Saga A Mother's Love - (AU, Anakin, Obi-Wan & Shmi) Epilogue added 12th Jan (Complete)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by hlc88, Sep 8, 2012.

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  1. hlc88 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 4
    Title: A Mother's Love
    Author: hlc88
    Timeframe: Post 1 year TPM to ROTS
    Characters: Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Shmi Skywalker and many others.
    Genre: Family/Angst/Adventure
    Keywords: Shmi Skywalker, Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi
    Summary: The Council grants Obi-Wan permission to free Anakin's mother from slavery. Can Shmi's bond with her son prevent his fall to the dark side or only accelerate it?
    Notes: This story will explore the bond between Anakin and his mother and what influences she has on his life. Chapters will be quite long. The first 20 chapters are written so updates will be frequent until I've caught up with myself.

    A Mother's Love
    Chapter One

    Anakin Skywalker had not settled.

    His emotional attachment to his mother had made it difficult to train him to let go of his attachment to her. Ever since leaving his mother behind in slavery on Tatooine, the young boy had struggled to forget the one who had brought him up, to move on with his life and focus on the path of a Jedi.

    Anakin Skywalker was not a normal Jedi apprentice. He had not been raised in the Temple from birth. He had not been a Youngling. Instead he had been born into slavery on an outer-rim world, and by luck (or the Force) he had been discovered by a Jedi Knight who had been forced to make an emergency landing on the desert world that he had called home for the last six years of his life.

    At nine years old he had been too old to begin his training and had been turned down by the Council. It had only been the re-emergence of the Sith and Anakin’s exploits during the battle of Naboo that had prompted the Council to reverse its decision. The apprentice of the Jedi that had discovered Anakin had promised his dying Master to train him, and Obi-Wan Kenobi’s insistence to keep that promise had also overturned the original decision.

    A year into his training and Anakin Skywalker hadn’t settled despite his best efforts to do so and his Master’s help in guiding him.

    It was exactly a year to the day that Qui-Gon Jinn had been murdered in battle and Obi-Wan Kenobi had become a full Jedi Knight and taken Anakin as his apprentice.

    Now the young Knight stood before the Jedi Council, without his Apprentice’s knowledge, for he had an idea that might help his young charge if it was granted, though the no attachments rule would prove problematic as Obi-Wan’s idea meant that special circumstances would be created for Anakin that were not approved for anyone else.

    But Anakin was supposedly the Chosen One, said to bring balance to the Force. He had to be trained, there was no doubt about it, but his inability to settle had hampered his progress, and Obi-Wan was frustrated that his attempts to teach the boy was falling on deaf ears. He considered himself a failure.

    He shouldn’t have been training Anakin. Technically, as a new Jedi Knight, he should not have taken a Padawan (and the boy wouldn’t officially be his Padawan until he was thirteen). The general rule was that he should have settled into his role as a Knight for a few years before considering taking a student but Anakin had been thrust upon him by his promise to his deceased Master. He didn’t mind that he had done that, the boy was incredibly gifted but as a new Knight with no experience in the field, how could he be expected to train someone adequately?

    Anakin had learnt a lot in his first year, that couldn’t be denied but he felt that if other issues were addressed, he would have more success in teaching the young boy, and he hoped that the Council would consider his request and not flat-out deny it because it would be in violation of the Jedi Code that they had all sworn to upon entering the Order (though most Younglings didn’t make that oath until they had been selected as a Padawan by a Knight or Master at the age of thirteen). Anakin had taken the oath two days after the Battle of Naboo though the title ‘Padawan’ wouldn’t be granted to him until his thirteenth birthday.

    Obi-Wan Kenobi stood in the centre of the Jedi Council, taking a deep breath, composing his words to make the request that he was certain would be denied to him. But he had to try.

    “Knight Kenobi, a request you have of us, yes?” Yoda prompted. The small green Jedi was one of the most respected Jedi in the Order, no one could fool him. Obi-Wan had his suspicions that Master Yoda already knew what he wanted to ask.

    Obi-Wan bowed to the room at large. “I do, Masters. It concerns my apprentice.” He hesitated, unsure of how to proceed; how to best phrase his request. “Anakin has been here for a year. He has… struggled to find his place. He has made a lot of progress in a short space of time but he remains out of touch with his fellow initiates, possibly due to his upbringing and his emotional attachment to his mother. I do not believe that we can simply make him ignore this attachment he has. It’s doubly hard for him because he left his mother in slavery. He has told me more than once that when he is a Knight, he will free her.”

    He could see several members of the Council frown upon that ambition. Jedi did not have ambition.

    “I do not blame him for that desire. It sits hard on his shoulders that while he is living a life of freedom, his mother is trapped in a dark world. His studies will always be hampered by his love for his mother and the fact that he misses her. I believe it would be beneficial to Anakin’s training – and would greatly help him settle - if the Council freed his mother from slavery. She doesn’t have to come here, but she could be a calming influence on Anakin if she was present in his life in some way, he would have one less thing to worry about if she was no longer enslaved. His entry into the Order was unorthodox but because of this, I stand by the idea that freeing Shmi Skywalker would be beneficial to his training. I am asking the Council for permission to allow me to travel to Tatooine and to buy his mother from the Toydarian that owns her.”

    He fell silent, waiting for a response from the members of the Council. He could feel the Force permeating around him as all the Master’s thought through his proposal and the positives and negatives that would come about if they agreed.

    “Attachment is forbidden,” said Adi Gallia. “If Anakin Skywalker is indeed the Chosen One could his mother’s presence hamper his training more so than it already is? If we feed his attachment we run the risk of this happening.”

    “Or,” said the softly-spoken Ki-Adi-Mundi, a Cerean Jedi Master, “it could help his progress. The Order made special circumstances for me because of the low birth rate of males of my species. I have five wives and seven children and it hasn’t hampered my ability to be a Jedi.”

    Mace conceded his point. “But it is rare that we grant something like that.”

    “If we agreed to this, what would happen with the boy’s mother?” Plo Koon asked.

    “That I do not have a definite answer for,” replied Obi-Wan steadily. “There would be several options open to us however. We could set her up on a Republic world with funds and allow Anakin visits every-so-often, or set her up here on Coruscant and help her get a job and allow Anakin visits, or the more beneficial one that I think could help my apprentice more is employ Shmi Skywalker at the Temple and continue to grant her access to her son on a very regular basis. His attachment to his mother won’t ever be broken; he loves her too much for that. It would be bad if we tried to break their bond.”

    Mace Windu frowned. “Having his mother that close could turn against us.”

    “I don’t believe it will. I think her presence will help soothe him, help him focus more on his studies and she will encourage him. Anakin never had the benefit of a crèche tutelage, he lacks the encouragement given to initiates at that age. Shmi Skywalker could fulfil that role that I am unable to fill in his training’s absence from a young age. I’m his teacher but I cannot praise him all the time… his mother could be the focus he needs to make him become the best Jedi he is capable of becoming. I am prepared to take full responsibility and any punishment the Council sees fit if I am proven wrong in my assertions that Shmi Skywalker could prove a positive factor to Anakin’s training,” he finished, folding his arms across his chest and waited.

    “Full responsibility you are prepared to take, yes?” questioned Yoda.

    He had already addressed that in his request but Obi-Wan understood that they wanted more than just banal words from him. It had to come from his heart. If Anakin’s attachment to his mother led him down a dark path he would have to be prepared to kill him. Any Master knew this and accepted that responsibility when they took a Padawan.

    Steeling himself he spoke without hesitation. “Yes, I am.” He projected his feelings into the Force, knowing full well that the Jedi Master’s seated around him would all be able to sense his commitment and promise to take up the mantle.

    His request was unorthodox and could alienate Anakin further from his fellow Jedi, but he had struggled to make friends, and spent most of his free time alone. Though Anakin had told his Master that he no longer cried about his mother, Obi-Wan knew that he did on a regular occurrence. He hadn’t mentioned anything to the boy because he hoped that Anakin would come to him if he felt it was becoming too much of a problem.

    But then, there was the impression that Obi-Wan had, that his young charge did not feel that he could confide his inner thoughts with him. They had forged a Master-Padawan bond but it wasn’t strong or full of trust as a bond should be like.

    Obi-Wan, after all, was not the Jedi that Anakin wanted to train him. Qui-Gon should have been the one to train him but his death had halted that desire and Obi-Wan had been willing to take him on as his apprentice. No one else would have done and if not, they’d have sent him back to Tatooine and probably back into enslavement.

    The Council members were trading glances as Obi-Wan continued to stand in the centre of the chamber. He could feel curiosity in the Force. There were some Master’s on the Council, he could feel, were willing to give Anakin the benefit of the doubt and allow him access to his mother. There were others that felt it would violate the Jedi code.

    But in the end the final decision was up to Mace Windu. He and Yoda shared collective responsibility for the Order but Mace was the one who had agreed to Anakin’s training in the first place after Qui-Gon’s death… he had the authority to make this decision with Obi-Wan’s request.

    “I do not like this,” began Mace, “but you have indicated you would take responsibility for everything. It would be on your own head.”

    “I wouldn’t have agreed if I wasn’t prepared to admit any responsibility in Anakin’s future actions,” answered Obi-Wan truthfully. “I am the one responsible for his training. I cannot wiggle myself out of that.”

    Mace leaned back in his chair, clasping his hands together in front of him. There was a hard look on his face. “Very well. We will grant your request. You may travel to Tatooine – without your apprentice – and free Shmi Skywalker from slavery. We will give you the necessary funds that should cover her worth to her owner. You will bring her here and we will employ her as Temple staff but she will live in the city, and Skywalker will not be allowed to live with her.”

    “Yes, Master.” Obi-Wan bowed. They had granted his request, albeit grudgingly; it was up to him to prove to them that they were making the right decision.

    - - - - -

    Mos Espa, Tatooine

    Dressed in a simple poncho that was draped over his Jedi garments Obi-Wan walked into Mos Espa. He had parked the small star-ship in a landing bay in the space port.

    He was not anticipating that freeing Shmi would be easy. He had ensured that he had the correct currency, having remembered that Qui-Gon had been unable to buy the Hyperdrive part they had required from Watto before with Republic credits. He didn’t know whether he had enough to buy her freedom but he had been assured that someone of Shmi’s age would not be worth much, but just in case Watto drove a hard bargain, he had bought along enough to compensate for that. The money had come from the Jedi Council’s funds, something they had not been too keen on allowing him access to, but they had reluctantly agreed. Since Obi-Wan was not paid money in his role of a Jedi, he could not fund Shmi’s fee himself.

    Watto’s shop, Obi-Wan noted, was fairly small compared to a lot of the other businesses scattered around in the main street. It had a pointed roof which resembled that of a Toydarian home on their home world.

    Anakin’s former master clearly wanted his home comforts…

    Obi-Wan walked into shop, his keen eyes searching around him, taking in every detail. For a small shop, there was a lot stacked into it. The Toydarian was nowhere in sight, however there was a middle-aged woman standing behind the counter, her curious brown eyes watching him as he moved towards her. She wore slave’s garb and there was a sad loneliness evident in her eyes.

    This was Shmi Skywalker, the mother of Anakin, and she missed her son terribly.

    “Can I help you?” she asked; her voice was soft.

    He gave her a gentle smile. “I need to speak to your master, regarding a matter that only he can deal with. Would it be possible to talk to him now?”

    “I will find him for you,” she answered. “Please wait here.” She left the main shop and moved out into the Junk Yard leaving Obi-Wan alone to his thoughts.

    This was a woman who terribly missed her son, who was living a life that was not fulfilling for her. He could tell by the aura around her that she was suffering from nightmares, and that she was trying not to worry for her son, which was undoubtedly the crux of her nightmarish dreams. She was desperately lonely with nothing to live for apart from the hope that one day she would see her son again. No one deserved the life of a slave but she had been unfortunate in her life to have been made one, though he didn’t know the full details.

    He was bought out of his thoughts when Shmi returned a few minutes later, preceded by a blue Toydarian, who immediately flew in front of Obi-Wan.

    “Ah, a tourist!” the guttly sound rasped forth from the Toydarian’s mouth. “What can I get ya?”

    Obi-Wan decided to be blunt. “I want to buy your slave from you.” From his pocket he withdrew the local currency and placed an amount on the counter. “10,000 Tatooine credits.”

    Watto flew back in surprise. “You what?”

    Shmi had maintained a calm composure throughout the small exchange but Obi-Wan had sensed her anxiety heighten that if she was taken away from this place then Anakin would never see her again.

    “I want to buy your slave from you,” he repeated. He put his hand into his pouch once more and withdrew another smaller pouch filled with money. “20,000 Tatooine credits.” Shmi wasn’t even worth that much due to her age but he understood that the Toydarian dealer would not willingly part with his only slave. “You know how much she is worth, included in what I am prepared to pay for her, are expenses you would miss out on without her help, plus,” he pulled out another pouch, “another 10,000 credits on top of that to allow you to hire or – if you must – buy another slave.” He hated the idea of suggesting to the slave owner to buy another one but he had to make himself look authentic and not for Watto to suspect that he was a Jedi. If he found out he was a Jedi he could potentially keep Shmi until Obi-Wan paid up a lot more money than he had on him.

    “Why woulda tourist want a slave?” demanded Watto.

    Obi-Wan smirked. “I’m not a tourist, rather a profiteer in older slaves.” Another lie but one he hoped would make Watto release Shmi to Obi-Wan.

    “A profit in older slaves?” laughed the Toydarian. “There’s no market out there for them!”

    “If you believe that then you won’t mind selling her to me. 35,000 credits. That is my final offer.” What he was offering for Shmi was the price of a slave at full health at the age of sixteen, the primary age to be a slave and worth the most. Surely Watto couldn’t turn that down to keep a middle-aged woman?

    “You are offering more than I would expect to receive…” started Watto.

    “If you want less money for your slave…” Obi-Wan began.

    “No!” Watto was quick to backtrack. “35,000 is the fee I will accept. It’s your loss… you won’t make much money from her. I win.”

    Obi-Wan merely smiled. If only the slaver knew exactly what fate entailed for Shmi Skywalker.

    “I have no use for depressed slaves that are barely able to work in an adequate manner,” Watto continued harshly. “She hasn’t been the same since that boy of hers was taken by that Jedi a year ago. If you find use for her, I want to know … just to see how much profit you’ve lost in paying this much for her.” The Toydarian flew to some cabinets he had stored at the top of his shop, bringing down a bunch of papers. He laid them out on the counter: the ownership forms for Shmi Skywalker, as well as the deactivator that controlled the chip that Watto had implanted in both Anakin and his mother when he had won them. Watto filled out the transferral form for slave ownership to Obi-Wan before passing the pen over to the Jedi who signed his name, thereby becoming the official owner of Shmi.

    “I want you to deactivate her chip.”

    “It was done a few months ago,” admitted Watto. “I thought she’d run away after her boy left. I’d rather not deal with the legal matters that her messy death would have caused if she had gone out of range of the transmitter.”

    Obi-Wan raised an eyebrow but chose not to comment. He picked up the papers and folded them up, slipping them into a pocket underneath his poncho. “Time to leave,” he said. “It was good doing business with you, Watto.”

    “My pleasure…” The Toydarian was already fingering the stack of coins that Obi-Wan had given him as payment. He was far more interested in the money then his former slave’s departure.

    Obi-Wan fixed Shmi with a cold, hard stare – just for pretence in case Watto decided to take back his slave. “Come. You have work to do for me.” He hated how he had to treat her just for a few moments. “You can pick up your stuff from your quarters on the way back to my ship.”

    Shmi nodded numbly. They departed from the shop.

    - - - - -

    There was something strange about the man that had just convinced Watto to sell her. She was certain he wasn’t a slave trader either. She couldn’t place why but there was something about him that told her he was here for a completely different reason.

    He trailed a few steps behind her as they walked through the marketplace of Mos Espa to the slave quarters. Reaching her quarters, Shmi palmed open the door and walked inside, her new owner following behind her.

    “You know I’m not who I appear to be…” he said before the door had even closed.

    Shmi turned to face him. “Yes, I do, but I can’t place you or fathom out why you paid that amount of money for me.”

    The man smiled at her. He had a nice smile hidden by an auburn beard and his blue-grey eyes sparkled. “Your son is worth it.”

    “My son?” Shmi was breathless. Did this man know her son? How did he? And then her eyes flickered downward and through a gap at the bottom of his poncho she spied his lightsaber. “You’re a Jedi?”

    He nodded. “I am Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jedi Knight. I am training your son to be a Jedi.”

    Her son was going to be a Jedi! She felt elevated by knowing for sure that was what her son was doing. And this man was training him… but then she realised… “What about Qui-Gon Jinn? He said he’d train him.”

    Obi-Wan bowed his head. “Qui-Gon died shortly after he freed Anakin. He was my Master and I promised that I’d train Anakin as he died.”

    Shmi’s heart nearly broke. Qui-Gon had been so kind. He had tried to free her as well but he’d only succeeded in obtaining freedom for her son: the one who deserved it most. She had stayed behind, her heart falling to pieces at allowing her son to leave. But it had been his destiny. He wasn’t destined to remain a slave for the rest of his life. “I’m sorry. He was a good man.”

    A slight smile tugged at his lips. “He was. He taught me everything that I know.” He fell silent, obviously lost in memories.

    Shmi bit her lip. What to do now? She was free – well she assumed she was…

    “You are,” the Jedi answered. “I’m freeing you. I’m taking you back to Coruscant with me. The Jedi Council have agreed to employ you in the Temple. You’ll be paid a wage and provided with a home. You and Anakin can remain in touch – his Jedi training is too important for him to live with you, but you’ll be allowed to have contact with him, which other young Jedi Initiates do not have with their families. Anakin has unusual circumstances and the Council have agreed to bend the rules a little.” He shifted on his feet, obviously feeling a little uncomfortable with what he was about to reveal. “I hope your presence will mean that Anakin can settle down and really focus on his studies. He’s doing well but he has a focus to free you and that’s not healthy for a Jedi to have. If you are given your freedom but have a presence in his life, you might give him the stability he needs to become the great Jedi he can be and will be.”

    Shmi hesitated. “I’m not sure I should go… My place is here.”

    Obi-Wan shook his head. “No, it isn’t. You place is where your heart is, and you heart resides with your son.”

    He was right, she knew that. “Is he really alright? Does he know you’ve come here?”

    “No, he doesn’t. All Anakin knows is that I have gone on an errand at the behest of the Council. He’s back on Coruscant, hopefully studying hard, when he’s not busy sneaking out the Temple at odd hours of the night.” He rolled his eyes. Anakin had a habit of leaving the Temple resulting in much frustration for his Master who was a stickler for rules, but he couldn’t help smiling all the same.

    “Anakin was always a very inquisitive child. I’m not surprised he’s exploring at every opportunity,” said Shmi, feeling more at ease around this man, as she gradually began to pack up the few belongings she had been allowed to own.

    The Jedi laughed. “The amount of times I’ve had to chase after him… it doesn’t make me look like a good Master.” He glanced around the hovel that Shmi called home. “I’ll make sure you get a nice spacious apartment on Coruscant. You deserve your freedom as much as Anakin. Everyone who is a slave does…” he sighed, “but I can’t free all of them. And the Jedi can’t just go around paying to free everyone either.”

    “I was unlucky,” began Shmi hesitantly. “Has Anakin ever told you how I came to be a slave?”

    Obi-Wan shook his head. “No, he hasn’t. He’s very tight-lipped about his past which is problematic… A Jedi and his Padawan are meant to be completely open with one another. It’s how we learn… I have sensed Anakin holding things back, and I have asked, but I respect him too much to push the issue… to force him to relieve a life that he finds quite sensitive because of its relation to you.”

    Shmi could understand that. Her son had, had the chance to move away from his life of slavery. Why would he want to relieve it? She couldn’t understand why this man would need to know about Anakin’s past but she wouldn’t press the issue. She was volunteering her own history to him instead. Perhaps that might help him understand why it was such a sensitive topic to Anakin.

    “I was very young when my father and mother and my older sister and younger brother left our home. I don’t even know what planet it was. I remember dad saying he wanted to travel the stars so he made enough money to purchase a ship and we left. I can’t recall where we were en-route to but we got pulled out of hyperspace and attacked by pirates. They separated and sold us to different bidders. I was six years old. I can barely remember my family. I’m forty-one years old now. It’s been thirty-four years since I last saw them.”

    Obi-Wan felt sadness well up. Shmi missed her family despite barely remembering them. A part of him wanted to promise her that he would help her find them, but he was already doing too much of what was permitted of him by freeing her and allowing her to be with her son.

    “I have been sold several times in my life. Some Masters have been kind to me, others not so kind. I was nearly freed once but my Master died before she could release me and I was sold on. I didn’t have much to live for until Ani came into my life. I still don’t know how it happened. I have never asked questions how he came to be but I’m glad he did because he made my life living as a slave bearable.” She wiped a tear away from her cheek.

    “And now you are free, to see him again,” answered Obi-Wan. “I don’t know how Anakin came to be. Qui-Gon didn’t mention much but he did have a theory. I know there was no father involved. Anakin is very strong in the Force. He is one of our most powerful Padawan learners. That suggests he was conceived by the Will of the Force. This is just a theory and we cannot prove it. There is no denying his potential and the power he has. I sense no deceit in you. To your mind you should not have fallen pregnant… whatever happened chose you to be the bearer of …. a powerful Jedi.” He had nearly said ‘the Chosen One’ but Shmi was not ready to hear that her son had a destiny. In hindsight, they should not have told Anakin that he was the Chosen One. That had put too much pressure upon him to succeed. And that was hampering him. Perhaps Shmi’s presence would help him in that way too.

    “I won’t be long,” said Shmi. “I haven’t got many belongings.”

    Obi-Wan nodded and let her gather her things.

    “Oh, by the way, is there room for a protocol droid?”

    Obi-Wan sat up straight. “A what?”

    “A protocol droid. Ani was building him before he left… he works. I’d like to bring him with me if that’s possible,” said Shmi.

    Curiosity overcame him and Obi-Wan walked into the small room that Shmi had just entered. Leaning against a wall was a droid which had no coverings on. It was naked but appeared to be in working order. “Anakin built this?” He mused. “He did mention to me a few times that he had built a droid.” He couldn’t very well say no that Shmi couldn’t bring him. “I’ll have to rent out a holder for it. I don’t want to damage the droid by having it walk through the sand.”

    “Is your ship far?”

    “At the space port. Unlike last time we were here, we’re not hiding anything that meant we had to land outside the city.”

    “You were hiding something?” Shmi’s curiosity rose. She had no idea of the true nature of why Qui-Gon Jinn had come to this planet in the first place.

    “By that I mean we were protecting someone of vital importance. I was left behind to protect her which is why you didn’t meet me before. I was quite shocked that my Master had brought Anakin with him. It wasn’t something I had expected but I’m very glad he did. Without Anakin, we wouldn’t have won the Battle of Naboo.” He knew instantly that he had something wrong by the expression that crossed Shmi’s face.

    “A battle? My son was involved in a battle?”

    Obi-Wan grimaced, shuffling on his face. “I think it is best if I left that story up to Anakin to tell when you see him. You don’t need to worry. He excelled brilliantly at what he did. He saved a planet, you should be proud.”

    “I am. I am very proud of my son,” she answered. “I hope that when I see him again…” She couldn’t finish her sentence and Obi-Wan didn’t know what to do. Awkwardly he moved forward and pulled her into a hug. This was too much for Shmi Skywalker. The prospect of freedom and seeing her son again was simply too much for her.

    “Why don’t you go and sit down? I’ll get everything ready here,” he said kindly.

    She didn’t bother to try to talk him out of it, so she left the room and took a seat at the table, trying to dry her eyes.

    Obi-Wan gathered what he could and made sure that nothing was left behind when he took Shmi away from the slave quarters forever.

    To be continued.

    Next chapter will be posted in a few days.
    Last edited by hlc88, Jan 12, 2013
  2. Valairy Scot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    I [face_love] this story, but boy it will be hard to keep my fingers from giving away anything since I've read this on the other board...
  3. JediMaster_Jen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2002
    star 4
    Can't wait for Anakin and Shmi to be reunited.
  4. Luna_Nightshade Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2006
    star 5
    So kind of Obi-Wan to want to free Shmi, and how he talked about things Anakin has done. I always loved Shmi and wanted to see her more often. Lovely story--please pm or tag me with your next update.
  5. hlc88 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 4
    @Valairy Scot Thanks! I hope to catch up pretty quickly here.

    @JediMaster_Jen Thank you. The reunion will happen in Chapter 3.

    @Luna_Nightshade Thanks. Shmi will feature a lot in this story, and I hope you will enjoy my interpretation of her.

    - - - - -

    Chapter 2

    Shmi Skywalker had never believed that she would find her freedom. After thirty-four years of slavery the hope of being freed had dwindled. She had never expected the Jedi to come to them a year ago and free her son. He had even tried to free her. Qui-Gon. She could remember his kind manner and how he had taken such an interest in the welfare of her son. He had helped to free him… had even tried to free her but failed. It had taken all of her strength to let her son go and tell him not to look back.

    Not once had she ever expected the Jedi to return for her. But they had. They had come to free her and reunite her with her son. She had resigned herself to never seeing him again. It felt strange to her that within a matter of days they would be reunited.

    Once they had made the jump to hyperspace leaving Tatooine behind forever, Shmi busied herself in the gantry, making a dinner for herself and the Jedi. She didn’t even know what he liked but she found a few pre-packaged meals in the refrigerator that she cooked up, and then added a side order of salad to it, before taking the meal out to the Jedi in the cockpit on a tray.

    “I don’t know if you were hungry or not but I made some food,” she offered him the tray which he took gratefully.

    “You didn’t have to,” he said. “You’ve done enough serving in your life. I should have done this for you.” He took a bite of the steak swathed in brown sauce. “Mmm, very nice.”

    Shmi glanced out of her cockpit screen to see the blue-white streaks of hyperspace. She hadn’t seen anything so pretty before. The few times she had been on a space-ship during her slavery, she had never seen the stars, instead confined to a holding area or the slave quarters. She remembered the first time she had been to the stars and what had happened on that occasion… “Do you have a family, Master Jedi?”

    The Jedi was silent for a moment, chewing through his food, before leaning back in his chair. “Please, call me Obi-Wan. I’m not your Master and never will be. As soon as we get to Coruscant I am having that detonation device removed from you. You are a free woman, Miss Skywalker.”

    In her years as a slave she had never been met with so much kindness. It seemed almost foreign to her. “My name is Shmi. If I call you Obi-Wan, you can call me Shmi.”

    “Very well, Shmi,” he acknowledged with a smile. “As for your question about my family… I do have a family but I don’t know them. My family to me is the Jedi. Force sensitive children are given to the order by the permission of their parents when they are young, before they can become attached to them. There have been a few rare cases where there is an exception: Anakin is one of them. He was too old to enter the Jedi Order and begin his training however circumstances dictated that he be trained. I was identified as a Force-potential when I was a few months old. My parents chose to give me to the Jedi. I have no memory of them. When a Jedi apprentice becomes a Knight they have the choice to find their family and go to see them. Many choose not to. I was one of them. I know what my planet of origin is but other than that I have no knowledge of my family.”

    “You have no desire to know?” she pressed. She couldn’t imagine not having a family. For most of her life she hadn’t had a family until Anakin had come along. Through her years of slavery she had missed the family she barely remembered. Since Anakin had left her, she had started to wonder if her own family was still alive and where they were.

    “You’d like to find them wouldn’t you?”

    It was if he had read her mind. “I’d like to know if my parents are safe and if they managed to escape at all. The same with my brother and sister.” She knew she’d had siblings. “Do you think there is a way to trace them?”

    Obi-Wan frowned. “The Jedi don’t usually have contacts in the slave trade. It is possible we could trace them… I don’t know if the Council would sanction such a mission as it could even take years to do so. I was lucky that they allowed me to free you. I can talk to the Council on your behalf if you’d like.”

    “No,” Shmi refused, “I’m sure there must be other ways that can help me trace them without your Council needing to help. They’ve done enough for me already. Obi-Wan, will I get to thank them?”

    “I would assume they would want to meet you since we have agreed to give you a job working at the Temple,” he answered. “When we arrive at Coruscant, I will head straight for the Jedi Temple. I will report to the Council and providing my Padawan hasn’t got into too much trouble during my absence,” he allowed a wry grin to cross his face, “then I will arrange a meeting for you two. I will also request the Council to grant you and Anakin some time to yourselves so you can reacquaint yourselves. I suspect that you will be allowed to remain in the Jedi Temple for a few days until we can sort out accommodation for you, unless it has been done during my absence.”

