Title: The Dark of Night Summary: Ben and Jysella find love in the dark of night. Disclaimer: Star Wars belongs to George Lucas, not me. Chapter One Ossus Jedi Temple 50.5 ABY “The dark of night is really no time to be wandering around all alone, you know,” a deep voice cut through the quietness. Jysella Horn, her brown cloak wrapped tightly around her tall, slender form turned slowly to look at the man that had interrupted her walk. Twenty-four year-old Ben Skywalker moved slowly towards her, his black cloak swaying gently in his wake. His entire form was clad in black, the touch of red in his dark blonde hair and his icy blue eyes the only things giving any measure of color to his physical presence. In short, he looked rather menacing for a Jedi. “I could say the same to you,” she quipped. Ben smiled then as he came to a stop directly in front of the older woman. She was considerably shorter than Ben, so she had to tip her head back to look into his eyes. “The dark of night is the only time I find peace around here,” he told her quietly. “With the rising suns comes another day of insults and scathing looks.” Jysella’s heart broke at the sadness she heard in his voice. He had paid the price for his actions as the apprentice of his cousin, Jacen Solo. They, along with their dark side teacher Lumiya, had been captured eight years before. Jacen and Lumiya engaged their captors in a fight that ended in their deaths and eighteen year-old Ben had been remanded to the custody of the Jedi and they’d imprisoned him for five years. He’d paid the price and still people didn’t trust him. “I’m sorry,” Jysella finally said, her voice soft. Ben inhaled deeply then as she wrapped her arms around his waist and rested her head against his broad chest. He wrapped one arm around her waist and held her to him while his other hand came up and he ran his fingers through her long brown tresses. His head came to rest against the top of hers. For several long moments, the two friends just stood there, each protected in the others embrace. “I wish I could take away your pain,” she whispered as her hands absently began to rub his back, working out knots in his tense muscles. “You do,” he replied. “You’re my only friend, Sella. Nothing seems quite as bad when you’re with me.” She smiled against his chest. “I’m not your only friend. Your siblings are your friends; Allana, Tenel Ka, Tahiri, Kyp, my brother.” “You didn’t mention even one person that isn’t family or very close to it,” he pointed out sadly. Jysella pulled back then but didn’t leave the circle of his arms. “Family make the best kinds of friends, Ben. They’ll always be there, no matter what.” He nodded. “I suppose that’s true enough. My family has been there for me the past eight years, especially my parents.” “They love you,” she said easily. “They never once considered that you couldn’t be reached. They would have kept trying until the end of time.” Ben smiled, his mood having lightened somewhat. “Well, family aside, you’re my best friend.” Her smile lit up her entire face and Ben noticed, not for the first time, just how beautiful Jysella Horn had become. Her long brown hair fell down in waves around her slender shoulders. Her green eyes pierced him with their intensity as they stared out of an amazingly beautiful face with high cheek bones. Carefully, Ben brought his hand from her hair to softly stroke her cheek. “You’re beautiful.” Jysella blushed. “I bet you say that to all the girls.” Ben chuckled with her, but then grew serious. “No, no I don’t. You truly are a beautiful woman.” Jysella was unprepared for what he did next.