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The Only Thing to Fear...

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This story is No. 2 in the series "In a Hell Dimension Far Far Away...". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Sequel to "In a Hell Dimension Far Far Away..." Read that first. It's several months after the events of TPM and Buffy and Ben are hot on the trail of Palpatine when suddenly everything crashes all around them. Buffy/Obi-Wan

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Star Wars > Buffy-CenteredHorseLoverTWFR18410,28154910,48419 Aug 0811 Jun 10No

Into the Black

The Only Thing to Fear…

Disclaimer: Buffy is the property of Joss Whedon. Star Wars is the property of George Lucas.

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” ~ Yoda

“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” ~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt

A/N: Alright, here begins my sequel to ‘In a Hell Dimension Far Far Away…’ Reviews are always welcome and I’ll try to respond to all that I can. As far as the story goes, I am completely abandoning Star Wars canon for the most part. The only things I’ll try to keep in canon are those already established in my previous story. This means that Obi-Wan will still act like Ben and the Council will still be the council and etc. Other characters from the SW universe might not fare as well. {{ and }} = flashbacks. Any questions, feel free to ask. Now, all that being said, on with the story!

Chapter 1: Into the Black

It always seemed to amaze everyone how easily things came to Buffy: men, vampires, slaying, fencing, acrobatics, karate… accessorizing. In fact, it’s somewhat shocking that the only thing that had never come easily to the Slayer was driving. For someone with reflexes that could put a podracer to shame, it really was odd how completely and utterly horrible at driving she was. Which is why when it came time for Buffy to get behind the controls of a starship, she had been so surprised.

Buffy was an excellent, unnervingly good pilot.

Which is how she found herself alone, cruising the cold blackness of space in her one-seated, claustrophobic cockpit. Had she been a poor, or even mediocre pilot, she’d never have made it out of Coruscant in the little Nabooian Starfighter.

Buffy and Padme had stayed in touch after the series of events that had culminated in Tiggy’s death. In a flash, panic seized her mind as the memories sought to take over once more and Buffy was forced to relive the choking hyperventilation as the Sith strangled her through his use of the force. Water sprung to her eyes from the intensity of the memory and then she was there, remembering the sweet shock of oxygen as Obi-Wan had saved her. He had looked so… relieved, to see she was still alive; like that was all he needed to do before he could leave this realm. Just make sure she was alive…

Shaking her head, Buffy wiped away the water in her eyes with a fierceness that would have left raw, red streaks on her puffy eyelids and hallowed cheeks had she been anything but the Slayer. As it was, the only marks left were the scars she carried deep in her chest, scars that ached continuously in tandem with the stiff drumming of her heart.

Padme had been a good friend through it all though. And when it came time for Buffy to get out of Coruscant… when events triggered had left no other option, Padme had been there to provide the means. All Buffy had to do was sneak out, a task she’d been honing since she was fifteen.

The only problem had arisen when she’d been hovering just off the small landing pad and had felt… him watching. His horrible, unsettling grin had nearly driven her off the deep end and she’d been so preoccupied watching the menacing ripple of his purple cloak as it flapped in the breeze her small fighter was generating that she’d nearly crashed into the oncoming wave of flying traffic. Her superb reflexes and newfound piloting proficiency were her only saviors- because she really was all on her own.

And she knew, with out the slightest trace of doubt, that the devil with the silvery hair and cold, calculating eyes knew it as well.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It had been a mere week before her escape that Buffy and Obi-Wan had chanced upon the Muun in one of the more unsavory portions of Coruscant.

{{“A bar? Seriously?” Buffy asked Ben, her eyebrow quirked skeptically as they stepped through the heavy metallic door under the neon Arabic-like symbols. Just behind the thick door, music rocked the air, driving all the way through to Buffy’s bones in its hypnotically pounding techno rhythm. Her brain felt like it might vibrate all the way through her skull with the pounding but a quick glance at Obi-Wan made the whine freeze on the tip of her tongue. He looked as calm as ever and as poised as a Jedi Knight- which he kind of was now.

But he must have seen the migraine-pained expression on her face, because the first thing he said was, “Do you need to wait outside?”

Quickly, Buffy pulled her face and her pounding thoughts together. “Err, no.” He still looked unconvinced, so she shot him a smile- that particular one that she just couldn’t seem to stamp out once she let it by her lips; a smile that seemed to be contagious as of late as it was often in the habit of being returned. “Can’t leave you all by your lonesome to face this guy anyway, right?”

“Well, perhaps if you tried…” he suggested, a familiar smirk forming lazily across his mouth. Buffy licked her lips.

Unable to say it aloud for fear of witnesses, she mentally returned- sure that he’d pick up her thoughts as they were as attuned to each other now as her Slayers senses had been to the movement of vampires and demons- ‘Don’t make me visit your room tonight, Mr. Kenobi.’