    “Thank you,” she smiled.

    “It won’t be long now,” he reassured her. “Half a day’s travel and we’ll be at Coruscant. I’m pushing the ship at its fastest capability. Normally it should take us nearly two days to get home. That’s how long it took me to travel to Tatooine. My instructions from the Council were to make it look like I’d been away so Anakin wouldn’t figure out where I’ve been. He’s very good at piecing together where my assignments have led me before I’ve even told him.”

    “Has he not accompanied you on them?” asked Shmi curiously.

    “No, he hasn’t. Anakin is too young to go on missions. When he is thirteen he will accompany me. It is that age he will officially become my Padawan. At the moment he is the only Apprentice who has a given Master which again is very unusual,” explained Obi-Wan. “Your son would be better for you to talk to these things about. And it will give you both something to discuss. I’m sure Anakin will tell you in great detail what has happened this past year.”

    She thought it was a good idea. She didn’t know this man very well other than that she sensed he cared a lot for her son and that he seemed kind and wise for someone so young.

    “If you’re tired, there is a cabin just down the corridor that you can rest in. When we arrive it will be the morning; it might be quite a busy day for you. Also, a set of new clothes are on the bed and there is a refresher for you to use if you’d like,” said Obi-Wan. “I’m not forcing you to do this if you don’t want to.”

    Shmi couldn’t help but smile. “I’m not used to kindness. It is a foreign feeling for me. It won’t properly hit me I’m free for a while yet. You do own me though. You signed the forms taking care of my ownership. I’ve become so used to being property and not my own person that to suddenly be told that I have this is odd.”

    “Anakin was like that for the first few weeks. He thought when he didn’t get things right that I’d beat him. He was scared of making mistakes. It took a while for him to realise that I would never hit him. I was concerned at first since he never has really spoken to me about his slavery,” said Obi-Wan. “But as he got used to his own freedom he…”

    “Went out exploring?” guessed Shmi, smiling. Her son had always been inquisitive, had always wanted to know and see everything. And the Jedi had already mentioned it back in the slave quarters…

    “How did you know?” teased Obi-Wan. He very well knew he had informed her of her son’s tenuously to disobey orders.

    “Whenever he could he made sure he explored all of Mos Espa. It was the furthest he could go without the transmitter activating. The only times it was turned off was when he was podracing.” Shmi reminisced. “Does he sneak out of the Temple often?”

    Obi-Wan laughed, tilting his head back against the seat. “Yes, he does. It gets me in a lot of trouble with the Council which isn’t really fair on me but I don’t blame Anakin wanting to be free. He didn’t have the upbringing I did. I’ve worked all my life to be a Jedi, but he worked to be free and he deserves to live it. At the same time he has devoted his life to become a Jedi and there are rules he has to obey. My own reputation as a Jedi hinges upon Anakin’s ability to listen to my teachings.” He placed the food tray on the console next to him and crossed his legs, fixing Shmi with a look. “I hope you will be able to install some sense of responsibility in him since I appear to lack that particular aspect.”

    “I think you will find that Ani is his own person,” joked Shmi. She hadn’t felt this alive in over a year. It was good to smile and laugh again. Good to feel that she had freedom. Freedom to do as she pleased. Then a thought struck her. “If I’m free, when will I start this job?” It felt strange that she would work and get paid for her endeavours when she had never had that luxury before.

    “Not until you’ve settled in,” answered Obi-Wan. “I will be recommending at least a month before you join our staff.”

    “And what will I mainly be doing?”

    Obi-Wan shrugged. “That I do not know. There are a variety of jobs the Council could offer you. The Jedi Temple is one of the few intuitions that do not employ droids to do cleaning or cooking. We have a good staff on rota which you will share duties with. They will probably vary from week to week. If you’re handy with mechanical work we could even offer you a mechanics apprenticeship in the Jedi Hanger. It all depends really on what you are best at.”

    Shmi fell silent. She was good at many things. She had a few mechanical skills that she had learnt from her time with Watto, but she knew domestics very well, having been sold as a house servant in the early years of her enslavement. That she knew would suit her best. She felt weary suddenly as if everything that had happened to her was finally catching up on her. The adrenaline she had been running on since she had been sold to Obi-Wan seemed to be diminishing. Perhaps having a nap wouldn’t be such a bad idea? She stood from her chair and took her tray and Obi-Wan’s back to the pantry. Not knowing what to do with them she proceeded to look through the cupboards, trying to find a disposal unit.

    “Here,” Obi-Wan took her arms in a loose grip. “Don’t worry, I’ll do it. It’s fine. Go and rest. You need it.”

    “Thank you,” smiled Shmi. Retreating from the pantry, Shmi found the cabin Obi-Wan had mentioned and immediately flopped down on the bed and slept.

    - - - - -

    Shmi returned to the cockpit just minutes before they were due to arrive at Coruscant. She settled herself into the co-pilots chair and watched as Obi-Wan worked to bring the ship out of hyperspace. Shmi’s eyes widened when she saw the planet that was now home to her son. From afar it sparkled in space… filled with brown, black, white and orange lights, signalling night and day.

    “It’s an entire city…” she breathed. She had heard about the planet over the years, the beauty that it presented as heart of the Republic, but never had she thought she would see it like she was now.

    Obi-Wan grinned, watching his companion’s awe spread across her face. “Wait till you are on the planet…” He reached forward and started to broadcast his signal, confirming that he was a Jedi Knight requiring a route to the Jedi Temple. The main spaceport on Coruscant quickly gave him co-ordinates and Obi-Wan directed the transport into a space lane, descending through the planet’s atmosphere and into the early morning of Coruscant.

    Shmi barely said a word as he flew the ship, her eyes roaming out the viewport at the city. He watched as her eyes widened at the tall towers, the sparkling fountain that was visible in the Senate District, and then her eyes fixing upon the Temple… “Is that….?” she started to say.

    “Yes,” nodded Obi-Wan, “that is the Jedi Temple, where your son is.” Tentatively he reached into the Force, feeling for the Master-Padawan bond, searching for the strong presence of Anakin. He found him. At this time of day the boy would be in classes so would be unable to greet him in the hanger, which was fine by Obi-Wan. He wanted Anakin to be informed about his mother in private, not be surprised to see her as she walked out of the ship. He sent a quick message to the Council, informing them that he was returning with Shmi.

    The Jedi Temple Hanger loomed in front of them, the doors wide open allowing him to fly straight in and head towards his designated landing zone. He lowered the ship to the pad and switched off all systems. Turning to Shmi, he smiled. “We’re here.” He could feel Shmi’s nervousness in the Force. “You don’t need to be worried.”

    “Who says I’m worried?” she laughed nervously.

    Obi-Wan descended the ramp into the hanger where he saw Masters Mace Windu and Yoda waiting for him.

    “Obi-Wan,” greeted Mace.

    “Masters,” Obi-Wan bowed and then turned towards Shmi who was standing at the bottom of the ramp behind him and he indicated for her to come forward. “This is Shmi Skywalker.”

    “Hello,” she sounded quite fearful.

    “They’re not scary,” grinned Obi-Wan.

    A calm and serene smile spread across Mace Windu’s face. “You do not have anything to fear from us. Welcome to the Jedi Temple, Shmi Skywalker. I am Mace Windu and this is Yoda. We collectively run the Jedi Order.”

    “Thank you for the welcome,” she said, unsure of how to respond to them. She found her eyes drawn to Yoda. The small, green Jedi… she didn’t know what to think of him.

    “Masters,” began Obi-Wan, “with your permission I’d like to take Shmi to the Healers to have her slave deactivator removed. Also I would like to inform Anakin of his mother’s presence here.”

    “We thought as much. We have already arranged for young Skywalker to finish his classes early and have the rest of the day off. He will be in your quarters in about half an hour,” said Windu.

    “Have the rest of the week off, he will, catch up he can,” gibbered Yoda. “Report to the Council this evening you will.”

    “An apartment has been purchased by the Order on your behalf,” Mace explained to Shmi. “For the next year the Order will front the fees for the apartment so you may build up some money of your own. After that we will limit the use of what money we can give you. This situation is uncommon but it is all we can offer you. The pay here is very generous. A year’s work will help you on a starting point.”

    “I don’t know what to say…” Shmi swallowed.

    “Be happy and grateful, enjoy your life as it was meant to be,” said Yoda.

    “I will try,” she responded.

    Obi-Wan made another bow to the two Jedi and then guided her away from the hanger and into the halls of the Temple.

    - - - - -

    Anakin Skywalker frowned.

    When his Master had made contact with him through the Force he was sure he had felt another presence with him. A similar presence that he had missed so much… Obi-Wan had closed off before Anakin could identify the source of the presence and who it belonged to. It felt so familiar… but he couldn’t place it.

    Though he had been training to be a Jedi for just over a year now, he wasn’t as apt as some apprentices at detecting presences in the Force. They’d had years of training and he was still trying to catch up on the techniques he should know by his age. He could identify Obi-Wan’s distinct presence in the Force, and apart from a few other Jedi, could not sense much else, though he was surrounded constantly by the surrounding power of the light side.

    But he felt that he knew that presence…

    He shook his head. Don’t dwell on it, Anakin. You need to concentrate. You can’t stay behind forever. His classes for the day had finished – or rather he had been excused from them for the rest of the day – and was now waiting back in his and Obi-Wan’s rooms. He was trying to do some of the homework he was in need of catching up on, but the familiar presence he had felt in his mind was distracting him.

    Obi-Wan was back in the Temple but he hadn’t arrived at the quarters yet. Anakin ground his teeth in frustration. What is taking you so long, Master?

    “I felt that, my young Padawan.”

    Anakin glanced up, having not noticed the door to their quarter’s slide open and Obi-Wan walk in. His Master was leaning against the door frame, dressed in his usual attire, but was carrying a poncho over one arm.

    “Master!” Anakin cried out. “Where have you been?”

    Obi-Wan chuckled. “Can’t you work it out? You’re good at knowing where I’ve gone before I’ve even come back.”

    “Master…”

    “I won’t be so cruel to play this game with you today. You’re probably wondering why you have the rest of the day off classes...oh and the week too…”

    Anakin’s mouth fell open. “What? I have the whole week off?” His mind whirled. The Jedi Council never granted that to Padawans unless they were embarking on a mission… And then a thought struck… “Am I going on a mission?”

    “No…” grinned Obi-Wan as he walked across the living area towards the kitchen they shared. He filled up a glass of water and took a sip. “Something better…”

    “Has it something to do with that presence I felt?” Anakin asked. It had to be. Why was it so familiar to him?

    “What do you sense about this presence?” question Obi-Wan.

    “Is this going to be another lecture, Master?” Anakin groaned.

    A sly smile appeared on his Master’s lips. “Not if you don’t want it too…”

    Anakin closed his eyes and allowed himself to flow into the Force, searching for the familiar presence. He located it in the eastern block of the Temple. The presence was filled with love and happiness… the love was strong for someone… For me, he realised… And then his eyes widened as he understood why the presence had affected him so much.

    “Mum?” he choked out. He locked his gaze with Obi-Wan, scrambling out of his chair as he did so. “That’s my mum!”

    “It is.” Obi-Wan rejoiced in the sense he was getting from Anakin.

    “How?” Anakin was flabbergasted.

    “I freed her,” stated Obi-Wan. “I requested to the Council to free your mother. They agreed and I travelled to Tatooine to make sure that it happened. Then I bought her here.”

    Anakin couldn’t believe it. His mother was here. Was in the Jedi Temple. The last time he had seen her she had let him go… had told him to ‘be strong and don’t look back. Don’t look back.’ He swallowed. “You freed her? Why?”

    Obi-Wan hesitated, debating on how much to tell the young boy. “I did it for you, Anakin.”

    “But attachment is forbidden…” reiterated Anakin, remembering the many times Obi-Wan had installed in him to not think or dwell on his mother over the past year. “You’ve said that…”

    “Are you trying to get out of seeing your mother?” Obi-Wan put on a stern expression as best he could, but he couldn’t keep his eyes from dancing at the sight of his Padawan’s euphoria and realising that his mother was in the Temple.

    “NO!” Anakin gasped. “How could you think that? Of course I want to see her!” And then the questions started. “When can I see her? It has to be now, can’t it? Where is she staying? How long will she be here for?” He was practically bouncing on the balls of his feet, his blue eyes shining in happiness. The Force surrounding the Chosen One was so bright at that moment.

    Obi-Wan chuckled. “You will see her shortly. I’m sure she will explain everything to you then.” He sat down in the armchair. “But first, my young Padawan, why don’t you tell me what you’ve been up to while I’ve been away?”

    “Do I have to? Can’t I see my mother?” Anakin already knew the answer, and he knew he sounded like an impatient child. He had never really been good at controlling his patience once he had started his Jedi training. He knew it was a fault of his and he was trying to control it… but this was his mother…. How could Obi-Wan keep him from her now that he knew she was here?

    Obi-Wan sighed, raising a hand over his eyes. “Anakin. You can’t see your mother because presently she is having her slave transmitter removed. Remember how you had yours removed after you became my apprentice?”

    Anakin nodded. It hadn’t been a long procedure, just long enough to last an hour or so. “Can I see her after that?”

    “Yes, providing of course you have done well during my absence.”

    The tone of Obi-Wan’s voice told Anakin that no matter what he said he would still get to see his mother. He settled for the truth which was what his Master wanted to hear. He had worked hard during the few days Obi-Wan had been away. He hadn’t slipped off to explore. Something had told him to concentrate on his work. Now the young boy wondered if the Force had been telling him to keep at it because his mother was coming…?

    Anakin walked back over to his own chair and picked up the book and pieces if flimsy he had been using to write on and passed them to his Master. “I’ve nearly caught up. And I’ve done the homework set for this week so far too.”

    “Good.” His Master smiled after reading through Anakin’s work. “Then, when I have word from Bant that the procedure is completed, I will take you to see your mother.”

    To be continued...

    Next chapter should be posted tomorrow.
  6. Valairy Scot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    Such an excited, happy Chosen One! I even believe Obi-Wan is happy.
  7. JediMaster_Jen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2002
    star 4
    Can't wait to see Anakin and Shmi together. Why do I get the feeling that Obi-Wan and Shmi might be related?
  8. Luna_Nightshade Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2006
    star 5
    Obi-Wan was very kind to Shmi, and I loved how he teased Anakin about bringing his mother back. Looking forward to Shmi and Anakin's reunion!
  9. hlc88 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 4
    @Valairy Scot I think Obi-Wan would be pleased at the prospect of having a very happy Padawan!

    @JediMaster_Jen Obi-Wan and Shmi are not related, but they could become close because of Anakin.

    @Luna_Nightshade Thanks! I always thought that Anakin and Obi-Wan had that kind of closeness where they could tease one another, even in their early years, despite the tension they had due to their differing personalities. I hope you like Shmi and Anakin's reunion!

    - - - - -

    Chapter 3


    Bouncing with excitement but filled with nervous energy, Anakin walked through the halls of the Jedi Temple. He was going to see his mother! He couldn’t believe it! She was here! In the year that he had been at the Temple, he had missed her, thought of her every day and he had vowed to free her. Every night before he went to bed he made that promise; the promise giving him strength to do what was necessary, to carry on and live his life, knowing that he would free her one day.
    But now he didn’t have to think of his mother trapped in slavery. Obi-Wan had thought of him. Had requested the Council to help him free her. And they had agreed. I will do something special for Master Obi-Wan to thank him.

    His mother had been given a temporary room in the Master’s wing, an area of the Jedi Temple not permitted to Padawan’s or Knights but Anakin had special permission to visit. She had been placed there since the Council had yet to make it public that Anakin would be allowed to have an attachment. Currently they were debating how best to handle the situation, so they were keeping Shmi Skywalker’s presence a secret until a decision had been reached. Obi-Wan had told him to expect a decision later that day.

    As he reached the imposing, decorative, wooden brown doorway leading to the Master’s wing, Anakin rummaged in his pocket for the security pass he had been given and swiped it past the data-pad embedded in the wall. He would have to return the card later but it was his only way of gaining access to see his mother. The Council had given Obi-Wan the card, instructing him to tell his Padawan that he was to visit during classes to lessen the risk of him being seen entering an area of the Temple that he was strictly not allowed to visit. Only his special circumstances were allowing him this privilege.

    His heart was pounding beneath his ribs and he felt suddenly afraid. What if his mother wasn’t as he remembered her?

    Don’t be silly! It’s only been a year! He berated himself.

    The door slid open and he stepped through into the brightly lit corridor. Along the walls were holograms of previous Council Masters, a remembrance to those that had served the Order. His legs felt like jelly as he continued to wander down the hallway, his stomach churning in anticipation. Any other time he would have enjoyed stepping into forbidden territory but now his mind was whirling with thoughts about his mother; he wasn’t that interested in his surroundings, or seeing the beauty and magnificence of the hallway.

    He stopped outside the quarters his mother had been assigned. One of the Masters was off on a mission and had offered her the use of it as they knew she wouldn’t be there for long. It was only for a few days while the other Masters arranged accommodation for her.

    Anakin swallowed, nervously. Why did he feel like this? What could have changed? Was it because he hadn’t seen her for over a year that he was afraid she wouldn’t be what he remembered her to be like? Stop it. He was allowing his fears to get in the way of his rationality. Get over it, Anakin. She will be the same as she was the last time I saw her, but free. Free to live her life.

    Summoning his courage, Anakin palmed the door and it slid open, stepping inside and towards the reunion he thought he would never have this quickly.

    - - - - -

    When the door slid open and a young boy stood there staring at her with wide blue eyes, Shmi could hardly believe it.

    Her son.

    Her Ani.

    He looked so different. No longer did he have the long hair that had fallen across his face a year ago, but instead it had been cropped short and a small braid run down from behind his right ear. He had grown too, probably a half a head taller than he had been. His features had slightly matured, giving him less of a round puppy-face look.

    He just stood there, his eyes drinking in her face.

    “Ani?” she whispered.

    “Mum?” he said softly.

    And then suddenly he was running towards her and his arms were around her as she bent down to hug him. She pulled him tight, just relishing this moment hardly daring to breathe in case she woke up and her freedom had all been a dream. She kissed the top of his head, brushing her hand through his short hair; her fingers entwining in his Padawan braid before she finally let him go and leaned back a bit to get a good long look at him.

    “My son… You’ve grown.”

    “Not much,” he replied. “I’m still short.”

    “Oh Ani, I missed you,” she hugged him again.

    “I did too,” he answered, returning the hug. “I can’t believe you are here!”

    Shmi leaned back. “I can’t either. I’m here to stay Ani.”

    “What do you mean? Jedi aren’t allowed contact with their families,” explained Anakin. He was afraid that he wouldn’t see her again after this week. He knew the reason he had been given a week off lessons was because of his mother’s arrival…

    “Obi-Wan told me that they are making an exception for you.”

    Anakin was shocked to hear that. The few times he had appeared in front of the Council he had always had the distinct impression that they didn’t like him… that they tolerated him in their Order because he was the fabled Chosen One of prophecy. “But why?”

    Shmi hesitated. “I don’t know exactly why. Obi-Wan told me that he hopes me being here will help you in your training. That I might give you the stability you need to become a really great Jedi.” She brushed his cheek with her fingers. “Are you not settled?”

    “Of course I am!” he replied hastily, then bit his lip in shame. “Well… I think I am.”

    Of course, Anakin was too young to realise if he wasn’t coping well. Obviously his Jedi Master had realised this and sought help. She was here for this. To help her son. “You can settle in now because I am here to stay. I am not going back to Tatooine.”

    “Where will you go?” asked her son.

    Shmi smiled. “I have a job, Ani. Here, in the Temple.”

    “What? Really?”

    It was the last thing he had expected on hearing, Shmi knew that. She smiled and stroked the side of his head. “Yes, I am. They’ve even going to fund me an apartment too.” She managed to forestall her son’s question by answering it before he had a chance to speak. “No, you can’t stay with me. You’ll have to stay here. But you can visit whenever you want to.”

    His face drooped at that but then brightened as another thought struck him. “Can I visit every day?”

    “Maybe not every day, you do have your studies to do, and if you want to be a Jedi then you need to concentrate. Rest assured that I am safe,” reasoned Shmi. “For at least this week, we can stay together. Perhaps you can show me the sights?”

    Anakin bounced on the balls of his feet. “There are so many places I can show you, mum!”

    He grabbed her hand and was turning away when she said: “Not now, Ani! Tomorrow!”

    “Oh,” he stopped bouncing. “Can Obi-Wan come with us? He knows this planet better than I do.” He shuffled on his feet, obviously feeling nervous and unsure of what he was about to say.

    “What is it, Ani?” Shmi questioned smoothly.

    “Well, I want to do something nice for Master Obi-Wan. He freed you. But I don’t know what.”

    Shmi looked thoughtful. “What does he like?”

    “Erm… I don’t know,” her son answered honestly. “He’s a difficult person to figure out. He keeps to himself mostly. He meditates a lot. More than any other Jedi I know.”

    “Perhaps this is something we can figure out later on, shall we?” She wanted the chance to get to know the man responsible for freeing her before giving her son ideas as to how he could thank him for what he had done for them. “I’d like to spend time with you. Perhaps you can show me around the Temple.”

    Anakin’s face brightened once more. “Yeah, I could! Oh, not yet I can’t. Master Obi-Wan said that the Council want to announce you being here first. I think we have to stay here until one of them comes and gets us.”

    “Alright then.” Shmi settled down on the sofa situated alongside the edge of the wall. She pattered the space next to her and urged her son to come and sit with her. “Why not tell me everything you have done since you left Tatooine?”

    So he did.

    - - - - -

    By the time Anakin reached the end of summarising what had happened in the days following his freedom, Shmi was in shock. Her son – her then nine-year-old son - had been involved in a space battle? Had blown up a space station from the inside to save a planet, mere days after he had left her? Had been proclaimed a hero of Naboo for helping to liberate it?

    It was things like this that Shmi was glad she had not been around to know about at the time. She’d have been sick with worry if she’d known her son was fighting for his life in the middle of a space battle… even if he had only been there by accident, it was still a worry for her now knowing that he had been involved in something like that…

    “Mum, you don’t need to worry,” he pulled her into a hug. “I had the Force with me.”

    It was strange to hear her son tell her that. He was her little boy. How could she not worry? It was a mother’s duty. “Ani, it’s hard for me to hear about you in dangerous situations.”

    Anakin frowned. “But that’s the life of a Jedi. I will be putting myself into them to save the galaxy.” He scratched the back of his neck. “I have to wait till I’m thirteen though. Master Obi-Wan goes away on solo missions but I can’t go with him yet. He only gets short ones though so he doesn’t leave me too long.”

    “Then I have a few years of no worrying to do then,” chuckled Shmi.

    “Mum…” Anakin groaned, rolling his eyes. “I can look after myself…”

    “I know you can, but you will always be my little boy, no matter how tall you grow,” she replied, fingering his Padawan braid. “Now, why not tell me more about your time in the Temple?”

    Anakin dived back into his storytelling.

    Shmi sat there and listened, rejoicing in hearing her son’s enthusiasm and determination to become a Jedi, to prove the Council wrong that they should never have rejected him to be trained in the first place. That had surprised her but she didn’t comment… perhaps that was something she could ask Obi-Wan about later. He had been there; he’d be able to shed light on the situation. Her son was probably too young to truly understand why the Masters had originally said no to his training.

    “…and then I beat him, mum! I beat him!”

    She shook her head, having been lost in her thoughts for just a few seconds. Anakin’s story had continued. “What?”

    “Mum I beat the Sith killer!” He was bouncing up and down on the sofa, his face beaming with pride.

    “The Sith killer?” She was confused. What was a Sith and who had killed one?

    Anakin bit his lip. “Oh, I shouldn’t have said that. It’s said that the person who killed Master Qui-Gon was a Sith. They don’t like the Jedi. But Obi-Wan killed him which made him a Knight so he could train me! When I first came here, rumours spread what Master Obi-Wan had done on Naboo though the Council never really released the information publicly. They still know the truth and some of the older Padawans nicknamed my Master the ‘Sith killer’. He’s one of the best duellists in the Order! And I beat him at practice, the first time!”

    “Have you beaten him since?”

    Anakin blushed. “No.”

    “Then he learnt from his mistakes,” hinted Shmi.

    Anakin fidgeted. “Master Obi-Wan keeps telling me that. He keeps disarming me now. I only got lucky because he turned his back on me.”

    “Perhaps that was a lesson for you to learn. Never turn your back on your opponent.”

    “That was the lesson he wanted to teach me,” he replied. “I think he did it deliberately. But mum I still managed to beat him, even if he did do that deliberately!”

    Shmi could only laugh at her son’s enthusiasm. “What am I going to do with you?”

    “What do you mean?” His face was a look of complete innocence.

    Pulling him into a hug once more, she whispered in his ear: “I am proud of you, Ani, and how well you are doing.” She felt her son sigh – and she had the distinct impression that her son didn’t hear that enough from his teachers and she wondered if one of the reasons why he wasn’t settling as well as he could have, was not because he missed her, but because he was not given the praise he needed to settle his inadequacies?

    - - - - -

    The next day brought a flurry of activity to the Temple.

    The news that Anakin had been granted visits to his mother and that she would be taking a posting inside the Temple caused friction between members of the Jedi Order. Knights expressed their opinions to the Jedi Council and there were mumblings among the young Padawans how Anakin was getting special treatment, however the Council emphasised that Anakin’s situation was different and that if any Knight was not happy with the situation, they had every right to their own thoughts and if they so wished, they could leave the Order.

    Fortunately no Knight took up that option.

    Obi-Wan, on the other-hand, was cornered by several of his friends and colleagues after it had spread that it had been his initial idea to free Shmi from slavery. He found himself being unable to practice in the training rooms due to the constant disruptions. He knew it would be like this for a while so he was glad Anakin had a week away from the bustle of Jedi life and that they had been nice enough to ask him if he wanted to join them that morning, of which he had refused, but that had been before he had been constantly fending off other Jedi. The last time this had happened was when he had returned from Naboo as a Knight.

    That morning Anakin had left the Temple with his mother, not even giving his Master an indication as to where they were going. Settling into the currents of the Force, Obi-Wan sought out his Padawan along the bond that they shared. Their bond wasn’t strong – not yet – but Obi-Wan was able to determine exactly where Anakin and his mother were – of the general direction at least.

    Galactic City Central. Why does that not surprise me?

    He took a hover-cab to the Galactic City Central, dressed in his usual Jedi garb, but keeping his lightsaber hidden beneath the folds of his cloak. He kept probing for his Padawan’s presence in the Force, letting him know that he was on his way to them and to stay put. He wasn’t sure if Anakin would listen but it was worth a shot and considering Anakin’s presence seemed to stay in that area, it relieved the Jedi Knight to know that for once his instructions were being followed.

    He found his young Padawan in a classy restaurant, having a late afternoon meal with his mother. “So, this is what you do on your first day off. You take your mother to a highly expensive restaurant.”

    Anakin smiled sheepishly up at him. “I have a cred-card!”

    “A cred-card that the Masters authorised you to use to help your mother with purchases that are necessary,” retorted Obi-Wan, putting out a chair and settling himself down at the table. “But I suppose they won’t be taking too much notice on how you spend the money they have graciously given to Shmi to help her set up.” It was so very difficult to tease Anakin but at least on this occasion he wasn’t taking it seriously as he laughed.

    “Master, what are you doing here anyway? I thought you were meditating at the Temple. You always do that when I’m not with you.”

    Obi-Wan rolled his eyes. “No, I don’t. But when it is announced that your Padawan is allowed contact with his mother and that I am the one responsible for it… I did expect some interruptions but I’ve had a lot for one morning all ready. I thought getting out of the Temple would be the best thing for me to do. And considering I have the details as to the apartment your mother will be living in, it seemed appropriate to deal with that.”

    “Will I be far from the Temple?” asked Shmi curiously.

    Obi-Wan shook his head. “No, it won’t be. Roughly a forty-minute journey by hover-bus and it is in a nice area of the city. Not too far from the central city either but far enough that you won’t feel crowded by all the political happenings. It’s priced a fair rate and should be affordable to you.” He picked up a piece of bread that was sitting in the centre of the table and took a bite. “After you’ve finished your meal – do you have one coming?” Anakin nodded. “Then I’ll take you to your apartment. It’s been furnished for you and all essentials you need for the next week have been stored there to so you don’t need to worry about rushing out and buying anything until next week at least.” He leant back in his chair and folded his arms across his chest. “You can spend the next few days exploring though I suspect Anakin might want to introduce you to some of his dearest friends.”

    Anakin flushed. “How did you know?”

