rescue you.

Jacen closed his eyes and stepped over the edge.

* * * * *

“You can just abandon your children!” Luke shouted at his sister.
“I’ve lost my daughter, don’t you understand that?!” Leia screamed back.
“I understand it and you know I don’t feel any better than you, but I have a duty. I am responsible for many lives and I can’t just ignore them and act like they are not there.
I must act my part and so must you.

You have a government to lead. In times like this, they’ll need a strong leader; and you have two children you must take care of.
Please, don’t forget them.” Luke pleaded her.

Leia bit her lips. Deep down she knew he was right, but she still didn’t want to believe it. She’d never thought it would be like this.

Right from the beginning, the life of her children had been wrong. Grand Admiral Thrawn had tried to kidnap them and the Emperor had wanted to take over Anakin has he’d still been an unborn child.
That wasn’t the life she had pictured for their children. It wasn’t the perfect life she’d wanted them to live. She had wanted peace, but somehow, only bad resulted from her efforts and even didn’t shy away from harming innocent children.

Han, at her side, had stayed quiet the whole time. In his eyes, Leia saw a deep sadness. Jaina had been his favorite child, although he had never obviously shown it.
Losing her was slowly killing him.

“Okay, I promise you not to neglect them.” She finally gave in.
She looked at Han, her gaze begging him to understand.
Her husband only nodded.

* * * * *

Jacen didn’t feel anything.
Maybe death feels like nothing. He wondered.

Till he thought about why he wasn’t falling down. Something, no, someone, was holding him back.
A strong force-grip prevented his body from falling over the edge.

Jacen was jerked away from his death and fell back. His eyes snapped open when his back connected with the cold, hard floor of the temple, but immediately closed again as pain exploded in his body.

“Idiot!” He heard when the bells in his ears had stopped ringing. His eyes opened and his gaze fell on his little brother, who was kneeling over him.
“Jacen, can you tell me what the kriff you were thinking?!”
Icy-blue eyes shot laser bolts at him.

“I don’t know.” Jacen said, coughing and spitting blood out.
I must have bit my tongue when I fell down. He thought absently and fell into his usual silence again.

“Oh no, not this time, big brother!” Anakin said angrily and snapped him. Only the new pain caused Jacen to come back from whatever dark hole he’d buried himself in.
He looked at his little brother as if he didn’t know him anymore.

“I don’t know what I know what I was thinking.” He sobbed.
“But I know it.” Anakin held his gaze without flinching.

“You know that Jaina has turned dark it’ll be your duty to stop her.”
“But why?” Jacen cried. “Why do I have to go through all of this?”
“Cause you’re the only one who can do this. “Anakin replied softly. “Cause you’re her twin, her other half.”

Jacen searched inside of him. Anakin was right, he had always known it. He just hadn’t wanted to accept it. He’d feared the responsibility.
But it was his fate, his destiny.

He would redeem Jaina and make them whole again. Put the pieces together.

He nodded to his little brother and smiled.
"Our sister is in trouble. So, what are we waiting for?"

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