Pleasure & Pain: Chapter 15 Rating: PG-13

I notice some movement from the observation deck, and look up to see Lumiya looking down on us. I can feel her hate and anger from where I stand.

The door opposite us opens and I look that way and see a female Yuuzhan Vong warrior enter. I can hear Nethi's slight gasp and feel her fear of the new arrival.

I can feel the Vong in the Force. Her presence is dark and twisted. I look at her and see an abomination of the Force.

I remember her from when I awoke. I smile as the memory of me spitting on her crosses my mind.

I look her over, and she is dressed in the usual garb of high-ranking warriors. Her red cape is sinuously moving of its own accord. The talons erupt from her knuckles and a tsaisi is wrapped around her upper arm. A coufee is in a sheath on her leg. The customary bandolier of blast bugs across her chest. And she wears the vonduun crab armor; hers is a deep blackish red color.

She is glorious in her danger.

I ignite my saber.

She reaches around behind her and pulls out a creature I have never seen before.

As she squeezes it a red lightsaber blade erupts from it, I realize then that I have seen it before, in my vision of a dark human/vong hybrid of Tahiri.

Her frayed lips spread into a sinister grin. "Do-ro'ik vong pratte."

I look at her and laugh. Beside me I can hear Nethi as she says a Vong word, "brenzlit."

As the warrior rushes us, I can only assume that whatever Nethi said was a Vong insult. I step forward, swinging my blade in an upper cut. She parries my blow and swings her saber at me.

I dive under the blow and roll out of harms way. I swing my saber behind me, and she merely jumps up and out of the way.

I stand and assume a high guard, as the warrior rushes me again. Our sabers collide. She releases one of her hands from the saber and drives her fist into my face. I can feel the horns on her knuckles as they scratch down my jaw.

I can hear Nethi screaming my name.

I stand, as the warrior rushes once more, intent on impaling me on her blade. My head is still confused by the blow and I realize I have no way of getting my saber up in time to block.

Then Nethi is body checking the warrior, knocking her off course. I see a flash of saber where it should not be and can hear myself screaming Nethi's name.

I can feel Nethi's pain in the Force. They land and Nethi comes to a stop, while the warrior continues rolling away. I rush to Nethi's side and see the wound to her chest, probing with the Force I can tell that it's fatal.

I stand at the same time as the warrior, and jump at her. I land and use my hate to power my blows.

At first she is able to block and parry my blows. But a Skywalker's hate is a powerful thing. When a Skywalker is in the grip of their hate, they are a nigh unstoppable thing. She falls back away from me, attempting to get some room to maneuver, room so she can go on the offensive.

I follow, not letting up, my blade a blur and always seeking an opening in her defenses.

I finally get one, and slice away her off arm between the gauntlets and her shoulder armor. Her hiss of pain drives me forward, makes me attack even harder.

The pain she feels and broadcasts in the Force is not enough payment, not enough revenge, to sate my anger at what she did to Nethi.

I get my next opening and shove my blade into her throat. I shove harder, pushing it all the way through. I smile at the shocked expression that appears on her face.

I shut down my saber and turn from her, not caring if she actually dies or not.

I run over to Nethi and pull her onto my lap.

She looks up at me, tears in her eyes, I cradle her against me. I know I'm losing her, and it is killing me. "Anakin, I love you."

I smile at her, and can feel the tears in my own eyes. "I know."

I can feel her pain, as she coughs. I notice the blood on the side of her mouth is bright red. "I wasn't supposed to love you. I wasn't ever supposed to kiss you while you were in the cell. Lumiya forbade it. I ... I just couldn't help myself."

"Shh, don't talk; everything's going to be all right."

She utters a broken laugh. "Dummy, I know I'm dying. I can feel that."

Suddenly Lumiya's voice fills the chamber over the intercom system. "Anakin, all is not lost. I can give you Nethi back. You can be forgiven. Your failure was a temporary setback. Please Anakin."

As she is speaking a half-dozen guards enter from each of the doors, taking up positions near the doors, protecting them, keeping us in the room, their carbines drawn and ready.

I look up at her, and for the first time see her for what she truly is, a dark, desperate old woman, who needs someone more powerful than her to do what she is unable to.

I look down at Nethi, and see the tears in her eyes, the sadness and pain. Her eyes flicker to the observation area where Lumiya stands and then back to me. Her voice is strained and weak. "I don't want to be a slave."

I reach behind me and pull out one of the thermal detonators from the carrying case on the back of my belt.

Once more Lumiya's voice is there, booming. "Anakin? Anakin! What are you doing?"

I look back up to Lumiya. "You wanted a Skywalker, because we are so powerful, especially in our hate. When we hate, we are as close to an unstoppable force as this galaxy has."

I arm the detonator, hold down the dead-man switch and slide backwards the priming mechanism. I put five seconds on the detonator.

I pull Nethi up and lower my head to kiss her again. "You never were to me, and I won't let Lumiya make you one."

I look at Lumiya again. "But you forget that there is always one thing stronger than a Skywalker's hate. And that is a Skywalker's love."

Dismissing Lumiya from my mind, I focus my attention on Nethi and kiss her once more. "I love you; I wish we had had time to grow old together."

Her smile is filled with pain. "I know."

I press my lips against hers again and throw the detonator into the air, releasing the dead-man's switch, which activates the timer.

I can feel Nethi's love for me, and I wrap her in my arms and my love. I am kissing her as the white overtakes us.

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