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.

Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade
  1. Ocelotl_Nesto Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2004
    star 4
    I had been reading this story in another forum (sorry without response). Definitely enjoy this original story. Keep up the great work and fun AU
  2. Valairy Scot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
  3. hlc88 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 4
    @Jedi_Liz I thought it would be nice for Shmi to have another family. AOTC will be followed well enough with deviations, hopefully its different enough to be interesting.

    @Ocelotl_Nesto Thank you!

    @Valairy Scot Hopefully you'll like the newer updates that will be posted very soon :)

    - - - - -

    Ten

    “I heard on the news network this morning that there had been another attempt on Senator Amidala last night,” started Shmi carefully, glancing at her son to see if his expression changed. But it didn’t. He had gotten good at controlling his emotions that it was difficult for her to figure out what was going on in his mind.

    “There was,” replied Anakin softly. “They nearly got her, mum. They nearly killed Padmé,” he sounded so wistful. “If Master Obi-Wan and I hadn’t sensed the danger through the Force, she’d be dead by now.”

    “Did you catch who was behind it?” she asked.

    Anakin shook his head, his Padawan braid flying to and fro over his shoulder. “No. We caught the person who we assume was employed by another bounty hunter to carry out their job though. Before we could get any information from them, the assassin was killed. The only evidence we have is a small dart that Master Obi-Wan is going to follow up on.”

    “Oh and where does that leave you? Will you be accompanying Obi-Wan or are you staying here?” She wanted to know if her son would be gone a long time if he was due to leave. He’d barely been back a day and already he was being dragged on a further assignment when he should be resting. Her motherly instincts were taking over again even though Anakin had left her care many years ago. She had given him to Obi-Wan after-all.

    “I have to protect Padmé,” he answered. “The Council have requested that she returns to Naboo for her own safety and the Council wishes for me to accompany her, at least until Master Obi-Wan has followed up the lead we have and hopefully bring whoever wants her dead to justice. Padmé isn’t happy about being asked and I think I might have to visit with the Chancellor so that he can order her to do so. She’ll listen to him.”

    “Oh, I had hoped you could remain here,” said Shmi sadly. “Do you think you will be here for Kia’s celebrations?” His little sister would be six in a few weeks and he hadn’t been able to be around on her birthday for a few years. She had hoped that this time he would be.

    “Unless the threat to Padmé is eliminated then I doubt I will be here for it.” Anakin sat back on the sofa. “Where is Kia anyway? I haven’t seen her for months. Does she know I’m back?”

    Shmi smiled. “She does. She was very excited when I told her you had returned. Kia is out with her father. Do you have time? I could comm Dar and see if he could bring her home?”

    “I’m not sure if I have time,” Anakin contemplated, “but I’m not due to leave just yet. Padmé has to sort out a few things before she can leave the planet and that would take another few hours. I should be with her now but,” he smiled, “she told me to come and see you after she found out I have barely spent any time with you since I got back. She…err… informed me that if Obi-Wan wanted to stay in her good books, he would overlook it,” he blushed as he spoke, his continuing affections for the Senator clear.

    Choosing not to remark, for her son was indeed now an adult, Shmi picked up her hand-held comm and keyed in the code of Darec’s. She held it out to Anakin who took it and waited for the call to go through.

    “Darec Layson.”

    “Hey Darec, it is Anakin. Are you able to bring Kia home? I’m visiting but need to leave planet by this evening. I know Kia would like to see me…” he trailed off, grinned. He was very fond of the man that had taken on his mother and loved her unconditionally.

    “Anakin!” Darec boomed. “It’s good to hear from you! We’re already on our way back, should be home within fifteen minutes, if you will still be there by then?”

    Anakin chuckled. “Unless Master Obi-Wan comes and drags me from the apartment I should still be here.”

    “Good, good,” Darec responded softly. “Kia is already jumping up and down in excitement. She has your energy for sure.”

    “At least you know what to expect,” added Anakin cheekily.

    Darec laughed. “See you shortly, and you too my love.”

    The call disconnected and Anakin grinned at his mother. “I’m so happy that you’ve found him. He truly makes you happy doesn’t he?”

    Now it was Shmi’s turn to blush. It was rare that her son could make her do that. “He does. I always wanted another child, Ani, but the life of a slave doesn’t give you much of a chance to form lasting attachments. It was a happy co-incidence that we met when we did. Kia is worth it.”

    - - - - -

    He was quite surprised when he received a comm-call from Shmi, especially when he had assumed that she would want to spend as much time with her son as she possibly could in the short time Anakin would be on world.

    “Obi-Wan here,” he said, lifting up the comm to his lips.

    “Obi-Wan, I’m just calling to make you aware of something that I feel you should know, but –”

    “I already know Padmé sent Anakin to you,” he interrupted, thinking he knew what Shmi was going to tell him, however he was proven wrong.

    “No, that’s not it,” she said, “but first, before I tell you, how are you? And how is Anakin doing on the last few assignments.”

    Should he tell her what the Council had told him in private only a few hours ago when Anakin had already left the chamber? He hesitated wondering whether it would be considered correct for him to reveal what had been decided among the Jedi Council members. He could trust her to stay quiet, she respected him far too much to go behind his back and tell Anakin everything he told her in confidence.

    “I’m fine and Anakin is ready for the trials. Apart from being a tiny bit impulsive – which does not prevent him from taking the trials – the Council will do a final meeting with Anakin before informing him that his trials are imminent. The assignment he has now will act as a prelude to becoming a Knight. I believe he suspects already about the nature of my many meetings with the Council and that he can detect that I’m hiding something gives it away as well.”

    “He certainly has noticed, he told me so earlier that he suspects it because he is under consideration for Knighthood,” chuckled Shmi. “I didn’t tell him the truth of course.”

    “Good. I can’t deny that Anakin has become very perceptive in the last few years. He takes on board what I say and looks at the bigger picture. He’s made some difficult decisions recently on several assignments. I am truly proud at how far he has progressed in ten years. In fact his training will be the shortest a Jedi has ever undergone if he is Knighted soon.” Obi-Wan looked around him, reaching out with the Force to make sure that he wasn’t going to be disturbed in his quarters. “Now, you’re calling me for a specific reason, what is it?”

    Shmi hesitated and Obi-Wan waited.

    “It’s about Padmé,” she finally admitted. “I’m not sure I should be saying this to you as Anakin may think of it as a betrayal… but Ani has feelings for Senator Amidala. He’s told me so.”

    Ah, so that was it. Shmi was concerned that her son would allow his love for the Senator get in the way of his training. He was well aware what difficulties this assignment posed for Anakin but he was certain that he would prevail. “I know he loves her, Shmi. But I have faith in his abilities and commitment to stay true to the Jedi Order. I understand he made a promise about not acting on any feelings while his destiny is unfulfilled.”

    There was a sigh of relief over the comm. “I’m glad you know. And you know Ani better than me – as a Jedi I mean – if you have belief that he can handle his emotions then I will too.”

    “It’s probably for the best,” he returned lightly. “Is that all?”

    “It is. Ani is just with Kia now. I thought it best if you knew of the situation that may arise between Ani and the Senator. But you know so I shouldn’t have bothered you. I’m sure you are doing some important work.”

    Obi-Wan couldn’t help but laugh. “Unfortunately the work I am doing is just leading me to dead ends! It’s been good to hear from you again and if I have time I will visit. But right now it is imperative I track these assassins down so your son can return to Coruscant quickly.”

    “Good luck, Obi-Wan. May The Force Be With You.”

    “And with you too, Shmi Skywalker.”

    - - - - -

    Kia tugged at Anakin’s robes once more, her beseeching brown eyes staring up at her older brother, making his heart melt. How could he say no to her? She wanted him to stay longer so they could play more together, but Anakin had duties he had to attend to; duties that involved preparing himself for his mission and checking in with Obi-Wan before departure.

    Much as he wanted to stay he had remained for as long as he could.

    He and Kia had participated in a game where he used his Force powers to make objects fly and Kia had to use her limited Force potential to guess which objects he was levitating through closed eyes: a game which she happened to be very good at.

    He bent down to her height and placed his hands upon her shoulders. “Hey, I’ll be back soon, I promise.”

    “You said that last time,” sniffed Kia, “and they kept stopping you.”

    Anakin smiled slightly. “It’s the life of a Jedi. I come by as often as I can. But I am needed, especially if I am to make this galaxy safe for you to grow up in.”

    “My mummy and daddy can keep me safe,” she said sounding grumpy.

    “I know they can.”

    “Then you should stay and play!” she returned, adamant that her older brother would stay.

    Anakin grinned, watching as his mother walked into the room accompanied by Darec.

    “Kai, your brother has an important task to do,” explained Darek, joining Anakin on his knees in front of the girl. “It’s vital he does his duty otherwise people could be hurt.”

    Anakin nodded serenely. “I’ll be back before you know it. You won’t even have had a chance to miss me!” he promised.

    “You sure?”

    “Positive.” Anakin took the girl’s hands in his and turned one hand over so that the palm was facing up. Placing his own larger palm over her one, he reached into the Force and prodded her aura gently. Her small sensitivity to the Force allowed him to have a weak Force bond to her, and it could only be properly sensed if their skin was touching. “You sense that don’t you?”

    She nodded. “Uh-huh.”

    “Well then, that is a promise I will be home sooner than you think. I won’t be gone as long as last time.”

    The little girl opened her eyes and removed her palm away from Anakin, breaking the connection he had forged with her. She opened her arms and hugged him. “When you get back we can play?”

    Anakin stood up.” Of course!” he said enthusiastically. “Are you going to let me go and do my job now?”

    She nodded. “Just come back!” she tried again, though more quiet as she allowed herself to be pulled into a hug by her father, watching as Anakin said a farewell to his mother and then departed from the apartment.

    - - - - -

    There wasn’t much that Obi-Wan could do without Anakin knowing about but he hoped his actions today wouldn’t come and kick him for interfering. Mindful of Anakin’s feelings for Senator Amidala, he had made arrangements to talk to her privately where he intended to explain about Anakin’s appreciation of her. He wasn’t sure if he was doing anything wrong but he was risking Anakin’s ire if he spoke to Padmé about the feelings he had for her.

    But he felt she deserved to know, despite sensing that Padmé herself had been attracted to Anakin too. There was dangerous risks involved in doing this but Obi-Wan considered this to be the best course of action.

    He didn’t doubt Anakin but a part of him couldn’t help but wonder if this would be the point where his mostly perfect Padawan would stumble greatly in his training at the expense of becoming a Jedi Knight at quite a young age. Most apprentices had a stumble: Obi-Wan himself during the Melida/Daan crisis had temporarily left the Order and he regretted that every day.

    He could trust Anakin but he felt it was wise for Padmé to know of Anakin’s feelings: that way she would be aware of them and could maybe appreciate that acting upon them would be a very bad thing. Anakin handled his attachments very well but who knew how many attachments a Jedi could have before they fell prey to the dark side? It was unknown territory and Obi-Wan was keen to protect his Padawan’s future.

    He did feel nervous about this but it had to be done, didn’t it?

    “Obi-Wan?” Padmé walked into the room, dressed in a simple attired dress, a head-band around the top of her head. Elegant as always, no wonder Anakin found her attractive.

    “Senator,” he bowed. “I need a quick word regarding my Padawan.”

    “Is something wrong?” she asked, trying to hide the anxiety that he had felt through the Force.

    He hesitated. “Not something wrong, no.” He sat down on the edge of the sofa, looking up at Padmé. “I feel I should inform you of Anakin’s feelings for you.”

    “Oh…” she didn’t waver.

    “I trust Anakin and he is determined to be a Jedi but unlike most Jedi he does have strong attachments to other people, his mother for instance. You may or may not be aware of this but a year after Anakin came to the Temple I petitioned the Council to free his mother, of which they agreed and they employed Shmi Skywalker at the Temple. As a consequence of this, Anakin has been allowed to keep attachments,” he swallowed, smiling, “and he has progressed wonderfully in his Jedi training.”

    “If he truly wants to be a Jedi then he will not act on these feelings that you say he has for me,” she said, sitting down opposite him. “You can be assured, Master Kenobi, that I harbour no such feelings for Anakin.”

    “Senator… Padmé…” Obi-Wan began, “we both know that is not true. I am a Jedi. I sensed that he had feelings for you long before he even admitted them to me. I could sense appreciation and interest from you when you saw him again.”

    “You Jedi should not be able to spy on our feelings,” Padmé intoned darkly.

    He could sense that he had offended her but it quickly faded as she sank back. “I’m sorry, I trust you both but I wanted you to be aware, just in case.” He stood up quickly. “I should leave. I only wanted to warn you.”

    Padmé locked gazes with him. “It is appreciated Obi-Wan that you care enough to tell me. My career in the Senate is far too important for me to have distractions such as a romance going on behind the scenes.”

    “Thank you for listening to me, Senator,” he said, bowing once more to her, “I do trust my Padawan. He is very loyal to the promises he makes.” With that enigmatic note he then left the apartment, feeling rather guilty that he had practically ratted out his Padawan. Anakin would hate him for this.

    That’s if he ever found out.

    Obi-Wan hoped he wouldn’t.

    - - - - -

    Feeling uneasy was not something that Anakin Skywalker liked being. Especially in front of the Supreme Chancellor.

    Despite keeping a distance from the man that had made his mother feel uncomfortable being around, the man was insistent on seeing him on a regular basis. Most of the time he could get out of their meetings by feigning studying or other reasons but this time he had a legitimate reason for visiting the Chancellor. Padmé had refused to leave the planet when she had travelled all this way for the vote. She didn’t intend on leaving until the vote had happened. So, he needed the Chancellor to intervene and order her to leave.

    The interest the Chancellor had in him felt wrong. Before his mother had intervened he had thought nothing of it but since she had aided in making his and Obi-Wan’s bond stronger, his feelings towards the kind old man, formally Senator of Naboo, had changed.

    Undetected manipulation seemed to be what he was best at.

    Shmi’s suspicions regarding Palpatine had made it to both Yoda and Mace Windu through Obi-Wan, and though they could not forbid contact they could use Anakin to report on his dealings with him, which Anakin was doing whenever he did see him: he immediately spoke to Obi-Wan or his mother afterwards. Whether Palpatine suspected that Anakin was reporting their conversations to the Council or not, he didn’t know, but a part of him suspected he did but never said.

    Palpatine moved around the table after hearing Anakin’s request. “I will talk to her. Senator Amidala will not refuse an executive order. I know her well enough to assure you of that.”

    “Thank you, Chancellor,” Anakin said.

    “And I hear that instead of Knighting you, as you deserve to be by now, they have given you another assignment?”

    Anakin frowned. The Chancellor should not be meddling in his training. “With all due respect, Sir, I am not ready to take the trials. I have taken the lead in several assignments lately but to become a full Jedi Knight? Not yet. There are still some things that I need to learn.”

    “Yet some of those things you cannot learn until you become a Knight, Anakin,” continued Palpatine smoothly.

    “Maybe so,” admitted Anakin, “but it is not your place to comment on my training. You are not part of the Order.”

    Palpatine stiffened. His gaze seemed to become more lucent then before as if he was trying to hide something but when he spoke his voice sounded normal. “Your mother has certainly given you the gift of being rather blunt.”

    “No sir, I trust my feelings.” Uneasiness settled upon him and he took a step back from the Chancellor. “I need to go. I’m sure you need to talk to Senator Amidala about leaving for Naboo and I’d like to spend more time with my family before I leave.”

    Palpatine nodded his sage old head. “I will of course speak with her, Anakin,” he smiled. “In time, my friend, I see you becoming the greatest of all Jedi. I am certain that you will prove yourself worthy of Knighthood soon.”

    Anakin bowed and acknowledged his thanks before leaving, the uneasy feeling remaining in the pit of his stomach until he made it back to the Temple, where he found his mother on duty in the kitchens. She would listen to him about what had just transpired.

    She always did.

    - - - - -

    They were leaving, not by the main spaceport, but a smaller port that was used for refugee ships. It was an efficient docks, also used to import supplies into Coruscant, as well as running constantly throughout the day and night; its workers forever on a rotation.

    Into the hustle and bustle of the spaceport came Anakin and Padmé, walking along, dressed in simple brown tunics and breeches, wearing garbs that classified them as Outland refugees, determined to escape the busy atmosphere that had become Coruscant.

    As they reached the walkway that would take them to one of the gigantic transports that currently nestled inside the docking platform, they found Padmé’s security guard, Typho, her handmaiden Dormé who was taking over Padmé’s duties and acting as the Senator, and finally Obi-Wan.

    Anakin had hoped to see his mother here, but she was too busy working at the Temple, her shift not ending for another few hours. He had spoken to her about Palpatine and she had simply advised him to not to listen and trust in his feelings, which was something she always told him when it came to that man.

    Padmé spoke to her bodyguard and handmaiden and Anakin approached Obi-Wan.

    “Master, before I depart I need to tell you something.”

    Obi-Wan moved in closer so that their conversation would not be overheard. “What is it?”

    “The Chancellor,” he whispered. “He tried to interfere again.”

    Obi-Wan frowned. “I hate it when he does that. What did he say?”

    Quickly, Anakin recollected what had transpired between himself and the Supreme Chancellor and when he was finished he waited patiently for his Master to speak.

    “His interest in you makes me uneasy and his ability to believe that you are ready to be Knighted makes me feel that there is something not right there and we are missing it.” He laid a hand on his Padawan’s shoulder. “You’ve guessed by now anyway, your mother told me. The Council is considering you for Knighthood. It shouldn’t be long now before you are given that honour.”

    He had finally admitted it! “I’m glad you said it, Master!” the young man grinned.

    “I don’t think I need to give you the usual instructions. I can trust you to make decisions that you feel may be beneficial to protecting the Senator. If you are unsure – and I am unavailable – check with the Council first. You’ve earned my respect enough that you don’t need me or the Council to make decisions for you.” Obi-Wan clapped him on the back.

    The two Jedi turned back to Padmé and her entourage.

    “I will get to the bottom of this plot quickly, m’Lady,” said Obi-Wan. “You’ll be back here in no time.”

    Padmé smiled gently. “I will be very grateful for your speed, Master Jedi.”

    “Be careful, Master,” said Anakin, shaking his Master’s hand. “I don’t want to be the one to rescue you again.”

    Obi-Wan rolled his eyes. “I fell into a nest of gundarks, Anakin. That was some years ago now. It’s been a long while since you rescued me. I’m hoping that there won’t be a next time.”

    Laughing, Anakin took up the luggage and led the way up the landing pad towards the docked ship.

    May the Force be with you… he heard in his mind.

    And with you too, Master, he reciprocated along the bond.

    Without looking back, Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala boarded the transport that would take them to Naboo, where he hoped that he would be able to adequately protect the Senator from harm. He just had to believe that Obi-Wan would find the assassin before they struck again.

    I will, Padawan, I promise.

    Good.

    To be continued.
    Chapter Eleven will be posted tomorrow.
  4. Valairy Scot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    I like this Obi-Wan and Anakin's relationship so much better than in canon!
  5. Jedi_Liz Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2000
    star 6
    definitely prefer this Anakin over the movie one!
  6. hlc88 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 4
    @Valairy Scot and @Jedi_Liz Thank you!

    - - - - -

    Eleven

    Theed was in many ways like Coruscant, a busy city with traffic coming and going, freighters and shuttles arriving and leaving from the main space-port, however one main difference made it stand out away from the planet that Anakin had spent the last ten years on: Naboo was soft in appearance, with very few towering buildings, and the architecture was beautiful, made of stone and varying colours whereas Coruscant was bland in appearance due to the vastness of the city that stretched around the planet.

    Naboo would always be Anakin’s favourite planet. He had loved it here for the few days he had been present during the Trade Federation Blockade.

    Anakin and Padmé strolled through the main plaza; a plaza of which had once been the site of a battle as the Jedi and the former Queen had fought to enter the Palace and regain control of the planet. Behind them trailed R2-D2, Padmé’s loyal droid, beeping along.

    “You seem very happy, Ani.” She had noticed the young man grinning widely.

    Anakin blushed. “I can’t see how you could leave this place. It’s beautiful. If I lived here I don’t think I could bring myself to leave!” He sounded like an excited child.

    “I doubt that…” Padmé laughed.

    Shaking his head, Anakin denied it. “No, honestly, I’d stay. Out of all the planets I’ve seen this is by far my favourite. It’s such a wonderful place: calm and peaceful, so unlike Tatooine or Coruscant.” He glanced at Padmé. “When I started my training this was the one place that I could think about that made me truly happy. It was difficult for me, for that first year.”

    Padmé cocked her head realising what Anakin meant. “You were homesick, weren’t you?” she said gently. “Despite the battle you saw here, what you saw afterwards with the parade and the unity of the people stuck with you, didn’t it?”

    Anakin nodded. “I was. I missed my mother and Master Obi-Wan didn’t seem to understand. He never gave me the impression that he cared about me, but I was wrong. He saw that I needed help. Sorry, I’m talking about myself again, and I shouldn’t. Just that…” he hesitated, “Naboo made me feel better, knowing that when I was a Knight I could come back here if I wanted to.”

    “Until your mother came back into your life,” finished Padmé.

    “Yeah,” he smiled, as they strolled towards the Theed Palace. “Now I want to be on Coruscant as much as I possibly can because of her. It’s been hard the last few months always constantly away but the Republic needs us and my mum is happy so I don’t feel bad leaving her. Master Obi-Wan did something for me that I never thought could happen. He convinced the Council to allow me to have my mother in my life. I think it has made all the difference to who I am as a person.”

    “Sometimes people come along that can change the foundation of a long-standing Order,” explained Padmé. “I understand that Jedi aren’t allowed to love but the changes that I have heard about that have been implemented appear to be doing good to the Order. The public’s view of the Jedi is very different now to what it was only a few years ago.”

    Anakin frowned. “I thought the public were fond of the Jedi?”

    “Some are and some aren’t. The fact that the Order took young children from their parents and allowed no contact with them was taken to be mean in spirit. The Jedi do wonderful things,” said Padmé carefully, “but there will always be those who feel that the Jedi just mercilessly take any child, despite the fact it is the parent’s decision. Your mother chose to let you go even though she was stuck as a slave. Some parents choose that because they want a better life for their child and the Jedi can offer them that.”

    “And has opinion changed since the Council authorised contact to parents?” questioned Anakin.

    “Mostly. As I said there will always be detractors against the Order. You can’t please everyone,” Padmé explained.

    They were now walking past a fountain in the centre of the plaza, and Padmé found herself receiving nods and smiles from citizens alike as they recognised their beloved Senator. She took her time to smile in return and to answer what they said to her; Anakin looked on in amusement.

    As they reached the large brooding doors that led into the Queen’s palace, Anakin turned to Padmé, and asked: “Your people really love you, don’t they?”

    “I’m just doing my job, to protect my people, and to set a good example,” she responded lightly.

    “Did you always want to be a politician?” grinned Anakin as they stepped into the palace and began to walk down the marble halls.

    Padmé laughed out loud, sending a shiver down Anakin’s spine. The sound of her laughter was intoxicating to him. “No, that was the last thing I thought of being. My dream was to work in the Refugee Relief Movement which is a far cry from running for elected office. I loved to study history and the more I read of our history, and the galaxy’s, the more I understood the good that politicians could do. I joined the Apprentice Legislators when I was eight, which is like making a formal announcement that you are entering public service here on Naboo. I quickly progressed to becoming a Senatorial Adviser, and I went about my duties with such passion that before I knew it, I was elected Queen.”