    “Anakin, I’m your Master. It’s my duty to know what you want to do and to put a stop to it if I deem it unnecessary,” he stroked his bearded chin. “Though I’m not sure if the Chancellor would be interested in meeting your mother or if he’d have the time. There is an important vote coming up in the next few days.”

    “He always makes time for me no matter how busy he is!” interrupted Anakin, a bit hotly and sounding whiny.

    “Yes, and that is what is worrying about it,” Obi-Wan answered calmly. They’d had this argument before. Anakin’s tendency to rush off to see Chancellor Palpatine at a moment’s notice didn’t dwell well with him but he couldn’t stop it since there was no harm in him visiting him. The problem was, was the Chancellor encouraging the boy to visit him as often as he liked without scheduling a proper meeting.

    “The Chancellor?”

    Obi-Wan had forgotten that Shmi didn’t know much about the Galactic Republic. “Anakin has a friendship with Chancellor Palpatine, the leader of the Republic. Naboo was his home world and Anakin is a hero of the planet so he has a keen interest in his Jedi education. It’s unusual for a Chancellor to be that involved in a Jedi’s life though.”

    “I’m sure he’d love to meet you mum!” Anakin sounded so giddy.

    “Maybe but if he is busy, Ani, perhaps it might be best to go through official lines?” She would never presume to think that she could just go and see an important man like that. It was one of the principle teachings she had tried to install in Anakin from when he was a small boy. It seemed the special interest the Chancellor had in him had made him forget that.

    “Oh,” Anakin pouted, biting his lip as his expression and Force aura deflated. “I guess you’re right, mum.”

    Obi-Wan’s eyebrows rose but he chose not to comment.

    “If you make an appointment, I will gladly go with you,” said Shmi, “but Ani, I won’t simply go to the Senate and expect him to see me whenever I turn up.”

    “I’ll go through his office then,” he replied, still sounding a bit moody.

    Obi-Wan caught Shmi’s eyes. “Sorry,” he mouthed at her, feeling slightly guilty that he had managed to put a foot in Anakin’s plans to introduce Shmi to one of his other parental figures.

    But the former slave didn’t seem to mind what he had unintentionally caused. She seemed to understand that despite appearances, Anakin had changed, more so than she had realised. He had become complacent, expected to be treated differently from everyone else.

    It was up to her to reign in him and teach him that he wasn’t different. She grounded him, which was something Obi-Wan had not been able to do yet.

    He was beginning to see the potential Shmi’s presence had for Anakin. He had a good feeling that his decision to petition the Council to free her had been the best decision he had ever made.

    It would just take a while before the full results of his endeavour would be known, but at the moment all signs seemed to be positive, despite her only been back for one day in his Padawan’s life.

    To be continued...

    Chapter 4 will be posted tomorrow.
  10. hlc88 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 4
    Chapter 4

    One standard week had passed since Shmi had arrived on Coruscant; one week since she had been freed; one whole week where she had spent the time with her son; one whole week where she had relished her freedom to do what she wanted whenever she wanted: something she had never had the chance to do in years.

    For that one week, Anakin had been granted permission by his Master to stay at her new apartment, and this was the morning where he would return to the Temple and continue with his lessons. She would have the time for herself for the next few weeks and she didn’t know what to do, but she didn’t wish to worry her son so kept her worries to herself.

    “Ani, shouldn’t you be on your way by now?” she tried not to nag but she couldn’t help it.

    Her son walked out of his room, wearing his Jedi tunic. He had been wearing common clothes throughout the week so as not to give away his role as a Jedi trainee; however the braid he wore had been enough of a clue to most people.

    “This sounds silly,” her son hesitated, “but I don’t want to go back because I won’t be able to come home to you.” He looked awkward, standing there on his feet, looking ashamed at what he was saying. “I really want to be a Jedi.”

    Shmi could understand, she really could. “Ani, you’ve spent the past year away from me. I can understand you wanting to stay with me, but I am safe now. You don’t have to worry about me. You can come and see me in a few days, if Obi-Wan allows you to.”

    Anakin shuffled his feet in annoyance. He didn’t like the idea of asking his Master for permission to go and see his own mother, but it was a rule that both Shmi and Obi-Wan had insisted on imposing upon him. She didn’t like how her son had changed from a young boy who was obedient to his superiors to doing whatever he liked without telling anyone or asking for permission. He was taking his freedom too far. The world outside slavery still meant rules had to be followed. “Ok, I’ll ask him, but he’ll probably say no. Probably say I will have to meditate or something first.” He sounded almost moody.

    Shmi chuckled. “Ani, he did free me, he’s not going to stop you seeing me. All we ask is for you to get permission before you leave the Temple. And have you requested a meeting with the Chancellor yet?” Her son hadn’t said a word about taking her to see one of his friends since the beginning of the week.

    “Yes. His secretary replied and said that he would reply when he has the time.”

    “Well then,” she continued, “now you know he is a very busy man and can’t drop everything just because you turn up at his offices.”

    Anakin scowled. “He always has though.”

    Shmi folded her arms, knelt down and looked her son in the eyes. “It still doesn’t mean that it is right for you to go and see him without notice, despite what he has told you. Proper procedures are in place for a reason, no one should get special treatment just because they curry favour. Has your friend ever given Obi-Wan the same courtesy? He is a hero of Naboo too, isn’t he?”

    “He is but Master Obi-Wan doesn’t like politicians. He’s not going to go out of his way to be friends with one,” protested Anakin, but he could see what his mother was trying to point out to him. He was taking advantage of a system, of rules that had been put in place for a reason. “I don’t know if Obi-Wan can visit him whenever he wants. I know he never has. I don’t think he’s seen him in person since the celebration party on Naboo.”

    Shmi nodded but chose not to pursue the matter. As long as Anakin understood he shouldn’t get special treatment – or if he did, the other person involved in said circumstances should get it too – then he would grow into a fine man, but she had to wonder why he felt that he could get away with things that others were not permitted to do.

    - - - - -

    “I’m hoping that perhaps you can help me, Master Obi-Wan.” Shmi led the Jedi into her living room area, offering him a drink as he sat down on the soft, beige sofa that she and Anakin had purchased earlier that week.

    “Please, it’s Obi-Wan to you, Shmi. Anakin only has to call me ‘Master’ because I am his teacher,” he smiled warmly. “Now, what can I help you with?”

    Shmi sat down opposite him and fixed him with a stern look. “I want to know why my son believes he deserves special treatment.”

    “Ah.” Obi-Wan’s mouth opened and shut like a goldfish. “I thought that might come up.”

    “Well?” She crooked an eyebrow up knowing that she was giving a Jedi a rather intimidating glare. He was getting uncomfortable. Despite living as a slave for many years, Shmi Skywalker was a strong women and perfectly capable of being a figure of authority. When you were raising a head-strong, Force-sensitive boy, you had to be. “I am waiting…”

    Obi-Wan went red. Never before had he been so intimidated like this. Shmi had to wonder if the way she was broadcasting her emotions to him made him feel inadequate about his own abilities to train Anakin. That couldn’t be true; he had just been thrown off guard. Yes, that had to be it.

    “Anakin didn’t mention to you about the ‘Chosen One’?” he probed.

    Shmi shook her head. “No, he didn’t.” She had an ominous feeling about this.

    “My former Master believed Anakin was the prophesised Chosen One of the Jedi fables. Anakin knows this, but I believe it was unwise to let him know. I didn’t have any control over this as I was a mere Padawan at the time. It was my Master’s decision to inform the Council of his belief in front of Anakin. There is evidence which suggests that Qui-Gon was correct in his assumption. Anakin was admitted to the Jedi Order because of several mitigating factors: the reappearance of an enemy the Jedi thought long dead and the fact that I promised my Master to train him. Also, the knowledge that he has no father meant that he is special. He has the strongest affinity for the Force that I have ever seen. Anakin is supposed to bring balance to the Force – I don’t know what that means – no one truly understands what that involves. Your son knows that he has this high expectation placed upon him but he also knows that any child over a certain age is not accepted for training: apart from himself. He has a special destiny and Anakin knows that he won’t be thrown out of the Order because we need him,” explained Obi-Wan. “He doesn’t have any friends his own age. He is the outcast – they all treat him differently… He didn’t grow up with them so they do not understand him. Everyone knows he is different – more powerful than any of them. The Chancellor seeking him out and Anakin’s own desire to seek approval has contributed to his belief he deserves special treatment because the Chancellor – the most important person in the Republic – goes out of his way to treat him differently then everyone else. Anakin is not the usual Jedi apprentice. He’s far from it. If Anakin didn’t know he was the subject of a prophecy then he probably wouldn’t have had the trouble he’s had in settling in.” Obi-Wan fell silent, clearly expecting many questions.

    Shmi sat silently, her mind running through everything that the Jedi Knight had told her. First things first, she needed clarification: “A prophecy?”

    Obi-Wan nodded. “It’s not very clear and we don’t know what to make of it, all we can feel in the Force is that your son has a special destiny. If he was made at the Force’s will, with no father involved, then he has power capable of saving us all.” He didn’t even know why he was telling this to her. Information like this was likely to scare her, but he was certain Anakin’s knowledge of his importance was the contributing factor as to why he hadn’t settled in as well as he could have done. If he had been born in the Republic, he would have been accepted by his fellow Padawans and not shunned because everyone in the Temple was aware of the rumours that circled about him. If Shmi wasn’t told about the possibilities her son had in front of him, she’d have overheard the gossip. Yes, it was better that she heard it from him.

    “I always thought he was special,” she smiled softly. “Hearing about a prophecy that is about you can give an impressionable child the wrong ideas … And that the Chancellor has singled him out for special treatment is very wrong indeed.”

    “Politicians,” replied Obi-Wan grimly. “They like to bend the rules when it suits them. I can understand Palpatine’s reasons for seeing Anakin whenever he likes… it just sits uncomfortable with me that he could drop anything just for a Padawan.”

    “Does the Chancellor know of Ani’s potential?” Shmi questioned.

    Obi-Wan shrugged. “The Jedi never told him. If he does know, it will be because Anakin mentioned it.” He bowed his head, sighing audibly. “Anakin doesn’t like it when I have to criticise him. From Palpatine he gets praise. Sometimes I have the feeling that Anakin wishes I had died instead of Qui-Gon.”

    “I’m certain Ani doesn’t wish that,” she replied, reaching across and patting the Knight’s hand. “Criticism is a part of learning.”

    “Funny thing that, my Master used to say the same thing to me when I first became his Padawan.”

    “Have you ever said that to Ani?”

    “No.” Obi-Wan shook his head. “I never thought to.”

    Shmi looked thoughtful. “I think I understand why Ani takes it so harshly. If you were criticised as a slave you were a failure as one and were likely to die or be punished for your failure. Harsh slavers do not view their slaves as people, rather objects of ownership without any capable thought.”

    “I told you before that he used to think I’d hit him when he did something wrong,” Obi-Wan mentioned sadly, his shoulders slumping.

    “He has learnt then that no matter what he does wrong, he won’t be punished,” hinted Shmi, “so he pushes the boundaries to see how much freedom he has because he has never had freedom before.”

    “Jedi are not beyond punishment,” Obi-Wan replied cautiously. “We do have protocols in place to deal with Padawans that are a bit of a handful. It usually entails a lot more study time and less freedom to pursue an activity of your choice. Are you saying I should be harsher with him?” He didn’t like that idea one thought. Surely that would make Anakin more rebellious? Less inclined to follow his lead and learn?

    Shmi laughed. “No, I don’t mean that. You should be more understanding of why. Help him come to terms with what freedom he does have. You had the traditional Jedi upbringing, Ani didn’t. It is difficult for him to associate that there are still certain things he cannot do. Added to the mix is this prophecy which makes him even more different to his fellow Jedi and you have one very insecure little boy who cannot figure out his place in the world.”

    “You’re a very wise woman, Shmi,” smiled Obi-Wan.

    “I learnt a lot from being a slave,” she responded.

    Obi-Wan chuckled. “I do believe that freeing you was a very good idea.”

    “Good.” She took a sip from a glass of water. “One other thing before you go, Obi-Wan, what do you like?”

    Startled, Obi-Wan looked confused. “What?”

    “Ani would like to do something special for you in return for freeing me. He doesn’t know what to get you. I thought asking the receiver of said gift would be a better idea than trying to guess,” explained Shmi.

    Obi-Wan leaned forward. “I don’t want anything. A Jedi has no belongings. Apart from his clothes and lightsaber, of course,” he quipped.

    “Oh come on, Master Jedi, surely there is something that every Jedi desires?”

    Obi-Wan sighed. “You’re going to keep on pushing me until I’ve given you an answer, aren’t you?

    Shmi nodded, not answering, a smile curving at the edges of her lips.

    Rubbing his face with both of his hands, Obi-Wan sat straighter in his chair and decided to take a gamble. “What would I like? I’d like Anakin to become the Jedi he is capable of being. I would like him to respect the rules and to follow my lead and learn from me instead of thinking he can do what he likes whenever he sees fit. Does that help?”

    “Very much so,” she honestly replied. “I will see what I can do for you, Master Kenobi.”

    - - - - -

    Everyone’s eyes were on him. When he had re-entered the Jedi Temple, Anakin Skywalker had felt the eyes of every Jedi in the vicinity fix immediately upon him. The Force shifted around him and he let his irritation pour out into his presence. The eyes swiftly turned away but he knew they were talking about him as he made his way to the quarters he shared with his Master.

    He grabbed his data-pad and books that he needed before rushing back out and towards the Temple study rooms.

    Today was theory.

    Tomorrow was practical.

    He hated the theory. He thought it pointless. Plus he was with Padawans younger then he was because he needed to catch up on what he had missed through his non-education from a young age. He hated being bundled with people younger than him. It made him look stupid.

    He quietly slipped into a chair at the back of the room, trying not to be noticed by failing miserably. He was a head-taller than the other students and two years older. Still, at least in the space of a year he had caught up on four years’ worth of work, and that had only been due to Obi-Wan’s determination to get him up to speed as quickly as possible. He ignored the looks coming his way and settled down, choosing to open his books to the pre-assigned page and to read over the text.

    The history of the Jedi – why did he have to know this? Because the past can be a benefit to us just as much as our present experiences can be. That was what Obi-Wan had told him. Anakin had yet to have an experience where his past experiences could even help him in his life as a Jedi.

    “Hey, Skywalker!”

    Anakin glanced to the younger boy, feigning interest. “What?”

    “I heard you’re allowed home visits. Is this true?”

    There was no point in denying it since it had been announced by the Council. “Yes.” He didn’t want to say much more.

    “Why?”

    “I don’t know,” he answered, turning his head away to look back down at the book.

    “Why not?”

    Anakin started to feel angry. Take deep breaths and remain calm… “I don’t know.”

    “You really don’t know?” The boy was extremely persistent for an eight year old.

    “I really don’t,” pressed Anakin, trying to not let the agitation appear. “Please, just leave it, ok?” He was trying to deal with this in a mature manner. “If I knew I’d tell you, but I don’t.” He really didn’t want to get into this argument.

    The young Jedi leaned back in his chair, studying Anakin. “I think you know but you don’t want to say.”

    Anakin clenched his fists. Of course he knew. He wasn’t settled in his life. He’d been kidding himself when he had told his mother that he thought he was. Obi-Wan had known and had tried to help him. Anakin hadn’t been oblivious to his attempts but he hadn’t wanted to know. Anakin thought he knew best. It would be a mistake to let the others know. He was pleased his mother was here. She could help him, he understood that. Just thinking of her being free calmed him and he released the tension he was holding stiffly inside his body. He could deal with his. He was a Jedi.

    “If I do know why I’ve been granted this opportunity, perhaps it is not wise of me to tell you?” he said in return, pleased that he had managed to keep the anger and frustration out of his voice.

    The boy crooked his head but said no more.

    Anakin breathed a sigh of relief and settled into the lesson.

    Calmness was the path to serenity…

    - - - - -

    Anakin returned to his Master’s quarters later that day to find a message waiting for him from the office of Chancellor Palpatine. It was a recorded message, sent earlier that afternoon. Obi-Wan wasn’t in his rooms so Anakin dutifully played the holo-message.

    Chancellor Palpatine, grey haired and sitting in the chair at his desk appeared on the screen in front of him, a weary, but delighted smile on his face. “Anakin! It is so good to hear from you. You know very well that I do not mind you dropping by whenever you feel like it. I will always have room in my schedule for you, even if I am in the middle of a very busy day! Please, Anakin, just come and visit me. If you are looking for a specific time when I am not surrounded by diplomatic issues, Sunday afternoon is the best day. I will be in my office reading over proposed policies. Please, my boy, come by and perhaps we can talk about your progress? It would be an absolute delight to see you again.”

    There, that should be fine for mum.

    - - - - -

    One week had passed since Anakin had returned to the Temple. He hadn’t seen his mother since the start of the week and he was eagerly anticipating his days off to visit her and to take her to meet his friend, the Chancellor. He had responded to the message, confirming his delight that he would see the great man on Sunday, but only after he had cleared the meeting with Obi-Wan, who had given his permission, providing of course Anakin, was back in the Temple by the evening meal, which the young boy had promised to be.

    In the early afternoon, Anakin and his mother departed the apartment building and headed towards the Senate, the home of the seat of the Galactic Republic. As they entered the Senate district they had to pass through several security checks. Anakin had a valid pass granted to him which excluded him from security checks. His status as a Jedi did come in useful. His mother didn’t have any such protection on her and had to submit to a simple pat-and-search to make sure she wasn’t carrying anything dangerous.

    Once cleared they entered the Senate and Anakin led her down the white, gleaming corridors to the turbo-lifts and led her into the middle one, stabbing in the floor that would take him directly to the Supreme Chancellor’s Office.

    “Ani, does the Chancellor know I’m coming?” asked Shmi. Today she wore a dress she had recently bought, a patterned dress in pink and yellow. Her hair that Anakin had always seen tied up in a bun, hung loosely around her face, making her seem younger than her forty-one years.

    Anakin shuffled on his feet. “I didn’t tell him. I just said I’d visit this afternoon just as he suggested I should.”

    “As long as he knows you are coming…” she finished, patting her son on the shoulder.

    “Mum, he knows I’m coming! He wouldn’t have given me the time or day to come along if he wasn’t okay with it!” responded Anakin indignantly.

    Shmi smiled. “Ok, Ani, let’s go meet the Chancellor.”

    - - - - -

    Anakin practically bounded into the Supreme Chancellor’s Office, followed by his mother. He ran up to the desk. “Hi, sir!”

    “Anakin…” the Supreme Chancellor greeted. “My, how long has it been? A few months since we last saw each other?”

    Anakin nodded eagerly. “Yeah, I’ve been really busy with my studies and something really wonderful happened a few weeks ago!” He turned towards his mother, who was standing behind him, looking a bit shy and unsure of herself. “Chancellor, this is my mum.”

    He didn’t even see the Chancellor’s reaction to this news. “Your mother?” his answer was quite faint.

    “Yeah!” he shouted delightedly. “Master Obi-Wan got permission to free her!”

    Palpatine walked around his desk and took Shmi’s hand in his own. “Shmi Skywalker isn’t it?”

    “Yes,” she responded shrewdly. “How did you know?”

    Palpatine looked pointedly at Anakin. “Your son tells me a lot of things. I am delighted to hear that the Jedi saw fit to free you from slavery.” He led her towards his desk. “Please, sit down! It will be a pleasure to get to know you, just as I have had the innocuous pleasure of getting to know and help your very special boy.”

    Shmi settled herself down into a poufee chair that Anakin had pushed up from the side of the room, than he placed himself down on a sturdier, wooden chair. “How have you been helping my son?” she asked. “You are not his guardian and do not have any responsibility over Ani.”

    “Mum!” Anakin was shocked.

    “Anakin is a citizen. It is my responsibility to make sure that he is safe from harm,” replied the Chancellor delicately.

    “A Jedi is never safe from harm,” countered Shmi, “I know that they do face danger. They are not part of the Republic officially are they? The Senate requests their aid but the Jedi maintain the right to refuse if they feel Jedi involvement isn’t needed. They are the guardians of peace and justice in the Galactic Republic, but have never served you. They look out for their own, as is befitting an organisation.”

    “When did you read about this?” asked Anakin. He hadn’t known his mother had made the effort to search out the Jedi code and the principles they lived by. It astounded him that she had done that, but then something nagged at his brain and he realised that whatever he learnt as a slave, she had made the effort to understand it herself, that way if Anakin was ever ill, she’d be able to take his place for the day. It made logical sense for her to understand the Jedi Order as much as she could, so she knew what her son was getting into.

    “During the week,” she replied, “I asked Obi-Wan to send me files on the Jedi Code and its role within the Republic.” Despite the fact that she was looking at her son, she detected Palpatine’s very slight movement at the mention of Obi-Wan out of the corner of her eye. His body stiffened before relaxing. It all happened within a blink. She couldn’t help but feel that something was not all as it seemed with the Chancellor.

    Palpatine was quick to interrupt. “You see, my lady, your son was instrumental in saving my home world. I am very grateful for what he did, therefore without a parental figure around him that is not a Jedi, I feel honour bound to watch out for him and to be the confidante that he needs which the Jedi cannot always fulfil with their strict codes on attachment.”

    “And that justifies Anakin being given special treatment does it?”

    Anakin groaned. “Please mum…”

    “No, Ani, I will not have my son treated differently from anyone else.” She turned back to Palpatine. “A hero Ani may be but that does not justify allowing him to come and visit you whenever he feels like it. As a Jedi he is meant to respect and respond to the rules – you are installing in him the knowledge that if he becomes a hero then he can expect to be treated differently with favour then others and not follow the rules.” She crossed her arms and glared at the Supreme Chancellor. “I want this to stop. If he wants to come and see you then he has to make an appointment that doesn’t interrupt you. It is only the proper and just thing to do. You do stand for those things don’t you?”

    It seemed she had shocked the Chancellor, judging by the look on his face. “If you feel that strongly about it…”

    “I do.” She pursed her lips, determined not to let her resolve waver.

    Anakin had sunk further down in his seat, feeling very embarrassed by the way his mother was talking to the Chancellor.

    “Then I will respect your wishes, Miss Skywalker.” Palpatine shifted his body so that he was directly looking at the young boy. “Anakin, please do me the courtesy of comming for an appointment whenever you wish to see me.”

    “Yes sir,” he answered.

    Satisfied, Shmi relaxed. “Perhaps, Chancellor, you could tell me all about Republic? That is something I haven’t researched much of and if you have the time, a brief history would be marvellous.”

    - - - - -

    This was unexpected.

    Shmi Skywalker’s presence on Coruscant and access to the Jedi’s Chosen One could prove to be very problematic for the Sith Lord. His meeting with the woman had thrown him off-guard – a rare thing to happen to someone who was a master of deceit and disguise.

    He would have to keep a watch on her, and to examine how much of an influence she exercised over her son during his Jedi training. If she proved to be a problem that could enable the Skywalker boy to remain in the light, then she’d have to be eliminated.

    For now, he would watch and wait, and see how much of an affect Shmi Skywalker had on little Anakin, his Chosen One.

    Either way she would be dealt with. Just like the boy’s master and the entire Jedi Order would be.

    In time, he thought darkly.


    To be continued...
    Chapter 5 will be posted tomorrow. If you'd like to be notified when I update please let me know and I'll PM you.
  11. Valairy Scot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    Yes - two very nice updates - and love how Shmi "stuck it" to Palps without actually "sticking it" - i.e. being honest and firm.
  12. hlc88 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 4
    @Valairy Scot - It was really fun writing the Shmi and Palpatine scene! Hopefully there will be more of those to come ;)

    - - - - -

    Five

    The end of her meeting with Palpatine had left Shmi feeling very uneasy about him. She couldn’t help noticing that her son felt more at ease with him then he did with his own Master. It concerned her a lot as Obi-Wan was responsible for the welfare of her son. If Anakin didn’t trust him like he did the Chancellor, wouldn’t it impede upon his own training as a Jedi? The Master-Apprentice bond was vital during training. Was Obi-Wan and Anakin’s bond strong?

    Chancellor Palpatine had seemed nice but there was something about him that was off. A Mother’s instincts were important. Should she tell her son about the feeling she was getting from the Chancellor or wait until she had met him a few more times so she could get to know him better?

    The idea that he had a special interest in her son unnerved her. Why would the Supreme Chancellor take such an interest in a young boy? Yes, Anakin had saved his world, that was understandable, but to become like a friend and mentor to him was wrong… He hadn’t satisfied her as to why he was singling him out. What he had said as way of explanation wasn’t proper.

    Without a parental figure around him who isn’t a Jedi… she thought over Palpatine’s words. “No.” She shook her head. “He is wrong. An Apprentice’s Master is there for the exact reason Palpatine said they weren’t. They become their parental figure. Ani hasn’t realised how much Obi-Wan means to him yet.”

    She couldn’t talk to Anakin, but there was no harm in informing Obi-Wan of the situation. He was Anakin’s Master. He did deserve to know. That was another thing she had briefly caught. Palpatine clearly did not like Obi-Wan. He had barely given anything away but that very slight movement at the first mention of the Jedi’s name had been enough to raise her suspicions. Why would he react like that to the Jedi Knight when he had helped to liberate Naboo as well?

    There were too many questions for her to consider at present so she made a simple decision. I will watch and learn what I can from Palpatine. Let him think he has me fooled. There is something wrong there, I’m sure of it. I just can’t prove it.

    - - - - -
    A few weeks later Shmi arrived at the Temple in the morning, wearing a simple dress and cardigan that wouldn’t hamper her role as a Temple-Cleaner. Anakin had dubbed her that a few days ago and the name had stuck to her. She didn’t mind. Obi-Wan had already explained that they would test her out over the next few weeks to find out exactly what she was best at – and she would continuously rotate round to different areas and jobs so there was some difference to her role within the Temple.

    Today was her first day of returning to work after her month of freedom. She could scarcely believe that a month ago she had still been a slave. Never had she dreamed that she would find her freedom and be reunited with her son – nor did she think she would have the chance she had to see him grow up once he had left Tatooine. She had been given a wonderful opportunity to have something that no other parents of potential Jedi could ever have.

    When she stepped through the open Temple doors into the grand hall, she immediately spotted a familiar face. Obi-Wan stood there, wearing his long, brown robes, leaning against one of the pillars to the side of the hall, arms crossed against his chest. Spotting her, he trotted over and shook her hand.

    “I thought it would only be best for you to be met by a familiar face,” he said warmly. “You haven’t really seen much of the Temple. Anakin is in classes and I feel honour-bound to show you around and to introduce you to your team members.”

    Shmi felt overwhelmed by his thoughtfulness about her welfare. “Thank you,” she managed, before she reflected more on his words and her curiosity overcame her. “Team members?”

    “The people you will be working – those working the same shift pattern as you,” he answered. “You’ll find your first week here people won’t expect you to do much. They’ll prefer you to watch and learn, to ease you in to the work, rather than to expect you to get into it straight away without any knowledge of how things work.” He caught her eyes with his own. “I understand that is how a lot of slaves are treated. They are expected to know without being told or trained.”

    “We are,” she said, “the slave masters expect us to have the skills we are sold for. To make more of a profit, some even lied about what we could do which then results in death of the slave or the death of the original owner. Slavery is a horrible thing. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.”

    He began to lead her out of the grand hall and into the tall, stretching corridors which sparkled in the morning sunlight. The carpet was soft underneath the thin shoes she wore to protect her feet. Her eyes took in her surroundings as she looked at the magnificence of the Temple.

    “I wouldn’t either,” Obi-Wan replied softly. “Shmi, I want you to know that I’ve utilised a few contacts I have to start a trace for any members of your family.”

    She stopped, shocked at his admission, that he would even do that for her. “What?”

    “You were torn from your family by terrible people. I can’t get personally involved in this but I know a few people that could obtain information. I am not expecting anything big to come of this, or for us to find your family. It’s a big galaxy out there. If I can get the wheels spinning and you can learn of their fate, at least you won’t be left wondering about what happened to them. The worst thing for you is not knowing.” Obi-Wan looked down at his feet, his shoulder slumping. “It’s made me wonder what it is like for all the parents who give their children to the Order. They never know what has happened to them. They just have to believe that their child is happy where they are.”

    “Are you happy?” Shmi probed.

    “Of course,” he answered honestly. “I can’t see myself doing anything else. I’ve been trained for this since birth. Some-time in the future I may seek out my parents but at the moment my focus is training your son.”

    “And looking after me, of course,” Shmi laughed.

