Saga Requiem for a Jedi. Completed.

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Valairy Scot, Feb 1, 2012.

Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade
  1. charie Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 6, 2007
    star 2

    'hug him to death' loved that. It's just like Anakin to love him so fiercely and be so angry. I like that they have that brotherly love and love to read it in these stories. So much more satisfying. Thanks for sharing as always. Can't wait for more.[face_love]
  2. Toni Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 1998
    star 1
    What Charie said!
  3. Gkilkenny Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2004
    star 4
    Anakin has his moments to love Obi-Wan but he also keeps his anger too. Bad choices Anakin.[face_worried]

    Obi-Wan will survive this little trip down to the flames, he has faith and so do I the Force wont abandon him now.[:D]

    Spring! HaH in two weeks it will be Autumn here and with all the rain and flooding we haven't had summer.:oops:


    Great cliffie=D= and of course we all have them on this occasion. Hoping that everyone follows us over to the new site.

    We have to entice new readers or get George Lucas to do a new Star wars series, one with Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon in it.
    Maybe a Jedi apprentice series.
    Put all the clones in a big hole in the ground and bury them.

    Talk to you soon.[:D] Geri.
  4. obimom Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2010
    star 4
    Um?you weren?t paying attention? Working on your story? Yeah, that must be it. :p

    Just read chapter 9, will have to read the next chapters on the other forum...unless I can come back later.

    So dangerous, that competition..and by necessity Obi-Wan has to use his enhanced instincts to survive this...and now has Dooku's attention. Oh dear. [face_worried]
  5. Valairy Scot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    Chapter 11 was cut off in translation - so reposted here:


    Chapter 11.

    Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative. ~~ Oscar Wilde



    Feeling both light of spirit and heavy in heart, Anakin stepped into Yoda’s meditation room, much of his turbulent emotion bled off during the long flight home. He’d been abruptly ordered there upon landing at the Temple which was fine by him. Anakin was in the mood for answers and he would have demanded them, summoned or not.

    At least he had had the time on the trip home to think. He couldn’t really say he had calmed down, but the edge of his anger had banked into righteous indignation.

    Obi-Wan was alive.

    Force, he was going to kill his old master for this deception and then – well, he just might set all Jedi decorum aside and actually hug the man. Then he’d kill him a second time, although the hug itself might well do it. Obi-Wan would almost certainly drop dead of a heart attack, especially if the cruel deed was in front of the Council. His old master was downright fanatic with his insistence on proper protocol and demeanor.

    Hang protocol.

    Hugged to death. Obi-Wan. Now there was something impossible to truly contemplate.

    No wonder a frown and a smile had fought for control of Anakin’s expression the entire way home. Only Obi-Wan had this kind of power over him. Only his old master could drive him to delight and affronted anger simultaneously.

    Affronted indignation alone accompanied him to this meeting with Yoda, for he well knew the Council bore the bantha’s degree of fault for his current state of mind. Obi-Wan had been ordered to deceive Anakin and as usual, the man had submitted to their so-called “greater wisdom.”

    Force blast the man’s humble deference to those he deemed wiser and more in tune with the Force. Obi-Wan was a great Jedi in his own right. He loved the man...but he was aggravating beyond belief.

    **

    “Your ‘box’ does not seem to be as much of a challenge as I thought. Perhaps I should put Hardeen in charge of the mission,” Dooku mused. Beside him, Eval stiffened in outrage.

    “But this was my plan; you promised me the lead role,” Eval protested.

    Slimy toad, half kowtowing, half challenging – protesting and deferring all at the same time. Dooku found the display a bit pitiful. Eval was a servant, a minion and when his usefulness was exhausted, his life would be forfeit.

    “You have one last test to change my mind.” He decided to be magnanimous and hide his contempt.

    “Do not fear, Count Dooku, I will show you who is weak.” Somehow finding his spine, Eval had found courage at last.

    **

    “You wanted to see me, Master,” Anakin inquired politely, a cold edge to his voice.

    A banked fire within, Anakin stepped within Yoda’s meditation chamber. As usual the blinds were half shut, bars of light and dark striping the walls and the floor, bars of shadow and light. It could be a prison built of light and barred by darkness; a prison the Order built around itself? The Force was the light, the bars the barriers that denied compassion and feeling. Why had he never noticed this before? Why had he noticed it now?

    Because he now knew the truth; the truth illuminated by deception and made of dark and light, each thrown into stark relief by the other.

    “Wrong to deceive you it was, but much at stake there is.”

    Anakin clenched his fist. “So I was right, Obi-Wan is alive.”

    Yoda nodded. “Skywalker, a powerful Jedi, you are, yet unpredictable and a danger to both your friends and enemies. For Obi-Wan, on your patience everything depends.”

    “What if he needs our help?” Because even though Obi-Wan was good – was great – he was not that good that he could do whatever he was doing alone; he needed someone to cover his back and rush to his rescue when plans went wrong. Plans always went wrong, Anakin knew from hard experience, and not because Anakin tossed them aside as Obi-Wan usually claimed. Anakin tossed them aside because he knew they wouldn’t work; he didn’t have to wait for them to fall apart. He acted. Obi-Wan merely waited – and negotiated – and preached patience, but a man on an abyss shouldn’t wait; he should get away from the edge and as quickly as possible.

    No, he knew full well that delay was deadly, and by all that he swore by, by his mother’s memory, Obi-Wan would not be a casualty due to Anakin’s absence and failure to act.

    Obi-Wan needed Anakin and always would, though his deception meant that he thought he did not. It rankled, down deep, Obi-Wan’s lack of trust, for no other reason would his former master deceive him except – unless – it were jealousy and a wish to prove himself as capable as his padawan. That fear had subsided somewhat since his knighting – no, Obi-Wan was not jealous, envious perhaps, but not jealous. Trust, the issue was trust or the lack of it. Lack of trust and deception were linked in unholy alliance.

    Palpatine saw, Palpatine knew, and Palpatine had warned but he had not heeded: he had chosen to be deaf, to be blind, to deny the truth. But another truth shone just as brightly and just as mercilessly: Anakin was exceedingly fond of his mentor, faults and all.

    And because of that and despite the pain and hurt, Anakin would not abandon Obi-Wan to an uncertain fate. He could not. He was meant to help, to save and by the Force, he would do so.

    “If you leave, help him you could, his future, mmm…uncertain it is. Trust in Obi-Wan we must.”

    And so help him, Anakin merely nodded and accepted Yoda’s words. For now, at least; surely Obi-Wan wasn’t in immediate danger. He would know, he always knew.

    But when imminent became actual threat to Obi-Wan, Force help those who stood in his way.

    **

    Imagination could befuddle the wisest of opponents were they lacking in the same.

    Eval had little imagination: this room as well was a bare, gridded room, equally as massive when the survivors walked out from the tunnel that connected the last test site to this. Once again, a column of blocks led into the room and ended in the middle, a peninsula into a void of something yet unrevealed. Impassively, Obi-Wan studied the walls and floor far beneath; the danger had always arisen from the walls and floor that confined them.

    “The final challenge has arrived,” Eval’s voice boomed out.

    Floor panels flipped open to reveal row upon row of nozzles surrounding them on three sides, a smooth wall behind them. Pop-out flame throwers, tongues of fire shooting upwards.

    Across the room, a panel slid aside and Eval stepped forward; the first time he had been present other than in projection. He touched a button on an arm controller. Blocks – again blocks - rose up, enlarging the bounty hunters’ peninsula into a veritable oasis of safety above the fire below, though it did not protect them from the heat washing across them. Embo spat some question. Probably guessing what had been asked, Eval shook his head, touched another button and the nozzles retracted under their panels.

    “We’re going to test your sniper skills. Hit the target; three hits and don’t miss.” He released a light ball that skittered and tracked against the far wall as a cabinet unfolded to reveal one blaster rifle.

    “Get back, boys, I’ll show you how it’s done.” Sixtat grinned, strutting to it with the confidence of a man who was in his element. He raised the rifle and tracked the light, aimed, and fired. The ball pulsed, showing a hit. Sixtat made the second hit; the third, he missed.

    A row of blocks dropped, sending Sixtat tumbling to the suddenly reactivated flames beneath. Eval chuckled.

    “I get it; if we miss the target, this platform gets smaller. Soon there won’t be any platform left,” Obi-Wan bit out. He shouldered his way past the others to the cabinet and took a second rifle that rotated to view, whipped it to his shoulder and tracked the ball of light, fired and scored, three times in quick succession.

    Eval’s face hardened and he touched a button. Loosely aligned behind Obi-Wan, the bounty hunters shifted and muttered as the blocks on which they stood rumbled upwards, leaving the Jedi isolated on a much narrower platform. as blocks dropped away from his side as well, leaving him only a narrow platform on which to stand.

    “This is not the first time you’ve saved everyone, Hardeen,” Eval sneered. “Five more hits. Let’s see how good you really are.”

    Without comment, Obi-Wan raised the rifle and fired, barely pausing between shots. He made four, but when he pulled the trigger on the fifth, the rifle did not fire.

    “Ohhh, what a shame, out of charges,” Eval mock-sympathized. “It’s also important as a bounty hunter to be lucky and yours just ran out.” Thoroughly enjoying himself, he activated his wrist control and one by one, blocks dropped in quick succession like ice bergs calving from glaciers. Obi-Wan retreated, block by block, until he could retreat no more. Soon all the surrounding blocks had dropped but one – the one on which he stood.

    He could jump up to the others, Obi-Wan supposed, but the Force told him to remain still, to accept his apparent fate. His faith was absolute; his fate would be as the Force willed.

    He stood poised on the brink…and when the last block fell, so did Obi-Wan, falling into the fiery flames below.
  6. Valairy Scot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    Okay, new chapter:


    Chapter 12.

    Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures. ~~ Jessamyn West
    Thwang! The falling Jedi jerked to an abrupt stop as a cable wrapped around Obi-Wan’s wrist. Dangling in mid-air, he turned his head upwards and saw rather to his surprise that his savior was, of all people, Cad Bane.

    “How dare you defy Moralo Eval,” the Phindian fumed as he shook his fist.

    “If you’re going to kill him, do it like a man,” Bane growled, unimpressed.

    “You heard him, Eval.” A booming voice filled the room. “It’s time to see what you are made of.”

    With a soft hiss and barely perceptible click, the flame throwers retracted leaving just those that rimmed the perimeter. Obi-Wan’s eyes narrowed; in other circumstances he might have stroked his beard thoughtfully as he, along with the others, found themselves drawn to Dooku’s face looming large upon the walls. Eval, too, swiveled and yelped in stuttered surprise as the alcove mercilessly closed in on him, squeezing and pushing until Eval was popped out of his alcove to tumble to the floor. One block rose beneath Obi-Wan, an invitation to drop the few meters to its surface rather than the long way to the floor.

    So it was to be one against one.

    He freed himself from Bane’s cable and took the invitation – not that he could have refused anyway.

    Cool appraisal met simmering resentment, stare met stare although neither one yet moved. The next move was not theirs, but Dooku’s – until Eval decided nothing was stopping from initiating another part of his plan.

    With a soft whoosh, five probe droids zoomed out from a concealed panel in the ceiling and dove at Obi-Wan, spitting blaster bolts. Obi-Wan dodged a bolt, a second, and then launched into the air to smash one remote into the wall with a flying kick where it shattered into pieces. Another remote dove at him; Obi-Wan leapt to grab it, whirled to gain momentum and flung it into yet another. The impact destroyed both.

    As another remote screamed towards him, Obi-Wan sprang and latched onto it, dangling much as he’d done years before on Coruscant, though at least this time he hadn’t had to dive through a transparisteel panel and the surface was rather closer than the hundreds of stories beneath him then. He’d gotten a lecture from both Yoda and his padawan on that stunt afterwards – “dangerous, reckless, fool-hardy,” acidic comments that he’d countered calmly.

    “I did as the Force urged,” was just as popular with the Council then as when Qui-Gon had uttered it, although somewhat more effective. Obi-Wan never made the “Force made me to do it” an excuse, only a reason and he didn’t invoke it often.

    “Flying” with the remote, he ran across the wall and with an overhead strike slammed it into Eval’s chest. Landing lightly on his feet, he informed the Phindian, “You’ll have to do better than that.”

    “You’ve seen nothing yet,’ Eval taunted in return, punching his wrist control and smirking at the Jedi.

    That blasted thing was starting to get on Obi-Wan’s nerves. The floor was going crazy again, blocks shooting up to create a literal obstacle course. Eval scampered away as Obi-Wan chased him, dodging and weaving in pursuit, skidding to a stop when the blocks boxed him in. It didn’t take Jedi senses, just common sense to realize it was a trap, one meant to incinerate Obi-Wan – he leapt clear as flame throwers unfolded and spat their deadly flames where he had been just seconds before.

    Crouched above Eval, Obi-Wan growled, “Let’s even the plan” and fell upon the Phindian, his target the controller. With controlled ferocity, he smashed Eval’s arm to the floor, only to be tossed aside and rushed. They traded punches, Eval desperate and Obi-Wan determined. This was a battle that could not end in stalemate; there would be a winner and there would be a loser. Once one exhausted all means short of battle, one went into battle and won – that was something Obi-Wan had learned young and something life had reinforced during the last few months of a war no one wanted and every Jedi wished to see end.

    A sudden rush by Eval and Obi-Wan landed hard on his back.

    Force, Obi-Wan was tired of being a punching bag.

    As a distraction, he’d let himself be slammed around by a Zygerrian slaver on Kiros only to find the punishment he had willingly accepted to buy Anakin and Ahsoka time to find and disarm all the bombs had only furthered a sham – all the Tugrutan colonists had already been taken by slavers. Shaking off those aches and bruises, they’d all taken off to Zygerria itself. Fifty thousand missing, fifty thousand they were all determined to restore to their home. There, an error in judgment had gotten him stunned and captured, and in captivity, electro-whipped mercilessly.

    All that had been as nothing compared to what followed on Kadavo, after his “processing” along with Rex. He had accepted being humbled and forced into submission, knowing it was only a charade of obedience; inside the heart of a Jedi had burned bright and determined, ready to make his escape and free the kidnapped Togrutans.

    The slavers had found a whip more cutting than electro-whips, though – they had flayed Obi-Wan with the knowledge that any stepping out of line, any protest, any misbehavior resulted in a swift and sure punishment to those around him. In helping others, he hurt them.

    That knowledge had almost broken him. He had had to deny his urge to help – in order to truly help. He had had to submit, to save the innocent, knowing full well that submission was also defeat; submission was rejection of the central principle guiding his life and submission was thwarting the Force’s will.

    Denying compassion had been a terrible torture and a flicker of resentment still burned within him. The Force had yet to snuff it out, though Obi-Wan had had no desire to nurse the unwelcome and aching ember.

    Any speech, any action, any helping hand…and Obi-Wan’s pent up anger and frustration boiled over. He’d barely recovered physically, he hadn’t had time to recover, he hadn’t had time to meditate, he hadn’t had time to release his feelings into the Force and he was – so – sick of war, sick of the pain, sick at the deaths and the pain and the suffering and now sick at deceiving his padawan – he sprung like a Pfanther and with the momentum of an enraged Bantha, he flattened Eval and throw roundhouse punch after punch after punch until the part of him that would always hold to the light overpowered the part that was slipping away.

    He was sick of the violence that dominated his life; just – sick.

    He sank to his knees, reigning in his emotions with an iron will. Eval was defeated and that was sufficient for the moment. To throw even one more punch would defeat him, the man and the Jedi he wished always to be, someone who abhorred violence no matter how necessary it sometimes became. He would not become someone he did not recognize and did not wish to be. He hadn’t hit all that hard, but he had hit Eval, over and over. He had exceeded what necessity had required of him. He refused to become someone he did not recognize and did not wish to be. A man overwhelmed, it was true, but he was more than a man. He was a Jedi, not this alter ego of necessity which was consuming him. He wasn’t Rako Hardeen.

    He wished only to be Obi-Wan Kenobi.

    And that he would be.

    “Finish him,” Dooku ordered, breaking his silence. Obi-Wan merely stared down at Eval, finding a fleeting sympathy for the panting Phindian. Dooku’s words did not stir him. Eval was defeated. Obi-Wan would not break him and he would not kill him.

    He had made his choice on who he would be; that was sufficient for him.

    “Very disappointing.”

    With an oh-so-weary push to his feet, Obi-Wan shot back, “With all due respect, I just want to do my job and get my money.” He didn’t look back as he trudged back to the others.

    **

    Dooku almost sneered. Sneering, however, was so – pedestrian. Common. He let his lips curl in derision instead.

    Hardeen was a tough guy, capable and intelligent, but he wasn’t heartless enough, not ruthless enough. He had strength – oh, he had strength, enough to pull back from beating Eval, enough to rein in his obvious, almost appalling loss of control. Hardeen was one of those people who could only be pushed so far, by others, by circumstances, and by his own humanity.

    A more blatant display of self he hadn’t seen in some while.

    Oh, he had plans for Hardeen all right. But not yet. A minor adjustment to Eval’s plan, one he had intended all along. There were no coincidences in life. Master Sidious had been right as Dooku had been right. They knew their enemies too well; their weaknesses and strengths. So predictable the Jedi, so clever in thwarting the Sith that they did exactly what the Sith expected.

    They sent a sacrificial Gamorrean.

    **

    “Well done; you have survived. I have decided to appoint a new leader,” all eyes swiveled to Hardeen, except Cad Bane’s – interesting, Cad Bane so self-assured, so confident it bordered on cocky, so competent as well, “Cad Bane. We shall regroup shortly and there you will learn your role in bringing the Republic to its knees. That is my goal – yours, I understand, is more concrete – riches, I believe. Riches you shall have, but not yet. You must still do your part but I have every faith in you.”

    Of course they were expendable. Anyone willing to barter his life for a fortune once would barter it again and again. Not that they had anything to betray, but it was the principle of the thing.
    The only ones who might be said to have his respect were Cad Bane and Rako Hardeen; the latter only in his own identity.
  7. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    yes continuing with this nice story
  8. serendipityaey Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2004
    star 4
    Chp 11: I absolutely loved Anakin's musings on Obi-Wan at the beginning. 'Hugged to death'!! [:D] Loved it, just brilliant. I really like the way the dichotomy of his feelings toward Obi represent two different parts to Anakin as well. But, of course the excuse he made up to make himself feel better was not true in this case. Very interesting, I'm still not sure what I think of that turn from tcw. Great job as always
  9. Valairy Scot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    earlybird-obi-wan: Well, I'm continuing what I have already written.
    serendipityaey: Turn from TCW? I'm not sure what you're referring to :confused:but no problem. I'm sure it's inevitable, trying to flesh out scenes that had no explanation or put in transitions that did not exist (or try to make sense out of what was - not so much making sense).

    I've forgotten who wanted notices so I'm not tagging anyone at this time. I think I'll tag rather than PM but let me know if you have preferences - I don't like the PMs/group because if folks reply on that conversation, you keep getting notices after notices.


    Chapter 13.
    You have to imagine it possible before you can see something. You can have the evidence right in front of you, but if you can't imagine something that has never existed before, it's impossible. ~~ Rita Dove




    “Master, what did the Council say, why is Master Obi-Wan deceiving us…” Ahsoka was doing a remarkable job of containing her half-exhilaration and half- resentment. She was maturing; not long ago she would have been almost hopping from foot to foot.

    “He’s on an undercover mission, Snips.” He wasn’t going to say more; it wasn’t his place. The more who knew a secret, the less secret said secret was.

    “Oh.” Her eyes suddenly widened comically as she made the intuitive leap to the truth. “We put Master Obi-Wan in prison! We chased him to Nal Hutta and Orondia; we tried to make him crash -”

    “And succeeded,” Anakin muttered.

    “Oooh, he must have liked that!” She giggled, a bit nervously. Even Anakin had to stifle a grin. Suddenly sobering, she said rather hesitantly, “He was the one who beat you up?”

    “No one beat me up,” he retorted, suddenly annoyed. His hand strayed to his face. If he closed his eyes, he could see the fists coming at him, not just once, but over and over. There had been no mercy in those punches. What had been in Obi-Wan’s eyes? He couldn’t remember. Why couldn’t he remember – that’s where truth always lay. Had there been regret, perhaps sorrow?

    Was there something in those eyes that had kept him from fighting back?

    “You were a mess, Skyguy,” Ahsoka said, in her remembered concern for her master forgetting all about Obi-Wan and his deception. It warmed Anakin’s heart to know how important he was to her. If Obi-Wan had taught him about deception, Ahsoka had taught him about loyalty and how it could be still be found, amongst some of the Jedi. She had been at his side, mourned with him, taken the burden of speaking to the Council off his shoulders. She trusted him without reservation, and he realized this padawan he had been so reluctant to take on had earned his trust in full measure as well.

    “You were dizzy and I had to help you back to the ship. You were hurt.”

    “I was dazed and confused,” he corrected sharply. Realizing that sounded like a rebuke, he put a hand on her shoulder and squeezed gently. He didn’t mean to snap at her. “Remember I fell onto hard ground, but me, being the magnificent Jedi I am,” he puffed his chest out mock-proudly, chivvying her – perhaps them both – out of this mood, “I bounced to my feet, bruised and my halo tarnished a bit -”

    Ahsoka snorted. “You’ve got to have a halo, Master, to lose one.”

    “I had one when I was a padawan; you mean they took it when they cut my braid?” He clapped his hand to his heart, staggering back a step. “Seriously, Snips, I fell and I fought both Cad Bane and the man I thought was Obi-Wan’s killer. I landed more punches than I took; Obi-Wan just got lucky.”

    And he didn’t hesitate to take advantage of my state of mind; he knew I was fighting out of frustration and anger while he pulled that same old Obi-Wan routine that he knows riles me up – cool and methodical, giving me a chance to wear myself out. He wasn’t fighting fair.

    Obi-Wan was always pretending to be the good little Jedi, doing what the Order demanded, always so placid and serene – but that was the Obi-Wan Kenobi he presented to the galaxy, to the Order, and to his own padawan. What if the real Obi-Wan had peeked out from beneath his veneer of anonymity – he’d had a glimpse of the inner man years ago when he’d first met him. What if their entire relationship had been built on a ruse while resentment continued to simmer within?

    You’re crazy, Anakin…you know Obi-Wan better than that!

    Or did he? The Chancellor didn’t think so: “They don’t trust you…I trust you, Anakin… perhaps they don’t trust you to control your feelings.”

    Trust Obi-Wan to always control his feelings…assuming he ever actually felt any in his rush to release them. Why would he hold back from fighting his padawan? Anakin stood in his way at the time, right? Stood in the way of his kriffin’ “duty”! Just knock over the obstacle with a few good punches when a few good words wouldn’t do and do what he felt had to be done.

    Feel nothing…yeah, that was Obi-Wan all right. “Feel nothing Kenobi,” just a lackey of the Council…Anakin winced a bit at his own harsh indictment of the man who had raised him.

    He’d lived with the man for years. Maybe Obi-Wan didn’t quite trust him as the Chancellor said, but he wasn’t a droid. He was quiet and self-contained, wary of showing feelings rather than lacking them.

    Right?

    Things had been a bit strained between them after Zygerria and Kadavo. Even his brief stint as a slave hadn’t damaged Obi-Wan’s show of serenity; he isolated himself from emotional damage while easily absorbing the physical. He’d known Obi-Wan would have no understanding of his own ordeal; he’d tried to breach the subject once in his cool and quiet, prying, manner.

    “So you considered accepting the Queen’s offer?”

    Subtle accusation; it touched a nerve and Anakin flared back. “I considered whether it was worth staying with her to save you!”

    Obi-Wan leaned against the wall, arms crossed. “What conclusion did you come to?”

    Anakin slammed his artificial hand down on the table. Obi-Wan merely cocked an eyebrow at him. “You’d probably be proud of me if I sacrificed myself for you – or scold me for wanting to save your life. Lucky for me, circumstances developed such that I could save you, the settlers, and myself.” And return to Padmé, conscience salved.

    “Not luck, the Force. Trust it and you will be guided to the right action.”

    “Right. Did the Force guide you to settle back and wait for rescue – what did you do to make life a bit easier for those slaves – nothing, right?” The scorn in his voice bloomed like the startling spot of red in Obi-Wan’s face; in that instant he thought he saw raw, cold anger blaze in his former master’s eyes, but in the next moment he was sure he was mistaken.

    Rex opened his mouth, but Obi-Wan shook his head at him, eyes intent on Anakin’s. Why had he never noticed the fine lines at the corners, more prominent now, the dull gleam of weary, old eyes reflected in an equally weary, old voice. Weary, after all that horrible ordeal Obi-Wan was merely weary – he could hold the soul-sucking degradation of slavery at arm’s length and remain unaffected, but not even he could hold off the physical ravages entirely.

    Sometimes, Anakin thought, he’d rather it be the other way around. A soul-sick Obi-Wan would understand, but not a weary one.

    “The choices we face as Jedi are difficult sometimes, Anakin. Sometimes there is only a choice between a bad decision and a worse. Sometimes you can only put the decision into the hands of the Force and, yes, let it guide you. For what it’s worth, sometimes doing the right thing…,” he paused and a shadow crossed his face, “sometimes it seems to do right, one has to do what one believes is not the right thing. Now if you don’t mind, I think I’ll take advantage of this brief respite and rest.”

    Wearing a soft frown and distant expression, Obi-Wan pushed himself upright and left the room, rubbing a finger along his forehead, almost wandering away, presumably to his bunk. Not until later did Anakin learn he had wandered down to the confused Togrutans and sought to allay their concerns.

    After an uncomfortable pause, Rex turned to Anakin and said, rather intensely, “With all due respect, sir, you don’t have a clue what he really went through. Maybe you should ask him.”

    “I did, Rex, I did.”

    “Did you listen to what he didn’t say, General? We both know that’s what you have to listen to if you want more than bare recitation of the facts. He was pretty torn up down there.”

    “So you’re an armchair soul healer now, Rex?”

    “To get the men to listen to you, you have to listen to them. You learn things. What General Kenobi doesn’t say is sometimes more important than what he does; all that other stuff has to go somewhere, sir.”

    “The Force?”

    “I’m not a Jedi, sir. I couldn’t say; I can’t hear it speak to me nor can I hear what others say to it. I’m just a soldier and one that needs to get back to his men, with your permission.”

    Anakin’s harsh accusation, the bitter condemnation, the cruel truth had finally punctuated Obi-Wan’s emotional defenses, much to Anakin’s satisfaction. Obi-Wan had been awfully subdued after that. The wry bite behind his witticisms had been muted; exhaustion had lain deep behind his eyes.

    Yeah, really unaffected wasn’t he? Maybe because you were so affected yourself, you didn’t stop to think how he was. You didn’t look into the Force to see what he was discarding there.

    Anakin hated to be this confused. He should go talk to Padmé, perhaps the Chancellor. They both saw clearly what so often baffled him. If Ahsoka were older, knighted, he’d welcome her insight as well, but he couldn’t talk to his padawan about his relationship with his master and a Council master to boot.