    Anakin was impressed: Padmé’s dedication to duty showed that she was a truly remarkable woman. He couldn’t have chosen anyone better to fall in love with.

    “I scored really high on my education certificate which appealed to my people: it helped them to trust me and that I knew what I was doing even though when I took office I didn’t feel confident at all.”

    “From what I saw you looked it,” said Anakin, remembering the strong young girl that had successfully led a liberation of her planet.

    A heart-warming smile crossed her face. “It was an act, Ani. I didn’t feel in control at all. But I had to do that otherwise I wouldn’t be able to free my world. My ascent to the throne became about due to also my conviction that reform was possible. The people of Naboo embraced that dream wholeheartedly, so that my age was barely an issue during my campaign.”

    “Were you the youngest queen?” Anakin couldn’t imagine taking on such a responsibility so young.

    Padmé shook her head. “No, I wasn’t, but looking back on my terms now, I’m not sure that I was old enough or if I was ready…” She bit her lip.

    “The people you served thought you did a good job.” He swallowed remembering a news announcement on the holonet about Padmé’s election to the position of Senator and that had included a small nugget of information that proved that the woman he loved had indeed been exceedingly popular with the people of Naboo. “They tried to amend the constitution so that you could stay in office.”

    Padmé shook her head. “They did but that isn’t democracy and I am passionate about that. The people may want certain things but it doesn’t give them what they need. I was relieved when my two terms were up as were my parents! They worried for me during the blockade and couldn’t wait for me to return to a normal life.” She blushed as she said the following words. “I was hoping to have a family by now…”

    A slight smile formed on Anakin’s face. Padmé wanted a family. He wanted to be the one to give that to her but he couldn’t and it hurt him that his duty as a Jedi was keeping him away from that. She was staring at him in wonderment.

    “What?” he asked, surprised at the depth he saw within her eyes and how open she seemed to be to him.

    “It’s nothing,” whispered Padmé. “Just dreams that I had that I can’t do until my duty as a Senator is complete. When I’m thirty I am retiring from politics to focus on what I want for a change.” She lifted her chin. “The crisis with the Separatists cannot go on that long, surely?”

    “I hope so,” replied Anakin, “but I haven’t been on Coruscant much to really understand the full implications behind planets leaving the Republic.”

    “Well then,” grinned Padmé as they reached another set of marble doors, “perhaps this meeting with the Queen, Anakin Skywalker, will enlighten your knowledge about the Republic’s situation.”

    Dutifully, Padmé opened the doors and stepped into a large hall, Anakin following behind.

    - - - - -

    For two hours Anakin and Padmé stayed in the company of the Queen; Anakin learning more about the state between the Republic and the Separatists. When they had finished their meeting they had made their way to Padmé’s parent’s house where they had spent the night, so that her parents and her sister could see her. Anakin had been honest and explained to Padmé’s father that his daughter was in danger but he was there to protect her and that his Master Obi-Wan was tracking down the assassins.

    The following day, Padmé and Anakin packed their bags once again and headed out to the Lake Country, a place of calm serenity offering quiet and protection.

    Now they walked slowly around the isle Padmé had chosen for her sanctuary; it was small and idyllic, quiet and peaceful. The water shimmered in the bright sunlight as they looked out from the walkway. Stopping by a balustrade, Padmé and Anakin stared out into beautiful Nabooian country.

    “I never got to see this place last time,” Anakin remarked as he leaned out next to Padmé. “I’ve been to many planets during the course of my Jedi studies but I have barely seen water so clear… clear enough that you can see the mountains reflected in them.”

    Padmé smiled. “We used to come here for school retreat.” She pointed out to another island in the distance. “See that island? We used to swim there every day. I love the water.”

    “I do too,” admitted Anakin, “I grew up on a planet where water was sparse. The sand… there was too much sand. Course and rough, irritating and getting in everywhere, but here its fine and smooth to the touch.” Without knowing what he was doing, Anakin had reached out and was stroking Padmé’s bare arm.

    The dress she wore exposed her body in a way that was causing Anakin to lose control. He couldn’t help himself despite the sane part in his mind telling him to stop. He pulled his fingers away, feeling ashamed that he had lost control. “I’m sorry…” he whispered, stepping away from Padmé and breathing heavily.

    “Anakin?” Padmé turned away from the view and looked at the tormented young man behind her.

    “I shouldn’t have done that… I can’t let myself become attached to you… I can’t fall in love with you further then I already am because of my promise… I can’t. Not yet.” He looked up at her finally. “Padmé, I don’t know if you even feel that way about me but…”

    She stepped closer and raised a hand to his lips. “Shh.” She could see how tormented he was by the mere action of stroking her arm. “It’s alright.”

    Submerged into the current of the Force, Anakin attempted to calm his raging emotions but as he did so he felt Padmé’s electrifying presence and he sensed her uncertainty but also love… love for him radiated from her and he gasped, stumbling back a bit more as his head told him that she felt the same as him.

    Anakin swallowed. “I…I have to go.”

    And he turned and ran back along the pathway. Padmé slowly followed behind, wishing she could do something about her own feelings too, but her duties as a Senator were far too important for her to indulge in a relationship.

    The Republic was at the brink of war, she couldn’t put aside what she had worked for to allow herself to fall in love with someone who simply could not love because of the Order he was a part of. It wouldn’t work, and she’d have to let him down quietly, no matter how much it hurt her inside to do so.

    - - - - -

    The next week was uncomfortable for them both. Padmé tried her best to not entice Anakin’s feelings for her but with the hot weather gracing the Lake Country, the only clothes she could wear were ones that helped her keep cool. Anakin kept an eye on her, watching for any danger, whilst trying to stop himself from succumbing to his feelings.

    They spent time in the waterfall park where Padmé regaled him with tales of her childhood and listening to his own stories of his Jedi training. She learnt more about how Obi-Wan had freed Shmi Skywalker to and was very glad that Anakin had his mother in his life. She remembered seeing him curled up in her starship, afraid and lost in a strange new world as a nine year old. Now this boy was a man, a powerful man.

    The more she watched him the more she felt her own feelings grow for him. He was the type of man she wanted in her life: strong, kind and caring, considerate of her every need but didn’t hold her back. If Anakin wasn’t a Jedi and if she wasn’t a Senator they’d suit each other…

    Their chosen paths made it impossible for them to commit to one another.

    And that saddened her because Padmé felt that they were meant to be.

    - - - - -

    Two weeks had passed since they had arrived on Naboo.

    Anakin had noticed Padmé’s hesitation around him and he could feel that she was fighting her own battle against her feelings. How had he not realised her feelings for him before? Was it because his love for her had drowned out that connection that they shared?

    Anakin shook his head and sat back on the sofa, the fire roaring away in the centre of the room, warming it up. He closed his eyes and sought his inner soul, trying to explore his feelings and wants for the future. But he couldn’t settle.

    “Anakin?”

    His eyes snapped open and he saw Padmé standing in the door frame, dressed in a simple black dress with a choker wrapped lightly around her soft neck. He swallowed as burning desire rushed through him. Was she doing this deliberately? To entice him? He hoped not.

    “Padmé? What is it?” he answered.

    “I think we need to talk,” she replied hesitantly, walking forward and sitting down next to Anakin on the sofa, facing him, her hands on her lap.

    Anakin sat up. He felt unsure. “I can’t change how I feel about you.”

    “I know. If you weren’t a Jedi… And I wasn’t a Senator…” she trailed off.

    He understood what she meant. “We’d be free to follow our love if we weren’t who we are now. We might not have met otherwise.”

    Anakin nodded silently. The promise that he had made to his mother haunted him. “Not everything is possible. I know my duty as a Jedi.” He reached forward and took Padmé’s hands in his own. “I won’t always be a Jedi. I have a destiny that I must fulfil and when that is done I will leave the Order… if you can wait for me… We can be together, if you truly feel for me the way I sense you do.” There was anguish in his voice, he was feeling tormented by the conflicting emotions he could sense within her.


    “Anakin…” Padmé hesitated. She wasn’t sure of what to do.

    “Please, Padmé, you don’t have to answer now,” he beseeched her, “just think about it and tell me when you have decided.”

    She could only agree to that and they sat in silence.

    - - - - -

    “You’re worried aren’t you?” As ever Mari was very perceptive. The years she had worked with Shmi had given her an intimate knowledge of the woman. Shmi worked longer hours when her son was out on a mission compared to when he was on Coruscant. Despite having a husband and daughter to look after, Shmi’s continued worry for Anakin never went away.

    It had got worse since the news of the Separatist movement which was gaining prominence with every passing day.

    “Anakin has been gone for a month,” she said, “I hope he’s alright.”

    Mari smiled gently. “I’m sure he is. He’s an intelligent young man.”

    “But a month for a protection mission?” queried Shmi. “Isn’t that lasting too long?” She knew that Obi-Wan had been trailing the assassins but surely he would have uncovered something by now that would allow Anakin to return to Coruscant? “Never mind, I’m sure he’ll be home soon.”

    She hoped.

    - - - - -

    Padmé hadn’t answered Anakin yet and he didn’t mind. He knew it was a hard decision to make. He didn’t wish to push her into anything she didn’t want. They had carried on with their retreat, waiting for the news they needed so that they could return to Coruscant. Padmé was still hoping that she’d be back in time for the vote. But as days went by the date drew closer to that all-important date.

    Despite the fact it was slightly awkward between the two considering their feelings for one another they continued to live life, exploring the surrounding areas and getting to know one another even more. Padmé was delighted to learn about Anakin’s extended family and she was thrilled that Shmi had found a better life.

    Padmé found it a marvel that it had been Obi-Wan who had orchestrated it all and she could see the gratefulness Anakin harboured for his Master. The young boy she had known had become a fine and honourable man.

    As they walked along the beach, their fingers barely entwining, Anakin stopped.

    And then he grunted.

    And fell.

    “MASTER!”

    Padmé whirled. “Anakin!” She knelt down beside him, as the young man bent over, holding a hand to his stomach. “What is it?” she asked desperately.

    Anakin panted, his eyes squinting shut. “It’s Obi-Wan,” he stuttered. “Our bond is very powerful… because we are so far away from one another I haven’t felt him but just now…” he grunted, “he’s being hurt, Padmé, I can feel his pain!” A look of intense fear came across his face; the colour of his skin completely white.

    He gripped her arms hard. “I have to know what’s going on! Please, forgive me!” He raced off towards the retreat that they were staying in, Padmé close at his heels.

    - - - - -

    “I shouldn’t be doing this,” Anakin explained as he punched in a priority code to the Jedi Temple. “I should only contact if I have need to, but I have to know what’s happened to Obi-Wan. If the Council don’t know then I have to tell them…”

    Padmé rubbed his back soothingly. “I understand, Ani.” She didn’t know what it was like to suddenly feel the pain of someone you love but the way Anakin had reacted made her realise that it would have been a terrible shock.

    I hope Obi-Wan is alright for Anakin’s sake…

    “Windu here.”

    “Master Windu,” Anakin bowed before the hologram on the table. “I apologise for contacting you out of need but I felt Master Obi-Wan in pain. I didn’t know whether you knew what had happened to him…”

    “You felt his pain?” Mace Windu, one of the most composed Jedi of the Order was hard to surprise.

    Anakin nodded. “I did.”

    “This is unexpected, Skywalker,” Windu admitted. “We are aware of the situation. Kenobi sent us a message. He tracked the bounty hunter to Kamino where an army was being built for the Republic –”


    “WHAT?” Padmé exclaimed.

    Anakin glared at her but Windu continued as if he hadn’t been interrupted.

    “- he then followed the bounty hunter to Geonosis where he found the leaders of the Separatist cause. Nute Gunray is behind the assassination attempts on yourself, Senator, paid for by Count Dooku. Obi-Wan presence was discovered because during his message he was shot and presumably captured. He is still alive as we all sense him in the Force.” The Jedi Master looked to Padmé. “Unfortunately due to the confirmation that the Separatists are building an army to launch against the Republic, the Senate has voted in favour of the creation of an army. We are going to war. And we are leaving for Geonosis shortly to rescue Obi-Wan.”

    “I can help, Master,” said Anakin intently.

    “No, we need you to continue to protect the Senator at all costs. We will handle Count Dooku,” ordered Windu.

    Anakin swallowed the lump in his throat. “Yes Master. I will stay here and protect the Senator.” Even though that wasn’t what he wanted to do.

    “Good, Windu out.”

    - - - - -

    It was a few hours later that Shmi was preparing to depart the Temple when she received a visitor: one of the Jedi Master’s she had become friendly with over the years. Adi Gallia had become a staunch supporter and close friend of hers, being one of the few Jedi that had attended her wedding to Darec.

    “Adi, what brings you down here?” She had been gathering her belongings in the staff room.

    “I thought to bring word to you regarding a situation that could become quite volatile during the next few months. The Separatists have declared war on the Republic.”

    Shmi gasped. What did this mean? “But I thought negotiations were still on-going…” she remembered.

    Adi inclined her head. “Unfortunately the Separatists have captured a Jedi. By capturing him and sentencing him to death they are making war on the Republic. We are leaving in one standard hour to go to his rescue.”

    It couldn’t be Anakin who needed rescuing could it?

    Adi seemed to sense where her thoughts were leading her and gently laid a hand on her shoulder. “Anakin is fine. He is still on Naboo with Senator Amidala. The Jedi we are in need of rescuing is Obi-Wan Kenobi. He tracked the assassins and got caught in the process. Unfortunately he has fallen into the hands of some very nasty individuals.”

    Shmi swallowed. Obi-Wan was like a father to her son, she considered him family. “It might not have been best to tell me that…”

    “It is better you know the truth that you could lose someone you love today,” answered Adi calmly.

    Shmi couldn’t argue with that logic since everyone knew how grateful she was to Obi-Wan for freeing her from slavery in the first place.

    - - - - -

    Padmé stared at the young man she had fallen in love with, hardly daring to believe what he had said. “How can you leave the man that is training you in the hands of the Separatists?”

    Anakin sighed, his hand covering his face as he sat slowly down onto the co-pilots chair. “Because if I go after him I’m breaking my promise to protect you. I can’t let you rush off into danger, especially to the people that harbour your attempted killers! Geez, Padmé, I love Obi-Wan like a father, but I can’t simply disobey orders because I want to. Part of being a Jedi is letting go of your attachments.” He looked at her, begging for her to understand. “One day soon Obi-Wan and I will part ways but if I go rushing off to rescue him now I risk losing both of you, and I don’t want that Padmé.”

    She sat stunned at his admission. She understood where he was coming from but Obi-Wan was her friend too. She couldn’t leave him. Turning away from the young Jedi, Padmé started to jog across the room, ignoring the tug of her dress against her legs. She would change and leave immediately, regardless of what Anakin had been ordered to do. He had his orders and she would see him follow them while still going to rescue the man that was as dear to him as his mother was.

    “Padmé?”

    “I’m sorry Anakin, but I can’t do what you are trying to do. We have to help. And…” she looked over her shoulder at him slyly, “if you want to protect me you will have to come along.”

    To be continued...

    I decided to stretch out Anakin and Padme's time on Naboo to a month to make it a bit more realistic and for them to get to know one another.

    Chapter Twelve will be posted on Sunday.
  7. Valairy Scot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    Aw, come on - I wish someone would worry about Obi-Wan for his OWN sake, not for others. <Rant over, but I've seen this so often>

    Shmi is a bit better, but she's still relating Obi-Wan to another.
    Last edited by Valairy Scot, Oct 5, 2012
  8. Jedi_Liz Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2000
    star 6
    this Anakin is a lot more mature....Padme is very impulsive...

    [face_nail_biting]
  9. hlc88 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 4
    And as promised, here is chapter 12!

    @Valairy Scot I think a lot of people think Obi-Wan can cope on his own, its Anakin they are concerned about because he is untested.

    @Jedi_Liz Thanks! Mature Anakin is fun to write!

    - - - - -

    Twelve

    Geonosis: a red planet with scant civilisation but with intelligent life-forms; now the base of the Separatists and the place where Obi-Wan Kenobi was being held captive.
    Padmé’s star-cruiser dropped out of hyperspace in close proximity to the planet; Anakin at the helm guiding the ship into the atmosphere.

    Sinking in the rhythm of the Force, Anakin reached out and touched the bond he shared with his Master, seeking him. He didn’t know whether this would work or whether the distance would hinder his attempts to contact Obi-Wan but he had to try. He kept the ship close to the ground, skimming it, scanning for any sign of the Trade Federation. They knew they were involved on Geonosis; it was just a matter of finding where their base was. He transferred control of the ship over to Padmé as he sank deeper into the flow of the Force, not wanting to risk his concentration.

    Master? Anakin sent along the bond.

    His Master’s presence boomed to life, flaring in his mind. Anakin! Please don’t tell me you’ve come alone…

    Anakin grinned sheepishly, knowing full well that Obi-Wan wouldn’t see it. Padmé wanted to come and rescue you. If I wanted to protect her, I had to come along.

    Did the Council get my message? I assume so since you are here. I had to retransmit it via Naboo.

    Guilt flared through him. He hadn’t been there to hear the message first-hand. We were in the Lake Country. R2 and the ship were back in Theed. He guessed R2 had managed to get a hanger technician to redirect the message.

    Ah, so someone else made sure my message got to the Council then. Anakin, tell me, did they order you to stay on Naboo?

    Anakin nodded. They did. But Padmé refused to stay behind.

    That’s just like her… Anakin, listen to me, if I don’t make it out of here alive, you have to tell the Council what Count Dooku told me. He said hundreds of Senators are now under the sway of a Dark Lord of the Sith.

    If Anakin’s eyes were open they would have widened in astonishment. What? I can’t believe that…

    You have to get that message to the Council even if it sounds ridiculous. He’s probably lying but it isn’t something I want to risk being wrong about if I keep it to myself!

    We’re coming to rescue you, Master, you can tell them yourself, responded Anakin sharply.

    No! They’ve sentenced me to execution in a few hours. If you try to rescue me, we might lose the chance to tell the Council about the Sith especially if you get caught! Don’t let your personal feelings get in the way of your duty! Obi-Wan demanded, quite loudly over the bond.

    Anakin cursed. He had to send that message but his Master couldn’t stop him from continuing on with his mission once he had transmitted the news… All right. I’ll do it.
    Thank you.

    Anakin broke the connection and sat back in the pilot’s seat. “We can’t go and rescue Obi-Wan, Padmé.”

    The Senator looked sharply at him. “Why not?”

    “I need to send a message to the Council,” he began. “It’s important they know just in case Obi-Wan dies and if we die in our rescue attempt.” He threw Padmé a smile. “We’re still going to try and rescue him, but first I have to do what he requested.”

    “Your Force-bond? I guess you just spoke to him…” said Padmé uncertainly. Anakin had spoken to her about it during the month they had been on Naboo.

    “I did,” he confirmed, “but he also told me he’s been sentenced to death.” Leaning forward, Anakin began to press a few buttons, trying to patch through the interference that was blocking their signal to get a message out. “I think we might have to leave the planet if I’m going to do this.”

    “We can’t!” Padmé retorted. “If he’s going to be killed…”

    “Not for a few hours at least, we still have time!” replied Anakin. He transferred control of the ship over to his console and pointed the nose upwards, taking the ship on a steep climb back up into space. “Padmé, Obi-Wan told me something that the Council have to know about. If I don’t and we all die, then I could be responsible for the death of every Jedi in existence!”

    Padmé held her breath. “What do you mean?”

    Anakin breathed out slowly, calming himself. “I…I can’t say, not without authorisation from the Council.”

    “I’m going to hear it anyway,” she pointed out. “I’m not leaving this cock-pit, Anakin. This is my ship, you are merely a guest in it, protecting me. You can’t order me to not be here when you talk to the Council.”

    She was right. He didn’t have the authority to make Padmé’s decisions for her. She knew of the existence of the Sith because of their involvement on Naboo ten years ago. But what would her reaction be when she found out that she could be in fact under the sway of one even now? If that was even the truth…

    Anakin sighed. “Fine. Obi-Wan said that a Sith is in control of the Senate.”

    “What?” Padmé’s eyes bulged. “That can’t be true!”

    “Nevertheless,” Anakin said, “it is essential that I pass this information to the Council just in case it is true and we die in a rescue attempt.”

    “I just can’t believe that…” she repeated but she leaned back in her chair, allowing Anakin to continue to pilot the ship back up into space. If that information was true then this could change everything… “Anakin, do you think they know we are here? If they are jamming our signal…”

    “They know Obi-Wan got a message out. They’re probably anticipating someone coming to his rescue. Best way to unhinge us is to block any outgoing communications on any wavelengths. But jamming can only go so far…” Anakin gritted his teeth, toggling switches with his fingers waiting for the beep to confirm he was out of range. “They must have some really powerful scanners employed to be blocking us this far out…”

    “No, Anakin, they’ve already anticipated that the Republic will come to Obi-Wan’s aid,” remarked Padmé wisely. “Not just someone. The further they can extend their jammers, the more likely they will disrupt any sort of major rescue attempt. We do have the advantage of just being two people.”

    Anakin gritted his teeth. “I’m still not going down to Geonosis until I’ve passed his message on. Padmé, you have to trust me on this. We haven’t been able to trace the other Sith that we know exists in ten years. If they’re hiding right under our very noses then my top priority is to make sure that the Jedi Council are aware of it,” he punched another button and pushed the accelerator lever further forward. “I don’t like not going down there either but my duty is clear.”

    Padmé bit her lip. “Don’t you ever get tired of doing your duty? Don’t you want to do what Anakin Skywalker wants to do?”

    A rueful smile played across his lips. “Of course I do. I struggle with doing the right thing every day. It’s my biggest weakness: my love for the people I care about. It hurts me, Padmé, to turn away and leave Obi-Wan. You may not think so,” he turned to look at her and placed a fist against his chest, “but in here, in my heart, it hurts like hell because I love him like a father and I don’t want him to die.”

    Padmé could appreciate that though she had never experienced a Force bond like the one Anakin shared with Obi-Wan.

    “What about you, Senator? Don’t you ever tire of duty?” Anakin threw her a lop-sided grin.

    Before she could reply, the young Jedi whooped in delight. “Yes! We have a signal!”

    “We’re finally out of range?”

    “Yup!” Anakin puckered his lips upwards. He twisted a knob and pressed down on the audio button and started to speak. “This is Anakin Skywalker to the Jedi Temple. Please respond!”

    There was a crackle over the speakers as the transmission fought to speed across the vastness of space. Anakin pounded the top of the console in frustration. “Come on…!”

    “Skywalker, this is Mace Windu. What are you doing here?”

    The familiar voice of one of the Council members caused Anakin to sigh in relief and jubilantly reply for one unbefitting to be considered ready for Knighthood. “Master Windu! Where are you?”

    “Around the other side of the planet, moving in on the dark side. Now, why are you not on Naboo? I ordered you to stay there and protect the Senator!” He sounded angry.

    “Master Windu, this is Padmé Amidala. I refused to take your orders. To protect me he had to come with me to rescue Obi-Wan. He did not disobey his orders; he was fulfilling his mandate to protect me,” she said stubbornly, leaving no room for argument.

    There was silence on the other end and Anakin wondered if Padmé had pushed the older Jedi too far.

    Finally…

    “Very well. Stand by while we transmit our landing co-ordinates to you. We will do this together, and Senator, you will follow my orders,” replied Mace Windu darkly.