    “If you want to see it like that…”

    The Jedi led Shmi through the corridors, taking her through the history of the Temple which she found fascinating as it made her feel more connected to Anakin. She had to laugh when Obi-Wan had told her that Anakin had only been interested in the technological aspects of the Temple rather than the unique history it held within its walls and what it represented to the current Jedi Order.

    He fumbled in his brown robes for a swipe card which he pressed into Shmi’s hands before he stopped their walk in front of a smaller door. “Beyond this door is the corridor which the staff use to go to the kitchen. It’s locked at all times so you need a pass key to access it. Only certain members of the Order are allowed full run of the Temple – I’m not one of them.”

    Shmi frowned considering his words. “I guess the members of the Jedi Council are allowed to go anywhere then?”

    Obi-Wan nodded. “They do lead our Order… Knights, like myself, can access most places but we still have limitations. Such as this corridor here for the workers is usually only accessed by the Masters, but since I’ve been charged with your welfare I have been temporarily given my own passkey. I will come and visit you just to see how you are getting on for the first few weeks, after that I am expected to resume missions for the Council – and hand back in my passkey,” he grinned. He stopped in front of an open doorway which led into a spacious and brightly painted room. “This is your staff room where you are welcome to come and rest for your breaks and lunch. It’s equipped with the holo-net and research devices too. You are also allowed to have free food from the dining area.”

    Resuming his pace he walked her further down the corridor.

    The smell of vegetables crafted up her nose and she breathed in the fine scent of what she presumed was soup.

    “The kitchen,” Obi-Wan said proudly. “When I was a youngster I crawled through the ventilation system to get into the kitchen during the middle of the night for a little midnight snack. That is quite common for our Padawans to do this though we do warn them not to do it.”

    “What happens if you’re caught?” Shmi said curiously. There had to be catch…

    “Oh, they are always caught. Security cameras operate at night. The Padawan learns their lesson when they see that they can’t get away with a bit of thievery. It’s an obscure way to teach that stealing is wrong – and a lot of Padawans don’t bother to break into the kitchens. Unfortunately, myself and my friends thought we could get away with it…”

    Shmi chuckled. “Ani told me that you are too good, that he couldn’t see you breaking the rules that would land you in trouble.”

    “When one becomes a master to a Padawan you realise you have a lot of responsibilities to live up to. I’m liable for Anakin’s growth as a person and his success as a Jedi. When he becomes a Knight and acquires his own apprentice, he too will come to understand that,” explained Obi-Wan. He palmed his own card against the kitchen door and stepped inside.

    Shmi followed. She was shocked. She had never been in such a big kitchen before. “How many people work here?”

    “Fifty staff to keep the kitchen running each day. For this week, the Council have decided that you’ll stay in this area as the team you are assigned to be a part of are currently rota on kitchen shift duty.” Obi-Wan led Shmi towards the preparation area of the kitchen where a burly woman, with curly brown hair and a kind smile stood chopping away quickly at various vegetables. “Mari.”

    The woman, Mari, placed the knife down on the side and turned to face Obi-Wan and Shmi. “Well, well, I haven’t seen you in a while.”

    “Please don’t embarrass me,” he pleaded jokingly. He pushed Shmi forward. “This is Shmi Skywalker. She’s been assigned to your team as you were informed of by Master Gallia last week.”

    Mari took Shmi’s hand and shook it vigorously. “Welcome, welcome! You will find that all of us here are hard workers but it doesn’t mean we can’t have a bit of fun! Master Gallia informed me that you were once a slave – is that correct?”

    Shmi hesitated. Did everyone know about her former status?

    Obi-Wan leaned in and whispered in her ear. “Don’t worry, only Mari knows that you were a slave. Hardly any Jedi know of Anakin’s own past but the Masters felt it prudent that your team leader is aware of your recent history.”

    “I guess that is acceptable,” swallowed Shmi and plastered a smile across her face.

    Mari signalled to young man with short red hair and a freckly face. “Costo, this is Shmi, our new team member. Can you just take over the cutting for me while I introduce Shmi to the others and show her the ropes?”

    “Sure thing, Mari,” the young man grinned, his green eyes sparkling. He seemed full of life as he turned around and started to chop away, just as fast as Mari had been doing before Obi-Wan had interrupted her. “Oh, and hi, Shmi. Welcome to the hustle and bustle of the Jedi Temple!”

    “Thank you.”

    Obi-Wan pattered Shmi on the shoulder. “I’ll leave you in the capable hands of Mari here. She’ll make sure you know your way around. I need to go and find my apprentice, its time I attempted to teach him something,” he winked, grinning at Anakin’s mother. “I’ll be along when your shift finishes, okay?”

    “Ok, thank you, Obi-Wan.” Shmi felt Mari grasp her shoulders and steer her away from the Jedi, already chatting away to her about the rules and regulations of the kitchen. She soon found herself busy as part of the team, helping to prepare the midday meal and getting to know her fellow workers, who would undoubtedly become friends for life.

    - - - - -
    Anakin entered the meditation room full of trepidation. He had never been any good at mediation; always struggled to find his calm centre. His bond with his Master wasn’t strong, despite being together for just over a year, they just did not have that important connection to one another. Meditation was the key to strengthening it but Anakin just did not have the patience for that technique. Obi-Wan had jokingly said that he ‘was always on the move’ so simply could not sit still during meditation.

    He was a doer, not a pacifist like Obi-Wan was. It baffled him why as to why Jedi really needed to mediate. Jedi did things to save others, they acted, didn’t they?

    “Anakin,” Obi-Wan was already in the room, legs crossed, palms resting on the top of his knees, his eyes closed, sitting up-straight on the meditation mat.

    “Master,” acknowledged Anakin, crossing the room and settling down on the free mat next to Obi-Wan.

    His Master barely opened an eye to regard his young apprentice. “I know you dislike meditating, Anakin, but a Jedi needs to centre himself so that he is at peace within the current of the Force. It helps us to achieve inner peace, harmony and serenity as well as mastering self-discipline.”

    “I know, Master,” sighed Anakin as he closed his eyes, seeking his Master’s presence in the Force.

    “I will keep repeating that until you understand why it is necessary for a Jedi to meditate,” Obi-Wan answered calmly. “I sensed what you were thinking when you entered the room. Anakin, meditation is an important part of a Jedi’s life. I was the same as you when I was your age and I grew up meditating from a very young age. If you are anything like me, you won’t come to appreciate meditation until you become a Knight and you begin to experience things that as a Padawan you won’t get.”

    “Like what?” asked Anakin, curiously.

    “Like making decisions.” The Jedi Knight opened his eyes and glanced towards his young friend. “You know the technique: I want you to find my presence in the Force and join with it. Calm yourself and let the light flow through you. Search the current and tell me: what does it tell you?”

    Anakin took a deep breath and plunged into the sea of the Force. He felt the light wash over him, speaking to him in a soft voice, guiding him deeper… He felt calm, at peace… something he had never felt before in meditation. It confused him. Outwardly, his nose crunched up in misunderstanding. He probed deeper, feeling for Obi-Wan’s presence, and then felt him, shining brightly within the Force, his aura a beacon of light.

    Completely pure.

    His Master was completely pure; full of the light side.

    Obi-Wan’s presence joined his and their two auras merged together; the Force vibrating and shimmering around them.

    Padawan? Obi-Wan spoke in his mind, his voice soft and pleasant. Have you been practising?

    No, Master. Anakin felt it best to tell the truth. His Master, while having access to his mind, would instantly be able to sense whether he lied or not. I don’t understand why it is this easy. I’ve always found it difficult to get to this state of mind.

    He could feel Obi-Wan probing his Force essence, searching for why this had happened.

    I think I know.

    Master, what is it?

    He sensed Obi-Wan send him warmth over their fledging bond, which somehow seemed stronger than it had been the last time they had meditated together before Shmi had returned to Anakin’s life. And then he understood why.

    Anakin opened his eyes breaking the contact and stared at his Master who was pulling himself out of meditation. “It’s because of mum, isn’t it?”

    “I believe so,” Obi-Wan frowned, “and that is a good thing,” for he had noticed Anakin’s face as he had frowned as he spoke, “but it does seem a bit strange that suddenly you find it easier to do something that you’ve always had trouble with…” He hesitated, wondering whether to speak his theory to his young charge.

    “Master, you can say what you are thinking in front of me.”

    Obi-Wan grinned. “I thought you’d sense that. Our bond appears stronger, do you agree?”

    Nodding, Anakin said: “Yeah, it is. How come? I could find you quicker too.”

    “Again, I believe your mother. Without knowing it she has greatly affected our bond and you do not worry for her any longer. In previous meditations I felt your worry for her welfare and that you were afraid you wouldn’t save her in time.” Obi-Wan licked his lips, scratching his bearded chin. “Your Force aura is calmer then I have ever sensed it before.”

    He closed his eyes and Anakin felt his Master reaching for him in the Force once more. He opened up his Force aura so he was bearing himself completely to the Jedi. He had not yet learnt to shield parts of himself from Obi-Wan, though the man could not gauge much if Anakin did not share his experiences verbally. The first time they had meditated, his Master had realised how much hurt Anakin had suffered as a slave and to this day, Obi-Wan was still in the dark. It was something that Anakin couldn’t burden him with. He refused to let the Jedi know about his childhood.

    Obi-Wan spoke softly, his forehead scrunching up in lines as he probed deeper. “Your fear… You had so much within you, but it’s greatly diminished…”

    “Master Obi-Wan?” Anakin hesitated, afraid what this meant for his training.

    “Your fear just spiked… now it is settling again,” Obi-Wan continued. Slowly he withdrew from his Padawan’s aura and opened his eyes. His blue-grey pupils found Anakin’s bright blue ones. “Your mother, Anakin, has given you a wonderful gift. Your attachment to your mother instead of being a weakness has become a strength of yours, a net of safety that envelops you and nurtures your skills in the Force.” His lips curled up in a smile. “It appears that petitioning the Council to free your mother was quite a good idea.”

    - - - - -
    Two weeks had passed since Shmi had started to work at the Temple. She had thrown herself into her role, swiftly gaining a reputation as a hard worker and a kind and compassionate woman.

    Everyone she was teamed with knew that she was the mother of the rumoured Chosen One but no one was holding that against her. She had become an accepted member of the team. During the last two weeks she hadn’t spoken to Anakin as his Master was keeping him incredibly busy with his studies. Obi-Wan had met her himself to make sure she was coping well and explained that he and Anakin wanted to explore something that had evolved within the Master-Apprentice bond and it required concentration that Anakin couldn’t afford to lose. She had understood that, she knew there would be times when her son wouldn’t even be on planet for months at a time due to missions.

    The friends she had made were all outsiders. None of them had children who were Force sensitive but they all had a family life to go home to. They had even invited Shmi on one of their regular dinner nights they had with their respective partners so they could get to know her and include her in everything they did. Shmi had even felt comfortable enough to reveal to them that she and Anakin had once been slaves but asked them to keep that little bit of intelligence to themselves as she was sure the only Jedi that knew of Anakin’s previous slavery status was Obi-Wan and the senior Masters.

    She was working on cleaning the floor of one of the smaller corridors alongside Mari and Petré when footsteps approached and she glanced up, intending to move the bucket out of the way, but stopped in surprise when she saw Obi-Wan standing there.

    “Go ahead, Shmi,” instructed Mari. “I’ll finish up this bit. Meet us in the fourth corridor, ok?” Mari lifted the washing cloth from Shmi’s hands and nodded to Obi-Wan. “Master Jedi.”

    He gave her a slight nod. “Shmi, I’d just like a word with you.”

    Standing up, she followed him to a side door just down the corridor and stepped into a small chamber reserved for meditation practice for the younglings.

    “I’d just like to ask you how you are faring?” he said, by way of a conversation-starter.

    “Fine. It’s going well,” she answered. “Everyone is so nice and kind and understanding. And I love working here.” She shifted on her feet. “I told them that I had been a slave. I know they take things easy here but hard work has been drilled into me ever since I was a little girl. I think they wonder why I push myself.”

    “It’s understandable. You are used to pushing yourself to please your owners. We don’t expect you to do that. We aren’t slavers. You are our equals. It’s why we try to employ ordinary people with no links to the Jedi to show that we care for you. Shmi, you should work at the pace that suits you best. The last thing I need is for Anakin to accuse me of forcing his mother to work,” he chuckled, smiling broadly.

    Shmi slumped her shoulders. “I know. I still need to adjust to being free. I had a holiday that is all.” A wry smile appeared across her face. “You came to speak to me for a specific purpose...”

    “Nothing can get by you can it?” the Jedi Knight quipped.

    “No, it cannot,” she returned.

    “You and Anakin can spend the weekend together. I have work that needs to be done that requires no distractions and Anakin has worked hard enough the past few weeks that I can release him to your custody for the next few days. I have checked your schedule and you are not working this weekend.”

    “That would be lovely,” she swallowed. It had felt strange not being able to see her son despite being in the Temple at the same time as him but her duties had kept her away from Anakin’s classes. She did wonder if Obi-Wan had engineered that deliberately but if she had, she trusted the Jedi for doing so. She decided to risk that question that was sitting at the top of her brain. “Did you manage to learn more about what you and Ani discovered?”

    Obi-Wan’s eyes widened slightly. “That is not something I’m really at liberty to discuss with you at this present time. I still need to have words with the Council. Anakin doesn’t fully understand it either yet. I’d rather make sure he gets the awareness of everything before I inform you. I still need the Council’s opinion on the matter before I can even sit down with Anakin and discuss this.” He patted Shmi on the back. “I hope you can appreciate why I can’t speak to you now.”

    It was understandable. Why would she hold it against Obi-Wan for keeping something from her that really she shouldn’t know about? She gave him a warming smile. “It’s ok. When you know, tell me because I want to feel I’m involved but only when all the pieces of the puzzles fit. Until then I don’t want to know.”

    “Thank you, Shmi Skywalker.”

    - - - - -
    A few hours later Anakin was safely with his mother at her apartment and Obi-Wan stood in front of the Jedi Council, hands placed in front of him as he took in the most highly esteemed members of the Jedi Order. “I wish to discuss with the Council the progress of my Padawan learner. His skills have vastly improved over the last few weeks and our bond is stronger than it ever has been before. We’ve never really been capable of sensing each other’s thoughts before, now we have that ability to do so.”
    Mace Windu leaned forward, his elbows resting on his knees as he considered the Knight before him. “I have sensed it too. Skywalker is calmer, more in tune with the Force. His fear is considerably less than it was a few months ago when I last probed his presence in passing. He was always full of trepidation and worry, carefully concealed from most Jedi.”

    “Surprising this is,” admitted Yoda. “Attachment not what we thought it is.”

    “In Anakin’s case at the moment it indicates his strength but will it always be like that?” questioned Plo Koon. “It is too soon to determine whether this is a permanent change in young Skywalker. If he remains focused and his mother’s presence is a contributing factor, he could be responsible for the changing of the Jedi Code.”

    There was a murmur among the Council members as they considered the Kel Dor’s words.

    Obi-Wan stayed silent, watching and waiting as the Masters made small comments and tossed meaningful glances back and forth. A discussion was being carried out in front of him through use of the Force, most of which he could not follow, but he could sense the atmosphere of the genuine feelings of the Masters within the current of the Force if he allowed himself to tune into it. They were concerned whether Anakin’s attachment to his mother would ultimately be a bad thing, even if it helped him grow as a Jedi; whether other Jedi would petition to have a family of their own; whether their decision to allow Anakin access to his mother would ultimately prove to be the groundwork of changing the core principles of the Jedi Order.

    It wasn’t his place to intervene but he decided to. He felt he could contribute to the discussion at hand. “If I may, Masters?” he queried.

    Mace sat back and waved a hand at him. “Go ahead.”

    The other Masters settled back and turned their gaze towards Obi-Wan who shifted slightly from the intense gazes. “What works for Anakin may not work for every Jedi. I believe it depends on what type of person you are, what traits you exhibit. We all share the same background, but Anakin doesn’t. He formed attachments before he came here. His bond with his mother helped him to survive slavery. A bond between mother and child is difficult to break, especially one that was formed in terrible conditions. None of us can truly understand that parental bond. He was thrust into a new world knowing that his mother was still suffering. It was natural for him to fear for her and to continue to do so. Shmi’s freedom means that he doesn’t have to worry or fear for her. He knows she is safe and happy. His insecurities and fear came from separating him from his mother in the first place. She is the balance that keeps Anakin in check because he did not have the upbringing we have had. What works for Anakin in gaining control of his abilities might not work for most of the Jedi.”

    “Knight Kenobi is correct.” Normally very quiet in Council sessions, Saesee Tiin, when he spoke his opinion was highly valued by the other members. “We cannot attempt to keep Skywalker on the path of the Jedi without taking into account his exceptional circumstances. It has been proven that within two weeks his powers have grown. The lack of conflict within his Force presence only determines the truth. To fully analyse the effect his mother has one him, I suggest we monitor his progress closely and to assess the boy occasionally ourselves.”

    “Wise words you have,” the diminutive Jedi replied. “This we will do. Bring young Skywalker to us when called for you will.”

    Obi-Wan inclined his head. “Yes, Master Yoda.”

    “Do keep us informed of the progress of your bond however,” Windu instructed, “I feel that it is a bond that will become of great importance to the Jedi one day.”

    Obi-Wan couldn’t help but feel slightly nervous of the expectations that had been placed upon his shoulders. They expected so much of him for a Jedi Knight so young. I guess that is what happens when you are responsible for the training of the boy fated to destroy the Sith once and for all…

    To be continued...
    Chapter 6 will be posted in a few days time.
  13. Luna_Nightshade Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2006
    star 5
    I enjoyed how Shmi has gotten right to fixing problems with Anakin, and how well it has worked. She is very wise, and I especially liked her feelings about Palpatine. Looking forward to more--I like this version of Anakin's world!
  14. Jedi_Liz Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2000
    star 6
    i like this story

    @ Tag me when you update.
  15. hlc88 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 4
    @Luna_Nightshade I thought that if Shmi ever got to meet Palpatine he wouldn't be able to get around her so easily as he does with Anakin. Thank you, I'm glad you like this version of Anakin's world.

    @Jedi_Liz Tagged, hope this works. :)

    - - - - -

    Six

    A few months had passed since Shmi Skywalker had arrived at the Temple. It was eighteen months into Anakin’s Jedi training. He had been nearing his tenth birthday when he had been accepted as Obi-Wan’s Padawan, and now a week after his twelfth birthday, in which Shmi had thrown a raucous party for her son and his friends, she was back to cleaning the main corridors of the Jedi Temple. Since her arrival at the Temple, Anakin had made friends. He hadn’t continued to be the loner he had been for his first year. Every so often, she caught her son laughing and joking between classes with a group of three boys. It made her heart swell with pride as she watched how much progress her son was making in his studies and friendships.

    Obi-Wan had recently explained to her how proud he was to have such a talented Padawan and what a great job she had done in raising him. Her response had been that she had done what any mother would have done for their child: to give them a normal childhood as possible despite the slavery conditions they had been forced to live with. Her Ani had become more confident in himself; he had recently confided in her about his supposed destiny as the Chosen One, something that she had kept quiet about since Obi-Wan had spoken to her about it.

    She had wanted Anakin to come to her and finally he had done. She smiled as she remembered the conversation they’d had…

    “Mum, I think you need to know how special I am to the Jedi.”

    “Go on,” she had encouraged.

    “Master Qui-Gon believed I am the Chosen One. I’m meant to destroy the Sith. Master Obi-Wan and I talked today and he encouraged me to tell you about it. He believes you’ve helped me a lot and you deserve to know what I may have to do in the future.”

    “I think so too.”

    He had looked at her suspiciously then. “You knew already about the prophecy don’t you?”

    She hadn’t denied it. “I did.”

    “How?”

    “Obi-Wan,” she had answered. “I asked him why you thought you deserved special treatment. He didn’t want to lie to me so he explained everything. And I helped him to understand some things too. Don’t be mad at him, Ani. You shouldn’t have to live with that burden but you do. You’ve made remarkable progress in such a short space of time. You’ve caught up with your age-mates and you’ve settled in. You have settled haven’t you?”

    Anakin had swallowed. “Yeah, I have. I have friends, mum. They’ve never accepted me before.”

    Shmi smiled contently at her son. “Because you’ve thought about what I said to you and you have changed how you see yourself. You may have a great destiny but you are not taking advantage of that knowledge. You’ve also got me to turn to as well as your Master if you feel worried or confused or just want reassurance. Haven’t you noticed how Obi-Wan has adjusted how he treats you the last few months?”

    Anakin’s eyes had widened in realisation. “I had. And our bond has grown stronger too! And he doesn’t criticise as often as he did… he tries to help, guiding me in a way that will enhance my learning not hinder me… And I have freedom to, he’s allowed me to do things that many other Padawans don’t get to do whereas before he wouldn’t but he lets me do them… Mum, was that your doing?”

    “I merely suggested that he tries to understand your desire for freedom… and by doing so he has helped you to come to respect him and be more receiving to his teachings and capable of following the rules. You don’t try to disobey him anymore do you?” she asked.

    “No, I don’t.” Anakin shook his head. “I’d feel bad if I did,” he hesitated before continuing, “whereas before I didn’t care what he thought or did because I’m the Chosen One and I saved a planet and I thought he just wanted to control me and not let me be myself. Chancellor Palpatine wanted to encourage me…I’m not sure if that was a good thing.” He bit his lip. “But I know now why there were rules, why I didn’t deserve to be treated differently from anyone else. I was a different person to whom I was when I was living on Tatooine. I have you here to thank for that, mum, without you I think I’d become a person who you wouldn’t like.”

    “I’d still love you,” Shmi had replied, “no matter what but I would have been disappointed. Ani, Obi-Wan means well and he has a difficult task to train you. Palpatine is a good man but he was encouraging you to live your freedom.” She had learnt a lot more regarding her son’s dealings with the Chancellor over the months. He had been influencing Anakin and her son, having realised this had cut down on meeting with him. Having only met him the once, Anakin had only visited his political friend one time in the last five months; Obi-Wan having suggested that he go and visit him since he hadn’t seen him in a while.

    Shmi shook herself free of the memory. Yes, Anakin had decided to concentrate on his Jedi studies solely and not wanted any distractions that could come from other sources. After returning from his meeting with Palpatine he had discussed with his mother exactly what had gone on between the two of them. The man was still trying to influence her son but Anakin had decided to listen but not do what the man had suggested.

    Dutifully she had informed Obi-Wan of what the Chancellor had spoken to her son about, she hadn’t been able to detect his thoughts of that conversation. However she had resolved that the next time Anakin visited the Chancellor she would go too, just to see if her bad feelings about the man had been false originally.

    She surely hoped she had been wrong because she hated the thought of the Republic in the hands of a being who was capable of manipulating a little boy so thoroughly that he had practically made Anakin and Obi-Wan clash several times during the year and caused him to be rebellious due to her absence from her son’s life.

    She was still waiting to hear of Anakin’s next meeting with the Chancellor when running footsteps down the hall caused her to look up from her work and watch as three Padawan’s ran past her, shouting excitedly at the top of their voices.

    “It’s the talk of the Temple!”

    “I can’t believe they’ve been sparring this long without a break!”

    “It has to be a new record!”

    Curiosity overcame her and Shmi followed the three youngsters towards the training rooms. There seemed to be quite a crowd already by the time she reached the balcony overlooking the training hall. Searching for a Jedi she knew, she saw Adi Gallia, who had become a good friend of hers over the last few months and made her way through the crowd to stand beside her.

    Shmi swept her gaze over the hall and saw her son battling against Obi-Wan. Anakin and his Master were sparring.

    “Are they using real lightsabers?” she asked.

    “Knight Kenobi is but Skywalker is using a training saber,” answered Adi in a smooth voice.

    “Isn’t that dangerous?”

    Adi shook her head, her head tails swishing behind her. “Not at all. It is how a Master and an Apprentice learn. Obi-Wan is a skilled fighter and will not harm Anakin. The use of a real weapon in training encourages the apprentice to learn to block very quickly and to trust in their instincts. Kenobi doesn’t fight with all his strength either so he has less risk of harming someone. Do not worry, Shmi, your son will be fine. He’s holding himself up well against a seasoned swordsman.” She glanced round at the rapidly growing crowd to watch the duel. “In fact, this is the longest time Skywalker has survived duelling his Master. He is learning well.”

    - - - - -

    Anakin could feel the Force flowing through him. His hands wrapped around the handle of the lightsaber as he sought to predict where his Master would strike next. Faced with a real lightsaber, concentration was paramount to this session. He gritted his teeth and took a step back as Obi-Wan swept his blade round in an arc, Anakin brought his blade up to block, deflecting the blow.

    Drawing on the Force, Anakin whirled in a circle, swinging his own blade up causing Obi-Wan to stumble back as he was in mid-strike towards the boy’s midsection; Anakin’s movement causing him to lose his momentum. Taking advantage, Anakin lunged forward intending to end the fight.

    It would only end if they managed to disarm their opponent.

    Anakin’s tactic failed as Obi-Wan Force-leapt over his head anticipating his move.

    Gritting his teeth, Anakin turned to face his Master, calmly. He evaluated what he could do, considering his next move. But Obi-Wan moved again, and Anakin hastily brought his blade up above his head to block the sweeping blow. Despite the fact that the Jedi Knight was not using his full strength, he was still a formidable opponent, especially to an inexperienced Padawan.

    Clash after clash, Anakin barely managed to block Obi-Wan’s moves. His muscles ached and he was getting tired. He knew it. But he had to continue. He could already see the outcome of this battle but if he could manage to tip the scales in his favour he might be able to get in a winning strike…

    Closing his eyes and trusting in the Force, the young Padawan sprung into the air, using the current that swept through him to booster his jump. He landed awkwardly, spinning quickly but his landing was his downfall. If he had managed a perfect balance Obi-Wan wouldn’t have won, for Anakin’s slip allowed the Jedi Knight to step forward and with one flip of his lightsaber, sent the training blade flying from the boy’s hand, cluttering to the floor a few meters away.

    Anakin fell onto his backside and glared up at his Master. “I would have beaten you if I hadn’t slipped.”

    Obi-Wan grinned as he deactivated his lightsaber and clipped it back on his belt. “You would have done.” He glanced up at the balcony. “It appears our duel attracted quite a few viewers.”

    Anakin shut his eyes and tried not to groan out-loud.

    “Your mother was watching.”

    Anakin’s eyes sprung open. How had he not sensed her?

    “You were deeply immersed in the Force. It’s not surprising you didn’t realise she was there,” Obi-Wan said, smiling, and helping his young charge to his feet.

    “You sensed what I was thinking?”

    “Of course, our bond is incredibly strong. You’ve put in so much effort over the last few months towards your training that it has increased my ability to read your mind and understand your thoughts when we are not meditating. In time you will be able to read mine without me opening myself up to you. Meditation will really be the only time you’ll be able to get a clear image of my mind until you’ve learnt more.” Obi-Wan squeezed Anakin’s shoulder. “It won’t be long before you learn the technique. Our bond is incredibly strong.”

    Glancing up at Obi-Wan, Anakin said: “Will I be able to do this before we are sent on our first mission together?”

    “It probably won’t happen until after we have shared a few missions,” his Master replied, leading Anakin forward to where his mother now waited at the edge of the hall with Master Gallia. “I don’t think it will be long before we are sent on our first proper mission as Master and Padawan. Your advancement over the last few months proves you are ready for more responsibilities. You have the basic skills required to allow us to work well on missions together.” He eyed Adi Gallia who stood there, arms crossed against her chest, a sly smile on her face. “I’m not wrong, am I?”

    “I will not deny that the Council are considering the possibility that Anakin is ready.”

    “I might get to leave the Temple soon and see other planets?” gleefully Anakin asked.

    Obi-Wan chuckled. “We’ll see, Padawan.”

    “I am here, however, to summon you to the Council. We have a few things to discuss with you that requires your presence.” Adi Gallia’s tone was soft but full of authority.
    Obi-Wan nodded, accepting that meant now rather than later. He knew it was time for the Council to assess Anakin but first they would want his opinion before summoning the boy. Sensing Anakin’s curiosity he indicated with his eyes for Shmi to lead her son away, which she did, understanding that she would need to keep her son occupied while his Master was being questioned. Anakin was such an inquisitive child that they couldn’t risk Anakin trying to eavesdrop on the session.

    Once Anakin and Shmi had left the training hall, Obi-Wan followed Adi towards the Council chambers, mentally preparing himself for the interrogation ahead.

    - - - - -

    “I suppose I had better get used to you getting involved in dangerous situations,” said Shmi as they sat in the quarters Anakin shared with his Master.