Used to her continuous assaults on his patience… and virtue, Obi-Wan replied casually, his tone still playful as he and Buffy scoured the stools at the bar and the many scattered tables against the wide, red walls, “And what if that had been my intension all along?”

“Then I’d have to say I’ve done a remarkably good job corrupting you, Grasshopper.”

“Grassho…?”

“Shh. Just an expression, Benjy.” Buffy laid her smaller hand over his wrist and pointed with her other toward one of the darkened tables in the back, by what looked like the restrooms. “Looks like our guy, twelve o’ clock.”

“That would be straight in front of us, correct?” Ben asked sarcastically as Buffy began to drag him toward the small, lemur-like man sitting uncomfortably by himself and watching nervously as the Slayer and Jedi approached.

He was incredibly tiny, just under four feet, and had the delicate look of a child in his waif-like appearance and slender arms and legs. His face, by far his most notable feature, was startlingly pale, almost white, with a shock of black hair combed flat back against his scalp. Black skin also contrasted with the white of his face around his glowing yellow eyes and his button-shaped nose. The lemur look was completed when he sprung, monkey-like from his seat and greeted the two.

“Jediii?” he asked hesitantly in an inhumanly screechy and rather nasal sounding voice. It would have attracted unwanted attention but for the incessantly pounding techno.

“Yes. I am Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi and this is my partner, Buffy Summers,” Ben introduced easily, his tone soothing and his aura generating a calm that Buffy could tangibly perceive.

The little creature gave a jerky nod before gesturing to the table behind him. “If ou please.”

Buffy seated herself beside Ben and across from Lemur man, curiously peeking into the goblet in front of her only long enough to smell its snot green contents and quickly set it back down and push it as far away from her as possible.

Ben folded his hands and rested them on the table’s top, another movement Buffy knew him to use when trying to settle a spooked informant.

Lemur man didn’t seem to buy it though and continued to regard them both nervously, even glancing inconspicuously around the table once to catch a glimpse of both their lightsabers. He gave a little shudder at the realization that they were both packing.

But, uh, what had he been expecting anyway? A bouquet and an assortment of Dex’s famous chocolates? Or, you know, chocolate-like material. These aliens didn’t really believe in making anything easy for her.

And sure, of course Buffy still felt that certain thrill of fear and hatred for the weapon at her hip, but her love for it outweighed the guilt and ridicule she carried with it. Tiggy’s red lightsaber, only a singular blade since Ben had lobbed off the other beam on that fateful day in Theed, had proved itself a good weapon and had begun its own personal road to redemption. Buffy was very proud of it and she challenged anyone who doubted it to take it from her. Few had attempted.

Lemur man straightened up his spindly spine and made a gallant effort to ignore the imposey-ness Buffy could only assume she and Ben presented. “As I am sure ou re-lize, I am coming ere at great per-sonal risk ou myself.”

“We will do everything in our power to protect your anonymity,” Ben affirmed, his cultured voice resonating with sincerity. His tranquil blue eyes were shining with a sureness that, had Buffy been in Lemur man’s shoes, she definitely would have felt the urge to believe him. Ben was just that good.

Buffy nodded encouragingly. “Mums the word, Mr. Muun.” Ben had briefed her before their meeting that the informant would be a native of the Planet Mygeeto, a Muun- which apparently equated to a screechy monkey man with a poor taste in drinks.

His glowing yellow eyes swiveled back and forth uneasily between herself and Ben. He finally seemed to come to a decision and licked his black lips nervously. Buffy was sure that if he were human, he’d be wiping the sweat from his brow about now. “My boss, a most isagree-ouble individ-ual, oz lately been en contact wit a force eben darker than imself.”

“Your bossy’s nameage would be pretty gripping about now,” Buffy suggested in a tone she hoped sounded inconsequential.

“If he isovers I told ou, my life ould end.”

“That’s not going to happen,” Ben said. “And without his name, I’m afraid all of your sacrifice here tonight will not be worth much.”

Lemur man’s yellow eyes seemed to widen even more, if that were possible, and he reached out and clutched the mug before him. His hands shaking so horribly that he nearly spilled most of it in the effort, he swallowed and carefully set it back down. In a surprisingly clear voice he uttered, “Silas Cain.”

“Thank you,” Buffy said, genuinely impressed with Lemur’s man’s courage- what with his drinking that disgusting snot stuff. Points also for the handing in his bosses name, but at the moment, that seemed the lesser of the two feats.

“And this new associate of Cain’s?” Ben prompted.

“I aave never seen im, but I ear is voice free-quently.”

Buffy glanced at Ben. ‘That’s not going to do us much good. I think our best bet is to track down this Silo character.’