    “If I must,” answered Padmé. She sat back and watched as Anakin piloted the ship back down to the surface, where the rescue crew of Jedi Knights were gathering: where they would attempt and hopefully free Obi-Wan and just maybe be able to prevent a war from escalating to engulf the entire galaxy.

    - - - - -

    Rendezvousing with the two hundred Jedi that had been sent to rescue Obi-Wan – Anakin was surprised by how many Jedi they had managed to spare! – he and Padmé spoke to Master Windu regarding their leaving of Naboo against orders. Once more Padmé recited that it had been her who had decided to come. Despite the fact that he hadn’t liked it, Windu had accepted that Padmé was of her own mind. That didn’t stop the fact that he was ordering the Senator to stay in her ship, protected by two other Jedi, while the rest of his Jedi team went to rescue Obi-Wan.

    Padmé had not liked that but had conceded to Master Windu only after Anakin had asked her to because he didn’t want to worry about her safety while trying to save his Master. Hearing his plea had softened her stubborn heart and she had relented to spare Anakin the anguish of losing her if she was targeted.

    She would be more of a hindrance to the Jedi task force then a help.

    Anakin took her aside before he was due to leave. “I don’t want to lose you, Padmé, so please stay safe. We’ll be back before you know it.”

    She smiled sadly at him and placed a hand on his cheek. “You asked me to make my choice back on Naboo. Anakin, I want you to know that I can wait for you. You are who I want to be with. Please be safe…”

    “I will,” he promised. He leant down and kissed her on the lips, capturing them in his mouth, making it a soft but deep kiss. Hidden inside Padmé’s ship, they could get away with this, but not for long. Pulling away was torturous for him because he felt that he would never get the chance to feel those lips again, or hold her in the way he had been doing. “I love you.”

    “I love you too,” she said, and turned away as he steadied himself and walked back out into the world, towards a battle where it was unknown whether he would survive or not.

    The wait for Padmé Amidala was a long one.

    - - - - -

    Two scouts had been sent ahead to find out if they knew where Obi-Wan’s execution was being held. Anakin’s information about the sentence that awaited his Master only affirmed Mace Windu’s opinion that the Separatists wanted a war. Killing a Jedi, a man who was a Republic office, constituted an act of war.

    They Force-sped across the Geonosian landscape towards the arena, reaching it quickly, and started to cut several holes into the structure where they would be able to sneak inside and hopefully stop an execution from taking place.

    Once inside the building that had been carved completely out of rock, Mace Windu separated from the main group and headed upwards towards the dark presence of Count Dooku, that even Anakin could sense. However, the rest of the Jedi proceeded towards the arena, where they started to surround it, hiding in the shadows.

    Anakin resisted the urge to peer out and see what was going on. He could hear cheers – or what passed as cheers for an insect race – but kept calm and waited for the signal. He was certain if Obi-Wan was killed then he would feel it in the Force: after all he had felt him in pain before.

    Sinking into the Force, Anakin probed along the bond, seeking his Master. We’re here. All of us. Just hold on a bit longer. There was a spark of confusion coming from Obi-Wan but Anakin ignored it, and instead leant his Master his strength, because he could feel through the Force that two days of captivity had had its toll on Obi-Wan.
    His Force presence felt hungry and weak and he could briefly sense how hungry and thirsty his Master was. His captors had made sure not to treat him well, to make his execution easier for them. It’s not an execution for them. It’s sport! Anakin knew full well what an arena was for. Some slaves had been brought specifically for use in arenas where they were ‘food’ for certain prey. If they survived for a number of hours they would earn their freedom but eventually their exhaustion would catch up with them and they’d die.

    He heard an inhuman roar, the sound of a creature, in the arena, clearly getting agitated that its ‘food’ was not going to lay still and let them eat it.

    And then silence fell as the noises the cheering Geonosians were making silenced and Anakin felt a prodding in the Force from Windu. Moving out into the open, Anakin ignited his lightsaber, standing beside Barris Offee and Kit Fisto. He looked down into the arena, ignoring the altercation between Windu and Count Dooku above and searched for his Master.

    He found him quickly, still trying to fend off the creature – an Ackley – with a pike he had somehow managed to acquire from one of the Geonosians.

    But his danger sense went in overdrive as the sound of marching droids came up behind him. Whirling away, Anakin batted away a string of laser bolts that would have killed him if he hadn’t sensed the danger. Taking a brief look over his shoulder he saw droids marching into the arena, arms raised in the shooting position, aiming for his Master who was weaponless…

    Pulling on the Force, Anakin flipped over the side, landing on the sandy arena floor, reaching into his pocket and pulled out a spare lightsaber. A burst of speed and he was halfway across the arena and he flung the hilt into the air. “Obi-Wan! Catch!”

    His Master caught it, igniting the green blade as blaster shots opened up on him, defending himself quickly before he could be struck down. Joining the fray, Anakin continued to push his way forward striking down droids left right and centre until he was back-to-back with Obi-Wan. “Good to see you alive, Master!”

    “I’m glad I didn’t disappoint you!” Obi-Wan yelled over the blaster-fire, turning his lightsaber so quickly that it was impossible to detect where it was going to go next. “Where’s the Senator?”

    “On her ship! Padmé wanted to come and rescue you. But we got intercepted by Master Windu!”

    “Did you pass on my other message?”

    “The one about the Sith? Not yet.” Anakin admitted, having forgotten about it when he and Padmé had landed on Geonosis.

    “Why not?” Obi-Wan demanded, blocking several shots and using the Force to push the droids away. “I asked you to pass it on to the Council!”

    Anakin bit his lip, feeling guilty that he hadn’t done what his Master had asked. “Padmé knows. I’m sure she will tell the Council if we don’t survive.”

    A shadow fell across them as the Ackley that Obi-Wan had been defending himself against surged towards them, ignoring all other targets, its little beady eyes focused upon Obi-Wan. The monster clearly had his scent. Anakin dived to the side, swiping his lightsaber out, cutting through one claw as it descended.

    Obi-Wan threw himself to the side as the Ackley followed him, twirling quickly he lunged forward at the beast, swinging his blade round in an arc, slicing through hard flesh and bone. The Ackley stumbled, screeching loudly at the loss of two of its limbs. It crashed to the sandy floor, snapping with its mouth towards the two Jedi: Anakin swiped again, cutting a long gash through its hard armour before Obi-Wan sent his blade right through its top shell and into its chest cavity, killing the creature instantly.

    An explosion rocked the air and they both went flying, Anakin landing on his feet but Obi-Wan falling flat on his face. Through their bond Anakin could feel his Master weakening. The Force was racing through Obi-Wan that he was wearing himself out quicker then he should be but his captivity in Separatists hands would not have done him any good. True, a Jedi could survive weeks without food but there was a distinct dryness to his Master which suggested that he had been deprived of liquids, left to dehydrate so that his execution would be easier.

    Exhausted victims were considered to be more entertainment to the spectators.

    Anakin reached for his Master’s elbow and helped him to his feet, battling away bolts. “You’re exhausted, Master.”

    “I’m fine, Anakin,” Obi-Wan retorted. “Just concentrate on surviving yourself.”

    The droids were closing in on them, surrounding the surviving Jedi in the arena in a circle. Anakin counted round. Twenty-four Jedi remained in the arena. Twenty-four out of the over two-hundred Jedi that had come to rescue Obi-Wan were still alive.

    How could we have lost so many?

    The circle tightened and then the droids stopped firing.

    Anakin inched backwards, his desire to protect Obi-Wan overcoming him. His eyes swept around the area taking in the hundreds of battle droids that were surrounding them. Ki-Adi Mundi and Saesee Tiin was pushed into the Jedi circle. Mace Windu stepped up, glaring up towards the balcony where Count Dooku stood, gazing down upon them.

    “Master Windu! You have fought gallantly, worthy of recognition in the history archives of the Jedi Order! Now it is finished. Surrender… and your lives will be spared.”

    Windu shouted back up, his voice angry and hard. “We will not be hostages for you to barter with Dooku.”

    Dooku stepped back, a flicker of sadness going across his face. “Then I’m sorry, old friend, you will have to be destroyed.”

    Anakin raised his lightsaber in a defensive position, his heart beating fast in his chest. If he was going to die here at least he’d had the chance to see his mother to freedom and happiness and see Padmé again….

    A breeze rattled his Padawan braid and then the noises of engines came bursting down overhead. Anakin looked up and a grin spread across his face. They were saved!

    The sky was filled with gunships and in the lead one was Yoda, flanked by a row of troopers, directing the troop transports to land in a circle around them, even as the droids opened fire once more.

    Dashing for the nearest transport, the troopers laying down covering fire, Anakin leapt up onto the transport, Obi-Wan following him. As the transports lifted off, taking the surviving Jedi away from the arena, and over into the Geonosis wasteland, Anakin witnessed the start of a full-scale war.

    Already Republic and Separatists ships were attacking one another, with no hint of mercy within them as they fought. Up ahead, Yoda’s transport landed at the command deck but Anakin instructed his pilot to carry on flying. “Master?”

    “I’m fine, Anakin,” Obi-Wan dismissed him, lightsaber still in his hand, ignited, watching the following battle taking place below him. He was scanning the area, his eyes searching for something… Anakin could tell. Suddenly… “Look! Over there!”

    Anakin swept his gaze over the landscape, seeing in the distance a tiny speeder flying through the air. He knew immediately who it was: the dark side reeked in that direction. “Dooku. Pilot, follow that speeder!”

    “Yes sir,” the clone pilot acknowledged.

    “Very efficient these clones you discovered…” muttered Anakin, hanging on to the railing above with one hand, his eyes locked ahead on the small spec that was Dooku. “It’s a good thing they were secretly commissioned behind the Council’s back.” He and Padmé had been filled in by Windu prior to departing to the arena so Anakin knew that during his mission to track the assassin, Obi-Wan had discovered a clone army commissioned for the Republic. The circumstances were suspicious but the Republic had warriors to defend themselves now.

    “Anakin, the Republic is at war,” said Obi-Wan quietly. “This is the last thing we wanted to happen.”

    “You’re exhausted…” began Anakin, concern in his voice.

    “I told you I’m fine.” Obi-Wan was adamant that he was; he wouldn’t take no for an answer.

    Blasts rocked the gunship as two fighters came up behind them, firing on them to stop them getting to Dooku but the pilot had been trained well. The small speeder flew into a hanger bay, the gunship was simply too big to follow and hovered just by the entrance. Anakin and Obi-Wan leapt out and the gun-ship soared away, only to be destroyed from the constant fire of the fighters as they swept past.

    Lightsabers ignited, they ran into the hanger where they found Dooku waiting for them, meters from a small interstellar sail ship sitting nearby.

    “Dooku,” Obi-Wan said.

    “Kenobi… and this must be your Padawan, Anakin Skywalker?” mused Dooku.

    Anakin glared at the man. “You will pay for all the Jedi you killed today!” He felt angry for he had felt their lives perishing in the Force, never to be felt again.

    Keep calm. He wants you to act irrationally. Together we can hold against him. Obi-Wan whispered over the bond.

    Anakin swallowed and ignored the building rage he felt, trying to push back the temptation to just run at the murderer. This man was dark, he was trying to pry upon their emotions, just standing there, confident in his victory over his merciless execution of over a hundred Jedi Knights. He raised his blue lightsaber in front of him.

    We approach together. Obi-Wan continued over the bond. At least this way Dooku wouldn’t be able to predict their actions.

    “Stand down,” ordered Dooku.

    “I don’t think so,” answered Obi-Wan.

    A merciless smile crossed the Count’s face. “So be it.” Retrieving from his belt he held the handle of a curved lightsaber, igniting it, and the red shining blade erupted from it.

    In tandem, flowing together through the Force, Obi-Wan and Anakin struck.

    Dooku stepped back defending against the two attacks. He shot out his left hand and lightening sprouted out from it hitting Anakin before he had the chance to block. The young man went sprawling and landed with a loud thud against the far wall.

    The attack stopped as Dooku returned his attention to Obi-Wan.

    Anakin?

    Groaning in pain Anakin briefly registered his Master’s voice through the bond. Concentrate! You’re weak enough as it is! He knew it wasn’t his place to order his Master what to do but Obi-Wan was already weak and the lightning strike had rendered Anakin incapable of moving for the moment. Reaching into the Force he sought to calm his muscles from spasm, to regain his strength, all the way feeding his Master strength through their bond.

    Obi-Wan had stepped back, raising his green blade in a defensive manner across his body. The two combatants circled one another, Dooku making sudden movements towards Obi-Wan, while the Jedi Knight continued to step back, not allowing himself to be drawn into a fight.

    “And here I thought you were considered one of the best Knights in the Order? Do you dare not fight me?” taunted Dooku darkly.

    Obi-Wan smirked. “I know my limits.” If he attacked he’d be defeated, it was that simple. If he could stave off a proper duel until Anakin recovered then they’d have the advantage once again.

    But his decision to play with Dooku was the wrong one for the older man knew what he was attempting to do and so attacked viciously, causing Obi-Wan to defend himself, continuously stepping back, trying to parry every strike. When given the chance, Obi-Wan attacked back, forgetting about his determination to not fight but Dooku had given him no choice. He had been backed into a corner, if he didn’t fight back then he’d be killed.

    It was his fatal mistake. Dooku had manipulated him.

    Their blades clashed together. Dooku pushed downward on Obi-Wan’s blade, his strength more so than the younger Knights. With a quick thrust, Dooku’s blade stabbed right into Obi-Wan’s right shoulder and then into his leg.

    Obi-Wan’s nerveless fingers dropped his borrowed lightsaber to the cavern floor and he collapsed; the two strikes that Dooku had made had disabled him.

    Lying on the floor he watched as the Count approached him.

    “I gave you a chance Obi-Wan but you didn’t take it when you had it.” He raised his blade…

    …And Anakin acted, using the Force to propel himself across the cavern, igniting his blue blade and thrusting it under Dooku’s descending one, stopping it with a shower of sparks.

    Dooku backpedalled away from Anakin. “That is brave of you, boy, but foolish.”

    Anakin merely grinned. “A Padawan protects his Master.” He would not be drawn into a fight with this man, besides he could sense another presence approaching the hanger and he was sure Dooku did too. He had seen the damage, he had nearly lost Obi-Wan.

    Dooku raised his left hand and lightning shot out of his fingers again but this time Anakin was ready and deflected the bolts with his lightsaber.

    “You think you can defeat me, Skywalker, standing there and protecting your Master?” Dooku jeered.

    “I don’t need to fight you. You have to get past me to get to your ship. Either way you’ve lost.” Anakin sounded so bold, so confident, he was sure that the Count would not be able to escape.

    Overconfidence is your weakness, Anakin…

    Choosing to ignore Obi-Wan voice, Anakin moved forward a bit, intending to give Dooku a scare but the older man was far to intelligent to be lured forward.

    But then Dooku raised his hand and a prickling feeling shot up his spine. Where was the danger? And then he felt something press against his back…

    Anakin! My lightsaber!

    His eyes widened as he realised what Dooku had done. He ducked, as a green beam of plasma shot forward. He had moved just in time, the blade would have skewered him through the back, killing him.

    He rolled forward, leaping up into an attack position as Dooku brought down his own red blade. And then the fight began in earnest. Ducking and weaving, pressing forward and defending when he could, Anakin and Count Dooku fought.

    Bringing his blade down, Anakin intercepted Dooku’s stabbing thrust, backpedalling, and then he slashed forward aiming for Dooku’s outstretched arm.

    “ANAKIN! NO!”

    He heard the warning too late as Dooku blocked and then twisted his blade underneath Anakin’s coming up at his arm and severed the young Padawan’s right arm. The lightsaber went flying away and Dooku Force-pushed him back into Obi-Wan.

    “Oh Anakin…” he heard Obi-Wan’s soft voice.

    Groaning Anakin fought against the darkness threatening to overwhelm him, the pain in his arm agony… but he couldn’t fight and fell into blackness.

    - - - - -

    Anakin…

    Someone was prodding against his mental shields. Go away…

    You need to wake up my Padawan.

    Groaning loudly at the intrusion, Anakin fought his way back to consciousness. Obi-Wan sat by his bedside, his arm in a sling and his leg bandaged. His eyes found where his arm had been: it had been replaced with a metallic hand. “Oh…” He felt shocked that he had been so careless to allow Dooku to succeed in doing this to him. Dooku…

    “He escaped. “Obi-Wan could always read his thoughts. “Yoda arrived, they fought but Dooku escaped.” His shoulders slumped. “We’re at war, Anakin.”

    Carefully he tried to move his right arm, testing the metallic fingers. It felt strange and there was a dull throb where the connections met flesh. “This is going to take some time getting used to…” he muttered. “You’re right, overconfidence is my weakness.”

    A small grin crossed his Master’s face. “So you heard me.”

    “I chose to ignore you. I let Dooku get to me,” admitted Anakin. He hated that he had failed as an apprentice.

    “You haven’t failed as an apprentice. I‘m very proud of you. You fought well against Dooku who is a far better swordsman then either of us. We would have been lucky to have defeated him after the arena battle. I was not up to duelling him but I had to try,” Obi-Wan explained. “He was ready for both of us.”

    That part was true: Dooku had been far too prepared for them.

    “What now?”

    Obi-Wan sighed. “Officially? The Republic and the Separatists are at war. The Jedi are going to be drafted in to serve as Generals. It’s not part of our mandate to act as soldiers but we’re needed to fight on the front lines. And the Clones need direction.”

    He could sense his Master’s displeasure at having to fight. “You’re not happy?”

    “No, I’m not. I’d rather not fight. But this situation has got so volatile that we have no choice. The Jedi serve the Republic and the Chancellor has asked us to fight. We’re unique that our Force powers will help us a lot on the field of battle.”

    Anakin could understand his Master’s reservations but he didn’t agree with them. If the Jedi could help save the Republic then why not try to help? Everyone always had a choice. “I guess we are on our way back to Coruscant?”

    Obi-Wan nodded. “Should be within system in a few hours but we both need to visit the healers as soon as we arrive. We may have been treated but they need to check that limb is functioning well.”

    “I’m surprised they had an arm they could fit me with!”

    “You’re lucky they nearly didn’t have one. These clones come prepared for anything and there was a Jedi healer on hand to help with the attachment. Our instructions are to rest and heal. I suspect that once we are up on our feet again the Council will be sending us out onto the field of battle.” Obi-Wan made to get up, trying to steady himself on his injured leg.

    “Should you be walking without aid, Master?” teased the younger man.

    Obi-Wan glared at his young charge. “The healer doesn’t know I’ve snuck out of my room to see you. I expect if she notices I’m gone I will get yelled at.”

    “Wait… where’s Padmé? Is she here?” He sounded too eager to know but at the moment Anakin didn’t care.

    Obi-Wan’s eyebrows raised knowingly. “She’s safe but on a different ship. She wasn’t injured so couldn’t come on this transport.”

    “Oh.” Anakin deflated. It would have been nice to see her.

    “If it helps she did try to fight her way onto this ship but the Council overruled her stating that they didn’t want to distress you anymore. I had no say in the matter.” Obi-Wan gave his apprentice a nod and then turned around, limping away. “Rest. You can see her when you get back. I expect the Council will ask you to escort her back to Naboo and I’m sure you wouldn’t want to miss that, would you?”

    Obi-Wan knew him too well sometimes.

    - - - - -

    A week later Anakin was sufficiently healed to escort Padmé back to Naboo. Before he left, however, he sought out his mother who he found in the Temple Laundry rooms, her rota for the week placing her there. She was sorting through a variety of bed linen and for this work she wore a pair of brown trousers with simple shirt, her hair tied up in a bun at the back of her head.

    “How’s your arm?” she asked when she noticed her son standing there, watching. She had been horrified when she had been told her son had been injured and devastated to learn that he had lost an arm. It had made her worry about how this would affect his future as a Jedi. But she had been reassured that the loss shouldn’t affect him, only make him stronger.

    “It’s a strange feeling having a mechanical arm,” said Anakin stretching it out in front of him. “I’m getting used to it.” He flexed the metallic joints which were hidden by the black gloves he wore. “I thought I’d come to say that I’m going off world for a week. Obi-Wan is staying here but I need to escort Padmé home.”

    “You’ll be safe won’t you?” Shmi asked. She couldn’t help but worry, after all there was a war on now.

    He smiled at her. “Of course, mum, I will be. And I want you to know that Padmé does love me like I love her. I hate not being able to be with her the way I want to be. Secrecy is not the way of the Jedi and I can’t live a lie. I just want to fulfil my destiny so that I can live the life I want.”

    “Oh Ani…” She felt sad for her son because he couldn’t be with the woman he loved. She stroked his cheek gently and pulled him into a hug.

    “But she said she’d wait for me. And that is all that matters. I’m content with that.”

    “When you return you’ll be shipped off to war, won’t you?” It wasn’t something she wished for him to be a part of.

    Anakin bit his lip, his shoulders slumping. “I will. I can’t not go. It is my duty to. I will be safe and I’ll come back to you, mum, I always will.”

    It was the only comforting thing that he could say that would calm her. She trusted him to come back to her, no matter what.

    - - - - -

    Standing away from her security guards, Padmé Amidala stood facing Anakin Skywalker, who was about to board a refugee ship back to Coruscant. She had returned home to discuss with the Queen the level of participation Naboo would have in the war. But she didn’t want to let Anakin go.

    “Padmé, I know you said you would wait for me…” Anakin breathed quietly, “but I love you.”

    “I know you do.” If they hadn’t have been in a public place she’d have kissed him. “But you have a duty and so do I. And your promise to uphold as well. It means so much to me that you putting forth others instead of what you want. I will be here for you, when this war is over.”

    “I know.” He wanted to kiss her. “Padmé, I know this is only formal but…” he reached into his Jedi robes and pulled out a box. He pressed it into her hands. “I want to marry you and I wish for you to wear this…” he swallowed knowing that their positions meant they couldn’t live with an engagement openly without arousing suspicion, “… only when you can though.”

    Hidden from view, Padmé opened the box and found a gold-studded ring inside it. It was made of the finest Naboo stones and sparkled gently. She gasped. It was a beautiful ring but it wasn’t a traditional engagement ring. “I want to marry you too,” she answered, locking gazes with the young man.

    Anakin’s heart leapt in joy and he watched as she slipped the ring onto the ring finger of her right hand. Traditionally an engagement signified on the left hand but in this case she could openly wear it but on the opposite hand.

    “I love you.”

    Anakin smiled and pressed his lips to her forehead. “I love you too.”

    “Be safe…” she urged as he began to step back towards the ship that would take him back to Coruscant.

    “I will be,” he answered.

    As the young man departed, Padmé glanced down at her right hand, a small smile curling up at her lips.

    They weren’t married, not yet, but they were engaged.

    And she hoped that Anakin would survive the war and see his promise through so that they could be together.

    - - - - -

    “Uncle Obi!” a little squeal came from the centre of the room as Obi-Wan stepped into the home of Shmi and Darec. Kia leapt toward him and wrapped her arms around his legs.

    “I’m not your uncle little one,” he said. Anakin’s younger sister Kia had always been fond of him. In the last year she had taken to calling him ‘Uncle Obi’ even though he wasn’t even that but both Shmi and Darec insisted on him being a part of their family and from that point on he was referred to as an uncle. At first it had made him feel uncomfortable because of the Order’s view on attachments but he had quickly found it made his heart warm whenever he was with Kia: it gave him a sense of belonging in his Padawan’s world: a world that Obi-Wan did not have himself – a family. .

    “Do you have time to play?” she pouted.

    Obi-Wan shook his head. “I need to talk to your mum, is that ok?”