    Anakin wrinkled his nose, grinning broadly. “Mum, I used to podrace back on Tatooine!”

    “And that was frightening enough,” she answered. “Podracing may be dangerous but I doubt going into a situation where it requires you to defend yourself is not as dangerous as competing in a podrace. I will worry, Ani.”

    “Mum…”

    “Mother’s always worry, Ani. I have done so for years even when you just took a few steps out of our home and when you left Tatooine I thought of you every day, hoping that you were safe and the Jedi were keeping you safe.”

    Anakin shifted uncomfortably. He hated the thought of his mother worrying about him. He was trying his hardest to hone his skills that he could defend himself all the time. There would always be instances when he would have to fight but that was part of being a Jedi. “Would you worry if I was just a shop-keeper?”

    “I would. No matter what career path you would have taken, I’d worry.” She pulled her son into a hug. “You’ll understand one day when you have children.”

    “Having a family is against the Jedi Code,” recited Anakin bluntly, the words flowing from his mouth before he could really think about what he was saying.

    “Unlike most Jedi you do have a family,” replied Shmi. “Me and Obi-Wan. In fact, no matter how much the Jedi deny attachment, they do have it: a bond between Master and Apprentice makes it inevitable.”

    Anakin grinned sheepishly. “I guess I didn’t think of it like that.”

    “I’ve been here long enough to see that attachment does exist among all Jedi. Besides if your attachment to me is helping your progress as a Jedi, then why wouldn’t your love for another woman help too?” It was a reasoned argument but Shmi did wonder if her son ever did fall in love, encouraging him to break the Jedi Code was probably the wrong thing to do. And she realised then that she was telling her son to not follow the rules, just like Palpatine had been doing. The Council had made an exception for her because of her son’s attachment and love for her already: now she was encouraging him that attachment occurred to every Jedi and she felt guilty that she had accused Palpatine of encouraging Anakin to break the rules and now she was doing the same thing after lecturing the Chancellor about wanting her son to not be treated differently. She was now advocating that he should be.

    She was a hypocrite.

    “Mum?” Anakin had noticed her reaction through the Force. She was used to hiding her true expressions yet Ani had always been capable of reading what she was truly thinking.

    She sighed. “Ani, don’t you see? I just encouraged you to break the rules because of the exception the Council made for you about me.”

    She saw as the realisation flickered across his features. Moving from his seat onto the sofa, Anakin pulled his mother into a hug, squeezing her tightly. “I promise you, mum, that if I fall in love I won’t act on it. If I do it will be because I’ve done what I need to do and can leave the Jedi Order with a free conscience.”

    From a twelve-year-old boy, that was a reassuring promise and Shmi could sense the sincerity in his words. He meant every word and meant to keep it.

    Anakin had a destiny; he would focus on that before putting his own love and happiness first. It was what she would have expected of him. She couldn’t be prouder.

    - - - - -

    The meeting was informal rather than a formal one.

    Obi-Wan stood in the centre of the circle of Masters, his gaze meeting each and every one of the powerful leaders of the Order. He was no required to be formal, it was just a discussion, a discussion in which the Masters wished to hear of his opinion regarding his young Padawan’s progress.

    Obi-Wan spoke honestly, telling them how much growth Anakin had gone through since his mother’s freedom; how much stronger his bond with him was and how far he had come in his studies. Elaborating on Anakin’s success to make friends since Shmi’s arrival was also a factor that Obi-Wan wished to highlight.

    Continuing on how much Anakin now respected him and wished to please him whereas before he had shown mostly reluctance or frustration at his instructions, Obi-Wan marvelled at how much that had changed and his Force presence soared into brightness as he allowed how proud he was of Anakin to reflect in his aura. “In contrast to what he was like before Shmi Skywalker’s release, there is a remarkable change in him. Shmi has told me that Anakin had changed since he left her but now he is more like the boy she remembers. He is focused, dedicated to his studies. He meditates often whereas he loathed it before since we could not make a proper connection. Now we have a strong bond where I can sense his thoughts before he says them. In time he will be able to do that with mine. There is a matter of which I am concerned about that he has yet to talk to me about.”

    This raised the eyebrows of most of the Jedi present on the Council. So far Obi-Wan’s opinion of his apprentice had been exemplary but now he was moving onto the boy’s faults. A lot of young Knights training a Padawan chose to ignore their charge’s faults – and Obi-Wan had been incredibly young to take a Padawan of his own, straight from promotion to Knighthood, considered very rare. But he was capable of acknowledging that Anakin was not faultless and this raised the Council’s estimation of him as someone to watch.

    “His past,” continued Obi-Wan, his shoulders slumping slightly. “His days as a slave are a complete mystery to me. I know what I do because of Shmi’s willingness to share with me. I have seen some things in his mind so I do not blame him for wanting to forget his past rather than relieve it to me. I’m not going to force him to talk about it. I believe he will be ready to let go in time; the way he has focused himself in the last few months tell me he will come to understand the importance of sharing before accepting his past and letting go. Currently, his unwillingness to talk about his past is a weakness that anyone could exploit, especially if he is to come into contact with pirates or slavers; pirates being the people who originally sold his mother into slavery.”

    “Should he confront this sooner or later?” Mace Windu questioned.

    “Beneficial would it be for him, hmmm?” Yoda probed.

    Obi-Wan hesitated. “I think he needs to confront his past but broaching the subject to him isn’t going to work, I have tried that, he remains stubborn to the core, determined to protect me from being hurt by his memories. Shmi could prove to be of use if she is willing to help Anakin open up since she values being honest with people. But it may take a while for Anakin to accept that he has to share everything with me otherwise our Master-Padawan bond will be in jeopardy of being based on half-truths and lack of information on one another.”

    “Other than that you have no other concerns?” clarified Windu preparing to wind up the meeting.

    “No, I don’t. Anakin is far from perfect but he has faced and changed a lot since his mother was allowed to become a part of his life. I believe that if we continue on this path, he has the making to be a great asset to the Jedi Order and it is his love for his mother that will benefit him most of all and that will help him to face the horrors of his past and to release them.”

    “Then in a few weeks we will summon Skywalker and to assess his progress ourselves. We will take into account everything you have revealed,” decided Mace Windu.

    - - - - -

    Shmi was stirring a pot of Corellian meat when a voice startled her.

    “That smells delicious! I should come by more often!”

    She didn’t let go of the spoon but turned her head over her shoulder instead, still managing to concentrate on her task at hand. “Obi-Wan! Have you got a taste for my cooking?” she said slyly.

    He grinned. “I might have.”

    She cocked her head at him. “What is it this time? You only come by when you have need of something,” she teased gently.

    “I just need your help in enabling me to ensure Anakin becomes the best Jedi he can be and for that he needs to tell me about his past as a slave. I think you can help me with that,” the Jedi Knight began.

    - - - - -

    Obi-Wan’s request sat in her head for a week before Shmi could act upon it. Anakin had been kept busy at the Temple and her duties had led her away from him so it was only by requesting to Obi-Wan to give him free time was Shmi able to talk to her son. They had eaten a good meal which Shmi had treated him to at Anakin’s favourite restaurant.

    Now they were sitting on the sofa in her apartment, Anakin clutching a glass of fizz while he told his mother in detail about his day.

    “…and when we were meditating it really felt like we had this powerful connection and I could see some of Obi-Wan’s thoughts!” Anakin sounded happy.

    Shmi decided to pounce. “Is he allowing you access to his thoughts and explaining them to you when you enquire about the experiences you see?”

    Anakin nodded enthusiastically. “He is!”

    “Do you explain everything to him when he sees things in your mind that he doesn’t know about?”

    There was a slight hesitation before he replied that convinced Shmi that her son was lying. “Of course!”

    She shook her head in disappointment. “Anakin, I know that was a lie.”

    He bowed his head. “Mum, there are some things I can’t talk to him about. He won’t understand!”

    “Ani,” she began gently, “he needs to know.”

    “Chancellor Palpatine said it wasn’t any of Obi-Wan’s business to know about my past. He told me that Obi-Wan wants to hurt me by forcing me to remember it.” Anakin sounded unsure about that. Ever since Shmi had forced Anakin to look at Palpatine in a different light, he didn’t consider the Chancellor’s advice as absolutely correct as he had once done.

    “Ani….” Shmi sighed. “Obi-Wan doesn’t want to hurt you. He wants to help you. Isn’t a Master/Padawan bond formed on trust and sharing? How can he come to understand the real you if you will not open yourself to him completely? He will not judge you on your days as a slave: he can help you overcome them.” She took his hands in hers, forcing him to look at her. “Facing your fears will only make you stronger, if you refuse to face them, you will be weak as your past will be a weakness that anyone could exploit even if they don’t know about it. As a Jedi you will come into contact with slaves, how will you cope if you can’t put your past behind you?”

    “I’d free them,” replied Anakin stubbornly.

    “Even if it meant jeopardising a mission that could result in your and your Master’s death?”

    Anakin couldn’t answer.

    “You don’t have to talk to him right away,” added Shmi. “Just promise me you will talk to him; allow him to know, trust him with the truth. Do not let Palpatine dictate to you what your Master should and should not know.”

    Anakin hesitated, chewing his bottom lip. “I’m not sure I can…”

    “I know it will be hard.” Shmi squeezed his hand. “Don’t you want to be the best Jedi you can be?” It was a ploy on words that Obi-Wan had suggested she use. It might not work when he said it to Anakin but coming from his mother might cause a rethink of the values he had decided to uphold and the past he tried to hide from. It was slightly deceitful and she hated doing it but if it got Anakin to open up and to let go then it would be worth it.

    Anakin had to accept and live with his past. Obi-Wan had explained to her that this had a potential to hold him back in his Jedi training. He would obtain the rank of Knight without confronting it but if Anakin wanted to achieve his destiny he had to.

    “Mum…”

    He was going to say that he couldn’t.

    “Can you do it for me? If not for yourself, for me?” She exhumed all of her warmth, love and care into her voice, letting her son know how much she loved him. She understood why he didn’t want to speak about it but she could also see the other point of view. To free one-self from the dangers that the past might have on the future you had to confront them.

    “I’ll think about it. I can’t promise anything,” swallowed Anakin.

    She could see the terror in his eyes of his fear of the past. He wasn’t ready to confront it and she wasn’t sure if he ever would be but at least he had said he would consider it. That was all she could ask of him; she couldn’t force her son to promise something that he wasn’t sure he could do.

    Perhaps one day Anakin would find the strength to confront his past and trust the one person he needed to most with his deepest fears and resentments. And when that
    day came, Shmi Skywalker would be there for her little boy.

    To be continued...
    It was only after writing this chapter that I learnt that Masters and Apprentices do not duel with 'live' lightsabers... I didn't know that but for the sake of that particular chapter I decided to keep it in because how can an apprentice and a Master learn to really trust one another if they don't use live weapons during training? That's the basis for my reasoning and I'll just stick with it, otherwise it meant rewriting parts of this chapter.

    Next chapter will be posted in a few days.
  16. Jedi_Liz Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2000
    star 6
    the tagging worked ;)

    I don't think Anakin should let Palpatine influence him...it seems he still is listening to SOME of the things he is suggesting (like refusing to tell Obi-Wan about his past as a slave). That worries me a little bit. Loved the post!
  17. Luna_Nightshade Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2006
    star 5
    So nice seeing Shmi and Obi-Wan work with Anakin's difficulties. It was sweet how he promised he wouldn't act on love, but I wonder how that will work out when Padme does come along. I like seeing Anakin and Obi-Wan get closer with Shmi's help. Great update--looking forward to Anakin getting braver about his past!
  18. Valairy Scot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    See, in canon Anakin did not have this calm voice of reason. Now, maybe one of the Jedi may have been if Anakin had confided in one of them, but no, he accepted Palps words and they were a slow poison rotting away slowly but surely for years.
  19. hlc88 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 4
    I would just like to apologise for the lack of update recently. Uni has been hectic, my uncle had to have a brain operation for a tumour, and on top of that I'm in a lot of pain myself due to my wisdom teeth coming in. Through all that I've had to keep on doing uni work and the times I've been coming on here has just been to quickly relax. I do apologise, updates will be quicker since I have quite a few chapters already written and ready to post. I felt I owed your guys an explanation as to why I haven't updated.

    @Jedi_Liz Thanks! I think Anakin would still listen to Palpatine, but that will continue to happen unless he can trust Obi-Wan completely. I hope you like this next update!

    @Luna_Nightshade Thank you! Padme will make her appearance in a few chapters time so you'll see exactly how Anakin handles that ;)

    @Valairy Scot I like to believe that Shmi has a calming influence on Anakin and that his mother's separation shook him up and he was looking for someone to replace her and Obi-Wan couldn't provide that. With Shmi there he doesn't need Palpatine any more.

    Onto the chapter...

    Seven

    “I know I shouldn’t be worried about this meeting, but I am, Master.” Looking up at Obi-Wan Kenobi, who was trying to project a sense of calm to his young Padawan, Anakin couldn’t help but feel anxious at the impending meeting he would have with the Jedi Council.

    Obi-Wan drew Anakin to the side and knelt down beside him, grasping his shoulders. “You do not need to worry about the meeting. The key is to be truthful: do not try to hide anything from them. Explain your fears and how you plan to deal with them. Don’t make yourself look like you believe you are the best at everything.”

    Anakin took a deep breath, drawing on the Force to wash away his anxiety. He gave his Master a reassuring smile. “I think I’m ready.”

    “You do know I won’t be going in there with you, don’t you?” his Master observed.

    Anakin nodded. “I know.” That was the part he didn’t like, the fact that Obi-Wan had been ‘banned’ from accompanying his apprentice into the chambers and watching from the side.

    “I’ll be outside. And I’ll be open to you if you need reassurance,” advised Obi-Wan. He squeezed the young boy’s shoulder. “Just be honest, and if you have any fear show it and explain it.”

    “Yes Master.” Once again Anakin took in a deep breath seeking to calm his nerves.

    Obi-Wan stopped outside the doors to the Council Chamber. “I can go no further, Padawan.”

    Anakin swallowed, feeling slightly sick. He felt Obi-Wan briefly touch him through the Force. He’s just going to be outside, that’s all. He’s not that far away. There is nothing to be afraid of in there. With those words running through his mind, Anakin took a step forward and didn’t look back as he walked towards the door, opened it and stepped inside the room, shutting Obi-Wan out.

    - - - - -

    He will be fine.

    Anakin wasn’t the only one having a mental breakdown. Well, he wouldn’t exactly call it a breakdown, more like he was concerned for his Padawan, especially since he could feel the anxiety pouring off of the boy and that was affecting his own feelings.

    Obi-Wan, unlike his Padawan, was able to shield his thoughts effectively enough that they wouldn’t worry the boy if he sensed them. He had to project an air of confidence to give Anakin the strength he needed to get through this.

    Now I know what Qui-Gon went through whenever I was summoned to the Council without him being there for me.

    Obi-Wan settled down for a long wait, composing himself, and letting his Force essence sink deeper into the flow, reaching out to reassure his Padawan, permitting him to know that he was there for him.

    - - - - -

    Anakin could feel his Master’s presence touch him briefly through the Force and he felt calm serenity flow through him. Obi-Wan was just outside the door. There was nothing to be afraid of.

    Standing in the middle of the circle of Masters he could feel each one reaching out to probe him, examining his Force aura, searching for something that they could pick up on.

    “How do you feel?” That question came from Adi Gallia.

    Anakin swallowed. Truthful, Obi-Wan had told him to be truthful. “Worried about this meeting,” he answered, trying to keep from trembling and showing more fear then he really wanted to.

    “Understandable considering the circumstances,” Adi swiftly dismissed his concerns.

    “What other fears do you have?” asked Mace Windu.

    Anakin knew that Windu didn’t like him that much, didn’t trust him… He always felt like that in his presence, as if he had a dislike to him that he couldn’t explain. “I fear of not being able to be the Jedi that I could be. I fear that no matter what I do people will never be pleased with me. I fear that my bond with my Master is a lie…” he could go on… he had so many insecurities, so many fears that were small things that he could go on forever.

    “Why do you fear that you bond with your Master is a lie?” continued Mace, scrutinising the young boy with an intense gaze.

    “Because I can’t tell him about my past.” Anakin felt ashamed at his weakness and he bowed his head, red heat scattering across his cheeks, embarrassment flushing through him.

    “Let go you cannot, hmmm?” the diminutive Jedi Master enquired, his ears curling at the tips.

    “No, Masters,” he couldn’t keep their gaze, his eyes remaining looking at the floor. “My time as a slave is not something I want people to know about, not even Obi-Wan.”

    “Your anger and fear resides heavily inside you, it does,” Yoda observed, “but more grey then black it is. Listen to your mother you should. Trust your Master, you should. Help you he can.”

    Anakin bit his lip. “How could he understand? Only former slaves can understand.” He felt slightly distressed.

    “Can they?” Eeth Koth, a Zabarak Jedi Master asked. “That is an assumption based on naivety.”

    Anakin knew that was true.

    “Your worries about your bond will never truly go away unless you trust one another completely,” guided Plo Koon in a gentle voice as he could muster with his breathing apparatus.

    “I know. I’m not ready yet.”

    “The longer you wait, the more fear you will have,” said Windu wisely.

    Anakin couldn’t speak. Everything they said was true. He had to trust Obi-Wan, he had to believe that his Master would understand.

    “Until you confront this, you will always be fearful of your past,” continued Adi Gallia. “And it will stand in your way of being a Jedi. You cannot be the best Jedi you can if you hide things from your Master.”

    “Your bond has been strengthened by your mother’s presence,” explained Mace Windu. “She has lessened your fear and your bond has flourished greatly. Your mental connection is impressive for a team that has barely had a chance to use it.”

    “Greater it will become with all your worries addressed it will.”

    “Yes, Master Yoda.” He knew he had to do it.

    “A decision I sense, hmmm?” Yoda had caught the resolve in Anakin’s aura.

    Anakin bowed his head. “I think so.” He would do it, he had to; it was just a question of when. What classed as the right time to talk to his Master about his past? Whenever he did it, it would always be awkward and never the correct time… No, he wouldn’t worry about this now. He would give his trust, only when he felt he could cope with reliving his past.

    Yes, that was the best thing he could do. Until he was ready to confront the issues of his childhood, Obi-Wan would remain in the dark, but one day his Master would be enlightened with everything.

    “We are going to probe you through the Force,” instructed Mace. “Please lower your shields for us and do not try to stop us either.”

    Carefully, the few shields that Obi-Wan had taught him to construct around his mind fell away. Drawing on the Force, the young Padawan calmed himself and waited. Instantly he was enveloped in the Force essence of every Jedi Master in the room. Heavily shielded, even a powerful Padawan like him wouldn’t be able to get a sense of what they were thinking or feeling.

    Strands were being pulled from his mind and his dropped shields tested for their strength… He felt violated, the feeling came so sudden that he hadn’t been expecting it and his shields slammed up into place. He gasped as a wave of shock reverberated around the room.

    Padawan!

    Obi-Wan. Of course he would have felt Anakin’s instant retaliation.

    Lower your shields. You have nothing to be afraid of. They are not trying to hurt you.

    Once again, Anakin let his mind open to the Masters, but this time he felt a familiar presence, joining with his to keep him calm. His Master was anchoring him, instructing him to not be afraid, to not feel like it was an intrusion of his deepest thoughts… but rather it was an examination to test his resolve.

    And Anakin listened.

    He felt calm, at peace, anchored by Obi-Wan.

    And then the presences of the other Jedi Masters faded away and Obi-Wan let go of the hold he had on Anakin.

    Opening his eyes, Anakin focused his blue pupils upon the Masters. “I’m sorry that I let my feelings get the better of me.” For he had.

    The Masters didn’t say anything to him directly but he felt a shift in the Force, as if they were accepting his words of apology. He felt distinctly uncomfortable but then the doors to the Council Chambers opened and Obi-Wan walked in, coming to stand a little in front of Anakin as befitting a Master with his Apprentice.

    “We have finished assessing your apprentice,” said Mace Windu, leaning back in his chair, fingers joined together, and his right leg over his left.

    Anakin’s breath hitched as he waited…

    “Done well he has,” continued Yoda. “Impressed we are.”

    Anakin’s eyes widened. Did they really think that?

    Obi-Wan squeezed his shoulder gently, sending a little brush of reassurance to him through the bond.

    “When we first turned down to train him, the main reason was because of the amount of fear we sensed within him. His Force aura was clouded. Now it resounds out to us in a bright light. The cloud has lifted but the greyness is still there. It has retreated somewhat. His fear is so much less then it was, though for a boy of his age, he now has the same amount of fear that you had when you were his age, Obi-Wan,” explained Mace Windu carefully. “The strength of your bond is something we cannot figure out yet. It used to be very weak but now it pulses with the light.”

    “Believe we do, your mother has been a vital part of this strengthening. More concentrated upon your studies you have become since freed she was.” Yoda elaborated. “Wrong we were to think attachments are bad for all Jedi. Remember you must that the Jedi Code should be put before your own attachments. Succeed in doing this, a powerful and respected Jedi you will be.”

    Anakin gritted his teeth, accepting the advice. He had been musing over why his and Obi-Wan’s bond had grown stronger and he had an idea.

    “Something you wish to share?” prompted Yoda, having sensed the change in Anakin’s feelings.

    “I think I know why our bond has grown stronger.” He looked up at Obi-Wan with an apologetic look on his face. “Before mum came back into my life, I didn’t think he liked me. Because I assumed that, I didn’t respect him. I was disobedient since I wanted Qui-Gon as my Master and not him.” He felt ashamed at saying this but it was something that had been making him feel guilty and it had to be said. Obi-Wan had freed his mother. If he didn’t like Anakin, would he even have done that? “I was stupid to think that. I’ve tried harder, to become more focused because of what Obi-Wan has done. My mum taught me better than that. My own personal feelings towards Obi-Wan made me less susceptible to meditation and wanting to learn from him. I might have been unintentionally blocking him from my mind but now, it is different. I trust him. I don’t think I ever did before which might explain why things have changed so quickly.”

    He could sense how sad Obi-Wan felt in the Force that Anakin hadn’t trusted him for a year, had thought that little of him, but he showed no outward sign of it. Guilt flared up in Anakin and he felt bad about bringing this up in front of the whole Council, but the Force had urged him to speak his theory. He felt that it was the right answer.

    Trust was an important aspect of a Master/Padawan bond and Anakin’s lack of trust in his Master hadn’t helped.

    It doesn’t matter, Anakin. I understand.

    Obi-Wan’s voice over the bond was little reassurance to him.

    I don’t blame you.

    “That is a good hypothesis, young Skywalker,” Windu concluded. “It is as good as any we have thought of and seems quite likely.” He didn’t belay the shock that he must have felt upon hearing Anakin’s statement. “The best way to test a hypothesis is to experiment.”

    Obi-Wan shifted beside him and Anakin had a distinct feeling of what was about to come…

    “Send you on a mission, we will,” confirmed Yoda. “A mission that might test your bond. If trust was the issue before, then this mission will test how much trust you have in each other now.”

    Anakin swallowed. Would Obi-Wan’s trust in him be affected by his admission.

    “A training saber you may have, young Skywalker, but serve you well it will on this mission,” said Yoda wisely.

    “What is to be our assignment?” Obi-Wan enquired.

    “We have had a request from Senator Palax who has had several kidnapping attempts made against his family. The Senator is newly joined to the Republic and there is a lot of opposition on his home-world against joining the Republic. His family will be making their way across the galaxy to Coruscant in a standard week. We would like to assign you both to protection duty aboard the Senator’s personal yacht. Just a simple protection assignment. You will depart tomorrow at midday to arrive in time for their departure from the planet, Urian, a mid-rim world,” finished Windu.

    “Yes, Master,” Obi-Wan bowed, Anakin following suit.

    “You are dismissed from this Council,” the more senior Master said.

    Obi-Wan turned away and led Anakin out of the Council Chambers. Neither of them spoke until they got back to their quarters and even then they did not speak about the issue of how much Anakin had trusted Obi-Wan before his mother had been freed.

    And it concerned Anakin greatly that his Master did not want to address his admission.

    - - - - -

    “You’re doing what?” Shmi stood stock still, staring at her son in shock. Had he truly said what she thought he had done?

    “Going on an assignment,” he replied. He had pulled her aside into a side crevice in one of the smaller, less grand corridors of the Temple where she had been working.

    “You said mission first of all,” Shmi pointed out.

    Anakin fidgeted. “I did but it means the same thing!”

    There was something wrong with her son, she could tell. She thought he would confide in her but he wasn’t. She could see that something was bugging him. “Ani,” she started gently, “are you going to tell me what is worrying you?”

    Anakin mused quietly. “I’m not sure I should.”

    “It’s not about your assignment, I think, otherwise you would say.”

    His mother was good; he had to give her that. His connection her gave her knowledge that no mother of a Jedi should have. She had intuition, to sense when something wasn’t perfect. Plus she had a good grasp of ideas as well when it came to discerning the problem.

    “I said something to the Council in front of Master Obi-Wan that I haven’t confided in him about. I think I might have destroyed the trust he has in me,” Anakin admitted.
    “Ani…”

    Anakin shook his head. “Mum, please don’t. I think he needs time but we’re about to depart the Temple and … and he hasn’t said a word to me since we left the Council! How can we operate as a team if he doesn’t trust me?”

    And then it dawned on her as to what exactly Anakin had said that had upset his dedicated Master. “You said you didn’t trust him, didn’t you?”

    Anakin had the decency to look genuinely ashamed at his behaviour.

    “I think he will understand.”

    Anakin lowered his head. “He said as much over the bond but I’m scared he won’t trust me on this mission.”

    “Obi-Wan is a grown man, a Jedi Knight. He won’t let emotions get in the way of his ability to be a good Master to you. He won’t judge you for what you admitted. I think you need to understand that sometimes the shock of hearing those words from a boy you are raising is hard to deal with but when more pressing things come to attention, he will be the Obi-Wan you know.” Shmi grabbed her son by his shoulders and knelt down to his height. “Believe me, Ani, Obi-Wan does trust you and you will know it by the time you have returned to this Temple.”

    Anakin swallowed and pulled his mother into a hug. “I hope you are right.”

    - - - - -

    “I hope you know that I do trust you, Anakin,” said Obi-Wan, into the silence that surrounded them on the star-ship yacht.

    It was just over a week since Master and Apprentice had departed Coruscant and arrived at their destination on a public transport. Now they were aboard the Senator’s personal yacht, keeping an eye on any disturbances that could occur. The family had been very wary of anyone sneaking weapons aboard. Their staff had been hand-picked and deemed trustworthy. Both Obi-Wan and Anakin had suffered scrutiny upon their arrival due to trust issues with the family in trusting anyone who wasn’t picked by them. However, since Obi-Wan had carried with him a personal message from the Senator to his family, they were trusting them, though it was not that difficult to sense the unease through the Force that the family still had for them.

    “You haven’t really shown you still trust me this past week,” replied Anakin bitterly.

    “I know,” said Obi-Wan, leaning against the steel wall. “I haven’t been very Masterly towards you, have I?”

    Anakin grinned slightly. “No, you haven’t.”

    “What you said did hurt. I was shaken but I deserved to not have your trust. I didn’t exactly welcome you with open arms when I first met you did I? I did become resentful of you when Qui-Gon decided to train you without finishing mine first. I felt betrayed by him. I think part of the reason why our bond was so weak was because I didn’t want to train you. I did start to train you because that is what Qui-Gon would have wanted. But,” he sighed and turned to look at Anakin in the eyes, “I regret feeling like that now. We’ve both done damage to one another, but honestly has perhaps helped us most of all. I don’t blame you for wanting to disobey me or for not trusting me. Who would want a newly-knighted Padawan to be his guide to understanding the nature of the Force and learning to serve its will?”

    Anakin could see where Obi-Wan was coming from. Strangely enough, he couldn’t bring himself to feel any bad thoughts towards Obi-Wan for admitting that he had resented him. Now that he was in the position of a Padawan instead of a wannabe-Jedi, he could understand what Obi-Wan had gone through in the days before Qui-Gon had been killed. He had been living with the fact that his Master didn’t want to finish his training… and Anakin had felt that Obi-Wan hadn’t wanted him either.

    The main thing now was that they had discovered common ground. They had both felt like the other didn’t want the other. So they could sympathise with each other.

    A weight seemed to be lifted from both their shoulders and the Force seemed to flow ever stronger between them. Understanding was the key to everything.

    “Master, I’m not going to let you down.”

    “I have a feeling that you won’t either, Padawan,” replied Obi-Wan with a wink.

    - - - - -

    Things had been going well. Their journey to Coruscant nearly complete when the ship shuddered with such Force that Anakin had been thrown out of bed. He had been resting his eyes while Obi-Wan had been patrolling the corridors, senses at high alert for any disturbance. Gathering his training sabre, Anakin leapt out of the door and pounded down the corridors as fast as his legs could take him, skidding around several corners before nearly colliding with Obi-Wan who had been racing in the other direction.

    They both spoke at one.

    “What’s happening?”

    “Pirates!”

    “What?” asked Anakin.

    “Pirates. We’ve been pulled out of hyperspace. We’re caught in a tractor beam and they are preparing to board us.” Obi-Wan didn’t waste any time in filling Anakin in on their current predicament.

    “What can we do?”

    “We can’t forcefully pull away from the vessel,” Obi-Wan admitted, “we’re going to have to confront them when they board. They’re after the family.”

    Anakin nodded, swallowing. His fear at the unknown was quickly being replaced by adrenaline: the thought of actually being involved in something exciting filled him.

    “We’ll stick together if we can. You may have a training sabre but you can still defend the family. They won’t even know it’s a training sabre either so you have an advantage there. You know how to block and you have basic skills. Just leave the pirates to me,” Obi-Wan ordered.

    “Yes, Master.”

    Obi-Wan sprinted off down the corridor towards the bridge where the Senator’s family were waiting in a panic.

    “You didn’t pay attention!”

    Those were the words thrown at Obi-Wan as soon as he stepped onto the bridge by Jeri Palax, the Senator’s wife. Her right hand was holding tightly onto a small girl who resembled her exactly with the dark hair mixing beautifully with her blue skin. The older child stood at his mother’s side, his lips in an angry snarl.

    “We could not predict that they would pull us out of hyperspace,” Obi-Wan retorted. “We’ve made as many precautions as we possibly could, even altering our course before we left the planet to ensure that no one could intercept us. You have a traitor amongst your staff, Mrs Palax.”

    “Our servants would never betray us!” she threw back angrily, not wishing to even consider that possibility.

    “Nevertheless that is what has happened. If you want to survive this you will barricade yourself in a secure compartment while my apprentice and I will seek a peaceful resolution to this matter!”

    “You cannot reason with them,” the boy answered coldly. “They’ve tried to take us too many times.”

    “And I promise you that I will not let that happen,” said Obi-Wan. They were stubborn these people: far too stubborn. The best way to deal with them in a situation like this was to be authoritative otherwise if they saw you as weak they’d be able to run you over and get control.

    “Come Jonah,” his mother grabbed his hand with her free one, “we will do what this Jedi says!”

    Obi-Wan shook his head in despair as he watched the three members of Senator Palax’s family rush from the bridge. He looked to Anakin and gave him a wary smile. “Come on, we’ve got to head the pirates off!”

    - - - - -

    The pirates were already disbanding through the many corridors that lined the inside of the intricately designed star-ship. Obi-Wan and Anakin kept to the shadows as much as possible as they gathered intelligence about the crew.

    “They don’t seem to be the same type of people that have made the other attempts,” mused Obi-Wan, holding his chin in his hand, his eyes roaming through a gap in the crate of boxes they were hiding behind. “So far they haven’t found the family.”

    Anakin peered through the gap. “Aren’t we going to confront them?”

    “I don’t want them to find out about you,” answered Obi-Wan quietly. “Change in plan.”

    “Why?” Was his Master trying to protect him again because he didn’t trust him?

    Obi-Wan rolled his eyes, clearly having heard the thought through the strengthening bond they shared. “Of course I trust you. That’s why I’m going out there and you are not. I’m giving you the most important task.” He unclipped his lightsaber from his belt and pushed it towards his Padawan. “Here, take it, and give me yours.”

    Anakin’s eyes widened. “What?”

    “You are small enough to crawl into the vents and get to places around the ship that I won’t be able to get to on foot considering the amount of boarders there are. I’m going to distract them while you concentrate on getting the family off of this ship. If you can get a message to the Jedi Council then do so. You need a real lightsaber since a training sabre won’t cut through doors and they will make sure each door is locked. They will override the security system so we have no choice.”

    Anakin swallowed. He knew what his Master was going to do. “You’re going to allow yourself to get captured aren’t you?”

    Obi-Wan gave a stiff nod. “Anakin, it needs to be done. I can’t figure out if they know we are here or not. Someone needs to find out how much they knew about this mission and to uncover who sold us out. Sooner or later they will catch us. They won’t take you seriously because to them you are a child and if they know an apprentice is on-board they will realise a Knight is here and they will use you to get to me, but if I’m caught and you are not then they might not suspect there is an apprentice giving you the advantage to do your job. This whole plan hinges on how much is known about us. I’ve heard no word on them hunting down Jedi, just the family so I’m assuming they do not know about us being their protectors.”

    “They might kill you,” Anakin pointed out.

    “That’s a risk I’m willing to take.”

    Anakin handed his Master his training sabre and he clipped Obi-Wan’s sabre onto his own belt. “You better be ok.”

    “Anakin, I will be. I trust you to let you do this. Not many Masters would give their Padawans this responsibility on their first mission,” added Obi-Wan. “And hardly any would even give a barely trained Padawan in combat a real lightsaber to use. Be honoured that I am placing my faith in you.”

    Anakin’s heart swelled and he felt his Master’s trust in him through their bond. The Force pulsed strongly between them that he knew Obi-Wan Kenobi was not lying to him. He did trust him. He trusted him to do the right thing and to act in the best interests of the mission regardless of Obi-Wan’s situation. He trusted him.

    Obi-Wan trusts me.

    “Now,” his Master continued, “be safe and do not worry about me. Just promise me this, if Senator Palax’s family are not safe and I am in trouble, do not put me first.” He grasped Anakin’s lightsaber tightly. “Can you promise me that?”

    Anakin hesitated, his eyes meeting Obi-Wan’s. How could he put the family first? It’s what the Jedi code requires of us. He knew that. He had no choice: his duty would be clear. “I promise, Master.” No matter how much he hated saying those words.

    Obi-Wan smiled his thanks and then ducked out of his hiding place and raced down the corridor in pursuit of the pirates.

    Anakin took a deep breath, turned around in his corner and found a grate. Pulling it open, he crawled inside and closed it behind him.

    - - - - -

    Following at a distance, Obi-Wan carefully hid the sound of his footsteps with the Force, waiting for the right opportunity to reveal himself. He could sense Anakin in the ducts and moving quickly away. Gritting his teeth he moved forward. The pirates – he was sure they were pirates – were moving in the direction of where the Senator’s family should have hidden themselves. He had to distract them.

    Igniting the training sabre, he used the Force to throw the pirates in front of him forwards, sending them face-first onto the metal floor.

    Cursing loudly they scrambled to their feet, reaching for their blasters as Obi-Wan advanced, lightsaber held aloft in front of him, diagonally across his body.

    “JEDI!”

    “Torvo never said there was a Jedi aboard!”

    Obi-Wan grimaced. So they didn’t know. Whoever had informed the pirates of the intended route had not known of the Jedi presence. That meant Anakin would be safe.
    He faced three hard-faced humans who fired their blasters at the same time. He blocked each shot sending it back towards them. All three ducked, however one wasn’t quick enough and fell as the shot ripped through their right shoulder.

    Obi-Wan moved forward. “Why don’t you tell me who you are working for and maybe I will let you leave?”

    The answer was blaster-fire and Obi-Wan blocked once more.

    His senses tingled and he whirled, managing to block as a bolt of red energy flew toward him from a group of pirates who were racing up behind him. But he had left his back open to the two pirates he had been pursuing. It was intentional on his part.

    Surrounded as he was, Obi-Wan adopted a defensive posture, sweeping his eyes around, watching for the next attack, but none of them seemed inclined to.

    A sour-faced pirate stepped forward. “I thought you would appear if you knew we weren’t aware of you,” he grinned nastily. “My informant had told me that a Jedi was involved and it’s worked out well since I have been looking for a Jedi for a while. You are exactly what we need.”

    Obi-Wan’s eyes turned to slits, processing the new information that he had been tricked. If they had known he was on-board were they aware of Anakin? They had referred to ‘a Jedi’ being involved so perhaps Anakin’s presence was not known. Obi-Wan had to settle with believing he still had the advantage. “You will find I’m not so easy to contain.”

    The pirate chuckled. “I know how to deal with Jedi.”

    Obi-Wan twisted to the side as one of the pirates behind him lunged forward. Carefully so that his training sabre would not hit the pirate (for if it did, it would give the game away that he was not in possession of a real weapon), Obi-Wan blocked another two shots with the sabre placed behind him before a Trandoshan leapt down the corridor and collided with him.

    It’s hot and sticky breath made him gag.

    The tackle sent him tumbling and his fingers lost their grip on the training saber and the light distinguished as it was sent rolling down the corridor. He was crushed to the metal grating, the Trandoshan holding him down by his wrists.

    Obi-Wan kicked out but the lizard was strong and wrestled with him until someone lashed out, landing a booted foot to the side of his head.

    Stars appeared in his eyes and Obi-Wan knew the game was up. At least they wanted him alive. His gamble had worked. Anakin was safe and the pirates were none the wiser to his presence.

    “Do you wish to rethink your belief that I do not know how to contain a Jedi?” asked the pirate, who was now kneeling down beside the pinned-down Jedi.

    Obi-Wan glared. “You caught me at a disadvantage. The element of surprise, especially when distracted, can be all the advantage you need.” That was a lie for Obi-Wan had sensed the Trandoshan waiting in the shadows further down the corridor. He had known he would leap for him, he had just decided to be weak, letting the pirates believe that they did have a weak Jedi that they could easily control.

    Hauled to his knees, Obi-Wan was forced to look at the pirate in the eyes. He didn’t blink, intending to force his captor to feel intimidated.
    It didn’t affect him or if it did he didn’t let it show.

    “Nussak, do it.”

    Obi-Wan stiffened as the Trandoshan’s clawed hand grasped him by the throat and lifted his chin up, the other arm wrapped tight around his chest, pressing his body against the Trandoshan’s. Struggling against the grip he watched as the human pirate reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a liquid held in a bottle. Next he pulled out a syringe with a very long and pointy needle and filled it with the liquid.

    “This is how I deal with Jedi,” the pirate hissed. “And just before I stab you, perhaps you’d like to know we have the Senator’s family in our possession. Once we’ve dealt with them on behalf of our client, we will then deal with you.”

    The last thing Obi-Wan felt was the needle sliding into his neck and the drug pumping into his system. Its affect was immediate. He slumped in his captor’s grip, completely unconscious.

    - - - - -

    Crawling through the ventilation ducts proved to be Anakin’s saviour as he remained undetected by the boarders who were spaced out in every corridor of the star-ship and occupying every room. His Master’s lightsaber was clipped to his belt. He kept his breathing low as he moved slowly and carefully through the small shafts. He had to find Obi-Wan. Had to save the family…

    A simple protection mission had led to a rescue mission.

    Hot and stuffy in the vents did not make his job easy. In fact Anakin felt tired due to the heat. They must suspect I’m still around… He wasn’t even certain that the pirates were aware of him, did they even know Jedi were aboard yet? Anakin hoped not, it would give him the element of surprise he needed to complete his mission. Thinking that it was a possibility that they knew was ensuring he was being extra careful so he wasn’t discovered.

    He came to an intersection in the vents and decided to go to the right and began to move forward, reaching into the Force and searching for his Master’s presence, just to make sure he could still feel him. It was a struggle to find him, his presence was very dim. The bright light that characterised his place in the Force did not shine out to him.

    Master? He was worried. Very worried by this turn of events. Why couldn’t he reach him?

    He halted in the vents, his ears reaching out as he heard the voice of one of the pirates below him. He couldn’t discern most of the words but did recognise the word ‘Jedi’. Swallowing and calming his nerves with a burst of Force energy, Anakin hurried forward quietly as possible, following the sound of the voices.

    He heard the sound of a door sliding open and made a turn to the left when he could before stopping his progress by an open vent shaft. Peering through the cracks he could see two of the pirates: one a sour-faced human, the other a Trandoshan, a large, bipedal, reptilian humanoid with yellowing skin, hovering over a semi-conscious Obi-Wan, who was bound in tight chains wrapped around his body.

    “He’s waking up. He fights the drugs off too fast,” the Trandoshan hissed, his tongue flickering out between his teeth. “We should just kill him.”

    “No Nussak, he’s worth a lot to us. He stay’s alive.”

    Nussak growled threateningly in his throat. “He’s still a Jedi, Kratig.”

    “Do you even care how much he would be worth on the market?” replied Kratig angrily.

    Market? What do they mean by that?

    “No one would buy a Jedi! They are too unpredictable! You can’t control them!”

    “No!” Anakin whispered. The pirates weren’t just ransoming the crew off to the Republic for a large wad of cash but they were also going to sell Obi-Wan on the market and everyone who had lived a life of captivity knew exactly what market they were talking about. They were slavers and they had found a person who they felt would earn them more the average price just because of his status as a Jedi. He’ll be a slave! He couldn’t let that happen, he just couldn’t.

    Trying to ignore the rush of anger that spread up his spine and into his heart, Anakin leaned forward further, pressing his nose to the grate, his eyes searching for a way that he could save his captive Master.

    Kratig was kneeling beside the Jedi Knight. Holding the man by his hair he leaned his throat back, exposing the veins of Obi-Wan’s neck.

    Anakin saw Obi-Wan’s eyes flicker open and his lips start to move but he was powerless to stop the pirate from stabbing his Master with a syringe and knocking him out-cold once more.

    Harshly throwing the Jedi back against the wall, and not caring that his skull smashed directly against the durasteel, Kratig proceeded out the door. “Come Nussak. We have a ransom to receive and a sale to prepare for.”

    The two pirates exited the room that doubled as Obi-Wan’s cell. Anakin wanted to open up the duct and rescue his Master but he knew if he did the chances of discovery were high. There must be security cameras inside the cell for them to know when the drugs were wearing off.

    That must be why I can’t reach him in the Force, he reasoned, the drugs are stopping me.

    It was then that the realisation hit him. I’m alone. I’m a twelve-year-old Padawan on my first mission and I’m the only one still free to be able to do anything.

    And that scared him.

    Oh, very much so.

    And this time Anakin couldn’t simply release his fear into the Force. He didn’t know what to do. He was completely and utterly alone.

    To be continued...

    And so Anakin is forced to confront his past... Chapter 8 will be posted on Sunday.
  20. Jedi_Liz Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2000
    star 6
    You WOULD leave us on a cliffhanger, wouldn't you....but at least we get another post tomorrow
  21. hlc88 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 4
    @Jedi_Liz I do like my cliffhangers, admittedly... :eek:

    -----

    Eight

    They were on a break when the Galactic News interrupted their viewing of the soap opera due to an urgent bulletin. Shmi and her friends were barely concentrating on the programme, preferring to chat and laugh amongst themselves, but the GN anchor caught their attention and silence fell between them as they returned their concentration to the screen.

    Mari raised the volume as a red skinned humanoid with white shining horns coming out of the top of his head appeared on the screen. The Devaronian news reader was one of the most respected journalists on Coruscant – it was always worth listening to him.

    “We interrupt this programme with an urgent report. The honourable Senator of Urian, Senator Palax, has been ordered to step down his seat in the Senate and to pull Urian out of the Republic. We have received a transmission from a pirate group known as Heart of Fear – sounds corny doesn’t it? – explaining that if he does not accede to their demands they will kill his family in a live feed. En-route to Coruscant, their star-ship has been boarded. Senator Palax is married with two children, all three of whom he dotes upon. Supreme Chancellor Palpatine and Senator Palax have yet to release a statement regarding these very public events.”

    Shmi leaned forward in her seat, her eyes wide in shock. “That’s the Senator whose family Ani and Obi-Wan were sent to escort here.” Butterflies were flying in her stomach. Pirates were on-board the ship her son was on. Was he ok? Was he hurt? Was he still alive even?

    “Shmi, it will be okay,” soothed Mari, rubbing her friend’s back to release the tension that had suddenly built up with that news report.

    She turned a fearful face towards her friend. “Do you really believe so?”

    Mari nodded her curly brown head. “They haven’t mentioned Jedi, have they? If they had subdued or killed Jedi, the pirates would have made it known to give the Republic something to shake about. The chances are that they do not even know of their presence.”

    It was carefully applied logic that Shmi could not argue with.

    But it didn’t stop her worrying about her son’s safety.

    She shook off Mari’s hand and got to her feet. “I think it is best if I keep myself busy,” she admitted before rushing out of the staff room and hurrying back to work. Occupancy was the ideal thing to get herself through this. After all, it had worked when Anakin had left Tatooine. Working had been her only release from worry. She prayed that it would work here too.

    - - - - -

    His head hurt and he ached everywhere. Fuzziness was a key factor with his current condition. The amount of drugs racing through his system, fighting to keep him unconscious was preventing his ability to save himself. Obi-Wan knew he had been drugged a second time but he could barely remember it. He’d just been stirring when they had injected him once again.

    As awareness came back to him he realised he was bound with tight chains, wrapping around his body like a blanket. His wrists and ankles were secured with thick rope. He tried to reach out with the Force but the drugs were neutralising his ability to tap into the flow. He couldn’t even detect his bond with Anakin, but he didn’t worry about that. He was almost certain the pirates would make it known if they had caught or even killed his apprentice.

    His grogginess began to evaporate and he managed to sit himself up against the wall, breathing in deeply, calming himself, trying to fight through the block that had been used on him to supress his connection to the Force.

    “That block will be in place for another week before it disappears.”

    Obi-Wan’s eyes flew open. He hadn’t even heard the door open or the pirate entering his small cell. His lips thinned in contempt of his captor.

    “Since you are fighting off the drug that should keep you unconscious very quickly, it is probably better I do not keep on stabbing you unnecessarily. I told you I knew how to hold a Jedi. You can’t move and you can’t free yourself. It’s just you on your own.” The pirate had chosen to gloat.

    Oh, he will regret that.

    “You have failed to protect people you have sworn to keep safe. You’re quite weak for a Jedi. Easily detained and easy to hold captive. You’ll be worth quite a good price.”

    “Price?” Obi-Wan’s curiosity rose. He didn’t like the sound of that at all.

    A cruel grin crossed the face of the pirate. Dirty teeth glinted in the little light of the room. His hair was loose around his shoulders and he had the palm of his right hand resting on his hip, of which a holster lay attached. “We’re not just pirates, we are slavers to. We are experts in receiving a tidy profit for our slaves. It’s a family business. No one has enslaved a Jedi before. You will be the first.”

    “You may be able to keep me detained for now,” Obi-Wan said coldly, “but don’t bet on your clients being able to hold me. Once I regain my connection to the Force I will fight back. You have my word on that.”

    The pirate laughed. “By the time that happens I will be far away from you and a lot richer then I am now too.”

    Obi-Wan just glared. At least he had someone to believe in. At least his secret was still intact.

    The pirate retreated, still believing the misguided notion that he had won.

    Closing his eyes, Obi-Wan sought out for the bond once again. Failed. One thing was certain, the drug they had used to cloud his perceptions of the Force was working too well. Nevertheless he would keep trying. Reaching Anakin was imperative, especially if he could impart the knowledge he now had to him. He didn’t wish for his Padawan to lose control because of the presence of slavers on the mission, and he was worried that Anakin would react badly to that fact if suddenly thrown that little nugget of information.

    Please Padawan just concentrate on the mission…

    - - - - -

    Anakin had forced himself to continue.

    He had left his Master chained in a room, threatened with the fate of slavery.

    He hated it.

    He wanted to go back and free Obi-Wan.

    But he couldn’t.

    Not yet anyway.

    Not until he had secured the freedom of the Senator’s family. That was important.

    First he had to find them and he didn’t know where to look.

    So, Anakin Skywalker just crawled through the ventilation system, pausing every few meters to listen out for any noise and to peer through the gratings when he could.

    He was still hot, still sweating. If it wasn’t the urgency to keep himself hidden he would have leapt out of the ducts hours ago.

    The only thing that kept him going was the resolve he had made to rescue the family and to free Obi-Wan. He knew it wouldn’t be easy. His Master was counting on him however.

    Steeling himself Anakin continued to crawl through the vents, extended his awareness in the Force. He could feel the cold presences of the pirates, the rather diluted presence of his Master and the scared presences of what he assumed were the family. Focusing on the three scared presences, Anakin followed his instincts, crawling as quickly as he could through the stuffy vents towards the location of the family.

    Eventually he came to a port where he could peek through the holes and see what was happening.

    The family were on the bridge, along with the rest of the pirate crew which numbered twenty.

    Anakin groaned. This was not going to be easy.

    What would Obi-Wan do in his position?

    He’d wait. Assess the situation before he acted.

    He didn’t know how long he’d have to wait so Anakin made himself as comfortable as he could be in the small space, keeping his eyes focused on the movements below him, intent on gathering as much intelligence as he could before he’d have to act.

    - - - - -

    Everything was being played out on the holo-net. The pirates were running a continuous live-feed to the citizens of the Republic. Every Jedi in the Temple were aware of the circumstances and Shmi was getting sympathising looks from her co-workers whenever a Jedi walked past, whispering to their colleague about her. They all were aware that Anakin Skywalker was on-board that ship.

    The Jedi Council had been summoned to the Supreme Chancellor’s Office however nothing had been said by the pirates yet of Jedi involvement but it had been leaked to the network that a Jedi team had been assigned to protection duty though their fate was unknown.

    Nearly a day had gone by since the news had leaked and Shmi had not left the Temple. She should have gone hours ago but being busy would keep her mind less inclined to think about her son. In respect for her decision to carry on working on minor jobs throughout the Temple, the rest of Shmi’s assigned team stayed with her, as a gesture of support. No one questioned why they were still there; they all seemed to respect their decision.

    But it was when word reached them that the pirates had announced they were holding a Jedi captive that Shmi had to abandon her work and rush to the nearest holo-screen, to find out if it was her son.

    With Mari sitting next to her, Shmi tentatively flicked the holo-screen onto the news channel and watched with bated breath.

    - - - - -

    Normally pirates did not make demands over a galactic feed ensuring that the vast citizens of the Republic were aware of the inner intricacy involved in gaining compliance from a target but Kratig had been ordered to do so. His success at this job meant that he could retire wealthy and live the rest of his life in peace. The ‘ransom’ he had spoken of to his Jedi prisoner was rather the handsome fee he would receive from his employer once this job was completed and would go a long way towards his retirement fund. He liked to think of it as a ransom, especially when it involved political leaders.

    He was perfectly willing to break all the rules that he had lived on for many years for the sake of a comfortable retirement. Not that his crew knew why of course.

    The response from the Chancellor’s office had been that they would not deal with pirates and that if the pirates thought they had control of the situation then they were surely wrong. It had been then that Kratig had decided to reveal that the Jedi they had so pathetically sent to protect the Senator’s family had failed and they had paraded their Jedi captive on the Galactic Network.

    He had even held the lightsaber up as proof, threatening the Jedi’s life. He had done his research on this one. The contact that had set him up on this mission had given him all the information he needed on this particular Jedi. The Republic and the Jedi Council would not risk his life. He was sure of that.

    He would get the response he required: the Senator would back down from joining the Republic and his family would be released. Kratig would not release the Jedi. Revealing him had probably been a mistake but it was another leverage to use against the Senator but politicians only cared about themselves; the Jedi would mean nothing to him – revealing him had been only the means to an end: a warning that their protectors had failed, to show the public that the Jedi were not strong enough to even protect three people. Kratig was certain that he’d still be able to keep hold of the Jedi regardless.

    Looking at the time, Kratig decided he had to act. The deadline he had set for the Senator was up. Activating the live holo-feed again, he smartened himself up and pulled the young daughter of the Senator towards him, laying a hand on her shoulder, while with the other used a blaster to point at the girl’s head.

    The small girl started to cry but he held her tightly, pressing the tip of the blaster to the side of her head.

    “I will tell you now, Senator Palax, your daughter will die if you do not submit to our demands. Pull out from the Republic and your family will live to see you again. You thought that we were unaware of the Jedi on-board, but we knew. It was just a matter of rooting him out by making him believe that we did not know of his presence. There is no one to save your family apart from you. No Jedi, nothing. Do you wish for the people you love the most to die because of a decision you feel you cannot make? Your people demand to not be aligned with the Republic and you are defying them. Make your choice or I will kill your daughter. I will be waiting.”

    Kratig shut off the open communications and threw the girl to the floor. She scrambled to her mother’s arms and sobbed even harder than before. If that threat wouldn’t force the Senator to acquiesce to their demands then nothing would. Kratig did not like the idea of killing a child but his instructions were clear. If the Senator refused then he would do his duty.

    Relishing the opportunity to talk to his other prized possession, Kratig ordered for the Jedi to be brought to the bridge. Minutes later, two of his men, Hade and Joman, arrived, dragging the Jedi along, and dumped him in the centre of the bridge.

    Kratig knelt down to his prisoner and smiled widely. He couldn’t resist gloating. Why he felt he had to bring him here he didn’t know. He could have easily left the bridge to go to his cell to gloat, but no, he had to be here, just in case the Senator returned his broadcast.

    “Still believe that I cannot lose, Jedi?” he asked.

    His captive continued to glare. “Depends, doesn’t it, on your point of view.”

    “You think you’ve won, don’t you?” Kratig was stunned.

    His captive denied him an answer.

    “What makes you think that?” He was getting suspicious. “I have you. I have your lightsaber. I have the family at my mercy. What makes you think you can still win?” He lashed out, kicking the Jedi in the stomach, eliciting a wince of pain from him.

    But the Jedi still refused to answer.

    Kratig felt anger brewing in him. He was letting this weakened being get to him by his attitude and it scared him. It worried him he was losing control of his emotions. He had to be cool to keep his head in this situation. He gritted his teeth and grabbed the Jedi’s chin to make sure he looked directly at him as he spoke. “Let’s see how long your defiance lasts once you’ve learnt what it does to you as a piece of property! Perhaps then you will loosen your tongue!” he spat.

    The Jedi smirked.

    Kratig let the Jedi’s head drop hard to the metal grating. “Gag him and make sure he can’t interfere while I demonstrate to Senator Palax exactly what his refusal means.” He didn’t care that he was going against his own demands. He wanted this over with.

    Marching over to the little girl once more, he dragged her in front of the holo-cam, activated it to broadcast and started to speak.

    - - - - -

    Anakin had seen everything that he needed to see.

    All the players were in the same room.

    If he didn’t act now death would reign.

    Reaching into the current of the Force, he grasped it and sent soothing waves of energy crashing through his body. He opened his eyes and watched as Kratig hauled the little girl in front of the camera, once again placing a blaster against her head. He had barely started speaking when the Force probed him, telling Anakin that it was time.

    Calmness and serenity passed through him and he prepared himself, carefully opening the metal grating, and with one last thought of his mother, hoping that he would see her again, Anakin dropped down from the overhead ducts, landing on the balls of his feet and rising steadily from the crouch position. His right hand was clenched tightly around the hilt of his Master’s lightsaber. “Killing them live on air wouldn’t be a good idea,” he said boldly. He ignited the shining blue blade and placed it defensively diagonally across his body.

    Kratig recovered from his shock quite quickly at Anakin’s emergence. “I wasn’t expecting that, boy, but I’m not stupid.”

    “Really?” Anakin didn’t feel brave enough to be doing this; he had to exude a sense of control. Inside he was trembling as he faced this pirate down: the pirate that intended to sell his Master into slavery.

    Kratig’s lips turned up and his eyes glinted darkly. “I have your Master in my possession. You’re not going to risk his life.” He smirked, nodding towards the corner of the room where Obi-Wan was laying on the floor, still bound but this time a gag was in his mouth preventing him from even speaking a word.

    The look Obi-Wan was giving Kratig was one of victory though.

    Throwing the little girl to the ground, the pirate reached inside his jacket pocket, pulling out the training saber. “Unlike you, boy, I have a real lightsaber, capable of doing great harm. I know Jedi apprentices do not have real weapons until they reach the age of thirteen. You are far too young to be given the responsibility of one. I was told this information for I did know there was a Jedi on-board. I did wonder why I was given the tid-bit of information regarding the weapons policy the Jedi have with their apprentices. Now I know. You were here all along.”

    The man had gall to assume what he had but his other admission stunned Anakin. The pirate had known at least that Obi-Wan was on-board and had made them believe he didn’t. But he was assuming what Anakin’s age was, believing him too young to wield a live weapon in the Jedi’s eyes, which he was by only a few months yet Obi-Wan had trusted him with his own. Anakin felt certain about what was going to happen next.

    The Senator hadn’t crumpled to their demands and the pirate was going to execute his family in a live broadcast to the news network. And instead of using a blaster as he had intended, Anakin was sure they were going to use a lightsaber to prove how weak the Jedi were. But they would fail because they assumed that Anakin was too young for a real blade. And that Obi-Wan was stupid to not consider the possibility that he had intended to be captured in the first place.

    Kratig ignited the training sabre and raised it above his head. “You cannot stop me, Jedi.” He brought the blade down, hard.

    The mother screamed and Anakin leapt forward.

    Kratig’s blade sliced along the girl’s chest, a killing blow if the weapon he held had been a real lightsaber. All it did was burn the girl’s clothes and leave a faint burn mark on her clothing, giving her a little shock as it grazed her skin.

    “What?” Kratig lifted the blade up, his eyes looking to Anakin and then to Obi-Wan. “No…”

    “Figured it out yet?” Anakin demanded, holding his own blade in front of him.

    Kratig fumbled with the weapon’s hilt, staring at it. Then he turned his gaze back towards Anakin. “Your Master is smarter than I thought. He let himself be captured, didn’t he? He gave you his lightsaber because he guessed that he could not hide from us whereas you could.” His dark eyes swivelled towards Obi-Wan. “Oh you are very good, Jedi, but your little apprentice cannot save them all. He is but one Jedi against a roomful of armed pirates.”

    A hand signal and suddenly the other pirates present in the room all swivelled their blasters to point at the mother, her son and her daughter. Kratig walked over to Obi-Wan, knelt down and pressed his blaster to his head. “You can’t save them all,” he repeated.

    Anakin swallowed. Kratig was right. He couldn’t. Someone would die regardless of what he did. If he chose to save his Master his decision would ensure the death of the Senator’s family, unless he intervened and did what was asked of him. But if Anakin chose to save the family – and if he was quick enough he’d be able to save all three – Obi-Wan would die.

    The man that had freed his mother would die.

    Fear coursed through him.

    Obi-Wan was looking at him, silently telling him through his eyes that if Anakin had to choose, he had to save the family. There wasn’t an option in saving him.

    “What will it be boy?” Kratig grated again. “Or will Senator Palax stand down?”

    Anakin was well aware that everything that was going on here was being broadcast on the holo-net. He would be judged for his actions next. He was twelve years old and he was responsible for this decision. Fear thudded in his chest and he felt the weight of what he had to do sit upon his shoulders.

    The family or Obi-Wan?

    His heart cried for his Master but his duty ordered him to save the family.

    This was a test.

    The Force flew around him, comforting him in its embrace.

    And Anakin knew what he had to do.

    Kratig seemed to guess even before he acted, a tight smile thinning into an evil grin.

    Flooding his entire being with the Force, sinking deep into its depths, Anakin grasped it with his mind. Focusing on his objective while he leapt towards the family, he sent the power he held towards the blaster Kratig held and nudged the setting an instant before he fired.

    Battling away the blaster shots that had headed straight for the Senator’s family as soon as he’d leapt forwards, Anakin positioned himself defensively in front of the family. With three wide swings from his position, he destroyed eight of the blasters that had been trained on the family, while using the Force to pull the other twelve weapons of the other pirates to him.

    The blasters clattered at his feet with a loud crash.

    Heart hammering in his chest he turned towards Kratig, the only pirate left with a weapon in his hand, standing over the limp form of Obi-Wan. There wasn’t a blaster bolt through the side of his head. Anakin breathed a sigh of relief.

    His Master was merely stunned. His manipulation of the Force, something that he had only read about being done in his studies, had enabled him to switch the blaster’s setting from full power to stun, thereby saving Obi-Wan’s life.

    Before Kratig could even figure out what Anakin had done, he yanked the blaster from his hand and threw it down onto the pile around his feet.

    “Now,” Anakin began, directing his full attention on Kratig, “where were we?”

    - - - - -

    “Is he dead?” Shmi asked slowly.

    She had seen everything that had transpired. The network the pirates had had the live-feed to did have the choice not to run it but they had been. She had seen her son save the lives of innocent citizens of the Republic over the life of his Master.

    But something was not right.

    Her son stood confident, waiting for the pirate leader’s decision. He acted like a Jedi should. He didn’t seem upset that he had chosen Obi-Wan to die. Something was amiss…

    “I think he’s stunned,” said Charis, a yellow-skinned Twi’lek, squinting at the screen that had briefly shown Kratig standing by Kenobi’s limp form. “Your son must have done something.”

    Shmi nodded. She was sure Obi-Wan was still alive. He has to be otherwise who will train Ani?

    - - - - -

    “You’ve failed, Kratig. I’m giving you the option of surrender.” Anakin pointed the lightsaber at the pirate. “You don’t have any weapons!”

    Kratig smiled. “I always think ahead, Jedi.” He placed a hand behind him, resting it on the console. He moved aside so that Anakin could see where his hand was hovering. “If I press this button then I will begin the detonation sequence, unless of course you stand down or the Senator ceases negotiating with the Republic.”

    Anakin gritted his teeth. “You could be lying.”

    “I could be but do you dare risk that?”

    Anakin halted. What should he do? His Master was still unconscious. He probably wouldn’t wake up for hours: a stun bolt to the head would knock him out for a lot longer then a normal bolt would do to any other part of the body.

    Once again he felt the weight of a tough decision land on his shoulders. Trust. It all boiled down to it. Obi-Wan trusted him to make the right choice. And the right choice would be to put the family first but Kratig had the advantage, especially if he was being honest with Anakin. But he couldn’t let this pirate escape.

    And then another voice came over the com-unit, one that Anakin realised before he even said his name was Senator Palax. Only he could have the authority to make the decision Anakin couldn’t.

    “This is Senator Palax, I will not stand down. We will be joining the Republic. It is the only way to save my people from the horrible existence they have lived with for years.”

    “So be it, Senator, then your family will die!” Kratig whirled, stabbing his hand down against the console. A smooth female voice echoed throughout the ship indicating that the ship had seven minutes till self-destruction.

    Anakin leapt forwards, but Kratig moved, grabbing Obi-Wan as he did so. “NO!”

    “I suggest you don’t move any further, boy!” warned Kratig. In his hand, he now had a small blaster.

    Where did he get that from? Anakin didn’t have time to wonder where he had.

    “You may be able to kill me in the seconds after I’ve killed your Master, but you will still lose.”

    No, no, no this can’t be happening!

    The countdown was continuing: six minutes and thirty-three seconds…

    Anakin swallowed. Once again, another choice was being thrust upon him. Why was he suddenly getting all these choices? Why couldn’t things ever be simple?

    Kratig was dragging Obi-Wan’s limp form away already knowing he had won. “Remember this, boy, your Master lives only because he is useful to me. But I am not against killing him because either way you lose.”

    Anakin felt tears rolling down his cheeks. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I can’t. He started to run down the corridor towards Kratig.

    Do not put me first.

    Anakin halted. Obi-Wan’s voice. He had said that to him before they had split up. He was not doing his duty as a Jedi. Angry and frustrated that if Obi-Wan knew he was abandoning his duty for the love he had for his Master, he would be disappointed in him. And so Anakin ran back towards the Senator’s family.

    Rushing to the console where Kratig had activated the self-destruct mechanism, he slashed it with his lightsaber, opening it up to see a world of wires of varies colours and switches.

    “What are you doing?” the mother screamed. “We have to get out of here!”

    Anakin didn’t answer. He knew machines and he had the Force. He could do this. He could stop the self-destruct and he could save Obi-Wan too. The Force flowed through him, his hands running over the wires and switches and then reaching deep inside the console, he found what he was looking for.

    Delicately holding the hilt of his Master’s blade to the five wires he had now pulled out – still intact – from the console, he slashed them with his lightsaber, swallowing the lump in his throat as he did so.

    “Four minutes and –” the woman counting down stopped.

    Without waiting to hear the rest of what the woman said, Anakin rushed from the control room, yelling over his shoulder: “Stay here! I’ll be right back!” The Force told him that the ship was in no danger of blowing up now that he had disabled the mechanism that had been hotwired into the main ships engines.

    Plunging into the Force, Anakin used what limited control he had to boost his speed, heading towards the docking arm where the pirates had boarded from their own ship. Obi-Wan’s dead weight would prove problematic for Kratig, unless he had some of his cronies help lift him. But they were mostly weapon-less: before fleeing they had not retrieved their weapons which Anakin had Force-grabbed from them.

    He could do this!

    Turning a corner at a fast pace, Anakin saw Kratig and another humanoid pull Obi-Wan into the docking tube. He was still unconscious as Anakin expected him to be.

    “KRATIG!” he yelled. He leapt into the docking tube and pointed the lightsaber to the ceiling. “Let him go!”

    Kratig saw his meaning and ceased pulling his prisoner. “You really care for him don’t you, Jedi? You chose to save him over your duty?” he nudged Obi-Wan with his foot.

    “Who says I haven’t done my duty already?” Anakin snarled in return.

    “You are a barely trained boy,” retorted Kratig.

    “If you know so much about Jedi then you should know that a Knight doesn’t usually take a Padawan younger then thirteen. I was nine when I became Master Obi-Wan’s Padawan. I am far more capable then you think!” He didn’t need to know that Anakin had only joined the order at nine years old either. “Are you sure you want to risk it?”

    “If I release him you’ll let me go free?” the pirate enquired.

    “If that is what it takes for me to get my Master back then yes,” said Anakin. “You can choose either life or death.” He didn’t even know if he’d have the courage to destroy the docking tube but he was using the Force to push upon how much he meant to do it, even if he truly doubted his ability to do so. Force persuasion could be a powerful ally. He was fairly certain if pushed to it then he wouldn’t be able to carry through with his threat.

    “Kratig, I said this Jedi was worth more trouble than he was worth. Just let him go and then we can leave!” the other pirate said who was still half-holding Obi-Wan. “There will always be other Jedi!”

    “That is true,” Kratig acknowledged. “I’d rather live then die, especially when there will always be other opportunities.” He grinned. “You are a formidable opponent, boy, I did underestimate you. You are clearly more powerful than I expected of a trainee your age. But don’t think you’ve seen the last of me. I will be back. And I will get what I want, one way or another.”

    The accompanying pirate released Obi-Wan onto the docking tube floor and backed away. Anakin rushed forward and watched as the two pirates retreated. Quickly he levitated Obi-Wan’s limp form back inside the transport and closed the docking tube, even as Kratig disengaged and started to fly away.

    With one swish of his lightsaber, the chains binding Obi-Wan fell away, clattering noisily to the floor. Anakin pulled the gag out of his mouth before taking his Master back to the control room where the family waited for him.

    He saw that the camera feed was still running and he stepped in front of it, clearing his throat before speaking. “Everything’s alright now, I think.”

    - - - - -

    Darkness seemed to cloud his vision and he struggled to pull himself from the brink. He could feel a bright spark in his mind react to his awareness and felt the presence of his Padawan reach into his mind. Their connection was instant.

    Master?

    Anakin was speaking to him over their bond.

    Ani?

    You’re okay!

    Shouldn’t I be dead? He was trying to wake up but his eyes felt too heavy.

    No, I made sure they stunned you instead.

    You did what?

    I manipulated the blaster’s setting with the Force. And don’t worry, the Senator has been reunited with his family now.

    And the pirates?

    A hint of regret came over the bond. They got away, Master, but the Republic caught up with them a few hours ago. They’re all in custody.

    Obi-Wan slowly opened his eyes and saw Anakin sitting in a chair beside his bed in the healer’s wing of the Jedi Temple. The boy looked calm but sad. “Anakin?” he rasped. His throat was very dry and his head pounded.

    “Careful, Master,” Anakin lifted a glass to Obi-Wan’s lips who drank greedily, “you got stunned in the head. I chose you. I chose to let them go if they returned you.”

    “Returned me?” Now he felt even more confused.

    Anakin lowered his gaze and couldn’t meet his Master’s face. “They were going to sell you.”

    “Sell me?” And then he remembered through the haze of fog in his mind. “Ah. And that struck a chord with you, didn’t it?”

    Anakin nodded. “I made a deal with them that if they let you go they could leave.”

    Ah. And that was the crux of it. Anakin felt he had failed because he had been acting on his attachment to his Master.

    Obi-Wan tried to work his tongue. He still felt sloppish and lazy. He knew he could probably close his eyes and sleep again. “You said they were in custody. So what’s the problem?”

    “I let my attachment guide my feelings. I didn’t want to lose you,” explained Anakin. “I didn’t even know if the Republic had received the signal I had sent out. The live-transmission was untraceable otherwise they’d have dispatched other Jedi here. How did I know that they’d pick up Kratig and his crew before they got away? I didn’t.”

    “How did you send a signal out?” asked Obi-Wan, still feeling quite confused. What had he missed?

    “When I was trying to disable the self-destruct sequence, I fiddled with a few of the other wirings fixing a signal that they’d be able to pick up on,” said Anakin.

    “Padawan, I think you’d better start from the beginning…”

    And so Anakin did.

    By the time the boy had finished, Obi-Wan was more wide-awake and had managed to sit himself up in bed. The pirates had been picked up by the Republic, their ship disabled before they had got the chance to escape into hyperspace. Anakin’s actions had ensured a successful mission. Senator Palax’s family had been brought to Coruscant and he had signed the treaty for Urian to join the Republic; the pirates were awaiting trial for their crimes. By all accounts, Anakin had done exactly what he needed to.

    “Anakin,” Obi-Wan started, “you did well. Despite your feelings you put me last. I don’t think the Council would have been very happy if you hadn’t made that deal. You believe the threat of me being sold into slavery was a participating factor in what you did. You’ve been told that attachment is bad for a Jedi, yet you have been allowed an attachment to your mother. You didn’t put me first, I am very proud of how you acted.” He bit his lip wondering if he should bring up the topic; wondered if his Padawan would confide in him. “I do think we need to talk about your past.”

    Anakin nodded. “I do too. It’s just finding the right words to say.” He sounded so adult as if this experience had changed him. He sighed and sat back, closing his eyes.

    Obi-Wan could sense his Padawan (just barely, since the drugs were still affecting his connection to the Force) reaching out to the calming influences of the current, seeking reassurance and guidance from it.

    “Master, being a slave is terrible. You’re not treated as a person. You’re an animal to them, a piece of property they can own and tell you what to do. They have the power to decide whether you live or die. Watto implanted beacons in my mum and I so that if we ever escaped, it would kill us. We were beaten by some of our owners. Watto was the third owner I had. I barely remember being with Gardulla the Hutt. We didn’t have our own quarters until we were sold to Watto. It’s just work all day and some of the night if we didn’t fill our quota. Tatooine is a rough place to grow up.” Anakin leaned forward. “Any mistake you make could mean death. There some slavers that killed you on the spot if you did even a small thing wrong. In a way, mum and I were lucky.” There were tears leaking out of his eyes. “I was always angry, always fearful that I would do something that would get my mother killed. I could see people being free, living their lives and I couldn’t do that! I hated that I was stuck as a slave and my mum had been treated horribly.” He looked up at Obi-Wan. “If they had sold you, you would have suffered so much… Jedi are great people, they’d have rejoiced at getting you to do what they wanted. You’d have been treated worse than myself or my mother ever were just because of what you are. I nearly chose saving you over stopping the ship from exploding. I didn’t put duty first.”

    Obi-Wan was silent, digesting it all, waiting to see if his Padawan would continue speaking.

    “I COULDN’T LET THAT HAPPEN!” Anakin yelled, trembling. “I COULDN’T LET THEM SELL YOU!”

    His Force presence was crackling with electricity.

    Anakin sagged, his shoulders slumping. “I couldn’t, I just couldn’t…”

    “Anakin,” Obi-Wan said his name softly. “Look at me.”

    The young boy did, raising his head so that his Master could see the red-rimmed eyes. There was a sense of calmness to the boy now. He seemed lighter, more at peace. He had let his fears go just by talking about his past.

    “Anakin, you put duty first. Despite having a moment when you forgot about that, you still went back to continue your duty and you still saved me. You showed yourself capable of being a worthy Jedi. I gave you a responsibility and you didn’t let me down, no matter what your heart wanted you to do. You didn’t let your past as a slave get the best of you. You put it behind you,” explained Obi-Wan. “Now you can begin to heal and accept your past.”

    He knew that Anakin would still need to talk about his slavery but they had taken the first step together. Meditation would heal all of Anakin’s wounds from those days. His Padawan would soon be free from the past.

    Anakin swallowed. He just wished something like this hadn’t of happened to make him talk about his past. He wished he had trusted Obi-Wan with the truth before now.

    “It’s ok, Anakin,” smiled Obi-Wan. “But you have faced your past remarkably.”

    Anakin could only nod.

    - - - - -

    “Hi mum.”

    Shmi looked up. She was sitting in the quarters of her son and his Master. Her son stood in front of her, arms hanging loosely by his sides and he smiled warmly at her. “Ani…” She reached out and pulled him into a hug. “It’s so good to see you.”

    Anakin pulled back and sat himself beside his mother. “Did you see what happened?” he asked referring to the broadcast.

    Shmi nodded. “I did. I was very worried for you.”

    “I was worried for Obi-Wan,” Anakin admitted. “They were going to sell him.”

    “But you fought through it and triumphed, Ani,” replied Shmi. “You did what was required of you.”

    “Everyone keeps telling me that.”

    Shmi ruffled his short, cropped hair. “I was scared for you and when I didn’t know whether you were alive or not and then you appeared, being a Jedi, I knew you would be alright. You were in control. You saw what you had to do and did it. You saved a family and you saved your Master.”

    “At least the pirates will be brought to justice. At least they won’t be able to make a profit from selling people anymore either.”

    “Ani,” began Shmi, “you shouldn’t feel bitter about your past. What happened, happened. Live and accept that you were lucky. You got to experience freedom. Have you spoken to Obi-Wan about it?”

    “I did. We’re going to work through it together when we meditate again. He deserves to know, especially since he nearly got sold,” said Anakin. “I’m not looking forward to sharing my past with him… but he needs to know, otherwise we won’t fully trust one another, will we?”

    “Was there something else that has made you trust him with this?” probed Shmi.

    Anakin bit his lip, hesitating slightly. “Err… well he trusted me with the mission. If he can trust me to do that, then I have to have faith in him to understand my past and to support me. If I don’t, then we would be living a lie, our bond of Master and Padawan will never be complete. For me to learn, we have to fully trust one another, and I do, mum, I trust him with my life.”

    Rubbing her son’s back, Shmi smiled sadly. “You are doing the right thing, Ani. Just remember, if you want me there, I will be. Like Obi-Wan, I can support you too.”

    - - - - -

    After Obi-Wan had recovered from the drugs in his system and his connection to the Force had been fully restored, he and Anakin had been summoned to the Jedi Council to report. As Obi-Wan had spent the majority of the mission a captive or out-cold it fell to Anakin to explain the report.

    Just like everyone else, the Council had also been keeping tabs on the holonet live-feed that had been running throughout their mission. And they had been impressed at Anakin’s actions. They had commended him for his skills and ability to put duty first. They had also highlighted the fact that Anakin’s fears were less now since they were assuming that at least Obi-Wan and Anakin had talked about his childhood, of which both confirmed this to be accurate, but they were going to use meditation to put Anakin on the final step of acceptance. They applauded him on being able to put duty before attachment, which had to be hard for a boy who was being allowed an attachment to his mother.

    Anakin had come away from the Council meeting feeling that he had proven himself well. The Council had also told him not to feel guilty over making the deal with the pirates to escape. He had had a back-up plan which had worked out. They even explained that it would have been worse to allow them to escape with Obi-Wan because finding him wouldn’t have been easy.

    Unsurprisingly to Obi-Wan but surprising to Anakin, the Council had instructed Obi-Wan to take his young charge to Illum where he would construct his own lightsaber. The boy had more then shown he was capable.

    And so, within a day Master and Apprentice had departed Coruscant.

    When Anakin returned, he would officially be Obi-Wan’s Padawan.

    - - - - -

    Darth Sidious, Dark Lord of the Sith, had watched the live-transmission with a lot of interest. He, of course, had engineered all of it: been the one to order his new apprentice to reveal the route the Senator’s ship would take to the pirates (he had even been able to foresee that they’d change the route!); to inform them of the presence of a Jedi on-board but to keep it quiet to draw them out… and had also been the one to tell his apprentice to ensure that he hired pirates who would be interested in selling a Jedi on the market.

    Unfortunately the Jedi were aware that information had been leaked regarding the mission, so Sidious had set up a lowly employee in his service on Urian to take the buck of betraying the Senator’s family.

    All of this had been a test to see how young Skywalker was developing as a Jedi. The presence of slavers were sure to have raised the boy’s anger but apart from a fear of losing his Master to them, the young boy had not experienced the hateful feelings towards slavers that Sidious had been expecting.

    It was disappointing.

    What was worse was that the bond between Anakin Skywalker and his infernal Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi seemed to be stronger than ever.

    The boy was too invested in the light.

    That had to change.

    Any Jedi can fall to the Dark Side if pushed hard enough. I will just have to motivate young Skywalker more than I thought to do so.

    He would have to wait. It was still early days in the boy’s training.

    But one thing was for certain: Shmi Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi would have to be disposed of. Sooner rather than later. They are having a far too positive affect in grounding young Anakin to the light…

    To be continued...

    Up next: we move onto AOTC timeframe. Will be posted in a few days. :)
  22. Luna_Nightshade Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2006
    star 5
    Exciting two chapters! I was happy to see Anakin become better with his fears and trust issues, and it was fun to see him trying to figure out a mission at that age. I love that they are starting to be honest and trusting toward each other. Good stuff! Looking forward to more.
  23. Jedi_Liz Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2000
    star 6
    wowsy wow wow wow....that was one great post!

    I am [face_nail_biting]and [face_worried] about Sidious' plans.....
  24. hlc88 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 4
    @Luna_Nightshade Thank you! It was quite interesting to get inside Anakin's head at that age and try to figure out exactly what he would do.

    @Jedi_Liz You should worry about Sidious' plans, though it might be a while before they come into full effect.

    And now we move into the AOTC period...
    - - - - -

    Nine

    Seven Years Later…

    Nine years had passed since Shmi Skywalker had been freed from a dismal existence as a slave. So much had changed since then. She continued to live on Coruscant and worked at the Jedi Temple. She was so happy now, so contented with her life: she couldn’t ask for anything more. Since Anakin had officially become Obi-Wan’s Padawan at thirteen, her son had been sent on constant missions with his Master, honing his skills and becoming one of the most advanced Padawan’s of his age. She hadn’t seen Anakin in nearly three months.

    But she was used to his long absences from the Temple now. Obi-Wan had told her just before they had left for their previous assignment, which had stretched onto another one before they could return home, that the Council was considering Anakin for his trials, to become a full Jedi Knight. The next few assignments would determine whether he was ready.

    She was so proud of him, so happy for the young man that he had grown into.

    Her son’s happiness and progress as a Jedi had enabled Shmi to move on with her own life and set up home on Coruscant with a financial director of one of the major banks on Coruscant. Darec Layson had wooed her over a period of months nearly seven years ago, and their friendship – formed when Shmi had first met him on a visit to the bank he worked for – had quickly turned into something more. They had married and had a daughter, Kia, within a year of their marriage.

    Anakin had been thrilled to have a baby sister and doted upon her completely whenever he could find time to visit. It felt good to have a family once more. A part of her family was still out there but untraceable… Shmi closed her eyes. She remembered the day Obi-Wan had come to her and told her what had become of the members of her family.

    “Do you recall me telling you that I had sent word to a few of my contacts to try to find out what happened to your family?”

    Shmi nodded. “It was four years ago, why?”

    “I think it is best if you sit down for this,” he responded carefully.

    Sitting down on the sofa, Shmi faced the Jedi Knight, looking at him questioningly. She thought she already knew the answer.

    “My contacts finally got back to me. It’s taken them a while but they managed to trace your original enslavement to a pirate group that is still operating in the mid-rim. This is where it got tricky for them which is why it has taken them quite a few years since they had to check out all the information they managed to get the pirates to release. Just like you were, the rest of your family was sold onto different owners. Your sister and brother stayed together for a few years before eventually they were separated. Your father and mother were sent to a conditioning facility for ‘slaves’. Your mother died there – I don’t know how long she survived but they had records there stating her death.”

    So her mother had died. Shmi swallowed. Did she want to hear the rest of what Obi-Wan was going to tell her? She had to know, her heart told her for her own peace of mind she had to know. She nodded at him to continue.

    “Your father remained in the facility for ten years and then escaped. There was a break-out, a revolt rather by the slaves; the facility is now shut down. My contacts are unable to trace his whereabouts. Do you know how old he would be now?”

    “I was only six when I was sold into slavery, Obi-Wan,” she answered, “I don’t really know but I believe my mum and dad were quite young when they had children. I’d say he could be in his mid-to-late sixties now.”

    “Your father could still be alive,” he suggested evenly.

    “It is enough to know that he found his freedom,” Shmi replied. “What about my brother and sister?”

    “Your sister was sold to the Hutts. In fact, at one time, she was even on Tatooine at the same time as you. Her Hutt master eventually sold her to a businessman. He was traced. Turns out he paid a lot of money to the Hutts to free her because he had fallen in love with her.”

    “So she’s still alive?” asked Shmi, her heart thudding in her chest.

    Obi-Wan smiled gently. “As far as my contacts were able to trace, she is. We know she married the businessman and had children but they divorced some years ago. Her former husband has no idea where she is. He has no contact with his children so couldn’t help us though he has promised to get back in touch with us if he is able to trace his former wife.”

    “Would it help if I put a plea out on the holo-net?”

    Obi-Wan shrugged. “I don’t know. It depends where in the galaxy she has settled. Even then she’s unlikely to see it. It’s a thought and I could perhaps raise the issue with the Jedi Council and they might be able to offer you their aid…”

    She held up a hand. “No. Please don’t involve them. It is enough to know that my sister is alive and that she has found freedom. What about my brother?”

    Obi-Wan chewed the bottom of his lip. “We don’t know. He was sold at a slave auction but who he was sold to we couldn’t find out.” He reached forward and took her hand in his own. “I’m sorry that we couldn’t find out any more about him or his fate.”

    “You don’t have to apologise, Obi-Wan. I’ve learnt that my father and sister made it out, just like I did. I didn’t expect all of my family to have such a lucky fate,” she smiled warmly. “Thank you for telling me.”

    Shmi pulled herself out of her memories. A part of her really hoped that one day she would get to see her sister and her father again but it was a big galaxy. The chances of them ever crossing paths again was unlikely. But then it was unlikely for Anakin to become a Jedi… His birth into slavery had meant he wouldn’t have had the chance to become a Jedi but fate had had other things in mind for Anakin.

    Kia had been tested for Force potential. She had some Force potential but not enough to grant her admittance to the Jedi Order which Shmi had been fine with. She already had one Force-potential child, she didn’t want another. It was a hard life.

    She turned as the door to the living quarters slid open and a small girl came running in, her long dark hair flowing out behind her. “MUMMY!”

    Shmi bent down and pulled her daughter into her arms. “Hello sweeties,” she kissed her on the cheek as the young girl swung her arms around her neck and hugged her tight.

    “Guess what I did!”

    “What did you do?”

    “I went to the zoo with daddy!” she squealed excitedly.

    Shmi smiled at her husband as Darec followed his daughter into the living room. He kissed Shmi on the cheek before ruffling the little girl’s hair. “What zoo did you take her to?”

    There were several on-planet but a new one had opened up a few months ago.

    “The new one. Kia’s wanted to go there ever since she saw the Cats on the news. We spent most of the day in the same enclosure,” said Darec. He was quite a tall man, with messy dark brown hair and chocolate coloured eyes, his lashes long and simple, accompanied by a strong chin which gave him quite a respectable look.

    “Can I have one, please?” Kia begged.

    “They’re wild animals, sweetheart; you know we can’t have one.”

    Kia pouted. “But mum…”

    “No honey,” said Darec. “But if you really want a Cat perhaps we can find an alternative animal that is more suitable for young children?”

    “Dar…” Her pet-name for him came easily on the tongue. “Neither of us are at home often enough to look after a pet.” Their various duties meant that it would be difficult to ensure someone was around to provide food and water for a pet. Kia was often looked after by a nanny or rather C-3PO. “Besides we already have C-3PO and I don’t think we need another thing to look after,” she teased lightly.

    “Did you need me, Miss Shmi?”

    The golden-plated droid that Anakin had started to build on Tatooine waddled forward. She had brought the droid with her from Tatooine when Obi-Wan had freed her and he had proved to be a valuable resource over the years, keeping the household running while she and Darec attended their various duties. Anakin had finished building him when he was fifteen, finding a set of gold plates that would fit the droid, completing the project he had started when he had been six years old.

    “No, Threepio, it’s ok, we’re fine. Perhaps you can tend to Kia for a moment?” She released the girl who obediently followed the droid out of the room. She turned back to her husband. “Do you think you can acquire a tame cat?” She was not against owning a pet just the difficulties that might arise at trying to look after it when they led busy lives. It was a rouse to prevent Kia from learning about what her secret birthday gift would be though.

    “I can, Shmi, you know I can. I have the money to invest in this stuff. I also have the right contacts. And Kia would love it. It will give her something to focus on and enjoy when we’re not around. Threepio is hardly good company for a child her age but he’s a good nanny for her. She’s old enough for the responsibility now and we will always be around in the evenings. A cat doesn’t need exercise either so it’s the best option.”

    Shmi leaned into her husband. “You always know the right thing to say.”

    He stroked the top of her head. “I’ve had plenty of experience.”

    “I know and that’s what worries me.” She leaned up and kissed him on the lips.

    Yes, this was the life she had wanted. She had a family and she was happy.

    - - - - -

    “A new assignment we have for you.”

    Anakin Skywalker stood in the Council chamber, standing slightly behind his Master. Nineteen years old, he was tall having had a major growth spurt when he hit fourteen years of age, and his shoulders were broad with strong muscles. They had just returned from Ansion dealing with a border dispute between the local populace and Anakin had anticipated upon returning to Coruscant that he would have some time to see his mother.

    It was difficult spending so many months away from her and without the chance to communicate with her if the mission depended on com-silence, but he realised he didn’t have to worry about her. His mother was happy; had found love and family. His stepfather, Darec, was a good person and an honourable husband to his wife. He truly loved her, Anakin could see that.

    “An assassination attempt there has been on an old friend of yours, Obi-Wan,” continued the Grand Master. “Senator Padmé Amidala requires protection. Supreme Chancellor has requested this, he has. No investigation is required, protection is vital in this case.”

    Padmé…

    He hadn’t seen her in ten years.

    I can sense your feelings.

    Anakin smiled inwardly. Trust on Obi-Wan to pick up on that.

    “If there is another attack, do we try to find the source of the attack or not, Masters?” Obi-Wan enquired.

    Mace Windu shook his head. “No. If another attack occurs we will then reassess the Senator’s safety. She is here for an important vote regarding the new legislation of the Military Creation Act. The vote is vital as Senator Amidala is a vocal voice against it. The vote is scheduled to take place within the next few days after preliminary arguments for both sides have been laid out.”

    Obi-Wan nodded. “Yes Master.” He bowed.

    They were dismissed and Anakin fell into step behind Obi-Wan. Once they were outside the Council chambers, Anakin moved to walk beside his Master. “Are we going to head straight over?” He wanted to know if he had time to see his mother. Much as he loved Padmé, his mother was more important to him.

    “Realistically we should head straight over,” his Master answered, “however it is best if we refresh ourselves first. I haven’t had a decent sani-stream in ages. Ansion was not a place for good hygiene. Since we have only just got back…” he grinned. “I don’t see why you can’t take a detour to your mother as long as you meet me in the foyer of Senator Amidala’s apartment within three hours.”

    Anakin almost leapt for joy. “Thank you, Master!” He knew Obi-Wan had become fond of Shmi over the years but he hadn’t expected him to say yes.

    Do I continually surprise you?

    Anakin smirked. You do.

    There bond was one of the most unique ones in the Temple. Not many Master/Padawan teams could have a conversation inside their minds. It showed strength of partnership, of trust and love for one another. Their bond proved to be useful asset in missions when they were split up, though if they were many miles apart then they couldn’t communicate with one another, apart from genuine feelings.

    Ever since Anakin had opened his mind to Obi-Wan and let his Master see his days of slavery, their bond had grown strong and an understanding of one another had become a paramount part of their relationship. Obi-Wan kept no secrets from his apprentice and Anakin had kept no secrets from Obi-Wan. They trusted one another impeccably.

    “If you want to have time to see your mother you’d better head off now, Padawan. Remember it is at least a thirty minute ride to get there. Plus Senator Amidala’s apartment is in the administration sector which is about fifteen minutes from your mother’s place…”

    But he was curious why he was being given three hours to visit his mother.

    He didn’t even have to ask the question before Obi-Wan was responding.

    “Because I know you want to spend some time with her. As long as you are here for the evening then I will greet Senator Amidala on my own. I intend to go over within the hour,” he replied.

    Anakin nodded. “Are you sure? Isn’t this against the rules? Shouldn’t I be there too?”

    Obi-Wan sighed. “Having attachments is against the rule, Anakin, but you are the exception to that rule. The Council understands that you have been away for a long time without being able to communicate home. If they raise the point as to why you arrived late I will take the blame for it since I am authorising you permission to go and visit your mother. We could do this assignment, Anakin, and then be dispatched out into the galaxy again.” He laid a hand on his Padawan’s shoulder. “Take your chance while you can. We don’t know when you’ll get another chance.”

    “Thank you, Master,” swallowed Anakin. He was truly lucky to have a Master who understood his desire to see his mother.

    “Now go, you’re running out of time!”

    - - - - -

    She hadn’t been expecting him to appear but when Anakin came to visit, the first thing she did was pull her oldest child into a long hug. He was much taller than her now and she had to stand on tip-toe to get her arms around him. “Ani…”

    “Mum.” He sounded so mature, so grown-up.

    “When did you get back?” she asked. “You didn’t comm me.”

    Anakin looked slightly sheepish. “Sorry, we had to make various reports to the Council and then we were given another assignment. I’m only here because Master Obi-Wan is covering for me.” He looked at his chrono. “In fact he’s probably on his way to our next destination now.”

    “Why aren’t they allowing you some rest?” She was concerned that the Council was putting her son too hard. He was constantly on the move. But she knew why. Obi-Wan’s words from a few months ago floated back into her conscious memory… “The Council believe Anakin is nearly ready to take his trails. It will be a hard few months; I don’t think he’ll get a chance to visit often.” Anakin didn’t even know that he was being considered. Obi-Wan had only told her to waylay her fears for her son.

    “I don’t know why they keep piling all these assignments on top of us,” he shrugged. “Obi-Wan keep’s giving me the lead, asking me for my advice and opinion. Sometimes I think he’s hiding something from me.”

    Shmi led her son to the sofa and they sat down together. “You do still trust him don’t you?”

    “Of course. If he is hiding something it’s because he can’t say and I respect that. It’s frustrating when you get that feeling though. As a Padawan I’m not liable to know everything the Council says to Obi-Wan. Probably they’ve said something to him that I can’t know about.” A sly grin appeared on his face. “Though I can probably guess what he is hiding based on how he’s been acting on assignments around me.”

    “And?” Shmi prodded. Had her son guessed the reason?

    “I think they are considering me for my trials and Obi-Wan is assessing me and giving feedback to the Council. Most of the time he is an open-book to me but the last few months a part of him has been closed off,” replied Anakin. He leaned back in his seat, resting his head back against the top of the sofa, eyes closed.

    Shmi took the time to study him. He looked tired and exhausted. His face was drawn and there were bags under his eyes that hadn’t been there before. Another sign that showed Anakin was finding it difficult to cope with the amount of work they’d been doing over the last few months. He needed rest.

    “What’s bothering you?” A nagging feeling told her he had something going on in his mind.

    “Padmé,” he answered.

    Shmi’s eyebrows rose. “Padmé?”

    Anakin opened his eyes and looked at his mother carefully. “My new assignment: we have to protect her. There has been an assassination attempt on her when she arrived on Coruscant earlier today. Master Obi-Wan and I have been requested to protect her for the duration of her stay.”

    And Shmi understood. A few years ago, Shmi and Anakin had been watching the holo-news when it had been announced that the former queen of Naboo, Queen Amidala, had been elected to the Galactic Senate to represent Naboo. During the holo-news broadcast Shmi had learnt that Anakin harboured feelings for the young woman: the young woman who she had not known was Queen when they had taken shelter inside her hovel years previously.

    It had taken some prodding for her to get Anakin to admit he did have feelings for her but eventually her son had confided in her. She had wondered at the time if Obi-Wan knew but didn’t wish to interfere and so had chosen to remain silent, expecting that if he didn’t know, he soon would, especially if Anakin continued to see her regularly on the holo-news.

    “I still love her, mum,” said Anakin, interrupting her thoughts. “I always have.”

    “It worries you, doesn’t it?” she observed.

    Anakin nodded bowing his head in shame. “It gets in the way of my progress to be a Jedi, mum. I’m not meant to have attachments! But I do! With you!” He shook his head, his Padawan braid flinging over his shoulder. “I don’t know how to cope with this. I haven’t seen her in person for ten years, what if I make a fool of myself?” He took in a deep breath. “I made a promise to you years ago that I wouldn’t fall in love until I had met my destiny.” He looked beseechingly at her. “What if I can’t keep to that promise? What if I let my feelings for Padmé get the better of me?”

    Shmi laid a hand on her son’s shoulder. “Ani, you are a Jedi. There have been many instances over the years where you have been challenged with your attachments and you have prevailed: succeeded, proving that despite your love for everyone, you still put the Jedi values first. How many times have you put the mission ahead of your attachment to Obi-Wan? When his life is on the line, you’ve put aside that love.”

    Anakin swallowed. “At least three times. Obi-Wan appears to have a remarkable talent in getting himself in trouble. I hate putting duty first though it is necessary, especially when people I love are at risk.”

    She placed a hand on his chest. “You have a big heart, Ani, and you use it wisely. I know that despite your feelings for Padmé Amidala, you will be able to control the passion. You can put duty before love: you have done so many times and I have faith that you will continue to do so.” She stroked his cheek. “You are so close… so nearly there… do not destroy everything you’ve worked for, for this.”

    He sagged. She was right. He had proven time and time again that he was capable of it. Obi-Wan had told him many times how proud he was of him. More than anything he wanted to be a Jedi.

    “I think I needed to hear that, mum. You’re always my anchor whenever I’ve needed it,” he smiled.

    “You’ve grown into a fine young man, Ani, and I am so proud of you.”

    - - - - -

    The apartment that Senator Amidala had chosen to live in was not one that Obi-Wan would have considered as a viable place to stay, especially when an attempt had been made on her life already and it was likely that another one would occur. He had raised this point with Captain Typho, the Senator’s Head of Security, but he had explained that Padmé Amidala did not want to feel trapped.

    Despite that, Obi-Wan felt uneasy at the lack of protection Padmé wanted. She had made it clear that she wouldn’t let fear of an assassination prevent her from living her life the way she wanted to. The Force was swirling around him and he couldn’t help but grown inwardly at the Senator’s audacity to choose a bedroom that had a large window, giving easy access to any would be assassin.

    He was waiting in the parlour, looking out over the city when he felt a familiar presence behind him. He turned. “Anakin. You’ve made it and not a minute too soon.”
    Anakin rolled his eyes. “Thanks, Master.” He looked around. “Quite open here, isn’t?”

    “Glad you’ve noticed,” commented Obi-Wan dryly. “The Senator doesn’t want her freedom taken away from her and is quite willing to risk another assassination attempt.”

    Anakin frowned but chose not to argue the point with his Master. Why shouldn’t Padmé be allowed to do what she wanted when it came to her own safety? She had grudgingly accepted Jedi protection.

    “I know what you are thinking, Anakin,” said Obi-Wan calmly. “We may be able to sense everything going on in that room but we could still get there too late.”

    Before Anakin could respond, a female voice spoke first.

    “I am touched by your concern Master Jedi but I am capable of defending myself.”

    Obi-Wan turned to see Padmé standing in the doorway to her quarters, wearing a simple dress with a cardigan on top. “M’lady,” he bowed. He cast a quick glance to Anakin who was standing stock still and staring. He cleared his throat. “Senator, may I introduce my Padawan –”

    Ani?” Padmé’s eyes bulged as she stepped forward, her eyes running over the tall frame of his Padawan.

    “You remember him then,” Obi-Wan commented. See, Padawan, she remembers you…

    “Of course I do,” Padmé smiled. “How could I forget that little boy I met on Tatooine?”

    Anakin blushed, feeling embarrassed. He stepped forward, holding out his hand and shook Padmé’s proffered one. “M’lady, it’s good to see you again.”

    “You’ve really grown,” she said. “How could such a small boy grow into what you have?”

    Was that a compliment? Anakin didn’t know but he felt his cheeks warm. He stumbled with words, and he felt his Master sending him soothing Force thoughts through their bond. “Jedi training, I guess,” he laughed off, trying his best to keep it cool.

    Padmé laughed back, her brown eyes shining in the dim light of her apartment lights.

    Calm down Anakin.

    “As I told Obi-Wan earlier I do not need protection, I need answers. It won’t do me any good unless I know who wants me dead,” she said more seriously.

    Anakin bit his tongue. He knew what he wanted to say. He wanted to protect Padmé, do what she wanted them to do: find the person responsible, but he knew Obi-Wan would disprove if he came out and said exactly what was on his mind. That was one thing he had learnt over the years: patience. Anakin had always been on the move – always eager to find the source of the trouble – but his training had sucked that desire mostly from him. His mother had helped him to look at things rationally as well rather than go with what they should be doing. Right now, his heart told him that Padmé wanted to know that at least one of her protectors was willing to break with instructions to find the killer, but that wouldn’t be correct, so he swallowed his pride.

    “I understand that you want to know who is behind this, Padmé,” he said slowly, carefully, “but at the moment there are no leads for us to follow.”

    That was true. The wreckage of her star-ship had eluded local security with answers.

    “If there is another attempt and we have the opportunity to find out more, I’m sure we will follow it up,” he looked to Obi-Wan, “won’t we, Master?”

    Obi-Wan frowned, thinking it through. “It’s not part of our orders, Anakin, but we cannot ignore a lead if it appears right in front of us.”

    Anakin breathed a sigh of relief. Another thing he had learned over the years was to not argue with his Master: to accept his wisdom and if he did, Obi-Wan would be more receptive to bending the rules. He had chosen his response carefully to Padmé’s statement thereby if the opportunity presented itself Obi-Wan would not be averse to following up a lead.

    “Perhaps,” Padmé said, “with merely your presence about me, the mysteries surrounding this threat will be revealed.”

    “I hope so,” replied Anakin but then he realised his mistake, “not that I want anything to happen to you, Padmé.”

    Nice save, Obi-Wan remarked through the bond.

    Padmé gave him a small smile. “That’s ok, Ani.” She started to turn away. “If you excuse me, I will retire. Goodnight.”

    Anakin watched her go, hardly able to tear his gaze away from her. She was even more beautiful then he remembered. He ached for her.

    Careful with your projections, young one.

    Anakin stirred, realising that his Master could sense the love he harboured for Padmé.

    “You love her, don’t you?”

    “Of course not, Master,” responded Anakin, but he knew Obi-Wan wouldn’t believe that.

    “Considering I felt your emotions for her through our bond, it’s probably not best to lie to me.” Obi-Wan folded his arms.

    That was the curse of how powerful their bond to one another was. They could sense their feelings for other people too, a rare connection that a Master and Apprentice had. Perhaps it was because they knew one another so well through meditation that it had given them this ability?

    “I won’t deny that I have feelings for her, Master,” responded Anakin, “but I want you to know I made a promise to my mother years ago that I wouldn’t act on any feelings until I have fulfilled my destiny. I know that if I let anything distract me – if I form other attachments – then it could cloud my judgement and prevent me from performing to the best of my ability. If I truly am the Chosen One I cannot afford to have such distractions. My attachment to you and my mother are ones that I barely overcome each time I’m faced with it,” he swallowed. “If I allow myself to become attached to Padmé I am failing myself and the Jedi Order.”

    “So you intend to leave the Jedi Order once you have fulfilled your destiny?” observed Obi-Wan.

    Anakin bowed his head. “I don’t know.” Because he didn’t know. He may love Padmé but she might not love him. “Ask me again if I ever fall in love with someone who loves me back.”

    Frowning, Obi-Wan laid a hand upon his Padawan’s shoulder. “What if your destiny won’t occur until thirty years from now?”

    Anakin remained silent, thinking through an answer before he responded. “Then I’ll be waiting a long time. I love too much, Master, I don’t think I can survive without it, but if I have to, then I will try my best to avoid developing a relationship with Padmé, especially if she feels the same way about me, but I don’t think she does. Better not to compromise myself further then I already am.”

    If only Anakin knew that Padmé does have feelings for him. Obi-Wan had sensed it in her aura when she had briefly spoken to Anakin. There was something there but his Padawan hadn’t picked up on it which was surprising since Anakin was very sensitive to the Force. Whether Senator Amidala realised that she was attracted to the young man was another thing entirely.

    Yet the Jedi Master couldn’t help but feel proud that Anakin was learning. He was right to believe that his Apprentice was ready to take the trials. He was demonstrating it once again by explaining that he could put duty above love. Anakin understood his importance to the Jedi Order and that was a remarkable facet for a young man who had been given an opportunity that most Padawan’s hadn’t had.

    The Order had loosened its strict code of no contact with parents, especially since Anakin’s training had progressed so well, the newer Initiates were being allowed two visits a year to their families, a trial run that the Council had collectively decided to do all because Anakin had proven that his attachments was benefiting him.

    Obi-Wan’s original request to the Council to allow Anakin access to his mother had been the first in a long line of changes that were sure to come. Slowly but surely the Jedi Order was changing. It was partly because of this that Obi-Wan had begun to hear whispers amongst his fellow Jedi that the Council were not only considering Anakin for Knighthood but they were also considering him to become a Master.

    “Master?”

    Obi-Wan shook his head, jolting himself out of his thoughts to find Anakin staring at him, arms folded across his chest, one eyebrow raised in amusement. “What?”

    “You were a bit lost there, weren’t you?” Anakin was sly.

    Obi-Wan walked across the room to look out the window onto Galactic City. “I will be honest, Anakin, you’ve astounded me in how far you’ve progressed. You have wisdom far beyond someone of your age should have. You are committed to the Order despite your personal feelings and you try your best to not see them as failings but as potential barriers, but you are dealing with them.”

    Not knowing what to say to the praise, Anakin extended his senses and brushed his Master’s presence with his own with gratitude of thanks. Furthering his probe, Anakin reached out towards Padmé’s room and a brief sense of alarm washed over him before it disappeared.

    “Master…”

    Obi-Wan moved beside him. “What is it?”

    “Did you feel that?”

    Obi-Wan closed his eyes and reached out. His eyes snapped open as his danger sense screeched into the Force’s current. Anakin was already on the move, rushing towards Padmé’s bedroom door, lightsaber in hand.

    Following swiftly, Obi-Wan arrived to see Anakin land on Padmé’s bed and swing his lightsaber at two small insects that had made their way onto the Senator’s pillow. Padmé sat up as Anakin deactivated the blade.

    “Are you ok?” the young man asked.

    Padmé nodded breathlessly. “I think so.”

    “DROID!”

    Anakin turned towards the window seeing an assassin droid right by the window. Two little holes had been made silently through the glass, the holes of which the two deadly insects had entered the room. He sprung off the bed but Obi-Wan was faster as he leapt through the window, grabbing hold of the droid as it retracted away.

    The droid flew off with Obi-Wan hanging from it.

    Anakin cursed. “Why didn’t he just grab it in the Force and stop it from leaving?”

    “Anakin?” Padmé looked at him.

    “Stay here! I’ve got to go after him!” Anakin barely heard his words, already he was sinking into the depths of the Force, searching for his Master’s presence. He sought the bond and found it, clinging onto it as he rushed out of Padmé’s apartment and to the turbo-lift. He wasn’t even aware of touching the button for the speeder garage, so tuned was he with the Force, his actions seemed to occur without a thought from him.

    This was a long shot but there was still a chance he’d be able to communicate with Obi-Wan.

    Master? He sent over the bond. Where are you?

    Obi-Wan’s response was full of sarcasm. Hanging onto a droid flying through the city.

    If Anakin hadn’t been concentrated so badly he would have rolled his eyes at his Master’s response. I’m coming for you, Master, just don’t do anything stupid.

    I think leaping out of the window to grab a retreating assassin droid is one of the sillier things I have ever done. Ow! It has defensives. Typical.

    Anakin winced as he felt a spark of pain travel across the bond. Keeping his connection to his Master open, Anakin rushed from the lift and to the speeder park, his eyes quickly roaming at each vehicle before he leapt into an open topped one and jump-started the engine with a push of the Force.

    I’m coming Master!

    - - - - -

    “Oh this is not good.”

    The droid was slowing down, heading towards a building ledge where a masked person stood, with a long-pointed blaster settled on their shoulder. He could see them aiming for him. His danger sense was flaring in his mind and he could sense Anakin not far behind him – probably breaking every speed limit in the rule book just to catch up to him.

    A shot flew through the air and impacted against the droid, shattering its shell. His fingers burnt with exploding shrapnel and he fell downwards.

    Falling into the Force he sought to slow his speed, cushioning it around him so that if he did hit the ground he might have a chance of saving himself, though the speed he was falling made it likely he’d shatter every bone in his body upon impact.

    And then a speeder swooped in beside him and he saw Anakin at the controls trying to lever it underneath him so that could fall onto the back of it. He felt Anakin reaching out into the Force to help him ease his fall. He landed with a small thud on the back of the speeder. Taking a deep breath he scrambled into the passenger seat and pointed ahead towards a speeder that was closed up and moving head-long into traffic. “There! Follow it!”

    Anakin directed the speeder towards the fleeing assassin’s speeder. “I never knew you were one for acrobatics, Master.”

    “Shut up, Anakin, shut up,” growled Obi-Wan reluctantly. He had done something stupid but it had at least got them results. “And just fly.”

    Grinning Anakin sent the speeder into a plummeting dive as the assassin made the same maneuver to try to dodge them. Driving through space lanes – with many angry travellers peeping their horns angrily at them – they continued their plunge. The assassin levelled out and Anakin followed suit, handling the controls smoothly, twisting the speeder left and right through the high volume of traffic.

    Obi-Wan felt sick. If there was one thing he hated most was chaotic flying, especially when Anakin was at the controls. But his Apprentice was the only one capable with keeping up with the assassin.

    Blaster shots came at them then and the two Jedi ducked in their seats but still Anakin maintained control, constantly matching the speeder’s moves.

    “They may as well give up now…” Obi-Wan commented dryly. He pointed ahead. “He’s heading for the power refinery, but take it easy! It will be dangerous near those power couplings!”

    Anakin only grinned taking the speeder through the power couplings as electricity flowed all around them, hitting the speeder and travelling all over it. Obi-Wan braced himself. If there was one thing he had never been able to do with Anakin during his training was to tame his ability to fly recklessly and fast.

    The speeder sputtered as the electricity short-circuited the engine and the speeder flowed to a stop.

    “Oh dear,” Anakin said as he tried to restart the engine.

    Obi-Wan merely raised his eyebrows.

    “I probably shouldn’t have gone through the power couplings,” the young Padawan admitted.

    “And now we’ve lost the assassin!” Obi-Wan retorted, slightly angry at Anakin’s recklessness. “You do understand that that was their plan, don’t you?”

    “Sorry Master.”

    Through their linked bond, Obi-Wan could feel his Padawan’s remorse at taking such a reckless action. He laid a hand on the young man’s shoulder. Despite Anakin demonstrating that he was ready to become a Knight, sometimes his other actions left that to be desired, but he wasn’t going to hold this incident against him.

    “Though,” Anakin began as he succeeded in kick-starting the engine and moving it forward and away from the power coupling fields, “I do have an idea as to how we can stop the assassin…”

    “Go on…” Obi-Wan encouraged.

    “Well, I’m good at machines, aren’t I?” Anakin swallowed. “Perhaps I could manipulate the engine with the Force and we could apprehend them that way?”

    Stroking his beard, Obi-Wan nodded. “Do you think you can track the speeder from here? It’s vanished as far as I can see…”

    “I could, but I’d need all my concentration for it. You’d have to take over steering.”

    “I think I can manage,” responded Obi-Wan mildly.

    Anakin clambered out of his seat as Obi-Wan leaned across to take the controls. Swapping seats Anakin settled into the passenger one, sinking deep into the Force. Obi-Wan could feel intense concentration flowing from his young Apprentice. He was calm, wasn’t feeling too confident about his abilities – which was a good thing – over-confidence could lead to failure.

    “That way,” Anakin pointed to the right, “head towards the central tunnel belt.”

    Obi-Wan engaged the drive and scooted along the traffic lanes, hating the fact that he was acting illegally, but he had no choice if they had to catch this assassin.

    “LEFT!” Anakin yelled suddenly. “They’re breaking left!”

    He yanked the steering wheel in the intended direction, the speeder twisting in mid-air before shooting forward at full speed towards a green and yellow speeder, piloted by the assassin as they swerved through multiple lanes of traffic; the assassin intent on losing them.

    I hate flying. I hate flying.

    Obi-Wan gritted his teeth, hands clenched tightly on the steering sticks, his eyes focused upon the vehicle they were pursuing, praying that Anakin would be able to do what he had suggested before the assassin had the smart idea of drawing them into a suicide collision.

    “Nearly there, Master… I’ve got a hold on it at least…” muttered Anakin, his eyes clenched tightly shut. “Just a little bit more…”

    Obi-Wan did not respond. He had to concentrate. The assassin was weaving even more perilously through traffic then before and he was struggling to keep up.

    Hurry up, Anakin…

    I’m trying, Master.

    A few more seconds past before he felt jubilation streak across their joint bond. Ahead of them the assassin’s speeder suddenly plummeted downwards.

    “They shouldn’t be able to restart it…” gritted Anakin, “as long as I’ve done it right.”

    Choosing not to respond, Obi-Wan angled the speeder downwards, and watched as the assassin’s vehicle hit one of the many sidewalks, sliding along it before hitting a bricked wall. The front of the speeder exploded in flame and pedestrians rushed forward.

    Standing up in his seat, his right hand grasping the hilt of his lightsaber, Anakin leapt from his speeder downwards and into the crowd, rushing forward as the assassin leapt from their ruined vehicle and attempted to escape.

    Engaging the breaks and finding a parking bay, Obi-Wan leapt over the side and rushed to follow his apprentice who was already pursing the assassin along the crowded walkway.

    Anakin! Follow them! I’ll circle round! He instructed over the bond.

    There can an affirmative response and Obi-Wan ducked to the right, down a side street and Force-leapt up onto a roof of a small café, skimming across it lightly, putting on a burst of Force-speed before he leapt down once more and into the path of the assassin.

    “STO-” He barely got the word out before a blaster came out and shots came towards him. Lightsaber activated, he effortlessly battled them aside.

    The assassin attempted to bypass him but he grabbed hold of their arm and he pushed them back and right into Anakin’s grasp who wrapped his arms right around the assassin. With a flick of the Force, the hunter was disarmed of their blaster. It was only then that Obi-Wan realised it was a woman.

    Clearly realising the futility of their struggles she gave in, Anakin still keeping a hold of them.

    “Who are you?” Obi-Wan asked, approaching the hunter.

    “It was just a job,” she said, glaring at Obi-Wan.

    Anakin pulled her along so that they were against the nearest building; by-passers were scooting around them.

    “A job to kill an important Senator?”

    “Maybe.”

    “Who ordered it?” Obi-Wan continued.

    The hunter did not respond.

    He could feel a flash of anger erupt along the bond. Anakin! Don’t.

    Anakin gritted his teeth, desperately trying to rein in the anger he felt that this woman considered Padmé just a job, a job that would earn them credits. But getting angry wouldn’t help, he’d lose control and that wasn’t how he had learnt to act in situations.

    But whatever Anakin had unleashed had affected the assassin for she shuddered, stiffening in fear.

    “A bounty hunter called –”

    Before she could complete the sentence something hit her in the side of the neck.

    Obi-Wan swivelled, only to see an armoured man with a jet pack on, fly off into the city. He turned back to their prisoner who was quite clearly dead, the dart that had hit her in the neck had been a quick active agent, taking her life before she could betray her confidante.

    Damn!” Anakin quietly swore.

    Obi-Wan bent down and picked up the dart, bringing it up to his eyes. He didn’t recognise the type. Frowning, he slipped it into a pouch at his belt and stood up. “I think we can agree that there is more to these assassination attempts then meet the eye.”

    Anakin could only agree.

    To be continued....
  25. Jedi_Liz Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2000
    star 6
    I like the idea of Shmi getting married and having a baby....especially a litle girl.

    So, my guess is this may pretty well follow AOTC....but we hope not COMPLTELY.....
Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade