Chapter 7: Celebration Obi-Wan Kenobi was at loss. Throughout the last months he had handled a sad padawan, a lonely padawan, a mischievous padawan (too often) and sometimes even a disappeared padawan. He had (unfortunately) at some occasions also had to handle an angry padawan, but those incidents were less frequent now. What he hadn't yet experienced was a quiet padawan. Until now. It had started two days ago when Anakin had come home after classes and a miracle had happened: the boy had entered their apartment walking, not running. Under normal circumstances Obi-Wan would have been overjoyed, but as the behaviour was followed by a un-Anakin'ish silence where all his questions were fended off like water droplets hitting a Kaminoan leaf plant he felt less and less happy. It was like the boy had been transformed into a questionrepellent substance. It was worrisome, to say the least. The following day the unusual quiet behaviour continued. At first meal Anakin just looked at him over the table with huge puppy eyes, looking every bit a forlorn akkdog pup. Puppy eyes and Anakin was just a totally wrong combination which made small chills run down Obi-Wan's spine. The only time he had seen something like that was the one time Anakin had wanted an extra serving of ice-cream in the refectory. And now the padawan just stirred the contents of his cereal bowl and sipped some muja juice before leaving, so he concluded that 'food' was not the issue right now. It was a mystery. And at that one which needed to be solved, quickly. I cannot fathom what's wrong with him. Every time I ask him what's the matter he just look at me with those big blue eyes and answers 'nothing Master'. I could of course pull rank on him and command him to tell me what's going on but if so I guess I would kill the growing trust he has in me for a long time, so that's not really an option. Yesterday I asked his teacher if he knew about something that was bothering Anakin, but the answer was negative. Actually he has begun, well maybe not befriending his classmates but at least he's coming to terms with them and they speak to him - and vice versa. So things seem to be going better. He's even got something that resembles a friend, his teacher said. Since he's excelled so quickly in his mechanics class he was moved to a group with more of his age mates and he seems to be on good terms with this Teevan boy called Tru Veld… Now, wait a minute. I may have my solution there. And with that Obi-Wan left the apartment. He found Tru Veld outside the dojos where the boy had just finished his 'Ligthsaber for beginners' class, and nodded politely. "Good morning. I presume you are Anakin's friend, Tru Veld?" he asked gently. "Uh, well, yes, Master Kenobi. We have been talking together during the mechanics class. Anakin has made a droid and I was allowed to test my programming with it. It worked quite well, at least until the program went into a loop and we had to hunt down the droid which tried to escape out the window." The boy snickered by the memory of the mess the droid had created in the workshop. "That sounds like a real Anakin-project," Obi-Wan nodded. "Is Anakin in trouble?" Tru asked. "Not that I know of," Obi-Wan answered sincerely. "Actually I was hoping you could help me to find out if anything is wrong. For the last couple of days Anakin has been more…quiet than I'm used to, and he won't tell me what's wrong." Tru bit his lower lip, contemplating the Master's word. "No, I'm sorry Master Kenobi, I cannot think of anything. Except from the droid incident I don't know about anything out of the ordinary. And even that shouldn't mean trouble. Actually Master Grreind had a good laugh. He said it wasn't the first time a student's project went wild." Obi-Wan sighed. He'd had a small hope that Tru Veld could help him discover the background for Anakin's uncharacteristic behaviour but it seemed like the hope was in vain. "Thank you for your time, Initiate Veld. You have been most helpful," he said with a light bow which made the initiate blush slightly, and turned to leave the way he had come. He didn't come far. He was just about to enter the galley overlooking the Grand Hall when he heard quick footsteps behind him. "Master Kenobi?" He turned and saw a slightly nervous Tru Veld catching up with him. "Yes, Initiate?" "I…I'm not sure….I mean…I came to think of something, but it may not be important," Tru said shyly. "Whatever it is, I'm glad to hear what you have to say," Obi-Wan assured him. "Well, I just came to think about that two days ago, when we were cleaning up the workshop after the droid incident Initiate Ylan mentioned that she had her lifeday the very same day. And then Anakin became quiet and afterwards he told me that in three days it would be his lifeday and that his mother always had made a cake for his lifeday and that his friends had visited him in the evening." "Three days , you said? That means that Anakin's lifeday is tomorrow?" Obi-Wan said. "Yes, Master Kenobi. Didn't you know?" "No, I'm afraid I didn't. We've never talked about those things before. I didn't think about it." "Oh…" Obi-Wan stroke his chin pensively. "I assume I have to make up for my ignorance somehow," he said thoughtfully. "I keep forgetting that Anakin has a different background than most jedi. Such a thing as a lifeday may mean more to him than it does to those who grew up in the creche. I wonder…Tru, you and Anakin seem to get along quite well. Would you like to step by for a small 'celebration' tomorrow at 18th hour? I cannot promise a big party, but at least there would be some cake." He grinned: "After all cake seldom fails when it comes to growing boys." …. The following day Obi-Wan went into 'busy mode' as soon as Anakin had left for classes, even more quiet and subdued than he'd been the last days. His first stop was down in the hangar where he managed to persuade the Hangar Chief to give him a small tool kit. He knew that Anakin was well known there and when he told that Anakin might need some tools for all his tinkering projects the Chief grinned and gave him a small, almost new, toolkit. "I may need the boy's advice sometime. He's a natural born genius when it comes to mechanical parts," he grinned. His next stop was "Dex's". "Three Bantha Burgers with fried tubers," he ordered, "and make them so they can be heated easily in the microwave." Dex' rumbling laughter followed the serving: "Don't tell me that you jedi have begun living on takeaway. Or rather do tell me if it's so, then I would have my income secured for the rest of my lifetime." Obi-Wan shook his head, smiling: "No, I'm sorry to say that this will not be a habit, but my young Padawan and I have something to celebrate tonight and even jedi need food." The third part of his errands implicated the purchase of Ophuchian choc, some flour and sweet roots from Verroth and for good measure some sweet karea milk. If he only could find the recipe for the choc cake which had been Tahl's trademark for celebrations it would be a nice dessert. To avoid Anakin coming home too early he'd met him after class and gone directly to a dojo for some basic lightsaber training while the cake was cooling down. The bantha burgers were waiting in the cooling unit and now he just needed to keep Anakin occupied until 18th hour. He succeeded and noticed that the 'saber training had made Anakin brighten up considerably so ten minutes before the 18th hour he ordered Anakin to take a shower ("No, Anakin, I do not want you coming in smelling like a Wampa on Tatooine") and hurried home to get the food ready. He'd barely managed to get the burgers ready before Tru Veld chimed the doorbell and a few minutes later Anakin came in, just as quietly as he'd done for the last couple of days. The boy stopped abruptly, eyes huge from confusion. "What's this? Tru, what are you doing here? Are we in trouble for something I don't even know about?" Tru shook his head: "No!" "But…what's up, then?" Obi-Wan could see a faint hope shining in his Padawan's eyes. "Happy lifeday, Padawan," he said, and pulled the tool kit from behind his back and handed it over to Anakin. Anakin's face transformed into an astonished mien, his mouth forming an almost perfect 'o' in surprise. "But…Master…I…how did you know. And why. I mean…jedi don't celebrate lifedays, do they. I mean - do we?" "We don't," Obi-Wan confirmed, "but there is no jedi rule against eating and having a good time with friends. Come sit, boys. We need to dig into the burgers before they turn cold." And with that they went into action. As if by a miracle Anakin's appetite had returned and the burgers were soon consumed, in-between eager chatting about katas and electronics. The boys' eyes got even bigger and rounder by the sight of the cake. "Master, did you really make this one by yourself?" Anakin asked incredulously. Obi-Wan nodded. "I did. I learned it from…an old friend many years ago. She served it to me when I was a fresh Padawan, so I found it quite suitable to serve it tonight." … The door had closed after Tru and Anakin and Obi-Wan were once more alone in the apartment. The dishes had been washed and put back in the cupboard and the remaining of the cake safely placed in the cooling unit. "Thank you, Master," Anakin said quietly, "I was a bit scared of this day because I miss mom and my friends back home. I didn't even know that you knew about my lifeday. And thank you so much for the toolkit too. I didn't want to mention it 'cause jedi don't celebrate and I want to be a jedi." "You're very welcome, Padawan," Obi-Wan said. "Even though jedi aren't the best at celebrating, it doesn't mean that we can't do it every once in a while. I'm sure the Force doesn't mind us having nice evenings with friends." "Am I your friend, Master?" "Yes, Padawan. You're both my apprentice and my friend," Obi-Wan answered, and somewhere deep inside he knew that somewhere along the way through the last challenging months that had become the truth.