    “Kia, come on, let’s leave your mother and uncle to talk shall we?” Darec took his little girl’s hand and led her away. “It’s nearly your bed-time after all.”

    “Goodnight Obi,” the little girl said.

    “Bye Kia…” Obi-Wan replied smiling, but then he turned to Shmi who was just getting up from the sofa, a sad expression on her face.

    “You’re here with some news, aren’t you?” Shmi guessed. His sombre expression said it all.

    Obi-Wan inclined his head. “I am. Anakin and I are being deployed to the front in a day, just after Anakin returns from Naboo. I don’t know if he will have time to come here and I didn’t want you to be left in the dark.”

    “You will keep him safe, won’t you?” she pressed, concern flitting through her eyes.

    “You have my word as his Master that I will do my utmost to protect him,” promised Obi-Wan. He shuffled on his feet feeling awkward. “The assignment we are being sent on will serve as Anakin’s trial to Knighthood. He will be informed of it upon his return.”

    Shmi nodded. Her little boy had grown up: was about to embark upon the next stage of his life as a Jedi Knight. “That’s wonderful… but when he is Knighted, won’t you be split up?”

    “I don’t know that,” Obi-Wan answered truthfully. “With a war on, things might be different. But you do have my word: I will protect Anakin as much as I possibly can.”

    She whispered back, fear washing through her at the thought of her son going to battle. “That is all I can ask for you to do.” She couldn’t demand more from him, she understood his duty would always dictate to put others first ahead of your own attachments: she just had to hope that Anakin would be safe.

    Shmi Skywalker knew then that while the Clone Wars were on she would never cease worrying about her son – or Obi-Wan for that matter, not that he needed to know that. He was a part of her family too. She didn’t want to lose him either. She could only hope that the people she loved and cared for would all make it through the impending conflict without harm.

    Even thinking that, she knew that it would be impossible to escape the war without some scarring. She just hoped that the scarring would not be too bad to cope with.

    To be continued...

    Chapter Thirteen will be posted on Wednesday.
    Last edited by hlc88, Oct 9, 2012
  10. Luna_Nightshade Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2006
    star 5
    Caught back up! I love the various changes to Anakin and Padme's relationship and how they deal with it. I also loved that we didn't have to have a Tatooine visit this way! Looking forward to more... please keep the PMs going!
  11. Jedi_Liz Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2000
    star 6
    The clone war is here.....very scary.....and poor Anakin, still losing his arm...

    I like that Padme and Anakin are engaged and not secretly married
  12. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Oh, what a cool idea! =D= Enjoying this a lot and especially seeing more of Shmi, Padme and Anakin being out in the open, and Shmi's new family. :) Whew! What a relief that this AU skipped over the whole Tatooine plot/Tusken raider episode :p And Obi-Wan is always a blast to read LOL Tags, please. :) Aren't AU's [face_party] ;)
  13. hlc88 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 4
    @Luna_Nightshade Will do! :)

    @Jedi_Liz I thought that despite Anakin being more mature, Dooku would still be able to get the upper-hand on him. I think Anakin and Padme getting engaged shows how far he has come, that he is putting the Jedi first but he does want to be with her and its a compromise for them both. :)

    @Jade_eyes Tagged! :) Thank you! Shmi really has no need to visit Tatooine again so I'm glad I was able to skip over that part so it never happened. AU's are my favourite type of story to read and write as they offer an author so much opportunity to explore different scenarios and how they affect the characters. :)

    - - - - -

    A/N) My apologies, the chapters are going to get even longer then before, I do prefer to write a lot.

    Thirteen

    It has been four months now since the outbreak of the Clone Wars. I continue to work in the Jedi Temple, watching as the number of Jedi falls. Casualties are reported every day and my heart aches that one day I will hear those dreaded words: Anakin Skywalker is dead.

    No, I trust Obi-Wan to keep him safe.

    Ani and Obi-Wan have been on constant field missions, fighting on the front line. They are no longer Master and Padawan. My son, my little boy, became a Jedi Knight two months ago. They are equals who trust one another completely. Though I do hear of continued rumours that Obi-Wan is in for Mastery. In a short space of time he has become known as ‘The Negotiator’, a fearless Jedi but one that advocates for peace. He deserves that, he is a Jedi dedicated to duty.

    Every day I watch the news bulletins, waiting to hear of the victories and losses suffered. But in the Temple, I hear more as news continues to trickle through. I flinch when I hear of another death. I’m lucky that the Council – especially Adi Gallia – keeps me up-to-date with information on Anakin’s movements. At least I know what news reports to worry about and ones not to worry about.

    The war is spreading and everyone is affected, even Coruscant in small ways. It has been bloody and horrible, deaths at every turn, and the public suffers.

    I wish this war hadn’t have happened. My son would be out there doing less risky assignments instead he is on a battlefield, fighting for the right to democracy and a loyal Republic.

    All I can do is wait for him to return home again.

    - - - - -

    Weary from battle, exhausted from a lack of sleep, Anakin Skywalker trooped down onto the landing pad at the main Republic Docks, having returned from the battle front. Six months he had been fighting this war and there was no end in sight.

    He looked over his shoulder and watched as Obi-Wan joined him, talking to Commander Cody, the clone trooper that had been assigned to him. Anakin walked over to the speeder waiting to take them back to the Jedi Temple and climbed into the back seat, ordering the droid pilot to wait.

    It was good to be back on Coruscant after so many months away. He had last been here for his Knighting ceremony four months ago. The time had flown by for he and Obi-Wan had been shipped back out to war almost immediately. They’d had no time for leave or barely even see his mother though Obi-Wan had been crafty enough to manage to give Anakin a few hours with his mother while he debriefed the Council. He owed him for that.

    I owe Obi-Wan for a lot of things, the young man mused.

    “Food for thought?” Obi-Wan said, climbing into the speeder.

    “Hmm?” Anakin shook his head. “No. Just thinking about how much time has passed since we were last here.”

    “It does seem to have been forever since we last saw the Temple…” Obi-Wan mused. “It will be good to have a rest before we are dispatched again.”

    Signalling the droid pilot to take them to the Temple, Anakin leaned back in his seat and took a deep breath. “Do you think we will be here long?”

    “On Coruscant?” Obi-Wan frowned. “I hope so but the way the war is going the chances are high we will be reassigned by the end of the week. Most Jedi finish on the front line, recharge for a few days and then go off again for another couple of months.”

    The speeder was rushing through the morning traffic, using the designated lane that important dignitaries were only authorised to use. Chancellor Palpatine had ordered the fly-by lane to be used by all returning Jedi from the front-line. Despite not wanting special treatment, the Chancellor had insisted and the Council had conceded to his request.

    “How long will the briefing take?”

    Obi-Wan cocked an eyebrow at his former Padawan. “You’re full of questions today.”

    Anakin felt himself blush.

    Obi-Wan was grinning. “You want to see Padmé too, don’t you?”

    Anakin merely whistled. How could he guess so much?

    “You know you can’t keep your thoughts from me. We’re still so entwined together.”

    Sighing, the young man relented. “Ok, fine, I know she’s on Coruscant and I thought I could look her up. See how she is. There’s no harm in that is there?” He almost sounded defensive but he had long ago told Obi-Wan that he had asked Padmé to marry him.

    “As long as you don’t go and elope…” grinned his former Master.

    “Why did I tell you that in the first place?” groaned Anakin. He locked gazes with the older man. “I love Padmé but I’m not going to rush off and marry her. I’m not going to be impulsive just because a war is on. I know you don’t like the idea of me leaving the Order as soon as my duty as the Chosen One is complete but it’s what I want.”

    “I was only teasing…” Obi-Wan continued uncertainly. He hadn’t expected that reaction from the usually calm young man.

    Through their bond Anakin could sense Obi-Wan reaching out to him, caressing his Force essence, urging him to calm down. He was on edge and he didn’t know why. Something was about to happen, he was sure of it, but he didn’t know how far in the future it would be. “I know. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have got angry.” With effort he forced himself to grin. “You never know, Master, by the time I’ve defeated the Sith maybe the Council will allow marriage among Jedi!”

    After all if they were allowing contact with families now why couldn’t the Order change another one of their long standing rules?

    - - - - -

    It still feels strange standing next to you like an equal, Obi-Wan.

    Anakin… an inward grin from Obi-Wan. When the young man had been Knighted it had taken Anakin a while to get used to calling him Obi-Wan instead of ‘Master’. Ten years he had referred to him like that and now he wasn’t: they were Knights together.

    What? It does… I’m so used to being the learner.

    How do you think I felt when Qui-Gon died and I went from being the apprentice to being a Knight with a young boy in tow? Obi-Wan smirked.

    Anakin hadn’t considered that, in fact he hadn’t realised how sudden it had been for Obi-Wan to become a Knight: unique within the Order, the only Jedi to have been promoted to Knighthood without undergoing formal trials. Anakin’s own trial had been a difficult one – a minor mission to a back-water planet that they had suspected to have Separatist involvement and to gather information had resulted in a situation spiralling completely out of control when they had learnt that that the world had been a major staging ground for the Separatist army. But Anakin had equipped himself well and the Council had granted him his Knighthood based on Obi-Wan’s recommendation.

    Since then the two had been at constant war at each other’s side: the Council had decided to keep them together because of the strength of their bond. Normally the Master-Apprentice bond would be severed upon achieving Knighthood however Yoda had proclaimed that Anakin’s attachments were a gift that they should not sever.

    It had made some Council members uneasy but in the end it had been Anakin’s own impassioned plea to keep the bond that had swayed them. Despite being at war together, the two were often apart and could transmit information through the bond: if the bond was severed they’d lose that ability and possibly any intelligence that could benefit the Republic army.

    Dragging himself back to the present Anakin stayed silent as his friend finished off the strategic report.

    “I don’t know how long we can continue to hold Ryloth but with the rebels helping the remains of our Clone Troopers we should be able to hold the planet until we can shift more resources to helping out,” finished Obi-Wan.

    “Very good…” Mace Windu commended. “We will look over your written report and consider our next option. As of now, both of you deserve a rest. We cannot guarantee how long this will be.”

    Anakin bowed before the circle of Masters and turned to leave when Yoda spoke out in his gravelly voice.

    “Obi-Wan, a word if you please?”

    What do they want you for? Anakin asked over the bond.

    I don’t know. Go and see your mother. I’ll be over later.

    I’ll tell her to leave some stew for you, grinned Anakin, and he walked out of the Council Chamber.

    - - - - -

    “Knight Kenobi,” began Yoda, “a valuable Jedi to the Order you are. Proved yourself over and over you have.”

    He felt wary, surprised that they were praising him. He didn’t feel like he deserved it. The Force urged him not to speak.

    “You have been away fighting the war and may not be aware of the fate that has befallen Master Depa Billaba,” picked up Windu, “she is now in a permanent coma and will not awaken.”

    Obi-Wan’s eyes moved to the empty Council seat and he had an ominous feeling he knew where this was going. He surely didn’t deserve this honour?

    “And therefore we find ourselves with a seat free,” continued Adi Gallia serenely.

    “Because of your service record to the Jedi Order and your dedication to duty we have decided collectively as a Council that you, Obi-Wan Kenobi, are suited for the title of Jedi Master, and to take a seat on this Council as one of the twelve leaders of the Jedi Order.” declared Windu.

    What? He had been expecting this but it still came as a surprise that they thought so highly of him. Say something! He couldn’t work his mouth. “…I…are you sure?” he finally managed.

    A chuckle ran around the room.

    “Sure we are Master Obi-Wan,” replied Yoda, pointing his gimmer stick to the empty chair. “Take your place you shall.”

    Master Obi-Wan. They were addressing him as an equal.

    “Thank you,” he muttered quietly, “it is an honour to be chosen to serve among you.”

    Feeling awkward at being promoted, Obi-Wan made his way to the seat and sat down, mindful of the other Council members watching him. He felt so insecure sitting here. Did he truly have a right to be here? He didn’t believe so but if the Council thought him to, he couldn’t decline. That would diminish their faith in him, that he served the Order completely.

    “Obi-Wan, perhaps you can tell us your thoughts on whether you believe Skywalker is ready for the responsibility of a Padawan,” said Agen Kolar, a pale skinned Zabarak.

    Obi-Wan’s eyes widened. They were asking for his opinion already? He swallowed the unpleasant feeling he had in his throat and began to speak.

    - - - - -

    Anakin was laughing with his little sister when Obi-Wan arrived at Shmi’s apartment. Upon seeing him, Shmi had immediately noticed that he looked pale and in shock and led him over to the couch and passed him a drink of Jawa Juice which he took a sip of before settling it down on the side-table next to him.

    “Obi-Wan?” Noticing his friend’s strange look, Anakin rose from the carpet and walked over to the couch. “What’s wrong?”

    It appears you may have to call me ‘Master’ again… Obi-Wan said over the bond.

    “What?” He hadn’t meant to say that out-loud and Anakin sheepishly grinned when his mother threw him a quizzical look. “He said something over the bond,” he clarified.

    They promoted me. To Jedi Master and to the Council.

    “Wow. Why are you surprised? There has been rumours for months that you were being considered!”

    Obi-Wan turned to look at his former apprentice. “Because I don’t think I’m good enough to deserve that honour.”

    Anakin clapped his Master on the back. “If there is any Jedi that deserves the honour to be made a Master and a member of the Council, it is you. You’ve taught me everything I know and you’ve been the starting point in fundamentally changing the Jedi Order.”

    Obi-Wan raised his eyebrows. “I don’t think…”

    “Without you, Obi-Wan, I would still be on Tatooine, a slave,” interjected Shmi. “Could you have said now if you hadn’t of done that, that the Council would have considered allowing children contact with their families?”

    Biting his lip, Obi-Wan shook his head. “No.”

    Folding her arms, Shmi smiled at him. “Well, there you go. Don’t forget that I have been aware of the mutterings for months, possibly even years about you. I am sure you will serve the Council well.”

    “I think this calls for a celebration, don’t you think, mum?” grinned Anakin. Once more he clapped his former Master on the back, causing him to choke on the Jawa Juice he had just taken a drink from.

    “I’ll prepare your favourite,” said Shmi walking away. “Come on, Kia, you can help me.”

    The little girl smiled and hugged her brother before following her mother out of the room.

    “You don’t – OOF!” Obi-Wan started before Anakin elbowed him.

    “We’re spoiling you, so don’t think about fighting against it. Let my mum do this for you.”

    Obi-Wan just glared at his former Padawan.

    - - - - -

    The next few days Anakin got to rest and catch-up with this friends and family. He managed to see Padmé who was thrilled to see him back from war even if it was for a brief period. They’d been back at the Temple for seven days when Anakin was summoned to a private meeting with Yoda. When he’d questioned Obi-Wan about it, his Master feigned ignorance, even though Anakin could sense from his friend that he knew exactly what the summons was about.

    “Young Skywalker, done well you have since achieving Knighthood. Contemplated your future the Council has.”

    Anakin watched as the older Jedi paced in front of him, leaning on his gimmer stick for support. Now was not the time to speak.

    “Decided an apprentice you shall have.”

    “What?” Anakin was dumbfounded. Why would they give me a Padawan?

    “More Jedi fall every day in this war, more Knights we need. A great Jedi you have become. Pass on your knowledge you can. Help them to unlearn. Chosen we have for you. Your Master agrees that you are ready for this, he does. Feels you are responsible enough to take on a student and teach. Ready the Council believes too.”

    Anakin swallowed. “Yes, Master,” he bowed.

    “Take you I will to your new Padawan.”

    - - - - -

    Watching in the shadows of the training halls, Obi-Wan observed the younglings at work. One of them would soon be his former Padawan’s apprentice. He watched the young Togruta girl. She was fourteen, and should have been shipped off to the Agri-Corps because she hadn’t been selected by a Knight for training however the outbreak of war had changed that policy. The young girl was nearing fifteen now and the Council had picked her out to be Anakin’s apprentice.

    From what he had seen she was quite headstrong, powerful but loyal. Just like Anakin. But Anakin’s headstrong abilities had been tamed through training though he still displayed moments of it: especially when he had dashed off to save a clone soldier and nearly got blown up in the process.

    Obi-Wan shook his head musing on his memories.

    The young Togrutan was sparring with a class-mate. She was small for her age, very slight however there was determination in her posture that she would not fail. The young girl sprung and her blade clashed with her partner’s and she leapt back quickly, landing nimbly on her toes.

    She held her blade in a reverse grip, quite an uncommon lightsaber form however it was technique that most younglings tried out, but only a few went on to keep it as a form for the rest of their lives. The young girl was skilled, there was no denying that: she’d be a challenge for Anakin but they’d complement one another well.

    Smiling he backed out of the training hall and went to meditate.

    - - - - -

    “So… you’re going to be my Padawan, hmmm?” Anakin noted, warily watching the young Togrutan girl, he had been assigned to Master over perform a few basic training exercises in the small meditation room.

    “I think so. That’s what Master Yoda said,” she responded defensively.

    Ouch, Anakin thought. “I wasn’t implying anything with that.”

    “It sounded like it to me!”

    Quick to retaliate.

    “I think we got off on the wrong foot,” preceded Anakin carefully. He held out his right hand. “I’m Anakin Skywalker, your Jedi Master.” It felt odd referring himself as a Master even though he hadn’t achieved that position. Technically upon successfully completion of training a Padawan a Knight became a Master unofficially since in the Order’s line of hierarchy there was truly only twelve Jedi Masters.

    “I’m Ahsoka,” the young Togrutan replied shaking Anakin’s hand, her small head-tails flapping gently against her shoulders. She scrutinised him. “You don’t know how to go about this do you?”

    Anakin blushed. She was right. “I wasn’t expecting to be given a Padawan, especially during a time of war,” he admitted, “but I’m sure it will work out. It’s just finding the right balance.” He leaned forward and clapped his hands together. “I guess I’d better start?”

    Ahsoka smiled, clearly sensing how nervous he felt.

    “I think it’s best if you tell me what you know. I never had the benefit of growing up in the Temple from a young age so I don’t really know how far advanced you are. I had to learn from scratch.” Anakin suggested, feeling that this was the right choice.

    And the girl responded telling him what she knew, what she excelled at and what her weaknesses were. She claimed to be a good dueller, having beaten several of her classmates on several occasions however Anakin wasn’t going to take her at her word until he had the chance to spar with her. He fully expected to beat her as easily as Obi-Wan had kept beating him after the first time they’d fought.

    After their initial meeting Anakin began to sense the tendrils of a bond forming in his mind, linking him to Ahsoka. His bond with Obi-Wan continued to thrum quietly in his head, trailing along that bond he sensed his Master in deep meditation.

    “Master?”

    He shook his head. “Yes?”

    “You were thinking again,” Ahsoka pointed out.

    “Just ruminating…” grinned Anakin. He really felt out of his depth here. What were the Council thinking in giving him a Padawan? “Were you training this morning?”

    “I was,” she confirmed. “I didn’t even know I was being assigned to you until Master Yoda told me before he went to get you. One minute I’m a youngling and the next I’m a Padawan.”

    “Well, you are of age,” shrugged Anakin. “The war has made it difficult for training to happen but I’m sure we will find a way to make you a Knight someday.”

    “I hope so,” Ahsoka walked beside Anakin as they headed back towards their quarters, or rather the quarters that Anakin had shared with Obi-Wan. The older man had moved out within a day of being promoted to Master since he was now issued his own set of individual quarters that each Council Master were allowed to have in the private wing. However that hadn’t stopped Anakin from visiting Obi-Wan and thereby breaking every rule in the book.

    “Tomorrow I will test your skills in the training area. I need to know and assess how much responsibility I will be able to give you on the battle field,” he explained. “I can’t have you doing risky things if you can’t protect yourself. Just one mistake can get you killed. The quicker you learn that, the easier it will be to keep up with me.”

    - - - - -

    “You set me up for this, didn’t you?” Anakin glared at Obi-Wan.

    “I don’t recall inviting you into my quarters…” returned Obi-Wan, raising an eyebrow at his former apprentice.

    Anakin ignored him and paced up and down the room. “Why have they given me a Padawan? I can’t have a Padawan, not while a war is on! It just makes my job harder!”

    “I will be blunt with you. They asked me my opinion and I simply gave it. They decided to assign you to Ahsoka because she is in need of a Master who is very talented in the Force, and there is no one better then you to help her tame her independent streak. For someone so young she is extremely powerful.” Obi-Wan decided to be truthful; it was always the best option, especially when dealing with a very agitated Skywalker.

    Anakin sighed, drawing on the bond to calm himself. “Do you really believe I can do this?”

    “Of course I do,” smiled Obi-Wan. “You have so much to give to Ahsoka that you are the perfect Master for her to learn from.”

    “What about you? You said back on the front line that you were interested in picking a new Padawan…” Anakin trailed off watching Obi-Wan sip from his drink.

    Swallowing, the Jedi Master replied: “Well, yes, but now that I am on the Council I have more duties then you and it has now become impractical of me to train a Padawan while there is a war going on.”

    Excuses… Anakin returned over the bond, silently laughing.

    Obi-Wan glared at him.

    “You know if all this goes wrong, I’m blaming you,” laughed Anakin.

    Folding his arms, the elder Jedi shook his head in despair. “What am I going to do with you?”

    - - - - -

    It was strange standing in front of the Council with a Padawan one step behind him. For two weeks he and Obi-Wan had remained within the Temple, resting and readying themselves for war. Anakin’s task had been to ensure that Ahsoka would be ready to defend herself on the battlefield. Having sparred her, he had found the young Togrutan to be highly adaptive and strong, using creative ways to get past his defensive.

    He didn’t like the idea of going to war with a youngster in tow but he had no choice. He knew Obi-Wan had fought his side on this and while the Council had considered his request they had ultimately declined it, explaining that field missions for Padawans would be war. It would be only natural for her to accompany him.

    “Knight Skywalker and Padawan Tano, you will be deployed to Jabiim with Master Kenobi. It is a small outer-rim world but vital to the Republic because of its mineral wealth. It is currently in the midst of civil war and is gearing up to join the Confederacy officially. Negotiations between the Nationalist faction and the Jabiimi loyalists have fallen through and war is imminent. The Confederacy has a grip on the planet, it is therefore essential that we retake this world by force. Alto Stratus is the commander of the Nationalist faction, his capture would be beneficial to retaking the planet quickly. Because of the relative importance of Jabiim we are dispatching quite a few Master-Padawan teams. Master Kenobi will be in charge of the mission, you are to report directly to him.” Mace Windu’s tone left no space to question the orders.

    Jabiim. A shudder run through Anakin as he thought of the planet. Why am I getting a bad feeling about this? He couldn’t place why but something was going to happen… he was sure of it.

    “When do we depart?” he asked.

    “At 06:00 hundred hours.”

    “I’ll see you at Hanger 614F tomorrow morning,” said Obi-Wan.

    “Yes Master,” Anakin and Ahsoka bowed and departed the chamber.

    Jabiim…

    - - - - -

    “Ani, you seem a bit down…” Padmé noted as she and Anakin ate a private meal in her apartment.

    The younger man shrugged his shoulders. “I’m about to go off to war again, Padmé. Who knows how long I will be gone this time?” He bit his lip. “And…”

    “What is it?” she cocked her head at him, urging him to continue.

    “I think something is going to happen on Jabiim. Something that I can’t stop from happening,” he admitted, continuing to chew his bottom lip.

    Padmé watched him pick at his food. “Have you spoken to Obi-Wan about it?”

    Anakin shook his head. “No. He has enough on his plate. I can’t bother him with this.” He knew that was a silly reason. Obi-Wan was always there to talk to him; he was always there in his mind. “It’s silly, I know but I just had an uneasy feeling over that planet… it’s not enough to question my place in going there.”

    “I think he’d like to know,” said Padmé quietly. “You two are so close, he’ll understand.”

    A small smile tugged at his lips. “He probably would. Regardless of any warning hint I may be getting, we’ll still be going.”

    Padmé bit into chive-covered potato. “At least you will be more prone to see any risks and Obi-Wan can watch your back.”

    “I guess so.” He looked up at her and locked gazes. He reached across the table to grasp her slim hand in his own. “Padmé, please promise me something.”

    “What is it?” she asked, fearing what he was about to say.

    “If… if something happens to me please move on with your life. Find someone to love and to make you happy. To have children with… Please, do it for me if we are not meant to be.”

    “Anakin…” she started.

    “Please!”

    She sighed. “Ani… I love you. I want to be your wife. I have faith that you’ll come through this war. We will be together, Anakin, I know we will.” She saw his eyes beseeching her to promise him what he had asked and she couldn’t deny him that. She couldn’t imagine loving anyone else if Anakin died. “Of course, I will. If you die I will live for the days we never had but I will always remember you.”

    Leaning across the table, Anakin pressed his lips to the top of Padmé’s hand. “Thank you,” he whispered.

    - - - - -

    Normally she did not go to the landing pad to see them off but something prompted Shmi Skywalker to do so. A whispering if you will… She knew she wasn’t Force sensitive but a prodding in her mind had told her to go.

    “Mum?” Anakin was surprised to see her. “Why are you here?” It was after all very early morning and his mother wasn’t on duty at the Temple today.

    “I came to say goodbye and to wish you and Obi-Wan luck,” she replied.

    “But you’ve never done this before…” her son pointed out.

    Shmi smiled gently. “No, I haven’t, I just felt that I needed to be here.”

    “Anakin? What are you –” Obi-Wan jogged up towards her, stopping when he saw who his friend was talking to. “Oh, this is a surprise.”

    “Oh, Obi-Wan, as I was telling Anakin I thought I’d come to see you two off. Am I not allowed to do that, Master Kenobi?” she gently mocked him.

    Obi-Wan quirked an eyebrow. “These are military grounds… civilians aren’t allowed here…”

    Shmi held up her Temple pass. “Security clearance at the Temple, remember? It got me through.”

    The Jedi Master was frowning. “Technically they shouldn’t have authorised your entry…”

    “Do you have to be such a stickler for the rules?” complained Anakin. “My mum is hardly going to blow up one of our ships is she?”

    “No…”

    Anakin folded his arms glaring. “Then there is no problem is there?”

    “I guess not.”

    Shmi intervened not liking how her son was talking to his former Master. She could see he was worried about something and when he was worried he snapped at the people he loved. “Ani, stop it. Obi-Wan is very security conscious, I don’t blame him with this war going on. Cut him some slack.”

    Anakin blushed with the reminder about his behaviour. “Sorry Master. That was uncalled for.”

    “I thought so,” responded Obi-Wan, “and since your mother has picked up on you worrying about something perhaps you should have confided in me. I am here to help you know.”

    “I’m not worried,” Anakin lied.

    Obi-Wan shook his head. “I think I’ll go and check on Ahsoka and make sure everything is prepared. Good day, Shmi, and hopefully we’ll be back before you know it.”

    Before he could walk away, Shmi had swept past her son and pulled Obi-Wan into a hug. “Be safe and come back.” She didn’t know why she said it but it felt like the right thing to say.

    “You hugged Obi-Wan,” said Anakin when his Master had left them alone. “Mum, you rarely do that.”

    Her lips twitched and sadness came to her eyes. “I know but it felt right… as if I’m never going to see him again.”

    Anakin paled. “Mum?”

    She shook her head. “It’s probably nothing.” She patted her son on the shoulder. “Watch out for him. I want both of you home safe.”

    Anakin put on his best smile, designed to exude confidence. “Of course we will!”

    “Come here.” Like she had done with Obi-Wan she pulled Anakin into a hug, but added a kiss to his cheek, having to stand on tip-toe to reach. “Be safe, my son.”

    Anakin stepped back and turned, looking over his shoulder at his mother as he walked back towards one of the Victory-I Class Star Destroyers that would serve as his flagship on this campaign.

    Shmi brought a hand to her mouth and tried to calm herself. A tear swept down her cheek. Why did she think that Obi-Wan would not return? She could only hope that her son would be at his back. The worrying thing was, was that never before had she felt the need to say goodbye to them at the docks and that worried her.

    With Anakin no longer in sight, she turned and left, fighting the urge to cry at the thought of losing one of the few people close to her.

    - - - - -

    Mud.

    Rain.

    Bodies strewn everywhere across the plains.

    Ahsoka standing, drenched in mud, tears sliding down her cheeks…

    Obi-Wan rushing towards a burning walker…

    Explosion.

    “Ahsoka… Obi-Wan is dead.”

    “NOOOOOOO!!!!!” Anakin bolted right out of bed sweating, his mind racing as the images he had seen continued to swirl through his brain. He had never seen something so vivid before…. It couldn’t have been a dream, it felt so real…

    But the terrain of the planet they were on matched the records of Jabiim, the planet they were heading to now.

    Anakin reached into the Force and sought to calm himself. It couldn’t be real… it just couldn’t be…

    With dread he remembered the ominous feeling he’d got when the Council had mentioned Jabiim, assigning him to help Obi-Wan lead the campaign there.

    And he knew without a doubt that his dream hadn’t been a dream at all but a vision, a vision of what would occur on Jabiim.

    Jabiim would be the death of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

    To be continued...

    And the Clone Wars begin... As I'm a fan of both the EU and TCW, I am combining elements from both areas to write this story. Ahsoka from TCW - and the Jabiim arc from the Republic comics released between 2002-2005. I will not be following the Jabiim arc completely the same, there will be changes and surprises... and because there doesn't seem to be an official time-line for everything currently, I've taken the liberty to move events in the Clone War around...

    Chapter 14 will be posted on Friday.
  14. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Thanks for the tag. :) Wow! =D= Total [face_nail_biting] over Jabiim. Ahsoka was a fun read although if she is tooo much like Anakin - two of the most headstrong outspoken making up a team [face_laugh] Ack! When you combine Anakin's vision, bad feeling, and Shmi's behavior at the docks :( :eek: I am very glad for the long, regular updates :D
  15. Valairy Scot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    Ah, Padme hopes Obi-Wan will watch Anakin's back and Shmi - hopes each will watch each other's backs. And knowing Jabiim from the comics - Shmi is right to worry. As is Anakin. But I trust all will ultimately be well.
  16. hlc88 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 4
    @Jade_eyes Jabiim is a fun arc to write, its probably best to be worried... Regular updates will only occur until I've caught up with myself. I've written to chapter 22 so far so once all the chapters that are written are posted, I will then only be able to update weekly :)

    @Valairy Scot We can but hope :)

    - - - - -

    Chapter Fourteen

    Twenty-one days had passed since they had made their landing on Jabiim. And they were still there, fighting a difficult battle. Weary, tired and dirty, the Jedi that had been dispatched to Jabiim were suffering the effects of war. With each passing day it just got worse.

    Twenty-eight Jedi had arrived on Jabiim now just over half still fought. Many had been killed in direct confrontation with the Separatist advancing army. Obi-Wan remained in overall command of the battle with General Leska, General Norcuna and General Sirrus acting as his subordinates.

    With every passing day they lost even more troops and Jedi. There were more Padawans now then Masters remaining.

    It was not a place either of the Jedi Generals wanted to be but they couldn’t leave, not yet.

    - - - - -
    Dripping with mud, Ahsoka rushed through the rain, twirling her lightsaber in a frenzy as she met the oncoming battle droids and the Nationalist faction. Beside her, her Master fought, always watching her back, making sure that she was alright. Being the apprentice to the Chosen One was an interesting experience. He was a powerful Force user and shared a unique bond with his own Master, which something even Ahsoka could feel when she and her Master meditated together.

    She felt a tug of warning and whirled as a nationalist swung towards her, a knife in one hand and a blaster in the other. She kicked out, spinning her lightsaber outwards and striking the blaster in half. Her foot made contact with the man’s wrist, jerking the knife out of his hand. With a Force shove she sent the man flying back to the ground, landing heavily in the mud.

    “We’ll have to retreat!” yelled Anakin, fighting to be heard over the blaster-fire.

    “But we can’t!” Ahsoka was horrified. She hated the thought of just abandoning this battle. They had already lost so much ground already. “If we keep pushing forward –”

    “No! We’re overrun; if we stay we will die! It’s that simple! There comes a time when you have to decide whether it is worth it to lose ground in order to succeed another day!” retorted Anakin, already beginning to step back, prodding Ahsoka through their bond and ensuring that she did the same.

    Gritting her teeth, Ahsoka did as she was told.

    - - - - -

    The rain pounded down harder upon them, soaking their clothes, and making the mud beneath their feet turn to slush. Their boots were encased in the stuff, causing their retreat to last longer than it should have done as it was difficult to move with your feet sinking in to the mud. Determined to not leave any man behind, Anakin slowed down his retreat, urging Ahsoka to continue without him, battling away stray blaster bolts from the droids as he waited for the front line Clone troopers to fall back to his position.

    Just behind him he saw two older Padawans approach, carrying between them an encased bomb. This was becoming a common factor to get themselves away from trouble. Using the Force to float the device above their heads, Anakin flipped the switch with his mind and then spun the bomb and sent it careening across the field, right into the midst of the advancing enemy formation.

    Lightsaber held in one hand and Force-shoving the droids that had got too close to the clones, Anakin continued to step back, and then was thrown to the ground as an explosion rocked the air as the bomb exploded.

    “COME ON! FULL RETREAT!” he ordered, climbing to his feet.

    With one swipe of his lightsaber he decapitated three battle droids that were bearing down upon him and turned and ran for Shelter.

    - - - - -

    Back at Shelter, the base that the Republic forces were using on Jabiim, Obi-Wan listened intently to Anakin’s report of their failed attempt to push back against the Separatists.

    “The good news is that while you were busy dealing with the Separatist forces General Norcuna reported in with a significant victory for us. We have captured another three defensive positions that the rebels have been using. Your distraction worked long enough for the rest of our troops to surprise them.”

    Anakin shot Ahsoka a grin. “See that young one, we may have been forced to retreat but it was still a victory.”

    “A victory we may not be able to hold,” replied Obi-Wan solemnly. “We are already receiving intelligence from scouts that they are massing an assault to the west of this base. They’re coming for us directly. They take Shelter we will have even bigger problems since it will limit our ability to hold what we already have.”

    Anakin frowned as he watched the holographic map, his eyes taking in every key position the Republic held as well as calculating the risk they would have to take if they were to prevent the Separatists from overwhelming them at their base. “We could go out and meet them. We’re sitting ducks if we stay here. We let them get here we will have a harder time pushing them back.”

    “I know,” Obi-Wan walked around to the other side of the holo-map, pointing to a hill that overlooked the Separatist’s gathering army. “If we attack from the ridge we could catch them by surprise but we would need considerable firepower to just make them retreat. I have already decided I will be involved in the ambush. Anakin, I’d like you to accompany me however because of the nature of this battle I’d prefer Ahsoka to remain behind. She’d be much better at defending this base then facing that army.”

    “What? You can do that!” she responded indignantly.

    “I can and I just have,” said Obi-Wan. “Anakin may be your Master but I am in overall command of this operation. It is my choice who I decide to send into direct battle or not. This is not a fight you should be a part of.”

    “But…”

    “No.” Anakin laid down the law. He had to. “The army they are massing is huge, Ahsoka. We need you as a last defence. In fact I suspect most of the Padawans will be remaining at Shelter…” He looked to Obi-Wan for clarification.

    “All those under sixteen, yes,” confirmed Obi-Wan. “The more experienced Padawans will be of more use to us then you will be, Ahsoka. War is a dangerous place for a Padawan. You’ve been permitted to join other battles because it has been judged safer for you to be.”

    Anakin could tell that Ahsoka wasn’t pleased that she was being held back but she’d only been his Padawan for just over a month. She was relatively inexperienced and if this battle was going to be as important as Obi-Wan thought it would be, it would be better if she was left behind.

    He could sense her boiling temper but she was trying to hold it back. She reminded him of himself. Over his years as a Padawan he had had plenty of times when his anger had nearly got the better of him and there had been occasions when he had acted too rashly but over time he had come to understand that approaching the situation in a calmer mind made him more effective as a Jedi. His mother had helped him to see that too. Whenever he thought of her he relaxed.

    “Look, we’ll leave Obi-Wan to plan out the rest of our attack and we’ll go and talk,” Anakin placed an arm around the young Togrutan’s shoulders and led her away. He was beginning to understand what it must have been like for Obi-Wan during the early years of his own mentorship. Painful for him.

    Of course it was… came Obi-Wan’s predictable response over the bond. Why do you think I convinced the Council to free your mother?

    Anakin couldn’t help laughing out-loud causing Ahsoka to glance at him in confusion.

    “Nothing to worry about, young one,” he said, clapping her on the back and leading her out of the command centre and towards the small room they shared.

    - - - - -

    Meditation was always something Anakin had enjoyed, though it had to be said that upon starting his Jedi training he had hated it, dreading his sessions with his Master, feeling it was a waste of time when he felt he should be doing something. As Obi-Wan had once commented, he was ‘always on the move’ however his mother’s presence in his life had helped to soothe him and he had relaxed and started to find a new appreciation for meditation.

    The techniques that Obi-Wan and Anakin had applied through their joint meditation had enabled them both to come to a greater understanding of one another. It had got to the point where they could share memories… Anakin recalled Obi-Wan witnessing one of the worst days of his life as a slave: it had been through Obi-Wan’s effort to help him come to terms with that incident that Anakin could now forgive his former owner. He had learned to let go of his past.

    He hoped to share the same type of bond that he had with Obi-Wan to happen with Ahsoka. Still in the very early stages, they were just getting the feel of one another.

    They couldn’t communicate over the bond yet – that would take years of practice to enhance – but they could send feelings.

    Confusion settled into Ahsoka’s presence as Anakin felt himself dwell upon the war – and his vision: the vision which he had decided not to tell Obi-Wan about. Throughout the twenty-one days on Jabiim, Anakin had continued dreaming of Obi-Wan’s death, and he had searched for the circumstances of how it would happen, but his vision wasn’t being clear enough for him to work out the details of when it would happen: he just knew that at some point it would.

    Sliding out of his meditation and opening his eyes he found Ahsoka staring him with horror in her eyes. She knew.

    “Does he know?” she asked.

    Anakin shook his head. “No. I can’t tell him, Ahsoka.”

    “Why not?”

    “Because I can’t.” He wasn’t going to get into this here. It was his problem to solve it. He wasn’t a Padawan anymore.

    “But…” she hesitated when she saw him glaring at her. “Ok, ok… I just think he should know… you’re awfully tensed up.”

    “Am I really?” he asked sarcastically. “Well, why don’t you try to be calm when you know something bad is going to happen to the man that practically raised you?”

    Anakin?

    Ah, of course, Obi-Wan would sense his frustration through their bond. He’d managed to keep his worry for him shut away so that his friend wouldn’t detect anything wrong.

    I’m fine. Just a little argument with Ahsoka.

    Really? Your frustration and anger about something is bouncing off against my shields.

    Anakin sighed and calmed himself. Is that better?

    Much. We’ll be departing soon, if you care to join us.

    I’ll be there, he promised. Turning his attention back to Ahsoka he said: “Sorry, I shouldn’t have got snippy over that. I know what I’m doing so please just trust me. I can save him if I’ve got his back all the time. Why do you think I’d prefer him to not be out in the field? Haven’t you noticed he’s seen little field action since we got here?”

    “Considering the amount of Jedi Generals that were dispatched here I’m not surprised Master Kenobi co-ordinated things from behind. Losing the overall General would be bad for us,” Ahsoka reasoned. “And you haven’t told him because you’ve managed to keep him out of harm’s way until now.”

    “Yes. And this time I’m going to be there when he is out on the field and if anything is to happen to him I will stop it. You know the strength of our bond – it is uncommon among Jedi. The Force is giving me these dreams for a reason.”

    Ahsoka bit her lip. “Then… then I guess I can rely on you, Master.”

    The trust between them was still building and Anakin could understand where his Padawan was coming from.

    He laid a hand on her shoulder. “Just look after yourself. We’ll have this battle done in no time.”

    - - - - -

    They had been led into a trap.

    Their communications were blocked and there was no way they were able to contact Shelter of the impending army that was closing down upon them.

    It was possible that the base had already been taken.

    Ahsoka was still alive, Anakin knew that.

    But they fought, trying to make headway back to Shelter to help out the Padawans and the troops stationed there.

    Pulling on copious amounts of Force energy, Anakin and Obi-Wan sprinted ahead of the other Jedi on the field, intent on lending their support to the Padawans. Behind them charged the Clones that could be spared while the other Jedi Generals attempted to hold back the enemy they were engaging.

    Lightsabers whirling in a mess of colours, they moved their way through the army besieging Shelter Base, cutting down droids and leaping over their lines.

    It was then that Anakin saw the surviving Padawans battling away, Ahsoka among them, completely drenched in mud and looking utterly exhausted.

    “Ahsoka!” yelled Anakin. “Get back inside!”

    “We can’t!” she answered back. “We jammed the doors so that the Separatists can’t enter!”

    “Well, that’s smart!” he replied, twisting his blade in an arc to battle of a dozen bolts that shot in his direction.

    Obi-Wan was to his side, his blade moving so fast that it was almost impossible to see what he would deflect next.

    Merging with the Force, Anakin gave himself over to it, letting it control his actions, and then in the midst of the battle it happened…

    The explosion…

    The one he had been dreading.

    It was coming.

    An AT-AT vehicle was coming up behind the rebel force, one of the newer models that had barely been field tested before being deployed. Manned by several clones it was considered to be one of the best Walkers the Republic had.

    As if in slow motion, Anakin saw as the AT-AT exploded. The Jabiimi rebels had somehow got to it.

    He saw Obi-Wan leap forward, ordering him to stay with the Padawans and that he would deal with the wreckage, and see if there were any more survivors. Dimly in the Force, Anakin could sense there were but they were badly injured.

    The Force was whirling at him, like a red siren in his chest and he knew that if he didn’t act now to save Obi-Wan, his Master would die.

    “Ahsoka! Stay here!”

    “But-!”

    “JUST DO IT!” he ordered. “I’m going to save Obi-Wan.” He saw understanding flash across her face and he launched himself forward into the droid army, following in Obi-Wan’s wake as he made his way ever closer towards the downed AT-AT.

    “I won’t let it happen! He won’t die!” Anakin yelled in frustration.

    Desperation clung to him as he found himself surrounded by battle droids and rebels preventing his progress towards his Master’s position who had already Force-leapt into the downed AT-AT. With only one option left to him, and his heart beating fast in his chest, Anakin yelled along the bond, hoping that Obi-Wan would react in time.

    - - - - -

    Jumping into the burning wreckage, Obi-Wan held his blade high, shining its light forwards towards where two clones lay groaning, half of their bodies covered with shrapnel. He made to move forward but a mental assault from Anakin caused him to falter. So loud and uncalled for…

    OBI-WAN GET OUT OF THERE! He heard Anakin yell along their bond.

    Ana- he started…

    …but it was too late.

    Everything exploded around him.

    He was dimly aware of leaping for the opening he had just came through but something ripped into his body and he felt intense pain burning its way through him.

    Shards of metal pierced his flesh, and he barely registered something tugging at him, before blackness descended.

    - - - - -

    Agony ripped through the bond. It was so new that the pain overwhelmed her and Ahsoka collapsed to her knees. Dimly aware of her surroundings she saw her Master fighting wildly, his lightsaber thrashing from side to side, taking down enemy after enemy.

    Someone grabbed her arm and pulled her away. “Ahsoka? Can you hear me? Are you ok?”

    She turned her gaze towards the Padawan that had helped her. Cary. That was it, wasn’t it? “My Master… he’s hurt…” she swallowed. There was such pain and anger pulsing over the bond that it hurt her. She swallowed, climbing to her feet, resolved to carry on fighting. “I have to help…”

    Numbly she stumbled forward; blade activated and drew upon the Force, launching herself into battle, with Cary at her side.

    A part of her understood why the bond between her and Anakin was so dark and why it hurt. He had lost Obi-Wan… he had failed… his vision had come true. He was suffering the effects of his bond breaking… the last vestiges of Obi-Wan fading away. The newness of her bond with Anakin was still so raw that any mental trauma that affected him hurt her too.

    A powerful Force shove echoed ahead of her and droids and Jabiimi Nationalist faction went flying in all directions. She knew it was Anakin, drawing upon his power. And then he was running towards the AT-AT that had exploded a second time, taking Obi-Wan’s life with it.

    She saw around her that Anakin’s Force-shove had caused the advancing enemy to begin retreating and she forget about defending and rushed after her Master, pounding her legs as fast as she could.

    “Master!” she yelled, reaching Anakin’s position, grabbing him by the arm. She tried to steer him away from the wreckage. He’d find nothing. She’d seen enough explosions like this to know that Obi-Wan’s death had been swift. Burned alive, there would be nothing left of him, perhaps apart from a charred bone or two.

    “No… I have to…” Anakin weakly fought, his anger dissipating. “He can’t be dead… he can’t be…”

    And then he collapsed into the mud, the agony that had ripped through him at the shattering of his and Obi-Wan’s bond overwhelmed him.

    Ahsoka stood there, tears trailing down her cheeks, and turned to defend her position, waiting for a clear route so that she could return to Shelter with her Master.

    - - - - -

    His head throbbed in pain as he woke to find himself lying in a hastily made-tent on a blanket that had been spread out on the uneven ground.

    “Obi-Wan?” he slurred.

    “Master!” Ahsoka was there.

    Blinking wearily as his tried to collect his thoughts, Anakin shifted himself to his elbows and looked around. “What happened?” He felt numb, something was amiss… but what?

    Ahsoka bit her lip. “Your bond broke… I’m sorry…”

    Anakin’s breath hitched in his throat. No… Reaching into the Force he searched for his connection with Obi-Wan but couldn’t find it… “No…” Desperation sunk into him. “He can’t be dead.” Searching deeper into the Force he sought for any hint of his bond with Obi-Wan – it had to be there.

    But no matter how hard he tried he couldn’t find an active bond, he could no longer feel his Master’s presence through the Force. But… He could sense something…

    And then…

    There it was.

    The bond.

    But it was dormant in his head. Silent. But not broken. Not shattered into tiny little pieces like it was supposed to be.

    If Obi-Wan was dead it would have snapped. Yet it was still there! Hope coursed through him. “He’s alive!” he burst out.

    Ahsoka knelt down next to him and laid a hand on his shoulder. “I’ll get the healer. They need to know you are awake…”

    “You think I’m insane don’t you?” he accused.

    “No!” she looked shocked. “Why would you say that?”

    “Then why don’t you believe me?” he asked.

    She swallowed. “Because no one could have survived that explosion… There’s nothing left… we’ve searched – I searched for hours for him! There was nothing left!” Tears were simmering in her eyes.

    Anakin took in a deep breath. “I know he’s alive because the bond is still there. It’s not active but it’s not broken either. When a Master dies the bond shatters completely. You can’t feel it anymore. It’s mute… I know it sounds crazy but Obi-Wan and I do not have a normal bond!” He got to his feet, swaying. “I have to find him!”

    Ahsoka grabbed his arm as he started to walk away. “You can’t!”

    He whirled on her. “Why not? You’re not the Master here! This is Obi-Wan we are talking about!”

    She stared hesitantly up at him. “Because Shelter has been overrun. You’ve been unconscious for a day. We tried to stop them but they came back at us with so big an army and… General Leska ordered us to retreat…”

    “What?” he paled. “What about General Norcuna? What happened to him? After Obi-Wan he’s second-in-command.”

    “He died. Killed by the leader of the Jabiimi Nationalists. He held up his head with his lekku for us all to see…”

    “No…” His eyes widened as the implications struck. “We lost two Generals?”

    She nodded.

    “Other Knights too… We’re in full retreat, Master. You can’t go back and search for Master Kenobi. You’ll be killed.”

    Anakin sagged, numbness trailing all over his body. “Do the Council know?”

    “They do. I told them.”

    He was shaking, he just couldn’t believe it… He’d failed. He’d had forewarning and yet despite his efforts, Obi-Wan had still suffered.

    Maybe if I’d told him… Why did I try to keep it from him? If he’d known he might not have risked himself…

    He was living with the guilt that he could have saved his Master. No, don’t think like that. He’s not dead. He can’t be… the bond isn’t broken.

    Someone was tapping him on the arm, gently shaking him and he opened his eyes to find one of the medical-trained Jedi kneeling beside him. “Skywalker, you are in shock. You need to rest. Your mind is still healing from the trauma you have suffered.”

    “No!” he shook his head vehemently. “I’m fine. You need me on the field. I can manage.”

    The healer released his arm and stepped back. “Your Force aura tells me otherwise.”

    “Even so, I’m needed. I need to be strong and I need to focus on winning this battle.” So that I can truly determine what has happened to Obi-Wan. If he was dead the bond wouldn’t be intact…

    It was the only hope that he could hang onto, to hope that his former Master was still alive.

    - - - - -

    They were having their evening meal when the door chime rung.

    Shmi glanced at her husband. “Who could that possibly be?”

    Patting her hand, Darec rose from the table. “I’ll go.”

    He returned a few minutes later with Yoda and Mace Windu in tow.

    Seeing them standing there in their dining hall, there was only one conceivable reason for them to be there, and she knew without a doubt what had happened. Her bad feeling that she’d never see Obi-Wan again…

    “It’s Obi-Wan isn’t it?” she asked. She was dimly aware of Darec removing Kia from the room: she didn’t need to hear this, she was too young.

    “Word we have received from Jabiim, that perished he has,” Yoda said, his ears flattening.

    Despite the food still on her plate, Shmi didn’t want it anymore and pushed it away. She couldn’t believe it. “How?”

    “Killed in an explosion,” replied Windu solemnly. “We are telling you before his death is reported on the news. The Chancellor’s Office will be releasing a statement shortly. Obi-Wan isn’t the only Jedi who has perished on Jabiim… There have been others too, the Jedi have lost many brave souls this past week.”

    If she was standing she was sure she’d have collapsed. “And my son?”

    “Alive he is,” Yoda answered. “Fighting he and his Padawan are. Cannot say can we when he will return. Lie to you, we cannot. Dire the situation on Jabiim is.”

    Oh Ani… What is it like for him? She didn’t want to know what he was going through.

    She felt Darec walk up beside her and rested his hands on her shoulders, giving his support.

    “He was a good man,” her husband said. “I haven’t got to know Obi-Wan as well as Anakin but … I am saddened to hear of his death. He will be missed by us all.”

    Shmi blinked away tears. She’d always been fond of her son’s Master. He’d freed her; reunited her with her son, made it possible for her to see him grow up. He was a kind man and he was a part of her family. He was like a brother to Anakin, and an Uncle to Kia… but what was he to her? She swallowed trying to figure out how much he meant to her.

    “My saviour…” she whispered. “Obi-Wan was my saviour and I never really told him how much it meant to me that he petitioned to have me freed… He’s done so much for me…” she swallowed the lump in her throat. “And now he’s gone.”

    She pulled Darec into a hug and let the tears flow. She was dimly aware of the two Jedi Masters departing, understanding that she needed Darec now and time to come to terms with the death of a loved one. She dreaded to think of how Anakin was feeling, and she hugged Darec tightly.

    - - - - -

    Day forty-three of the Jabiim assault.

    Weeks had passed since they had fled Shelter. Three weeks since Obi-Wan had been killed. The situation on Jabiim had just got worse. The ferocity of the pursuit and of the fighting meant that Anakin had no time to dwell on the possibility that his Master was alive. He hadn’t had a chance to explore the silent bond.

    The capture of Shelter had given the Jabiim Nationalists what they needed: a better defensive against the Republic’s forces.

    No matter how hard they tried to fight back and gain some ground, they were always defeated. The deaths of both Obi-Wan and Norcuna had left the task force reeling. Of the twenty-eight Jedi that had been dispatched to Jabiim only six Padawans remained; their Masters having been killed in battle.

    Anakin had become overall commander of the entire skirmish, directing the troops as best he could, but no matter how hard he tried, he failed.

    About six days before, Anakin had received a request from the Chancellor to evacuate his troops from the planet and that the Republic was sending transports to get them out of there. Not liking his orders one bit, Anakin had refused to stand down and wait for evacuation while the Padawans fought on the front lines.

    Taking a stand would ultimately lead to death but Anakin had a responsibility for all the Padawans present and he intended to make sure they lived.

    Despite his efforts, they all died, one by one, slain in battle against a formidable opponent that was intent on crushing them to the last man.

    Rain and mud made conditions unbearable and they were overwhelmed.

    Anakin and Ahsoka were the only survivors of that terrible battle, knowing they had abandoned a planet to a worse fate.

    And now they were on their way home, having reached the last evacuating transport in time before it had departed the planet.

    - - - - -

    It was while in hyperspace that Anakin retreated to a small cabin. The last few weeks on Jabiim had been so intense that any sleep he got he’d been instantly out. His resolve that Obi-Wan was still alive strengthened him and it kept him calm. He was sure that if the bond had snapped he wouldn’t have been able to do so.

    Taking a quick sani-steam, Anakin threw on a pair of clean trousers and tunic and settled onto the floor, crossing his legs and holding his hands out, palms up, just as Obi-Wan had instructed him long ago. He felt the Force flow through and around him as he sunk into its current.

    He began to examine the bonds he had. Three were active, the fourth was not. Anakin’s attachment to his mother had formed a bond which enabled him to sense whether she was in danger – they couldn’t communicate with one another and she was unaware of it linking them together but that one remained strong. Moving to the two newer bonds that were forming: the first with Padmé that was slowly forming, he couldn’t sense her yet since they had spent so little time together but it was there. The second bond belonged to Ahsoka: their training bond. It had grown in strength during their time on Jabiim as they had learnt to trust one another and to look out for each other. He probed gently along it and found Ahsoka at rest. Good, she needed it.

    Withdrawing from that connection he reached out and sensed the bond that linked him with Obi-Wan. Silence. Anakin had never experienced a bond breaking or what it would feel like but during one of his meditation exercises with Obi-Wan, he had sensed the broken bond that Obi-Wan still had with his dead Master: the fragments scattered in his mind, no longer painful for him but still a part of him. He didn’t feel that with his bond with Obi-Wan.

    But why is it silent? Why can’t I sense him?

    Feeling along the silent bond, Anakin immersed himself further into the Force, scratching along the surface and then digging deeper into their connection. He felt darkness close in on around him, he could sense that his body was shaking with the effort as he pushed himself further into the darkness that seemed to be clouding over the bond… something that he wouldn’t be able to sense normally, but only doing so because he had sunk so deep into the Force’s current that he was forcing himself through whatever was stopping the bond from being active.

    He knew without a doubt that his Master must have fallen into the wrong hands and it was that that was keeping him from sensing him.

    Eyes closed he continued to press against the darkness, determined to break through.

    And then…



    ANAKIN! IT HURTS!

    Surprised, his eyes flew open and in his shock he tumbled from his meditation position onto his back. Numb with shock his mind took a while to process what he had felt.

    I heard him…

    He had.

    Obi-Wan was alive.

    And he was in pain.

    Terrible pain.

    Oh god.

    All he’d heard was Obi-Wan’s voice, very faint but yelling for him… Probably trying to break through whatever is holding him back…

    “I only managed to do it because I forced myself through…” he whispered aloud. And if Obi-Wan’s connection to the Force is being suppressed… which is likely… he won’t even be aware that I reached him. He’s still in the Force but can’t touch it himself…

    Shaking, Anakin got slowly to his feet.

    Resolve flooded him as he understood the implications of what he had realised. Somewhere, someone was holding his Master, and he was suffering. Torture.

    “I will find you, Obi-Wan,” he promised.

    It was a vow he intended to keep.

    - - - - -

    Far away in the outer rim, away from the war that plagued the galaxy was a planet, unknown to the Republic at large. Once a planet ruled by warlords who devastated people’s lives, now controlled by a Sith Acolyte, Asajj Ventress.

    It was here in her castle that Obi-Wan Kenobi was a prisoner.

    Ventress had saved his life on Jabiim, clutching hold of him in the Force as the AT-AT had exploded, pulling him free. He hadn’t even known she was on-world. During the course of the war, he and Ventress had locked sabers more than once, as had Anakin, and the two had gained her as an enemy.

    Misfortune had been with him that day on Jabiim.

    He had fallen into the hands of someone who had vowed the last time he had met her to kill him. But for some bizarre reason she had saved his life and healed his injuries. The only thing he lacked was connection to the Force. It was still there but so very faint that he couldn’t keep a hold upon it. Ventress was probably blocking him – she was a powerful dark side user and he knew it was unwise to underestimate her.

    He had a vague memory of briefly waking in the mud and burning rain, Ventress leaning over him, holding his face in her cold and pale hands.

    “My dear Obi-Wan…” she had said, “you are mine now.”

    Beyond that he couldn’t remember the journey to his prison.

    He didn’t know how much time had passed since he had woken in the darkness. He could barely see his surroundings but knew he was in small cell, that felt permeated by the dark side, and he was hanging by his wrists with chains attached to the ceiling. His shoulders were strained and they ached, suggesting that he’d been in this position a long time already.

    Even though he could barely touch the Force, he tried to search for his and Anakin’s bond. It had always been an unusual connection they shared… just maybe he could reach him… but he couldn’t. The bond was saturated in darkness, supressing it. He couldn’t reach Anakin…

    His body ached and he tried to assess what injuries he had acquired though it was difficult because Ventress had clearly ensured that he would be healed. It confused him as to why she would.

    Better not dwell on it. Think of a way out of here.

    He tried to move his arms but pain spread like fire through his back. Bad idea, Kenobi.

    Feeling like this would not help his situation. He was certain that he wouldn’t remain this healthy during his time here. Ventress must have captured him for a reason and the ominous feeling that rose in his stomach only told him that he had guessed correctly that he was here for a very unpleasant time.

    “You are correct about that, Jedi…”

    He started.

    He hadn’t even noticed the door opening. His captor’s slippery presence pressed against his.

    Turning his head, he focused his eyes in the dim light.

    Asajj Ventress stood in front of him, hands on her hips, lips curled up in a nasty smile, watching him.

    “Ventress.”

    “Your manners are deplorable,” she baited, moving forward.

    “Really? I thought they are perfectly adequate,” he responded lightly.

    She laughed a cold cruel laugh. “You will learn.”

    “Learn what?” he asked. He knew this meeting wouldn’t end well.

    A hand lashed out grabbing his chin and pulling his head forward, causing pain in his shoulders. He made no noise; he wouldn’t give her the satisfaction. He would be strong. “You will find out, Obi-Wan…” she grinned. “You are mine now. No one is coming for you. You are dead to the Jedi. Admit you are weak and maybe your time here won’t be as painful.”

    Obi-Wan had already decided he wouldn’t give in no matter what. “I will never admit to anything!” he snarled.

    “Then you will suffer until you do,” she promised. A dagger was suddenly in her hand.

    He swallowed, bracing himself for the pain about to come. He couldn’t help but feel that there was more to her decision to keep him alive then she had said.

    And then the pain began and he was lost.

    To be continued...

    Chapter 15 will be posted on Sunday.
  17. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Wow! =D= At least Anakain knows he survived, but for how long? [face_nail_biting]
  18. Valairy Scot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    Yikes. Though I've read this over there and written my own version of Jabiim - yikes. Poor Obi-Wan. Poor Anakin, too.
  19. hlc88 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 4
    @Jade_eyes You'll have to see ;)

    @Valairy Scot Yikes indeed! Your own Jabiim version is probably one of the best fanfics I've read that deal with that particular event.

    - - - - -

    Chapter Fifteen

    The sight of a familiar face awaiting him sparked a memory in his mind, one that he hadn’t thought of for years, as he descended the ramp from the space-ship into the hanger of the Jedi Temple.

    “Obi-Wan! You’re back!” Nearly ten years old, Anakin had greeted his Master with enthusiasm unbecoming of a Jedi. He latched onto the man, hugging him. “You’re staying, right?” he had asked eagerly.

    That had been a common reaction for Anakin to do during his first year at the Temple. He’d become attached to Obi-Wan in many ways, and he’d greeted him whenever he could when he returned to the Temple. He’d always made a scene, rushing up to him and being so not like a Jedi. That had been one of his fall-backs in his first year at the Temple… but with his mother’s presence he’d calmed down, become much more reserved. He’d always had it in him, but he hadn’t wanted to work at it. His mother had given him purpose.

    And now she stood waiting for him to arrive home, in the same spot he used to stand when he waited for Obi-Wan.

    Obi-Wan…

    Torment tore through him. He hadn’t slept since he had felt Obi-Wan screaming for him through the Force. He hadn’t even told Ahsoka, she was still sceptical over his survival. He couldn’t blame her; their bond was still so new. How could he even get her to understand that he knew that somewhere in the galaxy his former Master was suffering?

    No, he’d have to talk to the Jedi Council first. They’d know what to do.

    He moved down the ramp and his mother rushed at him, flinging her arms around his neck.

    “Oh Ani, I heard! They told me,” she whispered.

    He returned the hug. His mother could always keep him calm. He couldn’t tell her about his certainty that Obi-Wan was alive – not yet, not until he knew for sure. Despite his surety that Obi-Wan still lived, there was still the matter of how he could have survived that explosion, especially if he had still been inside when it blew. Clone troopers and Jabiimi rebels fighting in the vicinity of the AT-AT had been killed or suffered terrible wounds – how could it be possible that his Master could survive that? Perhaps what he had heard was the last thoughts Obi-Wan had sent over the bond before his life perished and it was still echoing over the bond?

    No, I know he is alive. The bond isn’t broken.

    He struggled to speak but managed: “I miss him.” Because he did. Obi-Wan had raised him since he was nine years old, he was family. Anakin had always assumed they’d be Knights and even Master’s together (before he had decided he’d leave the Jedi Order for Padmé), but now that future was not meant to be if he didn’t uncover the truth of Obi-Wan’s fate. “Does Kia know?” His little sister adored her ‘Uncle Obi’.

    Shmi shook her head. “No. Darec and I thought it best not to tell her. We keep her away from the news… but it is difficult to keep up the optimism when she asks how you are doing each day. When we found out about Obi-Wan’s death, I knew it would make that task even more difficult. Thinking about him dying in such a horrible way…”

    Anakin felt tears welling in his eyes and he fought to contain them. He couldn’t cry here, not in the Jedi Temple. “I… I saw it happen. I was trying to get to him, to save him because I sensed something was going to happen but I failed him. I couldn’t save him in time.” He felt his lips wobbling. He hadn’t let himself lose control like this in years. “It became an inferno… he was still inside when it happened.”

    “Oh, Anakin…”

    Ahsoka was staying away, directing the Clone troopers to their duties as Anakin reunited with his mother.

    “You don’t understand, mum, I knew the explosion was going to happen.” He’d never told her about his vision, only Ahsoka had been aware of the impending danger.

    “Ani?” she questioned, pulling him further away from the bustle of activity of the Jedi hanger. The Clone Troopers were signing off duty if they were not required elsewhere and were boarding other transports to take them to their barracks. Shmi led him further into the hanger and into a small alcove at the side of the hanger.

    “Just after we left Coruscant I had a vision… a vision of the future…” he swallowed. God this was hard. “I saw him die and I thought I could stop it from happening. I made the mistake of not telling him of the danger.” He hung his head because it was that decision to not enlighten Obi-Wan of his vision that had led to the explosion still happening. “I thought I could save him… Why didn’t I see that warning him was the best course of action?”

    “Because you are a Knight. You no longer have to confide in a Master if you believe you do not need to. You’ve always been independent, Ani, and you’ve always wanted to do things your own way. You’ve adapted for your training but for the first time in your life you are free to make your own decisions,” Shmi answered carefully. “Everyone always makes mistakes…”

    Anakin sniffed. “There are some mistakes that one should not make. And… and Obi-Wan is dead because I thought I could handle this.”

    “Ani, no matter what you regret of the decision you made, Obi-Wan was always proud of you. And so am I.”

    But Anakin couldn’t help but wonder if Obi-Wan had known the truth if he wouldn’t have taken such a reckless risk? If he is really alive, will he ever forgive me for playing with his life in such a way?

    - - - - -

    After reporting to the Jedi Council, and submitting his report to them, Anakin dismissed Ahsoka and ordered her to have some rest. Knowing that he needed to investigate his feelings with at least one Council Master, Anakin waited outside the chambers for the session to finish, staying aware despite sinking into the Force to explore the darkness that clouded the bond.

    He opened his eyes when he realised that other members were leaving the Council and stood to his feet, waiting for Master Yoda, who walked out of the chamber, leaning heavily on his stick for support.

    “Master Yoda,” Anakin bowed before the Grand Master.

    “Young Skywalker? Wish to speak to me, you do?”

    Anakin nodded. “I do. This isn’t something I wanted the Council to be aware of. I think perhaps you can help me.”

    “Come to my quarters you will, discuss with me what troubles you.” Yoda set off at a slow pace, Anakin following carefully behind, mulling over what he was going to say. Would Master Yoda give credence to his feelings? He hoped he wouldn’t dismiss them out of place.

    Yoda’s quarters were small, and the only possession that the ancient master had was his cooking pot. Compared to Anakin’s and Ahsoka’s quarters it was spacious!

    Settling himself onto one of the two meditation mats, Anakin sent a wave of Force energy washing over hi, to calm his beating heart.

    “What help can I be?” the ancient Master enquired once he had sat down.

    Anakin bowed his head. “Master. I know in my report I said otherwise but I wanted to talk to you about this first… Obi-Wan is still alive. Our bond isn’t broken. It’s just silent. And there appears to be some darkness masking it, stopping me from sensing him. I meditated and reached for our bond and I pushed against the darkness and I heard him… I think he’s still alive.”

    “Hmm, perhaps heard his last moments you did,” suggested Yoda.

    Anakin shook his head. “I can’t believe that. When the AT-AT exploded I did feel pain but the bond didn’t snap… It’s still in my mind. I’ve felt the remnants of Master Obi-Wan’s bond with his former Master and it was broken, sharp edges to it – a violent shredding of it but that’s not what has happened to our bond. There are no sharp edges to it.”

    “Allow me to enter your mind to examine your bond will you?” Yoda enquired. “Ascertain the truth I may be able to do.”

    “If it helps…” answered Anakin. “I hate the idea of him suffering if he still lives because in a way it would be my fault that he is.”

    “Attachment you have to your former Master. Allowed you we have an attachment to your mother but too many attachments can cause conflict. Conflict of emotions very dangerous it is,” pointed out Yoda. “Aware of his fate before it happened were you?”

    Clearly the wise Master had sensed Anakin had been hiding something. There was no point in denying it. Why try to hide his failures? How could he improve upon them if he didn’t admit to them in the first place? How could he seek to teach Ahsoka well if he did not admit to his own shortcomings?

    “En-route to Jabiim I had a vision of Obi-Wan being killed in an explosion. I never told him, I thought I could save him if I kept an eye out on him. He mostly stayed in the base directing operations from there but the one time he was out of the base…” he swallowed. It was his fault that Obi-Wan hadn’t had forewarning of the fate that had awaited him. “My vision happened as exactly as I saw it. When I realised that I had failed to prevent it, I chased after him… I was too late. I managed to warn him before it went up in flames. My failure to tell him has cost me the man that has become a father to me. And if there is any hope he is still alive I have to know, so I don’t carry on wondering what I could have done to save him.”

    Yoda closed his eyes. “Lower your shields you must if I am to examine your bond.”

    “Yes Master,” Anakin murmured and obediently lowered his shields. He guided the elder in his mind, seeking the dormant bond. Finding the silence, Anakin purged himself into it, the light that was Master Yoda followed him, pausing to examine the bond before moving on and repeating the same exercise.

    Obi-Wan’s and I bond goes deeper than what you see on the surface, explained Anakin. If I lead you into the very essence of it you will discover what I did.

    Dangerous it is to completely immerse yourself in one bond. Lose yourself you can.

    Anakin hadn’t known that. Even if he had of done he doubted it would have stopped him from exploring their connection. Pausing to allow Yoda to link his Force signature with his, Anakin led him further into the very essence of the bond, and then he found himself pressed up against the darkness clouding the bond, that was projecting the silence onto the surface of it.

    Pressing harder, Anakin plunged deeper.

    Careful, young Skywalker…

    Choosing to ignore Yoda, he continued to press forward, fighting his way through the overwhelming darkness.

    And then just like before words reached him. A voice. Yelling through the bond.

    He flinched as it reverberated across the bond.

    ANAKIN! PLEASE HELP ME!

    And just for a second an image flashed into his mind’s eye, of a cell, a dark and dreary cell. A man was chained in the centre of the room by his wrists; his whole body was covered in cuts and bruises and he was smothered in running blood, pouring from freshly made wounds. There was a woman’s laughter echoing…

    And then Yoda pulled him out of the bond, dragging him back through the darkness and back into reality.

    Anakin lay panting on the mat in Master Yoda’s quarters, his eyes wide and glistening with tears. “Oh god, Obi-Wan…” He looked beseechingly at the Grand Master. “You can’t tell me that is not real. It has to be.” Obi-Wan…

    Yoda was silent for a long while, his eyes closed as he seemed to consider what Anakin had shown him, and what he too had felt through the Force. After what seemed like hours but was really only minutes, Yoda spoke in his gravelly voice. “What you saw, real it was. Correct you are that the bond remains intact but blocked it is. Dangerous it is for you to explore the bond any further. Stay away from it, you must.”

    “But… but…” Anakin was shocked. “What about Master Obi-Wan?”

    “Hmmm, trace him we cannot.”

    “I have to find him!” Anakin retorted, sitting up straight, pleading. “We can’t leave him there!”

    “Love him like a father you do… Understand this I do… but needed on the front line you are.”

    Shaking his head, Anakin made a stand. “No, I can’t carry on fighting knowing that Obi-Wan is alive and being treated horribly!” He was almost shouting. The loss of his Master had dearly affected him. For so long he had lived with the hope that he still lived but to be told he couldn’t go and help him was like a bullet to the heart. Was Yoda really that heartless?

    “A duty to the Republic you have. Forget Obi-Wan I will not. Send a team I will to search for him, to espionage on the Separatists if they can, discover his whereabouts they may do. An inspirational General you are, needed you are. Keep you informed you will be. Concerned the Separatists will be if they learn you are not directly leading our clone army.”

    “I don’t care!” Anakin spat. He didn’t know why he was acting like this. He knew better.

    “Killed Obi-Wan may be if the Separatists learn that we know of his survival. If on a solo mission you go, endanger his life you may,” Yoda pointed out.

    It was a reasonable argument and one that Anakin couldn’t find fault against. He struggled with the notion that he had to leave Obi-Wan’s fate in the hands of someone else while he had to pretend that everything was alright and to lead troops into battle, whilst knowing that out there somewhere his Master – no, my brother - was suffering. He sagged, understanding dawning on him. At least Yoda hadn’t dismissed Obi-Wan’s survival, at least he was going to do something about it.

    “If… if you find him,” began Anakin, taking his last chance, “I want to be a part of the rescue mission. He’ll need me. If he’s badly hurt… we help each other in a lot of ways… probably more then you know… And I owe him. I led him into this mess by not being honest with him. I should be there to see the results of my wrong decision.”

    The other Master stayed silent contemplating his request, silently probing the aura around the young man, searching for any signs of cracks. Finally he seemed to come to a decision. “Kept informed you shall be.”

    It wasn’t a yes but it wasn’t a no either, and at this present time that was all Anakin could hope for.

    - - - - -

    Before going to his mother’s apartment, Anakin decided to visit Padmé. He took his speeder from the Jedi Temple, taking it along a route that led away from Padmé’s apartment before circling back and coming at it from an entirely different direction. He parked his speeder outside her balcony and climbed onto it, walking quickly into the apartment. The measure was taken to preserve his connection with Senator Amidala, a security measure they wished they could dispense with but while Anakin continued his life as a Jedi they would have to keep their visits a secret.

    Padmé was there waiting for him, sitting on a sofa, watching for the curtains to flit back and forth announcing his arrival. As soon as she saw him, she ran to him, her arms wrapping around him tightly in a hug, pulling him close.

    “I heard! Chancellor Palpatine announced it a few weeks ago. Oh, Ani…”

    Anakin sat numbly down on the sofa, Padmé settling down next to him. Could he tell her the truth that Obi-Wan was alive but he wasn’t allowed to search for him? Was it fair to burden her with that?

    “Ani?” she asked again.

    He blinked and decided to trust her. If he was going to marry her they had to trust one another. “He’s alive. Obi-Wan’s alive. He’s being held somewhere. I don’t know where…” And that was the most hurtful thing of all. Not being able to trace his Master through the bond. It was a miracle he was able to punch his way through the cloudiness obscuring it to even discover he still lived. The Separatists clearly didn’t want them learning of his survival.

    “How do you know?”

    “Our bond,” answered Anakin. “It’s not broken. It’s obscured but if I sink deep enough into it, I can just sense him.”

    “Does the Council know?”

    Anakin shook his head. “Only Master Yoda but I’m not allowed to go look for him.” He hung his head, clenching his fists as frustration bore through him. “I know he’s suffering, Padmé, and I’m not allowed to save him. I wouldn’t even know where to start looking but that’s not the point! Yoda… Master Yoda said he will send others to trace him, but he said I’m needed in the war. I have no choice.”

    His voice sounded broken and confused. Padmé shuffled closer and pulled him down so that his head was resting on her shoulder.

    “It’s not fair…” he whispered against her shoulder, spluttering into her clothes.

    Padmé swallowed. “I know.”

    “I hope they find him,” he continued. “Because when they do I will be ready. I won’t let him suffer needlessly while lesser Knights try to rescue him. It’s my job and it is my responsibility.” He didn’t care that he sounded selfish but Obi-Wan needed him, and he wasn’t going to throw away the family bond he had with him for the sake of his Jedi duties.

    For now he would do what Yoda wanted because that would be what Obi-Wan would expect of him but when the time came, Anakin Skywalker intended to be there for his Master. I will be there to save you, Master. I promise.

    - - - - -

    He found it difficult to explain to Kia about why her ‘Uncle’ was not visiting now that her brother was home. With Yoda backing his belief that Obi-Wan was still alive, Anakin had decided to tell his mother the truth and informed her that he still lived but he was a prisoner of the Separatists. In that event, both of Kia’s parents had agreed that it was better for Kia not to know of the real fate of Obi-Wan, simply because she was too young to know. They were trying to shield her from the war as much as possible.

    Later when Kia had gone to bed, Anakin sat with his mother and step-father talking, trying to ignore the harsh reality of what was going on in the galaxy. Yet Anakin’s heart wasn’t in it – he wanted to be doing something. Due to the harsh campaign of Jabiim, the Council had ordered him to have a rest-week, though it was something he struggled with the concept of considering of what he knew of his Master’s fate. True to his word, Yoda had dispatched two Jedi Knights – he didn’t know where to – to try to discover the whereabouts of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Only the Jedi Council and those two Knights were aware that Obi-Wan was alive – the rest of the galaxy still believed him dead.

    “Ani?” Shmi asked gently. “You’re sad.”

    He was; he couldn’t deny it. His hair had grown long during the months he had become a Knight, strands of browny-blonde hair fell about his face. He was happy to be home especially after what he had seen on Jabiim. The horror of that planet would haunt him for the rest of his life. How could he forget about what he had seen? What he had been forced to do to escape? He needed to talk to someone about it, but that person wasn’t his mother. She couldn’t understand what he had done.

    “You need to talk to someone…” she said.

    “The person I’d talk to isn’t here,” he replied.

    “Tell me,” his mother urged.

    He shook his head. “No, you wouldn’t be able to help. What I saw on Jabiim was horrible. I can’t burden you with that. I sensed your worry increase for Obi-Wan when I told you he is alive. You fear for him, just as you should, and you want him back here safe, same as I do. Mum, if your fear spikes at the mere thought of what he could be going through, what will you be like when you hear what I had to do to escape from that planet? How many people I had to sacrifice… how many people died because I couldn’t save them?”

    “Shmi…” Darec patted her on the shoulder. “I know you want to help but Anakin’s right. Neither of us has ever experienced what he has. He’s been at war, what can we do to help?”

    “Help him to release his fears and his insecurities that have risen because of it,” she answered. “We may not know be able to understand but we can help him.”

    Anakin glanced up, and held out a hand so that Shmi was holding his. “But you can’t help me the way Obi-Wan does. When I find him, he will help me release the pain I carry.” He dare not consider what Obi-Wan might be like if he was being brutally tortured. He hoped that his Master would survive with little scarring to his mind. He was a strong person – he was sure to battle through and fight back every step of the way.

    Shmi bit her lip. She dare not say what was on her mind. She could see Anakin was at his breaking point. To antagonise him further would destroy the calmness that he had always carried with him. This war was turning him into a different person. The son that she had watched grow up to become a powerful and respected Jedi Knight was changing before her eyes.

    War changes people, she mused. Obi-Wan’s disappearance was slowly throwing him over the edge. But he did need to talk about it otherwise it would scrunch up inside him, bubbling away before being released in fury.

    “Mum…” he was talking again and she returned her attention to him. “I know you want to help me… The bond Obi-Wan and I have brings us closer together then many other Jedi, he understands me and I think I understand him. He is my partner. We’re bonded together for life. He’s the only one I can release my pain and sorrows too and the same for him.” He sighed. “I know it’s difficult to understand but I don’t want to burden you with my memories of Jabiim. You already know the worst of it.”

    Yes, Jabiim had certainly affected Anakin Skywalker – enough so that he didn’t want to talk about it to anyone save the person who couldn’t be any help to him right now and needed rescuing himself.

    Anakin was stubborn when he wanted to be, Shmi knew that, but he was also wise and mature, yet the war was taking its toll on him. Shmi was beginning to feel afraid that Anakin would lose himself in his desire to prove himself mature enough to handle things himself: she just hoped he wouldn’t pay an even heavier price then he already had done for his first mistake.

    - - - - -

    “This is an executive order, Anakin. I am ordering you to evacuate from Jabiim. Transports are already on their way, I expect you to be on them, my boy.” Chancellor Palpatine spoke over the com-unit, his voice patchy. “I am ordering you to stand down from your position.”

    Anakin shook his head. “No. I have a responsibility to the other Padawans. They are under my care and protection, Chancellor. I cannot abandon them.”

    “Anakin…” The Chancellor’s image turned to static and then righted itself. “I need you on the first transport to leave Jabiim. You are too important to our cause to die there.”

    “Yet it is acceptable to let Padawans die?” responded Anakin, biting back an even harsher retort.

    “It is regrettable,” said Palpatine, his eyes lowering in shame.

    “Yet you still expect them to die for a cause lost?” Anakin’s eyes were hard. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. How could any of this be right? “I will not leave this planet until the last transport is due to leave. I will save my comrades if I can. If my fate is to die here, then I will, but I will not abandon a fellow Jedi. They deserve life as much as I do. I will not abandon them!”

    Yet he had.

    The Separatists forces had been overwhelming as the transports had arrived to evacuate them. Anakin had already ordered Ahsoka to leave the battlefield. As the youngest member to not have seen much action it was his duty to ensure her safety. He had tried to save them all. But the mighty army had borne down upon them, taking their lives one by one.

    They simply did not have enough experience to fend off such an attack: Anakin had begun to retreat as they had fallen around him. He had hated it, the mud becoming slick with red blood, pouring from the bodies of Padawan’s that had never made it to the rank where they could have made a difference. His cheeks had been strewn with tears but he and the few Clones that had survived the onslaught made it back to the last transport.

    The despair that had flooded Anakin as he looked down upon the ruined planet had overwhelmed him. What he had seen would never leave him and it would haunt him for the rest of his life.

    - - - - -

    Ahsoka woke from a troubled sleep to hear her Master thrashing and turning in his room next to hers. Slipping to her feet, the young Togrutan slipped out of her room and quietly opened the door to her Master’s. She peered into the darkness and saw the dim form of Anakin Skywalker tossing and turning in the bed, the sheets crinkled around him and his hands clenching tightly to the sheet.

    She swallowed and opened the door further, using the Force to switch on the light.

    Anakin looked feverish, his brow wet with sweat. His teeth were clenched together and he was moaning.

    Through their bond she could feel terror and death, the utter guilt he surely felt over Jabiim. The loss of so many Jedi had rocked him hard. She realised he felt responsible for failing them. He had been the Knight in charge of them all and they’d all lost their lives.

    What could she do to ease his pain? Wake him up? Talk to him? But he won’t talk to me. He doesn’t trust me like he did with Master Kenobi. She sighed and reached out to him and gently shook his shoulder.

    She had to leap back quickly as a lightsaber suddenly blazed to life and Anakin sat right up in bed, his eyes blazing as he pressed his blade forward.

    “Master! It’s me!” she shouted.

    Anakin blinked sluggishly. “Ahsoka?”

    “Yes, it is,” she pressed.

    The lightsaber deactivated and she saw him place it back under his pillow. So he slept with it under his pillow. She’d have to remember that in future if she had any cause to wake him again.

    “What is it?” He was clearly concerned. “Anything the matter?”

    She shook her head. “No, Master. It was you… I was barely sleeping myself –” she knew what was keeping her awake – “and I heard a noise from your room. You were moaning in your sleep, thrashing and shaking violently. I had to wake you. The bond was tense.”

    Anakin fixed a relieved grin on his face. “Is that all?”

    Ahsoka was not fooled. “Master! You can’t shut me out! How are we supposed to form a proper bond if you don’t trust me? I know that Jabiim affected you! You need to talk to someone about it!” She felt tired and angry that he was being stubborn, that he was refusing to help himself. Help her because she needed it to.

    “No,” he hissed. “I don’t need any help.” His eyes flashed. “I can deal with this on my own, Ahsoka. I’ve already seen war more then you. Jabiim isn’t the first place where I’ve had to deal with losses in this war.”

    She bit her lip and decided to take a risk. “But it’s the only place where you’ve lost so much.”

    “Ahsoka… please leave.”

    She could feel his anger bubbling beneath the surface in his Force aura. More tension. He didn’t trust her enough to talk to her. “No.” She could be stubborn too. As an initiate she had always made sure she could do everything: she was not a quitter. “You need to release your anger about Jabiim. You need someone who was there to help you.”

    He glanced towards her, his lips thinly pursued; his control was slipping with each and every moment. Ahsoka knew she was on dangerous territory. Obi-Wan’s disappearance had opened a flood-gate of emotions that he had been trained to hold back and he was finding it difficult to rein them in again.

    “The person I want to speak to about it is otherwise preoccupied,” he stated coldly.

    “You don’t know that we’ll be able to get Master Kenobi back,” she said. Her Master had quietly informed her that he believed Obi-Wan to be alive and as much as she wanted him to be, she couldn’t help but feel suspicious over Anakin’s assertion. But she did have to trust her Master and if he thought Obi-Wan was alive then she’d trust in him as much as she could until otherwise told.

    “We will, Ahsoka.”

    She decided not to follow along with her train of thought. “And how am I supposed to get past Jabiim? I have barely slept since we returned home and you haven’t noticed! You won’t talk to me! How can I let go if you will not help me?”

    She could sense guilt filling their bond. She shouldn’t feel satisfied over that but she did. It was unbecoming of her.

    “Ahsoka,” Anakin began, feeling more calm then he had been, “I know it is difficult to understand but I don’t know how I can help you. Jabiim hurt us all. How can I help you if I’m not helping myself?” He suddenly realised he was being a hypocrite. He didn’t want help, he wanted Obi-Wan back before he tried to help himself and that was selfish of him, un-Jedi like of him. What type of Master was he to Ahsoka if he resorted to acting like a child with her? He made a decision. He was a Jedi and people relied on him. He wasn’t doing his duty by acting the way he was. “Tomorrow we’ll talk. I can’t promise anything, but we’ll try to help each other.”

    Ahsoka nodded gently. “I think that is all I could ask for, Master. Jabiim was a horror for us all. Those of us that survived need to talk to come to terms with it. It’s something Master Plo Koon told me when I was little.” She shuffled her feet awkwardly. “We need to work together to fix ourselves otherwise we won’t be able to carry out our duty as a Jedi.”

    Her words reminded Anakin of something Obi-Wan would say. It wasn’t the same not having Obi-Wan there. He had to hope and believe that his former Master would be back with them soon.

    - - - - -

    How long had he been here?

    He had lost track of time long ago.

    Concentrating solely on surviving, Obi-Wan had long since forgotten how many days he had been in his god-forsaken prison. A routine had settled in now: three sessions a day, the afternoon one being his time with Ventress, the other two sessions involving her loyal guards.

    He was tired and exhausted, his body hurting all over.

    Every day he tried to reach for the Force, tried to find some way through the block that Ventress was no doubt using against him to stop him from calling for help. On two occasions he had very dimly had access to the Force, as if something had broken through the barrier. Briefly he had sensed Anakin, but only for a matter of seconds before the connection had closed. He didn’t know if he had imagined it.

    Did Anakin know he was still alive? He hoped he did.

    Please come soon. I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

    The brutal nature of his captivity had left him reeling. Tortured for information, Obi-Wan had refused to give in. Tortured for Ventress’s own amusement, he had refused to submit to her. He still didn’t know why she wanted him. She kept talking about Dooku, about obtaining his approval but what did that have to do with him?

    He could either fight and wait for rescue (or try to rescue himself) or die. The second option he didn’t wish to take.

    Footsteps echoed along the hallway outside his cell.

    He knew what was coming and steadied himself, mustering strength from deep inside him to help him stand tall against the expected onslaught.

    He glared at Ventress as she stepped into his cell, one of her curved lightsaber hilts in her hands.

    “How are we today, Obi-Wan?” she asked, stepping closer to him, igniting her red blade.

    “Oh, I could be better,” he responded. Humour, now that annoyed her, how he could keep himself up-beat despite what he suffered. After what he presumed was weeks since his capture, any normal prisoner would have likely to have given in, but not a Jedi.

    She cocked her head to the side. “Hmm, we’ll see about that,” she said, stepping around him.

    He couldn’t see her but he knew what she was going to do next. He braced himself and gritted his teeth.

    He was soon unconscious.

    - - - - -

    “Ah, Anakin, my dear boy…”

    Ignoring the Chancellor’s enthusiastic welcome, Anakin bowed. “You wanted to see me, Chancellor?” As always he hated being singled out, yet the Chancellor continued on doing it. Anakin hadn’t had an excuse to not see him this time when the request came through. He hadn’t been reassigned yet though he knew the Council were deliberating exactly where he could go now that he was coming to the end of his ‘rest’ week. He was concerned about how Ahsoka had taken to his nightmares though.

    “Anakin, you know I care about you, considering the loss you’ve suffered I thought you might need guidance…” Palpatine suggested, calmly, placing his hands on his desk.

    Anakin sighed. “I don’t need guidance, Chancellor, I need permission to rescue Obi-Wan, which the Council are not giving me.” He probably shouldn’t tell him this considering Obi-Wan’s survival was considered confidential. But the reasonable part of his brain asked himself who would the Chancellor tell? The Separatists? Unlikely unless he was a traitor to the Republic and somehow Anakin doubted that the Chancellor would really do that. His mother may be wary of the Chancellor but he was a good man.

    Palpatine’s eyes widened in surprise. “He’s alive?”

    Anakin sank down into the chair facing the Chancellor. “He is.”

    “Do you know where Master Kenobi is?”

    Anakin shook his head. “No.”

    “I’m sorry, my dear boy, if there is anything I could do…”

    “You can’t,” snapped Anakin. He hated the fact that Obi-Wan’s capture was doing this to him, causing him to snap at the people who meant to look out for him. Palpatine did mean best for him but he was someone that the young Jedi sensed he had to be careful around. There was a semblance of darkness to him that was becoming clearer as the war progressed. He encouraged the aspects of Anakin Skywalker that he didn’t want to come out. But right now it was a struggle to keep calm.

    “It’s natural to feel angry after what you’ve been through, losing your Master like that. You shouldn’t try to supress it,” advised Palpatine.

    Anakin raised his eyebrows curiously. “Maybe but I’ve been taught differently, Chancellor. A Jedi doesn’t get angry. I’m unlike other Jedi because I’ve been allowed attachments… I never considered that I’d be forced to wait while someone I love is in pain.”

    “Do you feel this?” said Palpatine. “I am aware of bonds that are formed between Master and Padawan. Yours and Master Kenobi’s must be exceptionally strong considering the skill you wield when together.”

    It was an innocent question but Anakin couldn’t help but feel suspicious over the Chancellor’s question. It wasn’t common knowledge that Jedi had bonds between one another. His mother knew because he spoke of it often but not once had he mentioned it to Palpatine. A red warning seemed to flare in his mind. Something is wrong here… Careful Anakin… He is the Chancellor, there must be a reasonable explanation for this. He forced a grudging smile onto his face. “Possibly.” He chose to respond with a phrase that his Master was fond of saying.

    “It was a rumour I heard.” Palpatine was attempting to back-track.

    “No, I understand.” He didn’t but it was the least he could say in the circumstances. “Look, Chancellor, I shouldn’t have told you about Obi-Wan. Only the Council know; no other Jedi do. I would appreciate it if you could keep up the pretence that Obi-Wan is dead. The Separatists want us to think he is and we’re playing along with them.”

    “Anakin, you know I will do everything in my power to preserve the security of the Republic and that includes the secrets of the Jedi. You have my word until the Jedi Council authorises this information to be made public I will not announce it in session.” Palpatine was sincere in what he said.

    Anakin inclined his head, allowing a small smile to cross his face. “Thank you, Chancellor.”

    “How is your mother?” the Chancellor questioned.

    “She’s fine,” he responded. “And Ahsoka is doing well on her training.” He had a feeling that Palpatine was about to ask him that.

    “Good… good,” Palpatine was nodding away as if nothing had happened and Anakin hadn’t guessed what he was going to say. “I must say Anakin I’m surprised you are not going after your Master, I’d have thought you’d want to get him out of Separatist hands?”

    “I have my orders, sir, and I respect the Jedi Council enough to trust them that they know what they are doing. I may not like it but I can’t do anything if I don’t know where he is.” Anakin wasn’t sure if Yoda had informed the Council of their discovery regarding Obi-Wan but he’d have been surprised if the Council members hadn’t been told. The two Jedi Knights sent on an espionage mission would have needed to be debriefed by the Council, unless it was a mission off the record and therefore would only require two Masters to sign it off…

    Palpatine frowned. “If it was me I wouldn’t stand for it if one of my family was being held prisoner and I had the ability to track them. I wouldn’t wait around.”

    Anakin tried to avoid moving his gaze away from the Chancellor. Something was very wrong here. “I don’t wish to put Master Obi-Wan’s life in further danger.” Why was the Chancellor pushing him to act impulsively? Yes, he had his moments but most of the time he thought things through. He hated waiting, knowing that he couldn’t do anything to save his Master but he knew what the benefits would be if he didn’t act rashly. Obi-Wan wouldn’t want him to throw everything away just for him. He disliked it but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t do the logical thing. He’d already made one mistake of thinking he could handle things on his own.

    He wouldn’t gamble with Obi-Wan’s life at stake, not again.

    Anakin rose from his seat. “Forgive me, sir, I have to return to the Temple. I need to spar with my Padawan. Thank you for asking me to visit you, but please, Chancellor, next time, make sure it is for business and not pleasure. I’m sure my mother made that point to you years ago and you promised to abide by her wishes.” He smiled gently. “I don’t wish to offend you, Chancellor, but I’d rather not be treated differently from any other citizen. At this point in my life I don’t need guidance from you, only from my family and my Master when he returns.” He bowed and turned away, not waiting for a reply.

    If he had looked over his shoulder he would have seen Palpatine’s eyes flash yellow.

    - - - - -

    Saying he wasn’t pleased was an understatement. Palpatine was livid, though in Skywalker’s presence he kept a calm manner and exuding sympathy with the loss. But once he was gone, he instructed his aides to leave and not disturb him, and he donned his black cloak that made his identity of Darth Sidious and retreated into his secret communications area that he had secretly built into the Chancellor’s office.

    Locking the door to ensure that he was not disturbed, Palpatine keyed in the code for his apprentice, and waited for him to respond. It didn’t take long.

    The elder man’s hologram flickered to life in front of him, bowing before him.

    Sidious didn’t even give him the chance to speak before he intoned: “You have failed me, Lord Tyranus.”

    “My Lord?”

    “Why have you not informed me that Obi-Wan Kenobi still lives?” Direct and to the point, Sidious wasn’t one to mess around. He let his anger seep through the bond he shared with Dooku.

    “My Lord, I was under the impression that Kenobi was killed on Jabiim?”

    Sidious was silent, feeling along the bond and sensing confusion seeping from Dooku. Deception was a Sith’s speciality but he knew Dooku well enough to know when he was lying and this time he was being truthful. He did not know. This is an interesting turn of events…

    “He did not. Skywalker is certain of it. Someone within the Separatists is holding him. Find out who. I want Kenobi dead.” Kenobi had been a thorn in his side for far too long. He’d been looking forward to finishing him off himself but an even better situation had presented itself. If Kenobi was already a prisoner of the Separatists then it would be easy to end his interference for good. It would be the first step towards ensuring Skywalker’s fall.

    “My Master, are you sure that we cannot turn Kenobi?”

    Sidious seethed. Dooku had always had a soft spot for that particular Jedi having trained the man who had trained Kenobi. “Tyranus, Kenobi must die by your hand. I will know if you decide to spare his life. I want proof of his demise. I want to see the body – in person. Do you understand?” He made his voice harsh, implying that if his apprentice failed then the consequences would be severe.