He nodded at her and turned to Lemur man, his face perfectly open and blank. “Mygeeto is a fairly large planet, as I’m sure you’re more than aware. Where could we find your boss, Mr. *Silas*…” he looked at Buffy pointedly, “Cain?”

Ugh, did he ALWAYS have to correct her on the names? Was it HER fault everyone here had names weird enough to make a sci-fi novelist blush?

The little man apparently didn’t notice Ben’s jibe as he was quick to reply, “That ould not be diffi-cult. Ee is the owner ob one ob the biggest particle ener-gee companies, Cain Enterprises.”

“One more question, if you please,” Ben asked. Lemur man nodded solemnly. “Thank you, you’ve been more than helpful. You say you’ve overheard many of Mr. Cain’s conversations with this new associate. Could you tell me the nature of these discussions? What was this stranger so eager to acquire that would have you nervous enough to seek Jedi intervention?”

For the first time this meeting, Lemur man’s glowing yellow eyes ceased their twitchy shifting and narrowed, making the black spots around his eyes appear darker somehow and casting his whole face in an odd light. “I forget ow obser-bant the Jedi are. My apolo-gees.” He didn’t look very apologetic however. “Particle ener-gee may be used ou supply a number ob things. I aave no idea the partic-ular venue intended bor Mr. Cain’s newest associate, but the list ob materials needed set me wit great unease.”

“Elaborate much?”

He shot her a nasty glare but slowly went on anyway, seemingly against his own will. Buffy was highly suspicious by the intense gaze Ben was giving the poor guy that some Jedi trickery was involved. “It ould be suitable bor a very large scale pro-duction.”

“How large?” Ben asked intently. “ Space-station sized?”

He shook his little head. “Bigger. Planet sized.”

Buffy and Ben were speechless for a moment. Finally, Ben managed to ask, “And any idea what this planet’s intent would be?”

“It’s diffi-cult ou say. I don’t know the major-ity ob the parts ee as ordered, but some that I do recog-nize, appear ou be weapons-grade.”

Ben quickly stood and grabbed Buffy’s elbow, pulling her up from her seat as well. “Thank you once again. If you find out anything else, don’t hesitate to reach us in the same manner- Dex is well accustomed to discretion, as our we.”

Lemur man stood as well, still jittery in his movements and once again on the look out from whatever it was that made him look like a withdrawal patient. “I ould wish ou good luck, but I am not sure ib I ould be meaning it.”

Ben gave a short nod and sort of saluted by putting his pointing finger to his temple briefly. Buffy was about to mentally snort at him for his extra level of weirdness for the day, but before she could, he was leading her away from the table and out of the crowded bar.

Once out on the relatively empty and quiet street, Buffy rolled her eyes and said, “So tell me what I missed being the non-mind reader of our posse.”

“He fears that Cain already has suspicions about his loyalty. It was suggested that his wife and child might be in danger if any of those suspicions were confirmed. They’re already being held over his head.”

“And you believe him?”

“I see no reason not to at the moment. At the very least, we should investigate Cain.”

“…because it couldn’t hurt?” Buffy asked helpfully.

Ben grinned down at her. “Yes, because it couldn’t hurt.”}}

How wrong could you be? If Buffy had known a week ago how screwed up things would have ended up, she so *definitely* would have smacked him about then.

But, as Master Voodoo often liked to point out to her, she didn’t have a Jedi’s foresight.

But mopey time later. She had a mission. A mission that, yea no one else knew about, and yea, would probably dead end on some back street in Mygeeto, but was still all she had to cling to right now. It wouldn’t do to land half-assed on the planet and fumble it up right off the bat. She just wished, now more than ever, that Ben was here with her.

Stupid Chancellor…

Buffy hated Chancellor Palpatine with every fiber of her being. Not because he had ever particularly violated her in any way, just because he made her nauseous by his mere presence. And had anyone else ever had this same grievance, it probably wouldn’t have been that huge a deal. But when it’s just your word- or stomach as the case may be- against the word of the most powerful man in the galaxy, it doesn’t normally fair that well.

Like, for instance, when it’s Palpatine’s word against yours in front of the Jedi High Council, as it was several days after Ben and her had met with their very own screechy-throated lemur man.

{{“Why is *he* here?” Buffy hissed at Ben as soon as they had entered the circular high windowed chamber room where the council conducted its proceedings.

The Chancellor, or Devil-incognito as Buffy preferred to think of him, was standing calmly before Yoda and the others, his politician’s smile breaking unabashedly across his cold face as he spotted Obi-Wan and her enter.

“Ah! Your brightest new Knight!” He beamed, gliding over to Obi-Wan and firmly shaking his hand even as Buffy herself shied away. “And Miss Summers, so delightful to see you again.”

Buffy knew as she saw the cold glint behind his eyes that it was anything but. And in an odd way, it sort of comforted her to know that she wasn’t the only one in the room itching to make use of her red beam. Given the chance, she got the feeling Palpy would be more than happy to try his hand at some slice n’dice. With, you know, preferably her as the recipient.

Even as she thought this, she noticed Palpy’s eyes drift down to the lightsaber at her hip and for the tiniest fraction of a millisecond, she could have sworn they glinted yellow. She shivered involuntarily and edged closer to Obi-Wan.

For his part, Ben stayed as cool as the ice-creamy wonderfulness he was named after and responded to the sheer force of hunking evil before them in so neutral a voice he might have been conferring with Qui-Gon about the weather, “A pleasure to see you again, Chancellor.” He turned his gaze to Yoda. “We were summoned?”

“Yes. Summoned you were,” Yoda began, carefully avoiding Buffy’s eyes as he continued. “Believe, the Chancellor does, that under suspicion he is by the Jedi Council.”

Which he kind of is, Buffy thought darkly, glaring at Palpatine’s back as he turned around to face Yoda, Ki-Adi and old Macey.

Ben grazed a finger against her hand in warning, a movement that maybe took only about a centimeter to make but which she felt entirely sure the entire Council must have noticed. Or, if they hadn’t, the beginnings of the blush creeping up her neck would probably do the job.

“No, no, my friends. You misinterpret,” Palpy said with a smile. Buffy swallowed to keep the bile down. “I merely suggested that one of your non-Jedi employees was stepping over-bounds,” his sickly-sweet voice dropped a few degrees as he added, “In places she clearly has no business being.”

Buffy didn’t miss the ‘she’ part he was hinting at. For such a “masterful” politician, Palpy sure seemed to have his work cut out for him in the whole ‘bluntness’ department.

It was Macey that replied first. “What would you have us do?” His deep, commanding voice sounded tired and Buffy wondered, not for the first time, what it was Voodoo did all day besides casting disapproving judgments on her that made him so perpetually wearied.

“I,” Palpy said eagerly, his tone as slick as oil, “Would ask no more than for the Jedi to keep to themselves, as I’m aware is in fact your policy. Make no exception for this girl.” Uh, hello? Standing right here! “My receptionist has made numerous grievances about how often she is pestered by Miss Summers and I fear I can no longer discount the somewhat potentially violent streak I’ve witnessed in her unstable habits.” What!? It was just that one time that the secretary had been completely rude that Buffy had been forced to *accidentally* spill a little of the hot and trashy beverage she’d been forced to sip on for the past hour while waiting for the wrinkly old bastard to get around to them.

“Know you do, Chancellor, that interfering with Jedi affairs, serious matter this is. Careful have the Senate and Council been to avoid such matters.” Buffy felt a warmth of gratitude rush out to the little muppet for his defense.

“And I regret having to do so now. But as I have stated, and you are all aware, Miss Summers is not a member of the Jedi order, and as such, is clearly in the wrong for having so forwardly overstepped her boundaries as a citizen of Coruscant.” If only he knew the truth of her citizenry. Unlike the numerous demon-like creatures she’d run into throughout her stay in this dimension, she was probably as close to a real live alien as they’d ever witnessed. Too bad she really didn’t feel at liberty sharing with Palpy.

He’d probably use it as an added bonus excuse to lock her up.

“Saying this to us, as Chancellor are you? Or ‘friend’?” Man, Yoda was so completely awesome. Kermit, eat your heart out!

Though, you know, not literally. Because even if Kermit wasn’t as cool as Yoda, that’s still no reason for him to have his heart eaten or anything.

“Master Yoda, I am *always* Chancellor Palpatine. I fear it goes with the job.” Yea, like he’s really shaking in his tailored boots, Buffy thought sarcastically, causing Ben’s lip to twitch.

But then Palpatine said, “And you will release Miss Summers from your services immediately or I will put the entire Temple under investigation for treason,” and whatever sarcasm or amusement had previously existed in the Council chambers was sucked out like oxygen in outer space.

Or like a Sith’s strangle hold around your throat.

And just like that, Buffy couldn’t breath. She couldn’t see- even as the Chancellor left the room, and she definitely couldn’t hear- even as Yoda regretfully told her that she would have to vacate her apartment that very night.}}

Buffy inhaled sharply at the memory, forcing it to leave her subconscious. Mygeeto was nearing, and she’d have to start her descent procedures even now, a couple thousand miles away. It was a daunting thought for a former L.A. valley girl.

She eased up on the manual throttle- because naturally, a Slayer couldn’t be caught dead using automatic at any point during an interstellar journey- and double-checked her navigation coordinates. Right on target for Mygeeto… and her date with one Mr. Silas Cain.
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