    Cheerfully oblivious to Anakin’s lack of attention, Ahsoka plowed ahead. “Better not let Master Kenobi hear you say he got lucky, you know he doesn’t believe in luck. Just a good jab or two, right, Master, a few punches and a choke hold and only successful because as ‘luck would have it’ you were already bruised and winded, right?”

    “Darn right.” His forced cheery reply worked, Ahsoka brightened. Kriff, if he only believed it himself.

    Anakin. Don’t follow me.” Hazy words that floated in his memory, words that had hardly registered at the time. Urgent words tinged with concern – surely he hadn’t imagined that.

    Had Obi-Wan put on a show for Cad Bane? Protected him by pummeling him like that? Or had he made sure Anakin was in no shape to follow him, to help him and if so why – because he didn’t trust Anakin? It always came back to that. Trust. He sure as hell hadn’t protected Anakin – Ahsoka had, arriving with lightsabers blazing in his defense when Bane would have coolly shot him as he lay sprawled on the ground…

    ….as Obi-Wan looked on, not one finger raised in protest.

    **
    Obi-Wan’s mind was not on the upcoming plot to kill the Chancellor: until the details were shared with the team members there was little he could do at this time. Nor was his mind on the challenges now behind him; they were in the past and only of interest as indicators of what might lie ahead. But try as he might to simply be, to accept the moment for what it was, he found it difficult not to let memories and worries intrude. He wasn’t fond of the direction his thoughts were taking him, yet there was little he could do – he didn’t dare meditate and slip into the Force. It was too risky with Dooku near.

    Mind your thoughts, Kenobi, remember don’t look to the future at the expense of the moment.

    Qui-Gon had repeated that to him so many times it was burned into his brain. Qui-Gon, so long gone and still missed. The pain and the grief were gone as well, but there were still times when Obi-Wan meant to turn to him, to ask a question or seek advice, only to find he was not there. If anything of him remained, in any place, any form but memory, it was their destination. Now Obi-Wan was returning to where he had been killed, supposedly there to kill another man but determined to save this man as he could not save his master.

    Back to Naboo. Such a pretty planet, Naboo, and one he associated with ugly things, never good. Good people, yes, but events there would always cast a pall over his visits.

    He had gone to Naboo as a padawan, twice, never knowing the impact events there would have on his future. Life had been far simpler in those days. Gassed, shot at, chased by large fish – simple, if eventful. All in all, rather routine.

    He lost Qui-Gon there; his easy assumption that things really didn’t change all that much. Everything changed when Qui-Gon died; he had lost a mentor and gained a padawan, lost what was left of his innocence and gained knighthood. He had touched the dark and recoiled from the same. For a long time he had thought he been tainted by that explosive surge of grief and anger but when his tears had slipped free as he cradled a dying man in his arms, he knew the taint if it had ever been there had been washed away by the Force; washed away by his tears for another.

    Evil does not cry.

    His sorrow and his jealousy – yes, there had been some of that, along with resentment, that Qui-Gon died without acknowledging their many years together – had been softened and dulled when he surrendered everything to the Force.

    The remnants had evaporated under that merciless light and he had believed he had conquered them for all time. But what was eroding now under the months of ceaseless battle and endless political posturing? What moral authority could the Order – could he – claim when they dipped into the depths of duplicity and deceit?

    He sank his head into his hands and sighed. When their mandate to protect collided with truth and underhanded dealings – when good could only be accomplished by morally dubious means, did the Order forego their mandate or their morals?

    No lines had been yet crossed; they tap-danced on the edge and found a dubious balance, but one could only tap-dance so long. When they fell, if they fell, how would they fall? Who would protect the victimized and the innocent then?

    A part of Obi-Wan wished Anakin would fulfill the prophecy soon – and another part feared for that day. He had a terrible feeling that balance would not be accomplished peacefully, that in assuring peace and balance for others, Anakin might not survive. As a man and as a Jedi, as Anakin’s master and his friend, Obi-Wan hung on a thread of hope and dread.

    He would never wish harm to come to Anakin.

    Yet the greatest harm to Anakin since his mother’s death was dealt by him already. Obi-Wan had deceived him.

    Force help him, he’d do it again. But the undercurrent of remorse would always be with him as well.
    One more burden atop all the others he bore.
    Last edited by Valairy Scot, Oct 13, 2012
    earlybird-obi-wan likes this.
  10. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    I love this in depth musings showing Obi-Wan as he is.
    A tag will be alright for me
  11. serendipityaey Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2004
    star 4
    So beautifully written. Obi's thoughts at the end were heartbreaking. The fact that he deceived Anakin is so so hard to take. I think when I spoke of TCW, I meant the scene where Obi seems to brush off deceiving Anakin like it won't be a problem - I think Obi would know from the beginning that it would really affect Anakin a lot and be bothered by it. Obi has carried so much on his shoulders, oh sigh!! :(

    Anakin and Ahsoka, and Anakin and Rex were both great convos and I think you get Anakins thoughts so well, once again, love reading it. I love what Rex said about Obi and I love that Rex said it! Yes, yes! You have to hear what he's not saying! But it's in his eyes. He would have so much to give if things were different. Great job
  12. ZaraValinor Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 31, 2002
    star 4
    So difficult, but great writing. I think Anakin spent a lot of time misreading, misinterpreting Obi-Wan, and pretty much taking him for grated. Kids do that to parents and even younger siblings to older. Great job!
  13. ruth baulding Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 3
    The best line? "Force help him, he woudl do it again." Despite the remorse already felt. That, my friend, is murderously accurate character portrayal, adn maybe a nice foreshadowing of the final conflict to come?
  14. Luna_Nightshade Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2006
    star 5
    I love Anakin's musings about Obi-Wan, and the conversations with Ahsoka and Rex. You always beautifully capture Obi-Wan, and this is no exception.

    And I prefer tags, actually, if you're doing them.
  15. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    Loved both Anakin wanting to hug Obi-Wan to death, and his confusion about their relationship. That arc was hard to watch but you've gotten inside both of their heads so well, I've enjoyed it. I really liked the conversations Anakin had with Ahsoka and Rex as well.
  16. Valairy Scot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    Tagging! @earlybird-obi-wan

    Yup...he holds his emotional cards close to his chest.

    That is the sad truth - both misread each other, actually.

    That shows how Obi-Wan holds "duty" above all else.

    Thankee me dear, and you're tagged. @Luna_Nightshade

    Aw, thanks. I know I always pull out Anakin's "not so good" traits but I do try to balance with his wanting to be/do good as well.

    I'd forgotten that while I have not finished this story, I do have additional chapters (and it seems the truncation issue won't be fixed for years and years and years. :D). You folks can help with my liddle iddy bitty sticking point - the false dinner scene where Dooku lures in Palps and Anakin - there's got to be a legit dinner, right? Or will it be assumed that Dooku corrupted someone to notify the Chancellor and Anakin alone, or were they misdirected to a different dining room than the actual one? The way I see it (or don't see it) is that all Anakin would have to do is ask Padme about the dinner - keep in mind that when I write this now I haven't seen the episode in question for a long while. At the time it flummoxed me: it might not now.


    Chapter 14.


    Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. ~~Laurence J. Peter



    Anakin had managed to wrestle his unhappiness with Obi-Wan out of sight and out of mind. Now that he knew the why of his exclusion and the position his master had willingly placed himself in, he could focus on the mission. On protecting Chancellor Palpatine. He could almost forgive Obi-Wan and the Council the deception when he understood the complexity and necessity of the deception.
    Almost.

    However, leaving Anakin in the dark had exposed Obi-Wan to far more danger than was necessary. Something might – something would – go wrong. It always did, and who would be there to rescue Obi-Wan because Anakin had been left out, left behind?

    Equally important, who would save Chancellor Palpatine, should something go wrong, should Obi-Wan be unable to stop the plot? By going this alone, by excluding Anakin, the Order was playing with the Chancellor’s life, the very survival of the Republic. It was unconscionable. They at least had had the sense to fill in Anakin and make him part of the planning.

    Just about the only kriffin’ thing they’ve done right.

    “We’ve mapped the Chancellor’s route to and from the festival stage and know where he’ll be at all times,” Master Windu activated a hologram map as the briefing continued.

    “And the security measures we’ve put in place?” Plo Koon questioned.

    “The Naboo Royal Guard will protect all entry points to the palace and the stage itself will be ray-shielded.”

    Anakin slowly nodded in approval –someone on the Council was actually thinking instead of merely reacting; the idea of using a ray shield was a brilliant one and one he should have thought of – those shields were notoriously hard to breach. Impossible, he was almost tempted to say.
    “Sounds good to me.”

    Yoda was less enthusiastic. “With complacency comes vulnerability; it is what we do not see that concerns me. Count Dooku has had a long time to plan.”

    “Yes. With Obi-Wan on the inside we thought we’d have an advantage, but,” and the stoic Mace’s eyes were troubled, “we’ve had no contact with him in days.”

    “Obi-Wan will do his part, let’s make sure we do ours,” Anakin ground out. How dare Mace question his former master’s competence – if he was out of touch, it was because it was not safe to be in touch – what if Obi-Wan needed him? No, he forced that thought away; he’d know if that were so. Obi-Wan was not the same man who had failed to save Qui-Gon years ago; he had grown more skilled and wise (and duplicitous?) in the years since he had been a padawan. He wouldn’t make the same mistake again; it was only indirectly his fault that so many Jedi had died on Geonosis when they’d come to save him. Very indirectly, since Anakin had been caught as well trying to rescue him so really it wasn’t either of their faults.

    Kriff the Council. Eleven of them weren’t half of Obi-Wan.

    Anakin turned on his heel and strode out, unaware and uncaring if the Council exchanged looks or not behind his back. He never was much concerned with their thoughts at the best of times, let alone now, when two people dear to him were likely to need him.

    **

    On the fringes of the small group infiltrating one of the Theed hangars, Obi-Wan felt a prickle of unease. As the sniper of the group, he would have expected to have been one of those chosen to take down any maintenance workers, pilots or guards they might encounter. Instead, he was at the rear with Twazzi and Count Dooku.

    Choked grunts, pained cries, the metallic clatter of fallen tools and the soft thud of falling bodies told the story of his fellow plotters advancement. Cad Bane stopped ahead of him, framed in the doorway. “Hello there,” he greeted someone and then he drew his blaster and fired. “All clear,” he said coolly, leading the way past the body.

    Six men dead just today; six more added to this mission’s toll. Six families soon to find their joyous Celebration of Life festival would forever henceforth be a sorrowful one, much as Naboo’s Freedom Day celebration was forever branded in Obi-Wan’s heart as the day of Qui-Gon’s death. Six more men on Obi-Wan’s conscience, men he did not trouble to save because to save them endangered so much more.

    Six more men to tuck into a corner of his mind because after an all-too-brief moment to mourn, Obi-Wan knew he had to set them aside for the good of the mission. When he had time – if he had time – they were six more reasons to seek refuge in the Force through meditation.

    But first was Count Dooku’s pep talk – all would go as planned…execute the role assigned…expect a big reward: the usual drivel.

    Gathering around a work bench, Bane threw datapads onto the table. Instructions, he explained, for each person’s role and information on regrouping afterwards.

    “And how do the pieces fit together?”

    Bane gave a cursory answer. Derrown was to breach the shield; Eval was to be the getaway driver while Embo and Twazzi were to be guards protecting the Chancellor. Hardeen was to be the sniper.

    The how of this all was a surprise: their disguises came courtesy of something the Jedi had never heard of – a “shadow matrix.” Bane spun a plate-like device on the table and activated it: four “guards” stood at the points.

    “Step into the shadow hologram and receive your new identities.” Cautiously, each of the four took a step forward and seemed to melt into the hologram. “When you leave here, you will have no communication with the rest of the team.”

    A perfect opportunity to get into communication with the Jedi, Obi-Wan thought with a bit of relief. In all their planning, with all their experience, they could not possibly hope to anticipate the use of a Parwan posing as a guard to breach the shield itself in order to shut it off. It was a brilliant plan and now in hindsight Obi-Wan could well believe this entire deception was Force-inspired. Getting Anakin to acknowledge the same…but time to worry about that later.

    **

    Anakin’s heart leapt; waiting on the landing platform were the Queen, Sio Bibble – and Padmé. He longed to tell her about Obi-Wan and almost feared doing the same. She would be upset on his behalf, possibly more upset than he had been on learning the truth. Anyone who harmed her husband was greeted with the minimum of civility; her loyalty to him was absolute and woe to the person who harmed him in any way, shape or form.

    Obi-Wan would soon learn that one did not cross Padmé without consequences. The Hero Without Fear wasn’t sure if he was brave enough to watch from the sidelines, but watching his former master scorned and rebuked and totally unable to do a thing except grin and bear it was too good an exhibit to miss. Usually The Negotiator could shrug off such words at the table, but he did respect Padmé; losing her respect would sting and sting hard.

    That’s what happens, Obi-Wan, when a man who stands on principles blatantly violates them.

    Ah, yes, he almost gleefully rubbed his hands together. The Negotiator was going to get an earful of angry words driven into his brain. He wouldn’t be able to rub that headache away with a finger. After a suitable time of suffering, Anakin might offer a pain pill.

    Or maybe not.

    Shutting down the ship’s engines, he and his co-pilot Mace, along with Ahsoka, followed the guards, Chancellor Palpatine and Mas Amadda down the ramp.

    The usual and diplomatic greetings went as they usually did. Formal words… greetings… welcome…Anakin listened with half an ear, throwing sideways glances at Padmé all the while until he caught the Chancellor’s words to Mace Windu. He almost smiled; the Chancellor could be so naïve sometimes.

    “… and the amount of security that accompanied me is – overkill.”

    “With all due respect, Chancellor, where your safety is concerned, there is no such thing as ‘overkill’,” Mace responded.

    “So you keep insisting, Master Jedi, and I have grown tired of discussing it.” Palpatine turned away from Mace, his lips pressed together in a tight line.

    Take that, Master Windu!

    On the other hand, Mace Windu was right, much as Anakin hated to admit it. Palpatine’s safety was paramount. Still, one Anakin Skywalker was on the job and said Anakin Skywalker was determined no harm would come to the Chancellor.

    That alone guaranteed his safety.

    **

    Obi-Wan slipped into his assigned position, set down the sniper rifle case and started assembling the weapon, glancing out the opening as he worked. The platform was below him and to the side, well within sniper range but too far for blasters.

    As he watched, a speeder drew up, disgorging Mace and a few clones. A small smile of relief touched Obi-Wan’s lips. He reached for his comlink and signaled.

    Caught in mid-sentence from the look of it, Mace excused himself to one side. “Obi-Wan, thank goodness you’re alive.”

    The sentiment was heartwarming if not the friendly voice and the concern contained within it. He’d been long in the company of those with whom he’d rather not consort.

    “Yes…I’ve seen better days,” he admitted honestly. Mace didn’t ask and Obi-Wan didn’t say; debriefing would come later. The mission came first. “I’m here in Theed.”

    “So Dooku’s plan is still on.”

    “Yes.”

    “How are they planning to attack the Chancellor?”

    “Three of the bounty hunters are disguised as Senate guards,” Obi-Wan relayed calmly. “Eval is the getaway driver and there’s a Parwan that can get through the ray shield. I have a rifle – don’t worry, it’s loaded with stun blasts – I’m supposed to immobilize the Chancellor not kill him.”

    “Where are you?”

    “In the tower overlooking the plaza.”

    “So the attack will take place outside in the plaza.”

    Obi-Wan agreed. “From here I can be your eyes in the sky; I’ll be able to tell you everything going on. They’re going to try to get into the security area; make sure you have someone check all the guards’ identities.”

    “That’ll take time.”

    “You’ll have to do your best, my friend.”

    **

    Theed at dusk was beautiful. The soft shimmer of lights upon the water was reflected and magnified by the somewhat cloudy skies, throwing muted pastel shades of blue, peach and pink to marble the buildings.

    It was a night much like the night they had burned Qui-Gon.

    The Living Force seemed closer at this hour, Obi-Wan had always thought, a time when stillness and peace were allowed to bloom without interference and without distraction. Many a quiet evening had been spent on a Temple balcony or on some distant planet when the day’s duties had given way to await another day. It was soft, like the closing of a flimsiplast book as opposed to the switching off of a datapad. It was fitting, Obi-Wan had thought then and still thought now, that it was at such a time of peace and contentment that Qui-Gon had found eternal rest within the Force; his earthly shell wafting aloft to dance amongst the colorful clouds and the luminous sky. Beauty and sorrow had intertwined then, his heart at temporary ease.

    Tonight, he vowed, he would do his best to assure it would be a night of beauty alone. No sorrow would intrude unless the Force willed it – other than the sorrow of a bunch of thwarted bounty hunters. The touch of a dreamer within him was matched by the touch of a realist, with a dash of cynicism thrown in for good measure. He would be satisfied when his recent companions were sent once more to prison; satisfaction was such a soft emotion, much more worthy of a Jedi than more extreme forms of pleasure when contemplating their upcoming incarceration.

    He would yield even that simple joy to the Force when next he meditated.

    He settled against the stone wall of his perch as the Senate guards led the small procession onto the open platform after all the guests were seated. Ahsoka was keeping close to Queen Neeyutnee and Padmé; no doubt that was Anakin’s doing. Obi-Wan quite approved. His keen eyes swept the vicinity and detected no threat as yet as Palpatine stepped to the podium set in the center.

    The ray shield was raised but Obi-Wan didn’t relax. Whatever was Mace doing, leaving the shield generator practically unguarded? Probably trying to lure the Parwan out, he decided; there was an armed guard nearby but within the shield’s perimeter and Anakin, too, was not far away.

    Anakin.

    A muscle in his jaw tightened as he peered through his scope. He didn’t see any bruising on his former padawan’s face; the young man seemed no worse for wear.

    Palpatine droned on, a standard politician’s speech that Obi-Wan ignored even as he ignored the light show, cascades and bursts of light against the deepening sky. While he hoped Mace had managed to validate each guard’s identity, he was taking nothing for granted. He had already sensed a weakness in the shadow hologram, a second or so where it faltered and pixilated.

    There, he had it! The disguised Derrown was reaching through the platform’s balustrade to the ray shield generator from below, standing out of sight on what had to be a descending, curving stairway that wrapped below the elevated platform.

    He raised his comlink to his lips. “East side, security guard, by the stairs.”

    He read Mace’s lips as the senior Jedi whirled and barked out a command. “Skywalker; the shield generator.”

    His former padawan was there in a flash, but not quickly enough. The ray shield went down in an explosion of sparks; the shock wave sent Anakin sprawling while Palpatine stumbled and fell. Mace was immediately at the Chancellor’s side, barking out orders to two guards and pointing to a speeder, no doubt ordering them to remove him to a safe place. Ahsoka was taking charge of the Queen and Senators in attendance, quickly herding them back into the palace.

    Anakin hurdled the balustrade, lightsaber ablaze and whirling in a mad cacophony of light, easily batting away blaster bolts. He was battling alone, but one Anakin was worth several Jedi. Obi-Wan could only see bits and pieces of the fight from his angle, until the end: there was no way of missing the electric arcs stiffening Anakin’s body as Derrown’s tentacles shocked him.

    He couldn’t even waste a breath on sympathizing with his padawan although he well knew from personal experience the gut-wrenching pain of the convulsions grasping Anakin’s nerves and muscles. Instead, he would end it.

    Apparently Derrown was more interested in escape than frying Anakin; for he zoomed into the air. First things first. Obi-Wan drew a bead on his flightpack and fired, took a second shot and realized he was out of shots. “Blast,” he allowed the mild curse to leave his lips, although at least his first shot was sufficient to down the Parwan and spoil his escape. He then did a quick visual of the entire platform as he informed Mace, “Anakin’s down and I don’t see Bane anywhere.”

    Oh, oh. Almost as soon as Mace stood up and moved away, Obi-Wan could see the tell tale shimmer and realized both guards were bounty hunters.

    **

    In disguise as a Neimoidian dignitary, Bane watched with unalloyed glee as a shadow matrix was pressed against the fallen Chancellor, transforming him into one of the guards. Embo then transformed from a guard to the Chancellor and slung his arm around Twazzi as a “guard” led the shaken “Chancellor” away.

    That left the field clear for Bane to easily approach the “guard” and drag the Chancellor away.

    Double twist and win. The plan was executed to perfection so far.
    **
    “The Chancellor: the guard escorting him is a bounty hunter,” Ob-Wan barked as he kept watch from afar. Reacting to the urgency in his voice, Mace and Anakin rushed over, lightsabers pointed before the speeder could pull away. Obi-Wan breathed a sigh of relief. Palpatine rose to his feet and smoothly climbed out of the speeder, brushing down his robes.

    Obi-Wan almost smiled; he could almost hear Anakin asking, “Chancellor, are you all right?”

    It was only when “Palpatine’s” fist collided with Anakin’s jaw that all the Jedi realized they’d been had. The Jedi had caught two bounty hunters, so where was the Chancellor?

    Obi-Wan caught on first, his suspicion born of deduction confirmed a mere moment later when Eval pulled up in a speeder and the Neimoidian – revealed to be Bane – threw a guard into the rear seat, a guard who had to be a disguised Palpatine. Sure enough, the tell tale flicker of the hologram revealed the kindly, aged face of the Chancellor.

    Chagrin and determination flicked across the Jedi’s face.

    “I’m going after the Chancellor; I’ll send you the coordinates and hold Bane there as long as possible.” He jumped into a speeder and followed at a discrete distance. As he drew near he heard snippets of the conversation – “Dooku wasn’t here,” being one of them.

    He jumped out and strode over to Eval, Bane and the real Chancellor, keeping silent and in character until forced otherwise.

    “Hardeen, you aren’t supposed to be here yet,” Bane drawled.

    “I don’t want to be double-crossed and left behind again.” His tone was truculent and hard as ice.

    Bane eyed him speculatively. “I think we’ve all been double- crossed; Dooku is a no show. I suggest we ransom him ourselves.”

    Obi-Wan shook his head in decisive negation. There was no reason not to end this here. Now.

    “I’m afraid the Chancellor is coming with me.” A blaster emphasized his command. He was just about to step back to give him maneuvering room when Bane nearly flattened him with a sudden surge and pounce. A tight smile pulled up the corner of Obi-Wan’s lips. He hadn’t started this, but he sure was going to end it. A good old fist fight was just the outlet for the days of tension that had been nibbling at him, still, mindful that a Jedi only fought when necessary, only as hard as necessary, and only as long as necessary, he made sure he fought as a Jedi.

    His goal was to take Bane into custody and that was it.

    A good blow knocked him back a step, giving Bane room to pull his blaster and fire. Obi-Wan dodged, right, left, grateful to finally call on the Force without hindrance as he closed in on Bane. Just before he reached him, Bane ignited his ankle rockets and arrowed into the air. Obi-Wan leapt and latched on his feet and tugged until he landed on his feet. Gathering himself, he whipped Bane around in a tight circle and whirled him into the ground. Neatly catching the blaster, Obi-Wan aimed it at his erstwhile companion in crime.

    Obi-Wan held the two at blaster range until a speeder carrying Anakin and Mace drew up and the two knights jumped out with lightsabers pointed and cocked. Eval collapsed, begging not to be hurt as he put his hands together for Anakin to bind his wrists as a clone trooper took charge of Bane. This wasn’t the time to talk, Obi-Wan knew, but he at least wished to catch Anakin’s eyes. Just how much condemnation would he see in them? Would there be even a hint of forgiveness?

    Yet it seemed neither of them was ready to face the other and the millisecond passed as did the opportunity. Oblivious, Mace dismissed Anakin with a, “Take those two into custody and make sure the Chancellor gets safely back to the palace.”

    The charade was over, but the consequences – those were still to be faced.

    “You did a good job,” Mace turned to his fellow Jedi and all but smirked, “Obi-Wan.”

    “Kenobi; I should have known. Something smelled wrong about you from the start,” Bane raved.

    “Well, spending so much time with you wasn’t much of a reward, either,” he returned dryly.

    “Reward, I’ll give you a reward when I plug you full of blaster bolts…” Obi-Wan raised a brow; Bane was not one to lose it like this, but the Duros was almost frothing at the mouth, swearing vengeance and all sorts of unpleasant things. It left him unmoved, only unutterably weary.

    Shaking his head, he turned to Mace. “I hope this was all worth it.”

    “We saved the Chancellor,” Mace reminded him, laying a hand on his shoulder. “That’s the important thing.”

    Yes, yes they had, but at what cost? If the ends ever justified the means, how did one draw the line and where exactly should that line be drawn? To do nothing was unprincipled; to violate one’s principles made one no different than the other side.

    Obi-Wan wasn’t ready to wrestle with that question quite yet.

    But it had to be done. Sometime.

    **

    Torn by fierce emotion into a sort of detached disinterest, Anakin held onto a squirming, cowering Moralo Eval while a clone trooper struggled to subdue Cad Bane some yards away.

    Here he was once again all but face to face with the hated – the despised – the disguised bounty hunter that he knew intellectually was Obi-Wan Kenobi but looked like Rako Hardeen, the man his heart knew had murdered Obi-Wan.

    This man with another man’s face and another man’s voice truly was his mourned master, his best friend, and his worst deceiver. An enigma and not the sight for sore eyes he had expected to see - the man he had dearly wished to see - because this man was both Obi-Wan Kenobi and yet for all that a stranger; a stranger Anakin knew wearing a stranger’s face he did not.

    With soul rejoicing and heart sorrowing, eyes despite himself sliding sideways to - Obi-Wan, yes, his Force presence undeniable, truly his former master - Anakin could not help but marvel at this somewhat bittersweet not-quite-yet-reunion.

    A scene real and surreal all at the same time.

    They had foiled the plot to harm the Chancellor; Palpatine was safe – thank the Force – and Obi-Wan, well, he was safe and alive as well, if not exactly present in the flesh as he was in the Force.

    Duty first, right, Master? Set aside my feelings…do my job, pretend I don’t care that you are almost within touching distance? That I cried for you and now I don’t dare to really look at you because I don’t know whether to sock you in the jaw or embrace you?

    He was the man he had wanted so desperately to kill at one time; had come so close to actually killing if not for Cad Bane’s interference on Orondia.

    What if he had succeeded? The very thought shivered through him and stole his breath, his very capacity to think; everything Anakin had wanted to say, everything he had wanted to hear coalesced into a sort of paralysis of movement and intense anticipation mixed with dread.

    Obi-Wan would come to him, wouldn’t he, seeking forgiveness that Anakin wasn’t sure he could grant because Obi-Wan had hurt him…but Obi-Wan wasn’t even looking at him just as he wasn’t looking at Obi-Wan, either, not really, because the sideways glances from under lowered lids didn’t count as looking but he had to see – and saw: that Obi-Wan’s face was not twisted with pain as he had hoped. Remorse, no; regret, none. No furrowed brow, nothing to indicate he even cared what he had put his padawan through.

    But Anakin did care and he needed his master to at least acknowledge that.

    There! A flicker of a glance, a pause –were Mace and Obi-Wan through speaking?

    A small sigh escaped Anakin. So Obi-Wan was not as indifferent as he appeared to be. That had been a minor distraction, and Master Kenobi almost never allowed himself to be distracted.

    What would he, should he say to this much mourned master – did Anakin express his happiness and his relief, or did he express his anger and betrayal? Hug or slap the man? Turn a cold shoulder? Paste a friendly, insincere smile on his face? Weep with joy?

    All – both – none...?

    Surely Obi-Wan knew the protocol for such a situation, didn’t he? Obi-Wan knew the protocol for every situation. The Negotiator was always prepared for every eventuality.

    Never any unease in his manner; when one looked up the definition of confidence and poise one found a holopic of Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi. So why did Obi-Wan resume his conversation with Mace Windu – why did he seem no more eager to speak to Anakin than Anakin was to speak to him; why were his eyes cast downward and the tips of his fingers curling ever so gently against the palms of his hands?

    Was he waiting?

    Did his master really think his padawan should approach him first with a warm welcome and a friendly slap across the shoulders, a “ha ha” laugh of amusement in accompaniment?

    “Good one, Master, you got me? I cried like a baby, you jokester, you.”

    “Ah, Anakin, glad you’re not upset with my fun little charade.”

    Fuming, frustrated, even a bit fearful of “this moment” postponed, Anakin was happy to obey Mace’s flick of a finger to get the captured bounty hunters back to Theed. As he turned away, he heard the honeyed sweet syrup of congratulations offered to his master – excuse me, Master Windu, but this was team effort was it not – only to narrow his eyes in outrage.

    Cad Bane wanted to do what to whom?

    Well, really. Listen, Bane – anyone kills my master, it’s me. No one else. Anyone else that even tries, I will kill him. Anakin’s death glare apparently did the trick. Bane shut up.

    And Anakin smiled.
    Last edited by Valairy Scot, Dec 13, 2012
  17. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    WOW what an action and Anakin's musings. He will kill Obi-Wan.
  18. serendipityaey Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2004
    star 4
    Loved seeing Obi in action, getting his job done. So Anakin at the beginning when he has doubts about Obi being able to do it without him but then when Mace even hints at it, he immediately comes to his defense, upset that they might doubt Obi doing the best.
    I loved this
    and his musings around it, so lovely [face_love] if bittersweet.

    Chilling! Wow, great writing =D=
  19. Emerald Crow Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2012
    Holy cow! This story is great! Can't wait for more. :)
  20. Luna_Nightshade Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2006
    star 5
    Loved how Anakin fought in his head with what he should do and say. I'm looking forward to seeing what he eventually chooses and how it plays out. Great update! Thanks for the tag.
  21. JSolo-Wan Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 24, 2012
    Hi, can you please put me on your PM list?
    I'm really enjoying this! It feels very real, like the characters are really alive. Great job.
  22. Valairy Scot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    I thought it only right to start the new year right - with gratitude and thanks to both those who are kind enough to post their thoughts here and to those who merely lurk (especially if they lurk for more than one chapter - the others probably didn't like what they read :p ).
    So, here's a great big THANK YOU to those who give me reason to hope the muse returns. [:D] I appreciate all your feedback.


    Oh, the love is still there, only battling with bitterness at this time.

    That's how I see Anakin: often miffed at and yet protective of Obi-Wan. Theirs is quite a complicated relationship.

    [face_blush] Thanks - new post next year. ;) Er, I guess that is this year.

    Me, too. The story isat pretty much at the same end as the episodes, but the story needs a bit more of a conclusion - but I haven't really written anything in months and don't seem likely to. The story is really only like one chapter from completion currently.

    Thank you kindly and I "PM" by tagging.


    Happy New Year!
    serendipityaey likes this.
  23. Eryndil Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 18, 2012
    star 3
    This is excellent. I haven't actually seen these episodes but I feel like I know the story from reading this - I rather suspect that this is better than the original though! I hope that you are able to get it finished some time. Meanwhile, I'll just take a seat and wait quietly... :D
  24. JSolo-Wan Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Dec 24, 2012
    Same thing with me Eryndil--never really watched the show....
    In a way this is better, because we don't know what will happen!
  25. Valairy Scot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    @earlybird-obi-wan @Luna_Nightshade @JSolo-Wan



    Chapter 15.

    We do not learn from our experiences; we learn by reflecting on our experiences.”~~ John Dewey



    The easy part was over, Obi-Wan reflected. Next came the hard part – explaining his actions to those whom he had hurt. He would not stoop to justifying or excusing all that he had done – he would leave it up to those he’d harmed to judge his motives.

    He didn’t regret what he had done. He did regret the consequences to others.

    And was unsure of just what those consequences were.

    Anakin had not even looked at him. His former padawan could be a simmering cauldron of emotion beneath a superficial shell of calm, like a volcano that appeared to be slumbering only to erupt when internal pressure exceeded external constraints. Anakin’s anger was formidable and emotionally scalding to both himself and others.

    Anakin was volatile in a way that no Jedi really should be and it was never a secret what he was feeling and usually as well what he was thinking.

    This time Obi-Wan was left clueless. For the first time in years he didn’t know how best to approach Anakin or if he even should. In one way, both men were alike. Neither liked to discuss things before they were ready, although he had to admit Anakin was usually more than ready to discuss things right now when they bothered him.

    Personally, he preferred to think before speaking, contemplate before moving. He’d learned the hard way in his youth the consequences of hasty words and hasty actions, of the folly and unintentional hurt he could inflict on others when moved to speak and to act on emotion rather than common sense or the urgings of the Force.

    Force knew how often Qui-Gon had reprimanded him in his early padawan days – not to mention at least a few other times when he should have known better.

    The boy is dangerous – why don’t you sense it?

    Obi-Wan winced. Force knows he had been blind to Anakin’s presence when those words had so incautiously blurted out of him on the landing platform those years before. Anakin certainly had the potential to be one of the most dangerous men in ages, but then any man had equal potential, he had all too soon learned. He had succumbed to overwhelming rage when Qui-Gon had been killed before his eyes and but for the grace of the Force, he himself could now be lost.

    The revered Master Dooku had Fallen and Fallen hard, to rise a Sith.

    Anger and fear - any extreme emotion, actually - were and always would be a danger to a Jedi, but if recognized and released as appropriate, none were by themselves dangerous just by existing. It was the embrace of them, more than the reflexive exercise of them that led to a Jedi’s Fall.

    Anakin’s anger, as worrisome as Obi-Wan had often found it, had never yet escaped Anakin’s control into far more worrisome action; if he hadn’t Fallen yet, most likely he never would. That boy in whom he had seen a dark future was now a young man, a gifted knight who only needed a bit more maturity before he could truly be called the greatest of them all.

    In skill, he already was.

    Emotionally, he had some way yet to grow, to shed more of the self in subservience to the Force – something Obi-Wan wasn’t entirely sure Anakin was ready for as yet – too much of Anakin’s past clung to him. Anakin might never become a good Jedi but he might well transcend that into something even better.

    Not because of his master, but despite him, Obi-Wan was rather sure.

    What have I done to him, to our relationship?

    Yoda might well say Obi-Wan had finally taught Anakin the danger of attachment. He wasn’t so sure though that was what Anakin had learned.

    **

    A demure cough pulled Mace Windu’s attention back to Palpatine. Standing patiently off to the side, the Chancellor didn’t seem fazed in the least, in fact, he almost seemed amused. One might have thought the actuality of his kidnapping must have shaken him in some way – in his faith in the infallibility of the Jedi if nothing else. At least now the man must take greater heed of potential threats to him and not be so quick to dismiss the Jedi’s caution in future.

    Or not, Mace amended, as the Chancellor took a step or two forward to a man he had little reason yet to trust with a hearty, “Who is this strapping fellow, Master Windu? Well done, sir, well done. Another Jedi, perhaps?”

    Drolly, Mace replied, “Indeed, Chancellor and one you know quite well – Master Kenobi.”

    Palpatine’s eyes widened. “Master Kenobi! Oh, my – my dear man, I’m astonished and delighted. Your death was such a crushing blow to the morale of our Republic. Such subterfuge and on my behalf: I am in your debt.” He beamed; then his face fell. “I am afraid, though, this may be difficult to explain to the citizens of our great Republic. They hold the Jedi Order in the utmost respect and I fear some will feel a deep sense of betrayal. A necessary deception, I’m sure, but many in the Senate will not feel the same, however, be assured that I will allow no talk of censure – no, I am most determined on that.”

    “We’ll deal with that when we must,” Mace interjected.

    “Ah, yes, I’m sure you have prepared well for this. Everyone acted their parts so splendidly, too, why young Anakin totally had me believing he was heartbroken. My pain was greatly magnified by his – he was so loyal to Master Kenobi, so very dedicated that -”

    A slight shift in Obi-Wan’s position brought Palpatine’s eyes to the disguised Jedi master. “No, no, Master Jedi, do not tell me you allowed young Anakin to believe you were truly dead? Why, when he pursued your apparent killer - he might have killed you, Master Kenobi.”

    “He nearly did, on Orondia,” Obi-Wan said quietly. “I had to resort to some rather extreme actions there to preserve both our lives.”

    The boy had earned his bruises, Mace thought to himself. If he hadn’t been so quick to flee Coruscant in pursuit of “Hardeen,” Yoda or he would have explained the situation long before. Obi-Wan’s cover – even his life – would not have been endangered and neither Anakin nor his young padawan would have been limping back on a barely space-worthy ship.

    “Oh, yes. Do not blame yourself, Master Kenobi.” The Chancellor laid a hand on Obi-Wan’s arm, greatly daring to offer comfort to a Jedi in the presence of another. “His injuries, even if inflicted by you were incurred in the defense of you, in a sense. The poor boy did return alive. I’m sure he’s forgiven you.”

    “He understands Master Kenobi had little choice,” Mace returned, laying a hand on his fellow Jedi’s shoulder. He had, he admitted, been rather surprised to hear just how understanding Anakin had been when Yoda had told him. Obi-Wan needed to hear that.

    He didn’t need to hear how Anakin was less understanding about the reason he was excluded from the truth about his master’s “death.”

    Obi-Wan didn’t need any more stress at the moment. He was clearly fatigued and the shoulder beneath Mace’s hand was stiff and tense. Master and padawan would need to speak – each needed it – but not now, not yet.

    Obi-Wan had always understood the necessity; Mace hoped Anakin would as well, no matter how well he seemed to be taking it. He should; the boy was close to Palpatine and there was little he wouldn’t countenance to protect those whom he cared about and for. The plot had been foiled, but it had been close. Had not Obi-Wan infiltrated the group – had he not learned of this new device to disguise one’s appearance – had not been in a position to commandeer a speeder and follow the kidnappers – well, Mace did not even want to think about those consequences.

    Anakin would do well to remember that – and not be too harsh on his master.

    Still, looking at the tight skin around Obi-Wan’s eyes, the taut mouth, Mace wondered just which one of the two would be the harshest on Obi-Wan – and he suspected it wasn’t Anakin.

    **

    Anakin’s irritation with Obi-Wan and the Council simmered just beneath his conscious mind, not unlike a speck within an oyster’s shell that would in time grow into a lustrous gem – or a terrible stone of deep suspicion and doubt. For now, it was held in check, tempered by sullied joy and unsullied satisfaction that the plot against Palpatine had been foiled even if incompletely. Palpatine should have been protected, entirely; it should never have come to a need to rescue him.

    And no thanks to Obi-Wan, who was supposed to have prevented any harm to Palpatine – that was the entire point of inflicting pain on Anakin, was it not?

    Still, the Chancellor was safe. Now.

    Anakin glowered at the two captives although seated behind him under the watchful gaze of a clone they could not see. How dare they lay a hand on the Chancellor; how dare Bane threaten not just Palpatine, but his master? Obi-Wan. His expression softened a little, then turned into a chuckle and nearly widened into a grin; nearly flip-flopped into a frown. Sullied pleasure, indeed. He was pleased. Wasn’t he? Or was he miffed? Conflicting inclinations teased through his mind: to smile and laugh at having Obi-Wan home - or to huff in frustration.

    Oh, to kriff with it! He decided to put thoughts of Obi-Wan aside until the time came to confront him, when speech could be honest and un-witnessed, words from the heart and soul and not bound by need to adhere to Jedi serenity.

    After all, there were bright sides to this day as he had already observed.

    A good day’s deed had been accomplished: Palpatine was safe and therefore so was the Republic. Undoubtedly Obi-Wan deserved some credit for that although it seemed Mace had given him credit for it all.

    A Jedi craves not awards or recognition.

    Well, Anakin did and why not? Wasn’t praise encouragement for the mind and reward food for the soul?

    And his reward, he soon saw, was waiting for him: Padmé’s smiling face. She stood with Queen Neeyutnee, Sio Bibble and Bail Organa and other assorted dignitaries, all eager to welcome back the Chancellor and congratulate those who saved him.

    Yet what need had he of reward or accolades from others when his joy and his life, Padmé was there?

    Some, he had to admit; he would always need recognition. He was honest enough with himself to admit that. He thrived on it, at least in part because he did not get enough of it from the Jedi. A job well done was reward enough, or as his former master all too often had said, “The only reward you need is to know within yourself you have done the best you can; what others think does not matter.”

    Anakin begged to differ. Praise was the grease of friendship and one knew one could never have too much grease if one wished things to work smoothly without sparks or stuck gears.

    To the Jedi he had merely done his job; to Padmé and the dignitaries standing with her, he was a hero, not “the hero” but one of the heroes. It was unambiguous and honest gratitude and he would forever stand by his conviction that there was nothing inherently wrong in taking pride in a job well done or desiring recognition for said deeds.

    Restraining his answering smile, though not the leap of his heart that always accompanied the sight of her, Anakin stood aligned with Mace Windu and Palpatine. Obi-Wan hung back a few feet. Was he ashamed? Well, let him stew in his shame for a while; he earned it.

    Forget Obi-Wan, he scolded himself. Enjoy the moment.

    Padmé stepped forward to extend the official thanks on all their behalf. “Once again you all have again distinguished yourselves in the service of the Republic and the people of Naboo are in your debt.”

    Anakin took it upon himself to reply, all but waving her praise aside in an outer show of humility. “It’s all part of the job, m’lady.”

    Of course, everyone smiled at everyone else, well, everyone except Mace Windu and possibly Obi-Wan. He didn’t bother to check, he was too busy exchanging generic smiles of simple friendliness with Padmé although their eyes said much more. Tonight, their eyes promised, they would find time to be husband and wife. Slipping quietly through the night from one room to another was child’s play for a Jedi. With the promise unspoken between them, a promise of release from all his concerns into only his concern and love for Padmé, Anakin resolved to speak to Obi-Wan now. If all went well, it would be behind him and if it did not – well, the night would be sure to take some of the sting away.

    Yes, this was probably a good time to speak to Obi-Wan; it could not be postponed forever.

    He was feeling a bit magnanimous now and Obi-Wan wouldn’t be Obi-Wan if he didn’t defer to the Council, always suspecting their collective wisdom exceeded his own. Much as he hated – despised – what his former master had put him through emotionally, his mentor, his friend, had returned from the dead.

    He would speak with him, he decided, as soon as feasible.

    The formalities complete, the group turned and walked back to the palace, Mace at Palpatine’s side, the others spread out before and behind. After a moment, Mace said, “I’m not sure I agree with your decision to send the rest of your security detail back to Coruscant.”

    “Now that the threat is past, I think Anakin is all the security I need,” the Chancellor replied smoothly.

    A few steps behind and within hearing, Anakin smiled; the Chancellor’s trust was reassuring, especially now. He dropped back to walk with a pensive Obi-Wan, though he had trouble associating this face with the man he knew so well – or had thought he had known so well.

    “You look terrible,” he ventured. Obi-Wan half glanced at him and grunted, before muttering, “Being a criminal is not easy work.”

    What about deceiving your padawan; was that easy or hard?

    Not knowing what else to say, how to start this conversation, he went with the familiar.

    “If I’d known what was going on, I could have helped you. Too bad the Council didn’t trust me.” He slowed his pace; then paused in mid-step at the realization that Obi-Wan had not kept pace with him and was not throwing back his customary response.

    With a heavy sigh, Obi-Wan advanced and laid a hand on Anakin’s shoulder, giving it a familiar and quick squeeze before letting go almost as if he felt he no longer had the right. “Anakin. It was my decision to keep the truth from you. I knew if you were convinced I was dead, Dooku would believe it as well.”

    “Your decision?” Anakin turned and stared, really stared as his heart dropped into his throat. Obi-Wan’s decision? Not the Council’s?

    Obi-Wan almost couldn’t look him in the eyes, his shoulders slumping as he shook his head, his voice about as agitated as Anakin had ever heard it. “I know I did some questionable things but I did what I had to do. I hope you can understand that.”

    **

    Obi-Wan finally met Anakin’s eyes. It was probably not the best explanation or the best apology, but this venue was too public anyway. He meant to wait but had found he could not; he had to air this before the guilt corroded his insides, while he had the courage to make his confession.

    He did not get the understanding he had hoped for; he got what he expected and deserved: an angry finger jabbing at his face and a quietly furious Anakin.

    “You lied to me. How many other lies have I been told by the Council? And how do you know you even have the whole truth?”

    Anakin spun on his heel and walked away.

    Obi-Wan looked down, unsure and uncertain. Angry Anakin he could handle, fiery words and Huttese curses. This cold fury went far beyond his experience; this was pain mixed with anger. He had no words to fix this. He deserved every bit of Anakin’s scorn; he had even expected it. But now that it had come, it stung – stung far harder than he had expected it to. It was like a fresh wound in a heart that barely had time to heal from all the wounds preceding it. He had never felt so weary, so drained, so used in a long, long time.

    He watched as the others – as Anakin – walked away, then turned and walked, alone on his own solitary path to wherever his feet led him; shoulders slumped under the weight of all his mistakes and burdens.

    Alone, perhaps as he deserved to be; penance and punishment both.
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