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Saga Passing Time's Singular Despair - MMM Challenge - hot, angsty Obi-Wan mush - one-post

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by ardavenport, Jul 29, 2013.

  1. ardavenport

    ardavenport Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Dec 16, 2004
    Title: Passing Time's Singular Despair
    Author: ardavenport
    Timeframe: between prequel and original trilogies
    Genre: drama, angst, mush
    Characters: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ghostie Qui-Gon
    Keywords: Tatooine, exile, Jedi, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn
    Summary: Obi-Wan 'Ben' Kenobi settles in for his exile on Tatooine.
    Notes: Typo is my middle name, with missing words and errors that spell checkers do not catch being my specialty - if you see any, just post a reply or send a PM with the what and where and I will kill them with no mercy.
    Disclaimer: All characters and the Star Wars universe belong to Disney and Lucasfilm; I am just playing in their sandbox.

    Obi-Wan Kenobi once asked his Master, after he and other Padawans had been learning about the privation rituals of other religious orders in the galaxy, if fasting better focused the mind on the Force.

    "No," Qui-Gon answered, "it sharpens the mind on everything, the Force included."

    He could hear his old Master's voice in his ears. But it was only memory. The crushing disappointment of that drove another sob from him. He tensed, his hands clenched into tight fists until it mostly passed. A water flask lay next to his mat on the dusty floor, but when his fingers brushed by it, it rolled away. He could tell from the sound and feel that it was empty. His head rolled back on the flat pillow. There was plenty more water in the storage bladder among the pile of gear on the other side of the room of the abandoned hut.

    How long had it been since he'd gotten up to relieve himself? Two days? Three? His mouth was dry, lips chapped and cracked, and he had certainly sweat and cried enough to make water a high priority by now. But when he had last lain down he had not been sure if it was at all worth getting up again.

    He still had not decided.

    Bright, blazing day turned to chilly night, turned to day again . . . his new place of exile meant nothing to him. Nor did anything else. The only times any feelings came were in torrents of grief and anguish, violent storms of emotion that surged through him uncontrolled.

    How could they have missed it? For years? Chancellor Palpatine - - now Emperor Palpatine - - had been a Sith Lord all along. Palpatine had been the Senator from Naboo. How could that peaceful, gentle world produce such a monster? After he became Chancellor, the Jedi Council met with him regularly, and even more often after the Clone Wars started. He could see and hear that wily politician - - thankfully only in memory, a sad joy for him now - - and not once had he ever thought him to be the source of the evil spreading in the galaxy. Near the end, the Council had sensed the Dark Side swirling around the Chancellor, but no one had ever thought that the Sith Lord that they searched for would be hiding in plain sight, the Chancellor himself. It was unheard of that any Sith would do that.

    He coughed from the dust, his throat raw and sore. Even in the shade of the hut, his new home, it was getting hot with Tatooine's brutal midday heat and humidity. Rain hardly ever fell on this world, but moisture from the planet's poisonous seas rolled over its deserts to be extracted by the indigenous fauna and harvested by subsistence farmers. It made life possible and the atmosphere miserable.

    Could he bear to live here? He had to. His only mission in life now was to watch over Anakin's son, keep the Sith from discovering him and hope that Luke would one day become the Jedi who would defeat the Emperor and Darth Vader after he and Yoda had failed. But was that hope was enough to keep him alive?

    When he first arrived, there had been things to do. He had kept baby Luke hidden in a sling over his chest under his robe the whole time except to feed and change him in a tiny room he rented for a few days in Mos Eisley. There had been the possibility that the Lars family would not want him. But that was erased when he contacted them and heard Clieg Lars's voice repeating, "My Shmi has a grandson?" and Beru's tone, "A baby?" He knew then that Beru could not have children of her own. Yes, they would take him.

    Once relieved of caring for Luke, he had looked for a place to live nearby. There were few prospects. If he worked as a farm hand in any of the settlements around Anchorhead that would put him in contact with people too much. Jedi were wanted by the Empire. He needed to hide under the disguise of a recluse. There were a number of failed outposts to choose from; Tatooine was merciless to any would-be prospector or farmer who was not prepared.

    Supplies had not been a problem. Bail Organa had given him whatever currency and small tradable technology he had that would be valued on Tatooine. And Obi-Wan had sold his small, stolen ship as soon as he arrived. No one asked any questions about it.

    He found himself, 'Ben Kenobi' on the leading edge of a tide of refugees. The people on the losing side of the Separatist uprising and the ones who realized they were just on the wrong side were fleeing to worlds outside the new Empire. And, like himself, the people who came to Tatooine for refuge had to be truly desperate to come to such a hostile world in both environment and Hutt-controlled economy.

    Having bought what he needed, he staked his claim to a lone hut on a high, defensible bluff. He cleaned out the ankle deep dust and debris, fixed a wall, replaced the cracked windows, chased out the vermin. But the harder he worked to keep busy, the more trivial the tasks seemed. Not long ago, he had commanded armies, the tedious job of putting together a moisture vaporator hardly compared. He had no fondness for machines. Anakin had been so much better with them . . .

    He clenched his teeth on the thought. Anakin was gone. Worse than gone. Gone to the Dark Side. Turned into a monster, using the lightsaber that Obi-Wan Kenobi had trained him to build and fight with to kill every Jedi who challenged him when he attacked the Temple, down to the smallest Padawan.

    He had seen it, In the Force, in his meditations. The Temple in flames, thousands of Clone Troopers shooting everyone, too many to fight. Anakin - - no, Darth Vader with Anakin's face, the yellow glow of the Dark Side in his eyes - - cutting down everyone in his path. The face faded, leaving those two points of light, the same as the eyes in the face of evil, the Sith, Darth Maul, who killed Qui-Gon . . .

    He shut his eyes but that could not keep out the memory. He had promised his Master that he would train Anakin. And he had failed so badly. He clapped his hands to his face. His Master was gone. He had not heard Qui-Gon's voice since coming to Tatooine.

    Master Yoda had discovered that Qui-Gon had remained himself in the Force after his death. It was a miracle that Jedi only spoke of as legend. The vergence in the Force around Anakin encompassed Qui-Gon as well. Before they parted from Bail Organa's ship, the elder Master had shown him, and Obi-Wan had heard Qui-Gon, felt his presence. After the total collapse of the Jedi Order, that single familiar presence had filled him with a warmth that he realized he had not felt in many years of war. But despite the temperature, that particular warmth had not come to him since arriving on this bleak world.

    Now, it seemed even further away. He had not been able to meditate at all for days. Not since returning from Mos Eisley where he saw the holo-images of Darth Vader, the new Emperor's chief enforcer. He was a nightmare come to life, the black mask and armor concealing the maimed body of Anakin Skywalker who had somehow survived the fires of Mustafar . . .

    He shook his throbbing head.

    . . . No, Anakin was gone.

    Only Vader was left.

    And Vader's survival was yet another of his failures. One more that he could not bear.

    Tensing, his back almost arched, he squeezed his eyes shut again and the pain increased, shooting through his temples. His neck hurt, his back, his hips, his legs. Lying on his back on a mat on a hard stone floor for days was surprisingly painful. He gulped another sob and it seared his throat. The scabs on his cracked lips broke and he tasted blood.

    On Mustafar, when he struck Vader down, it was with no thought or malice; only the Force guided his blade. His lightsaber had severed Anakin's legs and living arm, leaving him to slide down too close to Mustafar's fires to be horribly burned. But Vader still had strength to scream out his hatred. When he still had Anakin's face and voice to scream with.

    Let it go. Let it go. Let it go.

    As a younger member of the Jedi Council, Obi-Wan Kenobi was considered more approached by some and he had heard the forebodings of several Knights.

    'The Darkness, I can feel it.'

    'The Temple, I saw it burning in my vision.'

    Many Jedi saw what was coming. But everyone who had spoken to him had insisted that they needed to bolster the Temple's defenses. Block every entry where an enemy might slip in. They made the Temple a fortress. And the perfect death trap. The defenses designed to keep the Sith out also blocked any escape when Anakin . . . Darth Vader marched on the Temple with the clone troops.

    Let it go. Let it go. Let it go.

    His heart pounded; the air felt hot, burning his lungs. He couldn't even feel the Force. His mind remained cluttered with regrets and replays of things that he could have done differently, some warning he might have seen, some tiny little thing that would avert catastrophe.

    Let it go. Let it go. Let it go.

    Bail Organa was a good man; he had come to his and Yodas' rescue at great personal risk. But his chosen profession, politics, was inherently corrupting. And he would likely instruct Leia in the ways of power as well. Yoda had sensed the potential in Luke's sister, but training a politician unthinkable. That would be courting disaster.

    Luke was their only hope.

    And now Luke was safe, with a loving family to raise him, on a world that Anakin . . . Vader despised and would have every reason to stay away from, even if he knew he had children. And the ruse seemed to have worked to cover their existence. Padme, Senator Amidala of Naboo, with her 'unborn child', had been commemorated with full state honors and cremated.

    The rapid pounding in his chest lessened, the air suddenly cooled. Perhaps, that was his only task, his true mission.

    Perhaps he was done.

    The currents of the Force would find Luke, whether he was there to watch over him or not. Master Yoda was safe on Dagobah. And after Anakin . . . . it would be far better for Yoda to train him.

    A long exhale of relief flowed out of him. Yes, that felt right. The Force would bring another guide. One who could at least recognize a Sith and not let one anywhere near young Luke. All those years, he has stood by while Palpatine 'mentored' Anakin . . .

    Let it go. Let it go. Let it go.

    When he was ready to leave Bail Organa's ship, the senator had offered him a blaster for protection. He had at first declined. He needed no primitive blaster to keep himself and Luke safe. But Organa had insisted, saying that a lightsaber was the worst weapon to use right then. Jedi were wanted enemies of the Empire which would likely pay rich bounties for them. He still resisted, but at the last minute he took it.

    He needed the blaster his first night in Mos Eisley. It was a simple robbery attempt. Someone had seen him sell his ship and assumed he was an easy target. The robber did not survive and there were no more attempts. With a blaster, no casual observer could tell the difference between a Jedi using the Force and a shooter with extremely deadly aim. But his pride had almost cost him everything..

    Let it go. Let it go. Let it go.

    He sighed. The pains in his body and limbs were not important now. Even his headache lessened. The past was in the past. The wars, the horrors, the dead . . . they receded, flowing away from him, because he was done with them. No one would find his body here, except maybe the desert scavengers once they realized there was something to pick over again in the abandoned hut. And he wouldn’t have to finish putting together that damned vaportor.

    I am done.

    He lay unthinking in the bliss of just that, staring up at the dirty pale ceiling above. Gradually the light and shadows changed. And a soft blue glow very slowly crept back into his perception. He smiled.

    The Force.

    It was there, as it always was, even in his tired, abused body. The wasteland outside was alive again. If he joined the Force now, would he remain himself as his Master had? He did not think so. He had no training. But it did not matter.

    I am done.

    The Force did feel different now. The Dark Times had come, something completely unthinkable when he was young and Qui-Gon's apprentice, when they had first met Anakin Skywalker and his mother on this harsh world. Qui-Gon had been so sure that Anakin was the one prophesized to bring balance to the Force.

    In a grim way, it was true. Anakin had created a perverse balance to the Force. Now there were only two left. Two Sith. Two Jedi. Sidious and Vader. Himself and Yoda.

    << - - And me. - - >>

    His lips trembled. He hadn't thought he had any tears left, but there they were, pouring down the sides of his face. He couldn't speak; the random sounds he made were high pitched gibberish. He lay still, staring upward, terrified that he would do something that would break the connection to that warm familiar presence . . .

    . . . then terrified that his fear would drive the moment away. He froze, holding his breath, trying not to think about anything at all.

    The room was silent. The Force remained.

    Finally, he had to breathe again. His exhale came out with a betraying sob.

    He drew breath again and held it.

    No fear. No fear. No fear here.

    He concentrated just on breathing. Carefully. In. Hold it. Out. Letting it crowd out any cluttering thoughts that would destroy the moment, that would destroy him.

    Not afraid. Not afraid. Not afraid at all.

    In. Hold it. Out.

    In. Hold it. Out.

    In. Hold it. Out.

    In. Hold it. Out.

    In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out.

    He listened to every breath. Ragged at first, but getting stronger. Steadier. The pain in his lungs and throat lessened. It was the Force.

    Turning his head, he saw his the water flask. Pushing up on his elbow, he turned over on his side. A sharp pain lanced through his hip, his knees. He froze again.

    In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out.

    The pain diminished. It did not matter. His arms and legs were strong again. He pushed himself the rest of the way up. On his hands and knees he stretched one arm to the flask, but it was out of reach. He started to crawl toward it.


    He closed his eyes for a moment.

    In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out.

    He carefully climbed to his feet and there was no pain at all. He almost stumbled, dizzy with the sensation.

    In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out.

    He bent down and picked up the flask, then went to the water storage bladder and filled it, carefully, not wasting any.

    Returning to the mat, he sat down. He wet his lips first and running his tongue over them. Then he took a tiny swallow and held it. It just melted into his parched mouth. Taking another tiny swallow, he let it trickle down his throat. It disappeared before getting halfway down.

    In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out.

    When he took a half-mouthful and really swallowed, it felt as if the Force itself was flowing into him again. Because it was.

    In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it. Out.

    He drank slowly, carefully, letting his body absorb what it needed, at its own pace. When he emptied the flask, he got up and got more. Sitting back down again, he felt himself getting stronger. He took a food capsule from his belt, his last one, opened it and put a small bit of the nutrient into his mouth before taking another swallow of water. He alternated between the capsule and the flask until both were empty. He filled the flask again.

    Lowering himself back down to sit the mat, he put the flask down and just stared forward at a blank, grimy wall, strongly aware of his body, his breath, the air and the Force. And a subtle presence, so real that if he turned his head, he felt might see a familiar face. He did not turn his head.

    He drank and refilled the flask again as light and shadows crept up on the walls; the afternoon was passing. Near sunset, he finally lay back down on the mat and let out a long, slow exhale, releasing the Force.

    Everything hurt again. Knees, arms, legs, hips and especially his back. But his headache was gone and he had taken in enough nourishment and fluid to recover. In the morning he would have to finish working on that damned vaporator. He did not turn on any lights at night, so as not attract the notice of any predators before his new home was established. His robe lay next to the mat and he pulled the fabric over him.

    As the suns set, the air growing cooler, the light turned golden, he closed his eyes and cleared his mind and it was as still and peaceful as it had ever been on a long, undisturbed afternoon, back in the Jedi Temple, before the war, before the Sith, before the Dark Times.

    << - - Don't think, Obi-Wan. Feel. - - >>

    He cried. Long and softly with no regrets, no anguish, no events attached to it. Only grief for what had passed. And pure joy that he was not alone.

    "Is this . . . my first lesson . . . for my training, My Master?" he whispered aloud.

    << - - It's a good start, My Padawan. - - >> Qui-Gon's voice, his real voice in the Force, answered.

    More tears came. He sniffled, wiped his nose and then pushed the robe down to cover his body.

    "I hope." He gulped in another sob. "I hope that the rest of my training will not be so difficult," he half joked with grim humor.

    << - - You have made this lesson a bit over-dramatic, don't you think? - - >> Qui-Gon chided gently.

    "There's a time for everything." He smiled in the twilight. Happiness. It had been far too long since he had felt that.

    << - - Yes . . . . I suppose there is. - - >>

    ### ### END ### ###
  2. Jedi_Lover

    Jedi_Lover Chosen One star 5

    Nov 1, 2004
    Wow, that was deep. Poor Obi-Wan. I am sure he would have felt responsible for so many deaths. Anakin was his Padawan. He trained a monster. Excellently written.
  3. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    An emotional piece. Great write
  4. ardavenport

    ardavenport Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Dec 16, 2004
    Jedi_Lover, earlybird-obi-wan: Thanks for reading. :) I've been meaning to write this for a long time, but wasn't sure what the story would be other than Obi-Wan having a very hard time adjusting to a hermit's life after going full speed for years during the Clone Wars. A very tough transition. So glad he had Qui-Gon with him. [face_love]
  5. serendipityaey

    serendipityaey Jedi Master star 4

    Jan 24, 2004
    Great job, love reading Obi, but always weary of the sadness. This was sad but beautiful and I loved him and Qui at the end, the banter and Obi's realization of a bit of happiness :) Great job showing his transition from General to Ben. I will be reading again!