    Dooku bowed his head once more. “Kenobi will die, my Lord.”

    To be continued...

    Chapter 16 will be posted on Tuesday.
  20. Valairy Scot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    Tsk, tsk, Anakin, you shouldn't have talked to Palps about Obi-Wan. But I'm confident Dooku won't kill Obi-Wan.
  21. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Awesome! Awesome! Emotions! =D= I see maturity and strength but also soul-tearing guilt which is corrosive [face_worried] Hopefully the latter won't compound the problem and impede the rescue [face_thinking] I find your description of the Force bond and its aspects marvelous. :D Perhaps if the entire Council probed it simultaneously, they could pierce the obscuration?

    Sidious is working my nerve so you can tell you've gotten him accurately =D= ;)

    Glad Shmi, Ahsoka, and Padme are there to lend support. :)
  22. Luna_Nightshade Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2006
    star 5
    I enjoyed the descriptions of the Force bonds, and how Anakin knows about Obi-Wan but is handling it so differently than he would have without his mom. I love that they're all there to be supportive, though I do wish he had kept it a secret from Palps. Exciting updates!
  23. Hans lil girl Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 2012
    great new post! i liked how you included the bonds.
    What is he doing talking to palpy?????
  24. hlc88 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 4
    @Valairy Scot Anakin should still have some faults despite the changes that have been made...

    @Jade_eyes I'm glad you like the descriptions of the Force bond! I think with Jedi that are very close, it would be quite strong and personal. Thank you, Sidious will probably get on your nerves a lot, lot more before this story is over...

    @Luna_Nightshade Thank you!

    @Hans lil girl Anakin can still slip up from time to time... this is one of those times that he unfortunately did...

    - - - - -

    Chapter Sixteen

    Four weeks had passed since Anakin and Ahsoka had returned from Jabiim, seven weeks had gone by since Obi-Wan had gone missing. Since that time Anakin had mostly been sent on skirmish missions, guiding flights into battles above planets before the main ground campaign commenced. Flying in space kept him occupied, made him focus on what mattered, when he wasn’t in action and he was off-duty that was the worst part of all.

    Yoda had kept him informed about the movements of the two Jedi Knights he had dispatched to try to locate Obi-Wan. Skilled in espionage the two had managed to infiltrate a few Separatist bases, scouring for information on any leads on the Jedi Master’s whereabouts, however they had uncovered nothing, making their search even more difficult as they sought to break into even more secure Separatist bases.

    “Master?”

    Anakin was dragged from his thoughts by his young Padawan. He turned to look at her, sitting next to him on the meditation mat. It was one of those times that he and Ahsoka used to work on formalising their bond and to help one another out. The memories of Jabiim were still harsh on Anakin and he was still reluctant to share details with his Padawan. He hadn’t fought beside her all the time: he had seen much worse than she.

    He had helped her come to terms with the trauma, using meditation and memories and calming techniques to help her focus on the idea that they had done all they could. Anakin, in turn, tried to apply that same logic himself but until he started to share the worse memories he wouldn’t be able to let go as Ahsoka was beginning to do.

    “Yes, Ahsoka?” he asked.

    “I had a nightmare last night…” she chewed her bottom lip. “About Zule…”

    Anakin paled. Another of the Padawans he had been unable to save. He hadn’t been able to save any of them, apart from his own. Zule Xiss, a female Falleen Padawan had been dispatched to Jabiim alongside them, her own Master having been killed a few months before. Her turbulent history as a Jedi Padawan had caused her to have had several Jedi Masters. With barely any Masters available to take her on she’d been left on her own, forming part of a group with other Senior Padawans that too had lost their Masters. Despite their differing personalities, Zule and Ahsoka had become friends.

    Zule’s death had been horrible. In the final days of the battle of Jabiim, an AT-AT she had been using as cover had been hit by heavy fire and it had fallen to the ground, crushing the Padawan to death. Ahsoka had seen it happen.

    Anakin had already gone over with Ahsoka that she couldn’t have done anything to save her, but the memory of her being crushed in a flaming inferno was too much. It was one of the worst memories Ahsoka carried with her – for Anakin, the explosion Obi-Wan had been caught in was his. He still kept on reliving it.

    “We’ll go through it together, ok?” he said to Ahsoka. “Let’s merge.”

    He closed his eyes and reached into the Force, seeking his Padawan. The amount of hours they had stacked up meditating together had proven to build upon their bond of Master and Padawan. It was stronger now.

    Show me… he requested.

    Ahsoka sent him image after image showing him the exact event that she had earlier described. Their bond wasn’t strong enough to send memories across, unlike his and Obi-Wan’s bond he doubted that was something he’d be able to achieve with his young Padawan. He examined each image, making sure to study each surrounding so he could fully understand what Ahsoka was struggling to get past. When he was certain he had obtained all the information he could from the images, he nudged Ahsoka in the Force and they came out of meditation.

    He sat across from her, studying her. She was brash and wanted to save everyone, just like he did but he had learnt that he couldn’t save everyone. That was a lesson she had to learn. Was now the right time to teach her that? He remembered when Obi-Wan had taught him that lesson. He’d been very young, barely a few months into his training; Ahsoka was much older the he was when Obi-Wan had talked to him about it.

    “We can’t save everyone, Anakin,” said Obi-Wan.

    “Why not?” Still a wide-eyed child, Anakin hadn’t understood why Jedi couldn’t save everybody. “I’m going to save my mother when I’m older!”

    “It depends on the situation, Anakin. Sometimes we have to make the choice that results in death rather than preserving life. I’ve had to make choices like that, you will to. If we’re charged with protecting people and my life is put in danger, your responsibility is to protect the people we have to, not me. Doing your duty is a difficult thing to do especially if it conflicts your interests… that’s why attachment is bad for a Jedi.”

    “I could never let anything happen to you, Master!” Anakin was shocked.

    “You might have to,” his Master replied quietly. “It’s what I would expect from you.”

    Anakin bit his lip, shaking his blond head. “I wouldn’t be able to do it.”

    But he had done it when he’d been faced with that choice on his first mission with Obi-Wan but he had acted in the best interests of the Senator’s family before going after his Master. He had done his duty. His naivety at the time was due to a lack of learning in the way of a Jedi and the difficult life they led. Before his mother had come back into his life he had wanted to save everyone but with her in it he had come to realise that saving everyone wasn’t always an option.

    Qui-Gon had tried to save his mother and failed so he’d made the choice to give Anakin the option to stay or leave. Anakin had chosen to leave, promising to come back and free her.

    His Master had saved her instead, giving her the freedom that Anakin wouldn’t have been able to give for years. Obi-Wan had saved her because he could. Qui-Gon had tried to save her but failed. It was a harsh lesson for him to learn but his mother’s freedom had gone a long way in helping him to accept that saving everyone was not his duty.

    “Ahsoka, you did everything you could,” said Anakin. “If you’d forsaken your duty to the other people in your care, you’d have been killed, and they too would have died.” In Ahsoka’s images he had seen her trying to defend injured Jabiimi Loyalists whilst they made a retreat from the field. She’d been close to Zule’s position and he could understand why she thought she could have saved her. Two things Anakin had noticed: the explosion just happened without warning and within seconds it was falling atop Zule. No matter what Ahsoka could have done, her fellow Padawan would still have died, and if she’d acted, Ahsoka probably would have been injured too. There was nothing she could have done to have saved her.

    “But…” she was going to protest.

    Anakin held up a hand. “Zule died doing her duty. You shouldn’t have guilt over something you could not prevent. No one wants to die, Ahsoka, but in war these things happen. You didn’t have a chance in saving her. You had no bond with her so you couldn’t warn her either. You did the duty I gave you and that was to protect the injured and you performed it admirably. When I was your age, maybe just a little younger, I felt the way you do now, wanting to save everyone, you soon come to understand that is not our duty or part of our mandate.” He laid a hand on her shoulder. “People die, Ahsoka, and when there is nothing we can do about it, we shouldn’t dwell on it. We should remember them for who they were and respect the sacrifice they made.”

    “I know Master,” she whispered. “It’s the manner of dying too. That’s what gets me.”

    He smiled gently at her. “War, Ahsoka, is a horrible thing. These things happen no matter how much we try to prevent them.”

    “Just like you did with Master Kenobi,” she pointed out. “You tried to save him despite your duty.”

    He knew that was going to come back and haunt him. “I wasn’t protecting anyone like you were.” He knew it was a weak excuse.

    She frowned at that crossing her arms in front of her chest. “Master…”

    Despite himself, he grinned. “Ok, I know, I’m guilty of it too. If I recall you had to come and rescue me after that AT-AT blew up.”

    “You were hurting,” Ahsoka answered. “I felt the pain you were in. You’d have been killed if I hadn’t have joined you. The battle droids were surrounding you. If Cary and I hadn’t have got there, you’d be dead,” she laughed. “You’re trying to teach me a lesson, Master but it isn’t something you follow yourself.”

    “This is where you shouldn’t follow my lead,” he replied. “I wanted to save Obi-Wan. Despite my attempt I still failed. He’s still gone.”

    “But he’s alive,” she prompted, “Master Yoda believes you.”

    “But for how long, Ahsoka?” Anakin shook his head. He couldn’t think about Obi-Wan. He had to help his Padawan. “The point I was trying to make is that we can’t save everyone. I couldn’t save Obi-Wan either and I’m suffering for the choice I made in not confiding in him. Perhaps it was fate, sometimes we have to think of it that way.”

    Ahsoka raised her eyebrows. “So you are saying that Zule died because it was the will of the Force?”

    “If you want to look at it like that; it’s cruel but if it helps…”

    She lowered her eyes, ashamed.

    “It’s nothing to feel ashamed of,” he said lightly. “Someone your age shouldn’t be seeing so much death: the circumstances we are in means that you are going to have to come to terms and deal with it quicker than I did. If believing that Zule was meant to die helps, believe it, as long as you can accept that you couldn’t have done anything to change her fate.”

    Ahsoka reluctantly nodded. It was a harsh lesson she had to learn.

    - - - - -

    Anakin pounded along the corridor towards the Council Chambers, ignoring the looks of the Knights and Padawans as he rushed past. He slowed as he reached the double doors, composing himself and opened the doors.

    Only two Masters waited for him: Yoda and Mace Windu.

    “Masters, you called for me,” he said as she strode forward into the centre and bowed before the two seated Jedi.

    “We have received intelligence from Knights Nerin and Hollar. They are the two that have been sent to gather information,” Windu began. “Master Yoda informed me of the situation this morning after he was contacted by them.”

    Ah, so the Council didn’t know of Obi-Wan’s survival then: Yoda had kept it to himself until now. Anakin hadn’t been sure but he knew now. “I see.”

    “They haven’t been able to locate Master Kenobi,” said Mace gently.

    Anakin’s chest deflated.

    “However,” Yoda continued, “interesting information they have given us, mediate on it we need to.”

    “One of Count Dooku’s enforcers hasn’t been active in the field for some weeks now which is quite unusual since they were becoming quite ferocious across numerous battlefronts. A rumour reached Knights Nerin and Hollar about the lack of involvement of this particular individual. It has been claimed that she refused an order from a lesser Separatist lackey due to a secret project she has going in the Outer Rim, and she was allegedly on Jabiim and then left approximately the same time Obi-Wan was reportedly killed,” stated Mace, keeping his gaze fixed on Anakin.

    The clogs in his mind were turning as he processed this information. “She? A project in the Outer Rim?”

    “Faced her before you have.”

    And then the pieces fell together.

    Anakin nearly choked. “Ventress? Asajj Ventress?” She had been the one to give him his scar across his right eye. “And you think that this secret project has something to do with Obi-Wan?”

    “If trying to keep his survival a secret, then fits the pieces do.”

    “Then we have to find her!”

    “Knights Nerin and Hollar are trying to do just that,” revealed Windu.

    Anakin was about to interrupt but Windu held up a hand forestalling his wish.

    “Please, Anakin, we have need of you on the battlefront. You and your Padawan will be dispatched shortly.”

    Anakin gritted his teeth, trying to keep himself calm. “Yes, Master Windu.” He couldn’t help the agitation in his voice.

    “Understand we do your desire to help your Master, but permit that we cannot at this present time. When more information we have, a precise location, join the hunt you may,” said Yoda. “Asked me you did, decided I have that involved you must be, but for now your duty is to the Republic.”

    It was the exact same lesson he’d been trying to teach Ahsoka, coming back to hit him in the face once more. He couldn’t help it, Obi-Wan was like a father to him or a brother even. He detested not knowing, not being able to help him. He hadn’t dared to sink into the Force and explore their bond again, afraid of what he might find or see. He knew that when he got Obi-Wan back he’d have to help him heal, he wouldn’t be undamaged… not after what he had briefly seen happening through the bond. As much as he wanted Obi-Wan back for his own peace of mind, he understood that for Obi-Wan to give that aid, he’d have to help him first.

    “Thank you,” he responded. He had what he wanted: to be there for Obi-Wan when they located him.

    “We will summon you again at our next Council session this afternoon. Be prepared to move quickly to your next assignment,” advised Mace.

    Anakin nodded, bowing and then left.

    - - - - -

    Tugging on his controls, Anakin pulled his Jedi star-fighter up above the droid fighters as he twirled through the air, firing his lasers as he did so, shooting down the enemy. Beside him flew Ahsoka in her own star-fighter. They led a squadron of Clones, fighting against a blockade that the Separatists had put in place above the planet Christophsis.

    The planet was in desperate need of reinforcements: the natives had called to the Republic for assistance and the Council had dispatched Anakin to break through the blockade and land troops and supplies to the besieged population.

    Piloting helped him concentrate; piloting helped him become one with the Force. It was Pod-racing where he had first made contact with the mysterious energy that had made him so different to the other slaves in the quarters back on Tatooine. This power had given him the ability to do impossible things.

    He sunk into the depths allowing the Force to guide him in his movements and decisions, twitching his control stick to the left so he rolled out of the way of blaster-fire, the enemy droid fighter over-shooting him and allowing Ahsoka to blast them to pieces.

    “Good work,” Anakin commed.

    “Thanks Master,” she responded, already peeling off to help another one of their squadron that was being hassled by droid fighters.

    Capital ships of all shapes and sizes tossed fire-power between them: Republic and Separatists fighting for one thing – control off the planet below. Space was littered with laser bolts and explosions as each side took casualties.

    Anakin’s mission was clear. Get the troop transports down to the surface and if possible retake the city. After that more reinforcements could land and other Jedi could take over if Anakin and Ahsoka could leave the planet.

    His squadron protected supply ships and troop ships. Fourteen pilots to protect five other ships. They had already lost one of their troop ships taking their total down to four ships to escort.

    “Wolf Squadron, form up on me,” Anakin commed.

    He received acknowledgement from each of his pilots as they took their positions behind him, realigning in the circle they had first set out upon.

    “Master! I have more targets on the way!” shouted Ahsoka.

    Anakin checked his monitors. Sure enough another two droid squadrons – twelve ships in total – were heading right for their trajectory. He flicked his switches and peeled off from the main group. “Ahsoka, take the lead. Three and Four, follow me!”

    Two clone fighters joined him as he curved round from the main group and heading at full throttle towards the oncoming swarm of droid fighters. “Three, take the four on the left, I’ll take the droids in the middle, and Four, you finish off with the right.”

    “Yes sir!”

    Anakin ploughed right ahead, firing rapidly into the swarm of the deadly droid tri-fighters. His fighter twisted into a spin as the droid-lasers flew over him. Grinning wickedly he let loose with a trio of fire, hitting not just one or two but three of his four fast-moving targets as they attempted to swerve around him.

    One slipped by and he pulled back on his stick, spinning around in a circle and shooting off after it. Four shots later and he was flying through the debris of his remaining opponent.

    He checked Ahsoka’s position. She was pulling ahead with the convoy, guiding the ships ever closer to the embattled planet. Again in the distance he saw another trio of star-fighters careening towards them. Ordering R2 to kick the thrusters to maximum speed, Anakin shot forward, lasers blazing across space, burning into the shield-less droids.

    His two other squadron fighters followed him. “Same directions again,” he ordered. “Let’s get those ships into the atmosphere!”

    Confirmations came through the com-link and they spread out, targeting their specified targets. Swerving through the battlefield picking off the droid-ships, Anakin accelerated and re-joined Ahsoka at the front of the rest of the escort squadron.

    “We’re on target everyone!” said Anakin. “R2, keep scanning the field. Notify me if any targets turn our way.”

    The little droid beeped in acknowledgement.

    “Everyone form up!” he ordered as the two other pilots filled their spaces in the formation. They were nearing the atmosphere. Anakin decreased his speed, his squad doing the same, however he ordered Ahsoka to fly ahead and begin covering fire so that they could get the troops and supplies safely on the ground.

    Her voice quickly came crackling over the com.

    “Master, we have a problem! Massive droid army to the east within the main city. And they have ray-shielded gun emplacements! We’ll have to land on the outskirts and fight our way in!”

    Anakin bit his bottom lip. That would be problematic and would cause loss of life for many of the Clones. He would have to make a decision. “R2, patch me through to Admiral Yularen.”

    “General Skywalker.”

    “Admiral, Ahsoka reports that there is a droid army within the city and they have gun emplacements ready to use. Our troops will be slaughtered. Can you dispatch a few more Clone battalions? I’ll send half of Wolf Squadron back for escort duties if you can spare six other fighters to escort duty. Once the supplies and troops are safe on the ground, I’ll send Ahsoka back up and I’ll begin the ground campaign.”

    The Admiral groaned. “I thought it might come to this. I can stretch out four fighters, we’re already losing more casualties then we had predicted here. This may be a system we will have to retreat from as soon as we land ground troops.”

    “We’ll have to make do with four,” said Anakin. “The remainder of Wolf Squadron will be yours to command as soon as we’ve made landing.” He estimated it would take them at least another ten minutes to make as quick a landing as possible. By that time the reinforcements should be making their way into the field of battle.

    “I’ll send them on their way, General Skywalker,” Yularen confirmed.

    “Thank you, Admiral.” Anakin relayed his orders to the rest of the squadron and six fighters peeled back up into space to lend support to the rest of the reinforcements.

    Taking the lead, Anakin zoomed ahead, directing the troop transports to the west of the city while he flew over the city, scouting out the army that Ahsoka had identified. He paired up with her as she swooped back round.

    “I don’t think even with reinforcements we will be able to take the city, Master,” commed Ahsoka.

    Anakin frowned. He disliked negativity in war. “If we think we will fail we will. Being positive is key to success, Ahsoka. We can take this city.” He flipped back having scouted as far as he dared, and made for the landing area. “It won’t be long before they start an attack on our troops. Ahsoka I want you to take rest of Wolf Squadron back into space and escort the reinforcements down to the surface. I’m going to begin taking the city: join me when you can.”

    He had expected her to demand to join him but she accepted his orders without question, probably because he had already said that she could join him once the other part of the mission was accomplished.

    With Ahsoka sweeping back up into space leading the remainder of Wolf Squadron, Anakin had R2 start landing procedures.

    Climbing out of his star-fighter he went to the hastily built-command centre and started to plan his assault on the city with the help of Commander Cody and Captain Rex, two very experienced Clones that Anakin had worked with many times throughout the war. Both would come in handy on this mission.

    He couldn’t help but smile as he started to plan. The Separatists were in for a big surprise. They’d see. He hadn’t spent the hyperspace journey to the system pouring over the city structure for nothing.

    They’ll see…

    - - - - -

    “Why won’t you give in?” she purred in a sultry voice, gripping his chin with dirty fingernails, pulling his head left and right, causing pain to sweep through his already weakened shoulder muscles.

    Obi-Wan glared. The fight was slowly going out of him.

    “Do you like pain so much that you want it to continue?” Ventress continued, circling him, rubbing her hands over his shoulders and pressing down upon them, stretching his arms even more in the chains above his head.

    He clamped his mouth shut, allowing only a small groan of pain to escape him. He closed his eyes.

    “NO!” Ventress twisted his head around. “You will stay awake. I have a surprise for you.”

    “I doubt there is anything you can do that can surprise me,” hissed Obi-Wan. He knew what to expect. He had already accepted that he’d likely die here. No one was coming for him. He just hoped that Anakin wouldn’t take his death too badly.

    Ventress moved away from him, stepping back into what little light there was in the cell so he could see her more clearly. From her pocket she drew out a black, rubber mask, rolling it between her fingers, her lips curving into a smile.

    A shudder ran up his spine.

    “You should be afraid.”

    Obi-Wan swallowed trying to ignore the fear that was rumbling through him, making his body tremble. The material she held in her hands reeked of the Dark Side. Though cut off from the Force for the most part, he could still reach parts of it. He didn’t even need to touch the Force to know that what she had was a dark object.

    She drew forward, stretching the material out. He yanked his head away, already guessing where it was going and what she was planning to do.

    But someone came up from behind him and grabbed his head, holding it still. He hadn’t even noticed her enforcer circle around her and come up behind him. His rough hands circled his neck, the thumbs pressed into his cheeks, holding him still as Ventress approached a manic gleam in her eyes.

    “No…!”

    She rolled the material over his head; he struggled with all his worth, trying to fight back but couldn’t stop her from pulling it down over his head.

    It was a mask. Eye-slits were the only holes in the mask so that he could still see his tormenter, save for two small pin-pricks by his nose to allow him to breathe.

    “No!”

    “You’ve only brought this upon yourself, Obi-Wan,” cackled Ventress. “You have resisted my interrogations, poisons and even when I’ve used the Force on you. But this? The Sith torture mask will be your undoing. You just don’t know it yet.”

    He couldn’t speak to her, the material keeping his mouth shut.

    Asajj patted his cheek. “I’ll see you tomorrow… we’ll see how long it will take you before you beg me for mercy.”

    I won’t… I won’t… Anakin… Please…

    Desperation escaped him and he sought out his young friend in the Force already knowing he wouldn’t be able to reach him. Something dark reached for him and he cowered in fear as tendrils of darkness reached for him, seeking to wrap him in their grip.

    He trembled violently in his chains seeking to escape the dark. He shirked backwards, pulling on his arms as he sought to escape the mask. Images were thrown at him. The mask was digging into his mind, showing him the worst moments of his life…

    Qui-Gon’s death jumped in front of him, the most prominent memory of all…

    NO!

    He fought and struggled, trying to cut off his connection to the Force but his reaching out for it had caused the mask to react. He was saturated in the dark side as it clung to him, its tendrils wrapping lovingly around him, holding him in their grip, as they dug further into his psyche, pulling up his worst memories of all and forcing him to relieve them, all the while it whispered in his ear, calling him weak…

    You’re weak… Pathetic Jedi… He never wanted you… And when he did you couldn’t save him…

    “No!” he mumbled through the fabric of the Mask.

    Images rushed through his mind: he saw Qui-Gon’s death again and again … saw Qui-Gon’s disappointment at him for leaving the Jedi during the Melida/Daan crisis… feeling rejected by his Master for putting Anakin before him…

    No! No! I don’t feel like that! His mind yelled.

    The images continued to pour through his memory… he felt tears welling from his eyes and he tried to blink them away but it only forced them to fall faster.

    He was in utter despair.

    For the first time in his captivity he let himself go.

    Obi-Wan Kenobi cried.

    To be continued...

    Please let me know what you think! Chapter 17 will be posted on Thursday.
  25. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Glad to see Ahsoka and Anakin working and supporting each other more closely. :) Exellent description of the action =D= Glad they have a bit more to go on; I know Anakin is chafing under even this much delay. [face_thinking]
Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade