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Beyond - Legends Saga - PT Repercussions of Time - The Repost

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by ZaraValinor, Jun 14, 2018.

  1. ZaraValinor

    ZaraValinor Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 31, 2002
    I promised I would start reposting this at the beginning of June. So although it is mid-June its still pretty close (terrible excuse, I know). I've decided as I had a chance to go through this to update some of the things that were inconsistent with Revenge of the Sith (since I had begun to write it before its release). I'll try not to overdue the changes, but I do want to expand some scenes that I think will serve the story well if they were added. But essentially the plot will remain the same. I don't know if I will continue to Requisite of Time and Ravages of Time as I'd like to finish some of the other fics I've started and recklessly abandoned. But it might happen, especially if people wish it. I'm also working on original fiction so I can't make any promises. My plan is to post the updates for Repercussions of time at least once a week, I hope to do twice a week as there isn't much that needs changing. Now here it is. End author ramblings.


    Chapter 1

    Hatred and anger, they had seized him like a disease, touching upon his every nerve, until he was
    ablaze with emotion. It was this that drowned out all else in him. All love, all empathy, was forced
    out by the power of his dark energy. And that energy needed a conduit for its escape. Obi-Wan
    Kenobi, the man who had raised him from childhood, who had taught him, and furthered his skills
    in the Force, was the object of his outlet.

    Oppressive heat surrounded them, the air shimmering its palpable essence. Angrily their lightsabers
    came together, straining against one another. Each man was lost on a wave of emotion that could
    not be tamed. Darth Vader reveled in the look of abject desperation so conspicuous in his old Master's
    eyes. This was not the calm Jedi facade that Obi-Wan had drilled into his head from their first
    moments together. The Jedi Master was gone and in his place stood only a man. Darth Vader had
    reduced him to nothing more than a man with a lightsaber.

    “Where is your Jedi calm now, Master?” Darth Vader asked mockingly, watching for the reaction in those
    red touched azure eyes.

    With a burst of strength, Obi-Wan threw Darth Vader's blade from his own. “Don't speak to me of calm!”
    His voice was ragged and haggard by the heat that stole moisture from everything around them.
    “You've betrayed everything I ever taught you. Everything you believed in.”

    Shaking his head with a feral smile, Darth Vader replied, “Never. I never believed in your words. You
    were my tool, my old Master. A means to an end.” The pain and hurt that lanced through Obi-Wan's eyes was as addictive as any drug and Darth Vader yearned for more. “You crafted me at my will.
    You killed a Sith and you made one.”

    “No!” Obi-Wan exclaimed. Raising his lightsaber high, he leapt, his blade cutting a vertical swath
    through the air, aiming straight for Darth Vader.

    The younger man rose his blue blade to meet that one which matched it. Coalesced light, sparked
    and sizzled as each of them fought for dominance. Darth Vader batted his old Master's lightsaber away
    with a swift, one-handed stroke, then brought his free, mechanical hand to Obi-Wan's throat,
    squeezing the life and breath from the man. Slowly, he lowered Obi-Wan to the ground, the Jedi
    Master gasping as his lightsaber blade was brought closer and closer to his neck.

    At that moment, so close to murder, something paused in Darth Vader. He wasn't sure exactly what it
    was about Obi-Wan's face, composed in a mask of struggle and hopelessness, but his resolve melted.
    His hesitance in dispatching the man before him, proved how dangerous the weakness still inside
    of him was.

    In a reverse move, Obi-Wan butted the hilt of his lightsaber into Darth Vader's face, shattering his nose
    and causing the younger Jedi to backpedal, nearly falling into one of the rivers of molten lava
    surrounding them.

    Gingerly, Darth Vader brought the fingers of his flesh hand to his nose. When he pulled them a way,
    blood spotted his fingers. “You'll pay for that old man.”

    “Is this what Qui-Gon saved you from slavery for? Is this what I trained you to be? A puppet to
    Palpatine,” Obi-Wan asked, between air sucking gasps.

    “No, more than either of you thought me to be,” Darth Vader countered. “I am power.”

    Shaking his head, Obi-Wan argued, “You'll be nothing. A soulless shell.” He squinted past the
    sweat and the blood. “What would Padme think of that, I wonder?”

    “It doesn't matter,” Darth Vader argued, forgetting the blade in his hand.

    “It does,” Obi-Wan hitched on a cough. “It does matter, Anakin. Because if you continue on this
    path, there is no turning away from it,” Obi-Wan swayed, limping toward his former apprentice.
    “You're better than that. Fight against Palpatine's cunning words, find the truth in his lies.”

    He will act as your friend. He will pretend that you can be saved, but trust me Lord Vader, he is
    your enemy now,
    Lord Sidious had warned him of Obi-Wan. Kenobi and the Jedi have used
    you to their hearts content, pulling you away from the ones you loved. Don't let their cunning words
    sway you.

    “You're a liar,” he hissed, with a baleful glare. “You've always lied to me, Obi-Wan. You promised
    one day I'd see my mother and she'd be proud of what I'd become.”

    “Do you think she'd be proud of this?” he exclaimed, belligerent.

    The cold metal of his lightsaber, despite the heat thrumming around them, suddenly made itself
    known and Darth Vader charged, their battle resuming once again. “You didn't know her. You never
    took the time to care.”

    Obi-Wan could not have answered if he had wanted to, Darth Vader beat at his lightsaber was his own
    sapphire blade. You are strong, my young apprentice. He will be no match for you. Palpatine
    understood the power burgeoning inside of him. Palpatine knew he could do great things with that
    power. He could control death with it. His and those around him.

    Through a river of heated a rock, a smelter of a planet, they continue their fight, a vicious dance survived only by hoping from decaying pieces of metal and hitching rides on energy field protected droids. It was a precarious battle, one made more precarious as the divide between them physically grew smaller and the gulf between them emotionally grew impossible to cross.

    With a twist of his blade, Obi-Wan disengaged from the battle and backflipped onto a nearby embankment of black ash and rocks. He stepped back and lowered his blade a little. Darth Vader sensed his resignation, the slump of singed shoulders. He took it as defeat.

    “This is the end for you, my master.”

    “It’s over, Anakin. I have the high ground,” Obi-Wan said. Stubborn as ever, still trying to sway him away from the one thing that might bring him peace and joy.

    “You underestimate my power.”

    Obi-Wan’s face crumbled in despair. “Don’t try it.”

    Vader prepared for his leap and felt the Force answer his command. Satisfied with his approaching victory he jumped. He sensed the danger too late, when a bright flash of light shattered the red haze of Mustafar and something hurled into Anakin, tossing them both to the lava rock below.

    It took a moment for the newly minted Sith apprentice to realize what happened. That’s when he saw him. A boy had knocked him out of the battle with Obi-Wan.

    He had red-gold hair, long and wavy like his own, eyes the color of the sea, and though he could
    not have been any older then seventeen, he was battle hardened, and scarred. On either side of his
    hips blasters sat holstered, plus one strapped to his right thigh. A lightsaber dangled from his utility belt,
    yet he was not dressed in the standard Jedi garb, but was clad in a simple black unisuit.

    Vader struggled to his feet, hurriedly searching for the lightsaber that had gone skittering at the boy’s interference. Obi-Wan was warily coming down the hill and it wouldn’t be long before the battle would renew. The boy shook his head and reached out his hand. Anakin’s lightsaber struck his palm not a moment later.

    From behind Vader, he felt Obi-Wan’s cautious presence. Not a second later, Obi-Wan’s lightsaber joined Anakin’s in the boy’s hand.

    “Who are you? What are you doing here?” Both Kenobi and Vader were momentarily distracted from their heated battle by this new arrival.

    “My name is Ben...” and the blue-green colored eyes settled on Obi-Wan before flicking back to Darth Vader... “Skywalker. I'm here to rescue you."
     
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  2. enzo90

    enzo90 Jedi Knight star 1

    Registered:
    Mar 28, 2016
    Thanks for reposting this! Loved the original, even though I couldn’t get the full story due to the cut off on the newer JC forums. :( Really excited to read more! :D
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2018
    ZaraValinor likes this.
  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Superb! Riveting battle and timeless last line. =D=
     
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  4. ZaraValinor

    ZaraValinor Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 31, 2002
    enzo 90 and WarmNyota_SweetAyesha thanks for reading. Here is more. Since I missed last week, I'm definitely going to post twice this week.


    Fifty-seven Years into the Future

    Fifteen-year-old Ben Skywalker froze as he felt the void in the Force, his eyes widening in sudden fear that was squashed by the need to remain calm and find his father. They had been living on the uncharted moon of Nadoran at the edge of the known galaxy. One of the few areas that the Yuuzhan Vong had not occupied completely and had yet to comb through the citizens looking for slaves to fill the coral-patches.

    Ben's father, Luke Skywalker, believed that they were the only two Jedi left in the galaxy. The Force was a tranquil pool in which only their signatures disturbed the waves. His father had commented a number of times that it felt very much like his early days as a Jedi, the last of an Order that had once held thousands.

    Working as farmers, Ben and Luke had been on Nadoran for just short of a season. There had been no need to separate, since the Force was a blight in the sight of the Vong and Ben had been grateful for his father's guiding presence in a frightening world. If it had not been for his father, Ben would have despaired long ago. He could not see a way past this disaster, yet his father clung to hope and was a tether for his son to hold to while the galaxy became a torrent of violence.

    He burst into their quarters, where he had left his father to rest after a long day in the fields, not
    surprised to find his father waiting for him. It was physical pain to see how old Luke had become. His father was strong in the Force, but age and war had gnarled away at him, causing him to appear older then his nearly sixty years. Ben knew with a tight twist of his stomach that if the Yuuzhan Vong were to discover them, his father would not survive the battle.

    “The ship is preped,” Luke said by way of greeting, grabbing his son's shoulder and leading him to the small docking port that housed their two man cruiser.

    Ben nodded, gathering his thoughts, searching his mental star chart for the nearest, and safest,
    system. “I wasn't able to get the supplies. They shut down the markets.”

    “Customary procedure when the Vong are in atmosphere,” Luke assured him, though Ben was well aware of the Yuuzhan Vong's 'procedure'. His mother, Mara, had been swept away and killed in one of their slave hunts. “There'll be enough.”

    That stopped Ben in his tracks, forcing Luke to pause as well. “What are you talking about? We
    have meager rations for one person let alone two.”

    Luke drew a steadying breath and gazed at his son intently. The younger Skywalker wanted to run away from that gaze. “I'm not going with you,” he answered evenly.

    “But...” and it was like all other capability to speak had been siphoned off, his throat constricting,
    his breath coming out in irregular gasps.

    “Ben listen to me. You have to survive. I don't have the strength left to do what is necessary. You do,” his father explained, grasping Ben's shoulders for emphasis.

    Ben fought the urge to break away from his father's grip. He couldn't listen to this, he couldn't bear it. What would he do without his father? Where would he go? “If this is about the supplies, I'll go into a hibernation trance, you can have the rations.”

    “This is exactly what I mean, Ben,” Luke argued. “You will share with me everything you have and it will only spare me for a small time, while costing you. One of us has to survive and it can't be me.”

    Straightening his shoulders, Ben denied, “I can't do it without you.”

    “You must,” Luke insisted.

    “But you'll die,” he argued, trying this last avenue. His father must see how young he still was, that his training was incomplete, that he couldn't possibly fulfill the plan that his father was concocting.

    A fond smile deepened the age furrows in his father's features. “There is no death; only the Force.
    I will always be with you.”





    Ben gazed at the two men before him, each such an important part of his history, each gazing at him as though he'd gone mad. Obi-Wan, the man Ben had been named for, appeared more cautious, gazing at the lightsaber that had inexplicably been taken from him. No doubt wondering how a mere boy had managed to outsmart him. Anakin, his grandfather, blinked at him for several long heartbeats, before spinning towards his former mentor.

    “This is some sort of trick. Another deception conceived by the Jedi to control me,” Anakin blurted out accusingly towards Kenobi.

    An indignant anger fell on Obi-Wan's features, but Ben leapt to answer before a fight between his
    grandfather and the man who was as good as could begin again. “If you think that, no wonder you turned to the Dark Side,” he shot flippantly. It was better if Anakin's anger was turned to him and not the man who had raised him.

    With a growl, Anakin launched himself at Ben. In the flutter of an eyelash, Ben ignited the
    confiscated weapons and crossed them, inches away from Anakin’s neck. He cocked an eyebrow.
    “I don’t believe that would be a wise move, Grandfather.” Turning to Kenobi before Anakin could answer, he asked without lowering his weapons. “Do either of you have a ship?”

    “Who are you really? What is your purpose here?” Obi-Wan asked, his suspicion and wariness
    hardly unreasonable but detrimental to Ben’s cause.

    “There will be time for explanations later. The longer we delay, the greater chance Palpatine will
    find us,” Ben informed. He made unnecessary calculations to the sabers in his hands, reminding
    Anakin of his danger. “And I would not make any attempts to contact your new Master through the Force.”

    “There are no other Skywalkers,” Anakin snapped. “You are a charlatan.”

    Squashing down the urge to just knock Anakin unconscious, Ben said with strained patience, “Reach out to the Force, Anakin. Feel the truth in my words.”

    Knowing how volatile Anakin was, Ben stilled himself for an attack. But he only felt a tainted
    stirring in the Force wash over him, felt a small connection and for a moment, it was like having his father back. Anakin’s eyes snapped open. “I don’t believe it.”

    Now restraining tears, Ben forced himself to be stern. “Believe what you will, it is the truth
    nonetheless.” He shuttered, shaking away the memory of his father. “Obi-Wan a ship? Do we have one?”

    “How do I know I can trust you?” Obi-Wan asked.

    With a flick of his wrist, Ben deactivated one of the sabers and threw it at Obi-Wan. “Because if I wanted to kill you, I would have done so already.”

    “I knew it,” Anakin gasped. “You’re in league with him. I don’t know how you changed the Force around you, but I will figure it out.”

    Ben resigned himself to the inevitable. He switched his grip on the lightsaber, thumbing it off and bringing the hilt of it to the back of his grandfather’s head. Anakin crumbled to the ground, a lump of fabric and muscle. “I had hoped this would be easier.” He wiped at a pool a sweat under his nose and found that it was dotted with blood, quickly he rubbed it against his unisuit.

    “Impossible,” Obi-Wan muttered thoughtfully, looking between his fallen apprentice and Ben. “Yet your auras....” he drew off unable to complete his thoughts.

    Underneath their feet, the ground quaked and Ben was made keenly aware of the precariousness of their situation. “Palpatine would have been monitoring this confrontation closely. I haven’t picked up on any invasion into my mind, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t sensed my arrival. It took a lot of Force energy to break through the fabrics of time.” Leaning over, he hefted his larger grandfather into his arms. “Are you well enough to lead the way?”

    Dazed, Obi-Wan nodded his affirmation. “Yes. If you are who you claim to be, then we best be on our way.” Searching eyes raked over Anakin and Ben, Obi-Wan wanting to take the load of his fallen apprentice but hesitant to expose himself in such a way again.

    “I have him,” Ben assured the older Jedi.

    Without another word, Obi-Wan started a determined gait towards the ship. It was slackened by the limp he must have sustained from the battle. While he followed, his father’s future mentor, Ben reached out to the Force. He had time. A small amount of time, to fix years of mistakes. Not for the first time he thought it should have been his father to come backward in time, to stop the two men who had been an influence in his life. But it was Ben who had been dropped into the middle of foreign ground, expected by the Force to hasten the balance so that when the Vong infiltrated the galaxy, the Jedi would be ready for them. Where there had been a scant hundred, there would be thousands.

    Of course, his plans consisted of turning his grandfather back to the good side and encouraging
    Anakin to destroy Palpatine now, instead of twenty years in the future. A daunting task that had not diminished by his miraculous time-travel. It was made all the more difficult with the realization that he would have to convince whatever Jedi remained that if they did not change their present the repercussions of time would be dire. Not to mention they would all have to believe that he had come back through time fifty-nine years.

    The ship Obi-Wan lead him to was kept in obvious care, despite the charred spots where the heat of this Force-forsaken world had burnished it. It was of a line and design that Ben was not familiar with, yet it’s graceful curves and sculpted scope gave him reason to instantly admire it. He caught Obi-Wan watching him, but not in that same piercing manner he’d exhibited since Ben’s arrival. There was something longing in his gaze, an opaque nostalgia.

    “Anything that flies,” Obi-Wan said in a hushed, pain-laced, tone before turning his attention to the keypad and initiating the loading ramp.

    A protocol droid came up to greet them, informing Obi-Wan that he had carried Mistress Padme to the medical bunk on the ship. It took Ben a moment to realize that it was their Threepio. Threepio who he had not seen since he was a little boy. He’s pursuit after Obi-Wan stopped and he starred as the droid flung him into a past that seemed now like a dream. Once, he’d taken such a perverse pleasure in torturing the protocol droid.

    It seemed another lifetime ago.

    “Something wrong?” Obi-Wan asked, his gaze once again shuttered in suspicion.

    Ben shook his head with a scoff. Sure, there was plenty wrong but they certainly didn’t have the time to go into it. “Later.”

    He followed Obi-Wan through the sleek ship, to the small med bay that house two bunks. Ben deposited Anakin’s unconscious form on the unoccupied one, rummaging through the med kit until he found a sedative patch and slapped it on his grandfather’s neck. They would need to keep him unconscious until Ben could locate a secure area to hold him in.

    “Obi-Wan?” a feminine voice said. Ben turned to regard the very pregnant occupant of the other bunk. “Is Anakin all right?”

    “Shhh,” the Jedi said. “He’s sleeping.”

    Ben watched her give him a slight smile then fall back to the waiting darkness of either sleep or unconsciousness. Obi-Wan’s face remained stoic but Ben could feel the oppressive weight of his loss as he regarded the two.

    “My grandmother?” Ben asked, partially to divert Obi-Wan’s thoughts but also because of the overpowering hunger in his chest to have a connection to this world that wasn’t currently a Sith Lord.

    “You don’t know?” Obi-Wan said.

    Ben gave him another shake of his head and reached out with his cleaner hand to touch her hand. He blinked as he felt a rush of familiarity. Dad. Aunt Leia. It was them, in their purest, rawest form, a light so encompassing that he had to pull away.

    He blinked at Obi-Wan. “I do now. My father and aunt are in there. And I think they’re eager to meet us.”

    “Twins?”

    “Yes.” He took Obi-Wan’s hand and gently placed it on his grandmother’s stomach. “Hope isn’t lost, Obi-Wan. I need you to believe that.”

    Obi-Wan gave a shuddering breath and ran a hand down his face, the first outward sign of the struggle within. “You really are their grandson, aren’t you?”

    “I will be.”
     
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  5. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    How absolutely fascinating. The first scene was too touching & the second =D= ... Terrific. Lots of adjusting on both sides. :cool:
     
    ZaraValinor likes this.
  6. enzo90

    enzo90 Jedi Knight star 1

    Registered:
    Mar 28, 2016
  7. Jeditheskyisblue

    Jeditheskyisblue Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 17, 2001
    I like this update soon please.
     
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  8. ZaraValinor

    ZaraValinor Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 31, 2002
    #WarmNyota_SweetAyesha, #enzo90, #jeditheskyisblue Thanks for reading. Here's the update.


    Chapter 3


    Ben woke with a jolt, having fallen asleep as Threepio piloted the Nubian ship. His tired eyes fell on a massive white cruiser filling up the forward viewport. Terrified heartbeats passed and his hand drifted to the hilt of his mother’s lightsaber, before he realized that the cruiser was not moving to intercept and had not sighted them as soon as they had exited hyperspace.


    Obi-Wan must have read his discomfort because he rested a hand on his shoulder, in a startling likeness to the way his father had. “It is Bail. No need to worry.”


    “Who’s worried?” Ben said with forced cheerfulness, making a concerted effort to release his anxiety.


    This wasn’t his time. A foreign ship did not necessarily mean that the government had betrayed them and he would be handed over to the Yuuzhan Vong as he and a number of his fellow Jedi had before. There were no Vong. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t in a dangerous situation. Everything hinges on you, Skywalker. Stop jumping at shadows.


    “No one is hunting you here, they’re hunting me,” Obi-Wan said, his mouth twisting with an air of self-derision.


    Ben shook his head, gazing at the cruiser before him. “I’ve jumped from one bad situation to the other. The Jedi hunted down. Why did my fa....” he stopped short, unable to relay his fears, not even to himself. “But our situation couldn’t change. You and Anakin and Master Yoda, and whatever number of Jedi Knights are spread throughout the galaxy; you still have time to alter the future. This can be fixed, because it has been fixed before.” Tentatively, he cocked a smile. “Or would have been.”


    “What aren’t you telling me?” the older Jedi asked him, gauging him with his azure his. “You willingly render my future as it might have been, but reveal so little of yourself.”


    “There is little necessity in you knowing my past,” Ben answered equitably.


    “If we are to work together then we must trust each other,” Obi-Wan pointed out.


    His entire life Ben had lived in the midst of war, had experienced little respite in that continual scavenge for peace with the Yuuzhan Vong, had watched, sometimes helplessly, as members of his family, friends both young and old, were slaughtered. His own mother, killed on the cusp of salvation, his father sacrificing himself so that Ben could live long enough to cross the barriers of time. There was no happy ending for him, there was just the hope for a better future for those he had lost. How could he explain this to someone who had not experience that utter desolation?


    Swallowing, he shrugged. “You’re a good man, Obi-Wan Kenobi, I had no doubt in that. But there

    are areas inside of me that no person, sometimes not even myself, can tread. The only thing I need

    to trust you to do, is make right what was to be wrong.”


    Kenobi shut his eyes and Ben could feel the older man gathering his thoughts, arranging his

    emotions. For someone who wanted Ben to be so open, Obi-Wan was locked tighter then a pressure

    seal. “I don’t know how much help I’ll be. Anakin has strayed too far from my reach.”


    “Then it’s my job to breach the distance,” Ben chirped in. “Which means, I’ll keep him under control while we transfer him to Organa’s ship.”


    “And I’ll contact Bail.”






    Force, his grandfather was heavy. Clearly, Dad and Aunt Leia, took after their mother in size. He cast a sideways look at Obi-Wan who had Padme tucked closely against his chest. She’d been tired and Ben was sure that the toxic atmosphere of Mustafar hadn’t done her or the baby any favors, but she’d been conscious a couple of times and had food and water. That coupled with the fact that the unborn minds of his father and aunt seemed happy if somewhat cramped, he was sure that she was on her way to recovery.


    One of Bail Organa’s security lead him to the brig and he hated being parted from Obi-Wan and Padme. The world was desperately different than the one he left behind and everything was so loud and alive, despite the fear permeating the Force. He was relieved when He could deposit Anakin on the brig bunk.


    For a moment he stared at him, making connections and links to the physical similarities and the rather drastic differences between this man and his father. Ben had never seen Luke on the edge of the Dark Side but he hoped he never did. He’d seen the yellow glow in Anakin’s eyes before Ben had barreled into him. He’d seen it in too many Jedi, desperate to destroy the Vong. There had been times where he’d refused to look in a mirror, afraid to see it reflected back at him.


    “Everything all right, sir?” the security officer asked.


    Ben shook himself out of his maudlin thoughts. “No, everything’s fine. Lock it up. If he so much as twitches, call Master Kenobi.”


    The security officer, who was older than Ben but looked younger, tried desperately not to stare at the scars on Ben’s face as he nodded. “Yes, sir.”


    Ben went off to find Obi-Wan. As he passed through the corridors he felt out of place in the pristine white walls. He needed a moment to clean-up, and not just from the ash and sweltering heat of Mustafar. No wonder the security officer didn’t argue with him, he probably looked like a creature spawned from Korriban.


    He didn’t make it far before the security officer stopped him. “Sir, he’s waking up.”


    An energy wall separated the two Skywalkers, the past and the future, from one another. Ben did

    not miss the analogy in that. He had already broken the barriers of time, but he had the feeling that

    breaking the barrier between his grandfather and himself, plus the one between Anakin and Obi-Wan

    was going to be a difficulty that he had never truly appreciated. How had his father approached it with as much unfailing faith as he had?


    “You won’t be able to hold me forever,” Anakin hissed at him, the crimson energy wall, emphasizing the apparent anger in his young grandfather. “My Master will not be forgiving. But if you help me escape, there could be a place for you in the Empire.


    Ben feigned eager earnestness. “Then why don’t I just help you hijack the ship, take Obi-Wan

    captive, and cart the three of us before Palpatine?” Solemnity took over Bens boyish scarred

    features. “And how long before your Emperor finds the two of us a threat?” Now playing a

    considering look, Ben added, “But you are the one who is held captive, he’ll probably choose me.

    Though from your perspective this might seem like a terrible idea now.”


    “He would not push me aside. I am the Chosen One.” Pride puffed the taller man before him and

    Ben had to hold on to his calm. He could feel the power radiating from Anakin, but it was like

    throwing a slab of permecrete; easy to dodge if skilled enough but perfectly able to flatten you like

    a hotcake.


    “Unless you were chosen to get captured, you’re failing pretty badly,” Ben pointed out unforgivingly.


    He saw Anakin tense as though ready to pounce. “You’ve tempted fate, coming here.”


    “So you’ve accepted the truth, that I will be your grandson?” Skepticism had become a palpable

    essence, a friend of sorts, in the last two lonely years. “That my father will be your son.”


    Considering, Anakin answered, “You are a part of me, but distorted. A distant relative no doubt. But

    my grandson? I can’t believe that you’ve come back through time.”


    Ben snatched the lightsaber from inside his tunic, the one he had taken from Anakin. “See this?”


    “My lightsaber,” Anakin identified.


    With a nod, Ben then removed the lightsaber hanging from his belt. “How about this one?” Through

    the crimson haze, his grandfather squinted at the hilt. After a moment his eyes widened and flicked

    to his lightsaber yet again. “No two Jedi’s lightsabers are alike. Now I could have pulled parts from

    the ship and have made a passable lightsaber, but what are the odds that it would turn out identical

    to your own?”


    “Who are you really?” asked the older Skywalker, still struggling against his disbelief.


    “A ghost,” Ben said. “A specter now because my future will change. You would have survived that

    battle, Anakin, but something intrinsic inside of you would have been lost. The Jedi would be

    hunted and brought to near extinction by you. Obi-Wan, Yoda, and your two twin children the only

    ones to survive.”


    Ben waved the two identical lightsabers, one his grandfather’s present, one Ben’s future. “Obi-Wan

    took your lightsaber from that battle and gave it to my father. Dad eventually gave it to my mother

    when he began her training. After she died, it was passed on to me.”


    “Were you there?” Anakin asked, the subject leaping course.


    “Was I where?” asked the confused teenager.


    Those ice-colored eyes, that had held nothing but all-encompassing hatred and anger, dimmed to an

    old pain and sadness and lowered to the ground. “Were you there when your mother died?”


    Shaken by the question, Ben had to quash the instant memory that rose to his mind’s eye. He did

    not want to relive that moment, when he had to center on his efforts to change the future. “It’s not

    important.”


    “You want me to believe you, answer the question,” Anakin commanded.


    Narrowing his eyes into a glare, Ben said, “I was! But I don’t see how that will convince you

    of the truth you already know as fact.” He pocketed Anakin’s lightsaber and replaced his own.

    “For the moment, you will be forced to accept our hospitality, or you will be enjoying another lump on the back of your head. Know that if you try to return to Palpatine, I will kill you.”


    With his words, the softness in Anakin’s features reverted to that sharp anger. “How very Jedi of

    you?”


    “Yeah, if I were a Sith, you’d already be dead.”
     
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  9. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Superb contest of wills =D= while we sense very strongly Ben's feelings of being disconnected from his own time.
     
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  10. Jeditheskyisblue

    Jeditheskyisblue Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 17, 2001
    Poor Ben he's been through so much.
     
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  11. ZaraValinor

    ZaraValinor Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 31, 2002
    Thank you for reading. I don't know how you keep up with everything.

    It's true. I love to torture my Ben Skywalker.


    Chapter 4:


    Padme blinked sleep from her eyes as she looked around her surroundings. The last thing she remembered was reaching Anakin on Mustafar. As memory continued, she reached out and felt the familiar weight of the child growing inside her. She breathed a sigh of relief as she felt a flutter underneath her hand.


    She turned as the door slid open with a hiss. “Obi-Wan,” she gasped.


    “Padme,” he said softly, not quite meeting her eyes.


    She remembered their last conversation, his desperation to bring Anakin back to his senses. “You killed him.”


    He shook his head, his face tightening in pain for a heartbeat. “No. He is currently in the brig, but he is alive and… he’s alive and not happy.”


    With an effort she tried to sit up, Obi-Wan stepped to her side and put a hand on her arm. She fought the urge to flinch away. He’d betrayed her, used her friendship as a means to Anakin. But she was a diplomat first and under strange circumstances. The Republic she’d fought so hard for was gone and an Empire had risen in its place. Her husband had reportedly murdered children and had seemed like a stranger with the yellow-red glint in his eyes.


    Tears pricked at Padme’s eyes. Every caution she’d waived away with the power of love had proven itself in its fruition. Alone, pregnant and with friends who could so easily turn to adversaries, if not for the baby, she’d be all but hollow inside.


    Obi-Wan must have seen or sensed her reticence, her anguish, because he said gently, “Padme, there was no other way.”


    “You could have trusted me.” The watery tone to her words doused the anger she wanted. The anger he merited.


    “I gave you time,” Obi-Wan said. He remained quiet, sincere, gentle. “I thought if anyone could bring him back, it would be you. When I saw he could not be swayed, tell me what else was I to do?”


    She shook her head. Padme didn’t know. He could have joined Anakin and Palpatine and slowly lost or torn himself apart. He could have run. She closed her eyes tightly against the memory of phantom fingers on her neck, squeezing the air from her. Why hadn’t they all just run?


    “There’s still hope, Padme. I had resigned myself to our fate. You’re right, I was going to kill him. But something…someone interfered. He said that things could change. Although, I don’t see how, I want to trust in that. To cling to hope.”


    “Who?” she asked. There was not a Jedi (other than Obi-Wan and once Ahsoka) Padme could think of, who would champion Anakin.


    “His name is Ben Jade. He’s had experience with others coming back from the Dark Side. He’s willing to help Anakin.” He paused, watching her carefully. “I’d like you to meet him.”


    She nodded. Eager to meet anyone who could help in this crazy situation. “What has been going on in the Republic?”


    “Nothing good, I’m afraid,” Obi-Wan said. They both felt the relief of a discussion that was just as serious but far less personal. “Master Yoda has made contact, he has failed with Palpatine and the Empire continues. A few of the senators have tried to oppose the change of the established government. But they are either silenced or…”


    “Or silenced permanently,” Padme answered.


    “Yes. Even if we can bring Anakin back to the light, Padme, there are dark times ahead.”


    She ran a hand down her belly. What was she bringing her child into?


    “We should probably have Bail’s medic examine you. You’ve been through much and the babies might be under some stress.”


    Her head host up. “Babies?”


    “You’re having twins, Padme. A boy and a girl.”


    He didn’t sound angry about this. Sad, slightly resigned, with no small amount of joy too. “You knew about me and Anakin? All this time?”


    “Not all, not always, but enough,” he confirmed.


    “He was always so frightened that you would find out. That we’d be exposed,” she sighed. “Then I told him about the baby and he didn’t seem to care about anything else.”


    Obi-Wan ran a hand down his face and fingered his beard. “I always believed we were both purposefully silent on the subject. After all, it would be hard for me to miss.”


    She flickered a smile. “Not as sly as we pretended to be, I imagine.” She grew morose. “He grew so worried. He was having visions of my death. He was so certain.”


    “He was desperate. I wish he’d known he could have come to me,” Obi-Wan said. “I learned my lesson with his mother. Visions are dangerous things. The attempt to stop them could very well but what causes them.”


    “Shavit, yeah they are,” a voice said, startling both Obi-Wan and Padme.


    Obi-Wan waived the scarred boy into the medbay. It was hard to gauge his age, but from the sound of his voice, clipped with that Core world accent, Padme guessed late teens possibly early twenties. The boy gave her a tight, sardonic grin. “Hello, I’m Ben.”


    Padme blinked. This was Ben? The one that Obi-Wan was trusting to save Anakin? She mumbled a greeting in return, briefly noting that this Jedi did not bow to her as all others had.


    “Don’t worry, Padme. I’m far more capable than I appear.”


    Padme reached a tentative hand to touch the scarring on his face, surprised at her forwardness but content at the same time. “You must have been in the worst of the fighting.”


    And just as surprising, he leaned into her touch, his gaze clouded with some emotion she couldn’t easily identify but was reminiscent of loss and longing. Something inside of her, returned that longing. “I was born for war.”


    Padme’s stomach turned at the thought. He was young, younger than Anakin when they had first met, she guessed, behind the haunted gaze and the gnarled face. He took her small hands in his rough, scratched and torn ones. “But you carry hope.”


    She was unnerved by his intensity though she supposed she’d be used to it with spending so much time around Jedi and a number of senators could become overwhelmed by their own political passions.


    “Ben,” Obi-Wan said. “Padme has just woken. Perhaps give her some time to come to terms with all the changes.”


    The young Jedi instantly stepped away, giving her an apologetic smile. “Sorry. I actually came to tell you that Master Yoda’s pod has docked. Bail asked me to come get you to meet with him. Apparently, the Force gave an unexpected shudder and he wants to speak with you about it.” Now his voice had gone back to sardonic, almost bitterly wry.


    Obi-Wan nodded knowingly. “I had expected as much. You’ll come with me?”


    “Might as well get it over with.”


    “Padme, I’ll have Bail send the healer. I’m sure that everything is fine, but just to be thorough.”


    “Thank you, Obi-Wan. Ben.”


    Before Ben could answer, his legs buckled and he landed hard on one knee his hands going up in pain.


    I'm strongly of the opinion that Palpatine took life energy from Padme to give to Anakin at the end of Revenge of the Sith. I do not believe the Dark Side can create (or in this instance prolong a dying life) because it is greedy and graspy. But I do think it could use another life to fuel it own dark ends. I also think that is why Leia remembers Padme. Something of that essence got caught inside of her and was retained through her own connection to the Force. If you believe differently that's what's cool about Star Wars, but for the purpose of this story that is why Padme did not go into labor.
     
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  12. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Amazing introspections from Padme and very understandable that her feelings towards Obi-Wan would be complicated!
    Her assessment of Ben is easy to understand as well.

    He is so young to have experienced so much but this is exactly the foundation of his inner hope that he can affect the situation.

    @};-
     
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  13. ZaraValinor

    ZaraValinor Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 31, 2002
    Yeah, Ben is quite the dichotomy. He's pretty jaded (no pun intended) in a lot of things and hopeful in some. Thanks for reading.

    Chapter 5:


    “Who are you boy?” the insidious voice snaked its way into his mind, causing Ben to buckle under the pressure of it.


    It was nearly a physical effort to throw off that weight. “Wouldn't you like to know?” he sent back, infusing his mental-voice with a cocksureness that he did not feel.


    Padme stopped next to him, avidly watching his face, not knowing the internal battle he was waging. “Ben?”


    He ignored her question and blanketed all thoughts of their location from his mind. It made sense that he would be able to hear the call of the Emperor, his mother had been able to hear his voice from anywhere in the galaxy. But he didn't know the extent of the Emperor's control. It made him wish he could go forward enough and ask his mother what it had been like to be the Emperor's Hand. But had his interference already voided the Emperor's influence on his mother.


    “You are strong, young one. There is no need to be my enemy,” came the silky reply.


    Mental laughter rang through Ben's mind and out towards the Emperor. “First Anakin, now you. What do I have to do, put up a holosign over my head? I'm not going to be your convert.” He started to pull the Force around him, weaving it in a lattice of protection.


    “Ah, and advanced I see,” came the lurid reply. “Strange that the Jedi Masters would teach one so young so quickly.”


    “Perhaps they realized they had scum like you growing in their backyard,” Ben replied, hoping that he had gotten the Emperor appropriately riled.


    A chilling laugh, shivered through his mind. “You plot against me, young one?” There was no missing the dubious nature of his tone. “You seek to succeed where many have failed. Such pride is unbecoming a Jedi Knight.”


    Ben would not rise to the Emperor's bait. He had been pushed beyond petty jibes during the Yuuzhan Vong war. “I'd like to call it an optimistic view on life.” The Emperor pressed heavier on his mind, hoping to break through his barriers. Ben ground his teeth together as he strained against the pressure. “No peeking,” he sent out. Then he let go of the Force and let the Yuuzhan Vong poison running through his body take hold, making him a void in the Force.


    It was as though someone had been holding him up and had abruptly let go. He staggered, falling back on his rear with an embarrassing thump. Blood trickled down his nose and he used his free hand to whip it away. “Well, that wasn't fun.”


    “What happened?” Obi-Wan asked, helping him rise.


    “Palpatine,” he said tersely. “Let’s go have that talk with Yoda.”


    “What would the Emperor want with you?” Her dark eyes burned into his own. Padme looked to Obi-Wan. “Why would you trust him?”


    For the first time, Ben actually looked at his grandmother. In many ways, she was young and naïve. From the brief history he’d been able to find, he did know that she’d been a ruler of the planet Naboo. That like his Aunt Leia, she was a senator in the Republic.


    But seeing her now, round with pregnancy but in a battle stance, maybe there was a little more of his mother in Padme then he initially believed. Closing his eyes, he gathered the Force back around him, pushed away the poison from his system. “There is no telling you how much I would do to ensure your children's safety Padme. But you are right, I'm keeping something from you. I wish I could tell you, but I can't.” She wouldn’t be able to sense the truth in him. “Know that Obi-Wan knows my secret and he trusts me.”


    One hand dropped to where a blaster would have sat if she’d been wearing one and the other rested on top of her belly. “That’s not enough.”


    “Then, I’ll do whatever it takes to earn your trust,” he assured her, pulling away from Obi-Wan’s steady grip. He couldn’t show his weakness, not when he had to guide everyone away from the future that would destroy them all.




    Sitting in his cell, Anakin fumed. It wasn’t the infusing heat he’d felt during his battle with Obi-Wan but a slow brewing one. Confusion fueled his anger, giving it, a tedious burn. Ben had provided evidence that was irrefutable. Those lightsabers had been identical, from his very obvious craftsmanship, to the dents and dings he had picked up along the way. There was also no denying that if Ben hadn’t intercepted his head-long run, Obi-Wan had been prepared to cut him down. That was a pain that helped keep that fire kindled, kept it from dying out.


    Yet, he struggled to admit the truth. Looking into the mirror of his cell, he tried to imagine himself with red hair and features dimmed by genetics. He was nearly handspans taller than Ben, but Padme was diminutive. The red hair must have come from his son’s wife, for neither Skywalker or Naberrie family carried such a distinct color.


    Even if the young man was who he claimed to be, did it make any difference? Palpatine had shown him a power, a power over everything that he had once feared. The Jedi feared the dark side and especially the Sith, now he was fear. Would that change suddenly because he had found someone very much like himself?


    If Ben really had come back through time, it would have meant an extreme power and control in the Force. Something that not even his Sith Master would have contemplated. He had certainly stolen the saber out of his hand without so much of a bat of an eye. As the Chosen One, he should have been able to sense the strike Ben had used against him.


    It was this mystery, more than any fear of being stopped, that had kept him from escaping. He had gotten the feeling from a brief communication with his Master that Palpatine wanted him to stay amongst the Jedi. Learning more about Ben would only help the Emperor sway the boy to the dark side.


    Patience had never been one of his strong characteristics, but he would exercise it now. He would wait for the Jedi to come to him, pretend contrition, and work with whatever plan the Jedi and Ben were concocting. Palpatine had taught him enough to cloak his true intent. After all, the Emperor had been doing it for decades.


    All he would have to do is prey on their hopes.


    [hr]


    Obi-Wan heaved a sigh as Bail exited the conference room and dropped into one of the comfortable chairs lining the table. Master Yoda stood at the other end of the table, hunched over on his gimmer stick, looking as warn and tired as Obi-Wan felt. There was so much to be done, but all his energy had been sucked from him. Qui-Gon had been two decades older than Obi-Wan when he'd been killed, but it had seemed his old Master had an everlasting fountain of energy.


    “Speak about young Jade we must,” Yoda mewled into his thoughts.


    Yes, there was much to speak about Ben. There was an incredibly large debt he owed the boy; first for stopping Obi-Wan’s resolve to end his former Padawan’s life, second for managing to stop that heart-wrenching battle at all. He had recovered a great deal physically from that battle, but mentally...he could not get past what Anakin had become. He was meant to help Ben bring Anakin back to the light, yet his own anger flared so easily when he thought of what his former apprentice had participated in. Beyond his superficial anger there was a deeper one, at himself, for not seeing Anakin's downfall before, for not preparing his boy for his destiny.


    Then there was Ben himself. There was no doubt in Obi-Wan's mind the amount of suffering the young Jedi had been through. Had Ben come to deal with that pain or had he just pushed it aside for what must be done.


    Obi-Wan had lost Anakin because the Clone Wars had forced him to push aside his apprentice for what had to be done. Betrayal had warred so readily against his own self-derision and anger. He had been caught between two evils; neglecting the threat against the galaxy and neglecting Anakin. As usual he had taken the path of the unifying than the individual. Had he learned nothing from Qui-Gon?


    Of course, during the wars, he had felt he had all the time necessary to help Anakin bring balance. All he had to do was hurtle the one obstacle of a full-scale war and he could be free for his former apprentice. Strange how retrospect changes the path of time.


    “Be here, he should not,” Yoda broke into his reverie once again.


    Obi-Wan opened his mouth to answer but was cut off by Ben marching unyielding into the room. He’d broken away from Obi-Wan briefly to clean-up, mumbling about a nose bleed. “Well, that’s a hyperlane we can’t go back to,” Ben countered and plopped into one of the conference chairs. Obi-Wan mused briefly that Qui-Gon would have liked Ben Skywalker's obvious ignorance to authority. “I received a little mental visit from Emperor Palpatine.”


    “Sense your arrival, we did,” Yoda affirmed.


    “So you know who I am?” Ben asked, eyes wide with wonder. Master Yoda bobbed his head, his heavy eyes watching the apprentice thoughtfully. “Stars and skies, I thought I was going to have to consent to a blood test. I appreciate you not forcing your mind into mine, though. Even if you had, I don't think it would have been as bracing as Palpatine's visit.”


    Obi-Wan frowned. “Why is that?”


    “My mother. Part of the history I had to skip in my rehearsal to you. Palpatine took her from her family when she was a small child, gave her a remedial knowledge of the Force, and trained her as an assassin. There were others, but I believe she was the most effective because she could hear the Emperor's voice from anywhere in the galaxy. A trait, I've apparently inherited,” Ben elucidated. “Which complicates things.”


    Yoda hobbled closer to Ben, his stick clanging against the wood of the conference table with a staccato beat. “Reveal our location, did you?”


    At Ben's age, Obi-Wan would have balked at such a sharp tone coming from the wizened Jedi Master, but Ben just shook his head unfazed. “No, I used a technique I'm aware of that disconnects me from the Force. It put me out of Palpatine's reach.” For a moment fatigue weighed on the young scarred features before Ben forced determination on his face. “I don't know how long my mental shields will keep him out. He imprinted a command into my mother's mind before he died and that clung to her for five years before she killed my father's clone.”


    Obi-Wan exchanged a glance with Yoda, but whatever the aged Jedi Master was thinking could not be deciphered in his large green eyes. Ben was a compilation of absent years. What would happen when Ben did change the future? It was a question Obi-Wan felt he could not ignore. The boy could very well erase his very existence. And then weren't they all back in the same impossible, doomed situation.


    “Precarious our situation is, help this your technique would,” Yoda mused. “Though incomplete is your training.”


    Ben frowned. “My training is no longer an importance. It is Anakin we must focus on.”


    “No!” Obi-Wan exclaimed. When both Yoda and Ben turned to him questioningly, he swallowed. Such outbursts were so uncharacteristic of him. Perhaps Ben had already instigated the changes in him that he had mentioned. “It is a danger to leave an apprentice untrained.”


    “I will not waste valuable time,” Ben interjected heatedly, showing a flash of unexpected anger.


    Obi-Wan, however, was not about to back down from this. He felt very strongly that Ben's training should not slacken. “I do not see it as a waste.”


    “Understand not Master Obi-Wan does, Young Skywalker. Revealed your secret should be,”

    Yoda admonished the youth gently.


    Impatience tinged Obi-Wan's answers. “I know he's from the future, Master Yoda.”


    Ben shook his head, locking gazes with Yoda for an inexorable time. “It's not that Obi-Wan,” the boy admitted finally. He took a shuddering breath and released it in a slow hiss. “I'm dying.”


    Breath rushed out of Obi-Wan and he blinked at Ben. “You're dying?”


    Stoically, Ben nodded. “I was poisoned by the Yuuzhan Vong a month before I made the journey here. A venom that they must have been breeding to use against those Force-sensitives who they could identify early and prohibit from ever becoming Jedi. I fought my way out of a sticky situation but was poisoned. When the Force began to show me visions of the past, I realized what I had to do. To be able to come back through time, it had to be sure that I would not remain in this time.”


    Obi-Wan's mouth went dry. He had only known Ben Skywalker for the space of a few days, but he had brought him a hope for Anakin that he had despaired of before. There was also enough of his old Master and his former apprentice in the boy to remind Obi-Wan of the better times he'd had with both Qui-Gon and Anakin. Ben had been his connection to Anakin, a link that Obi-Wan had yet to dare travel.


    “You must complete the training,” Yoda said after an interminable pause.


    Those oceanic eyes became lidded. “There is no purpose to it Master Yoda. I have all I'll ever need.” He opened his eyes and gazed at Obi-Wan. “And if we can bring Anakin back, then the galaxy will have the slim chance of surviving the Yuuzhan Vong infiltration.”


    “Reason there always are, make matters worse you could untrained,” Yoda continued to argue.


    Obi-Wan shook his head, unable to accept this fate for one so young. “There must be a way to heal you of this ailment.”


    “There isn't. I tried the only cure I knew of, but it did not work. My mother was dying of a similar disease when she carried me. It was only the Force that kept her alive long enough to carry me to term. By the time to birth me came, she was so close to death that my father often wondered why the Force didn't take us then. But the disease hadn't reached me yet. As a last-ditch effort, my father tried to fight the spread of the infection, as I was born we healed her, my father and I.”


    “You tried a similar method on yourself?” Obi-Wan ventured. Finally the layers of security Ben had wrapped around himself were beginning to peel.


    “I did as my father had described,” Ben assured, then shook his head dispelling whatever thoughts clouded his mind. He cocked his sly grin. “Obviously, it didn't work.” Leaning back against his chair, Ben eyed them both. “I'll make a deal. I'll continue my training if you don't tell Anakin my current predicament.”


    “Anakin is incredibly powerful, he'll be able to sense it,” Obi-Wan cautioned.


    Ben shook his head with finality. “Not if I don't want him to. Hiding myself has become like breathing.”


    “Yoda sensed it,” Obi-Wan said, pursuing the matter. “Perhaps if Anakin knew the consequences of his choices he'd be disinclined to continue his dark path.”


    “My father is an infant, I have to take his place as Anakin's link to the good side. If he knows I'm dying the future will seem helpless,” Ben countered. He then leveled a steely gaze on Yoda. “That's the deal. Take it or leave it.”


    “Bargain, I do not. Accept your conditions I will,” Yoda said gravely. “Your training we'll begin soon.”


    A quick rejection flitted on Obi-Wan's tongue, waiting to be released. There was a part of him that wanted to try again, to apprentice someone who didn't have a terrible burden of prophecy set upon his shoulders. But he knew that he still had Anakin to deal with, his fallen friend. He needed to focus his efforts on saving Anakin, not on indulging his need to be redeemed through Anakin's future grandson.


    “I need to see Anakin,” he murmured, mainly to himself but loud enough for Yoda and Ben.


    “That's a priority. The faster we bring Anakin back and rid him of the seeds of Darth Vader, the quicker we can go after Palpatine,” Ben agreed. “But killing the Sith alone will not be enough.”


    A nostalgic smile tugged at the corners of Obi-Wan's mouth. Watching Ben take over was very much like watching Qui-Gon Jinn defy the Council. Only this time, Obi-Wan saw the reasons for Ben's radical changes. Some of it rocked him to the core, ramming against the very code he had lived by. He wondered what Yoda's response to this would be.


    “A long-standing tradition you hope to change. Objections expect you should,” Yoda warned Ben after the young Jedi delineated his plan.


    Ben snorted and rolled his eyes with a dramatic flair. “Because your interpretation of the Code has served so well. You've isolated yourselves from the galaxy. People fear what they do not understand, clearly you should have seen that if presented with the opportunity many citizens would not care what happened of the Jedi.”


    “Unavoidable this was,” Yoda said. “Protected from the threat of the Dark Side we needed to be.” Humorlessly, Ben cocked an eyebrow at Yoda. The wizened Jedi Master sigh. “Agree with you I do. Expand the Jedi need.”


    “I suggest we find a safe house, a place the Jedi would go to if endangered. A place Anakin hopefully hasn't alerted Palpatine too,” Ben said, lacing his hands in front of him. “Once we start gathering the Jedi, I'll have to teach them to void themselves from the Force. We don't want to alert Palpatine of our location before we're ready to face him.”


    “And if we can't bring Anakin back?” Obi-Wan asked, his heart sinking at the very possibility that he would be forced to face his fallen apprentice yet again.


    The boy shrugged. “Then I'll have to do what my father could not.”


    “What was that?”


    “Kill the man responsible for giving him life.”>
     
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  14. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Wow!

    The convolutions of Ben's predicament and various courses of action. [face_thinking]

    Loved Obi-Wan's introspections.

    Very worried about Anakin's resolve to "play along." [face_worried]

    =D=
     
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  15. ZaraValinor

    ZaraValinor Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 31, 2002
    You're so fast. I don't know how you keep up on everything. Yeah, all our boys are in difficult situations.


    Chapter 6:


    Anakin was surprised when his old Master walked into the anteroom of his little prison cell, tired and hesitant. Quiet stilled over the prison cell, causing even the hum of the energy field surrounding Anakin to fade away. A palpable essence, the result of everything they had done and said in their lifetime together, stood between them, aiding in the chasm that had cracked under their feet. For a long while they gazed at each other; Obi-Wan's face masked in a film of calm resolve, while Anakin could feel his jaw work tightly.


    He wished Ben had come in. The younger man could snap his nerves but there was not the emotional weight that sagged Anakin’s shoulders now.


    He knew what had prompted Obi-Wan’s arrival. Bail’s ship had jumped into hyperspace not too long ago and it only made sense that the Jedi would try to bring their Chosen One back to his senses.


    “This won’t hold me forever,” he stated, unable to stand the breach. He should either be fighting on Obi-Wan’s side or against him, he could not live in this stalemate. “My Master will come for me.”


    A startled jerk was Obi-Wan’s only response at the honorific that had once only been for him. “Possibly.”


    “We have a connection. He’ll find me, and the Jedi will tremble,” Anakin probed, reminding his former Master that they were no longer bound. He had not been able to feel Palpatine’s dark presence for some time. Not since he’d felt a surge of it surrounding his supposed grandson, but he knew it must be there.


    “Ben has taken care of that,” Obi-Wan explained. Silence permeated the space around them, the chasm separating them. “Is Palpatine really any better than I?” came his old Master’s sorrowful question.


    “We’re moving,” he stated, ignoring the pain in Obi-Wan’s voice and the words that questioned him to admit a truth he could not yet comprehend.


    “We are,” Obi-Wan nodded, allowing the dodge, his eyes roving over the spartan furnishings in Anakin’s cell. “Are you comfortable?”


    Snorting, Anakin folded his arms in front of him. “So concerned for my welfare. Where was that concern when our lightsabers were locked?” His plan to fake his redemption had seemed to fall through the cracks of the abyss opened up between he and the man who raised him.


    “You choose that path,” Obi-Wan said after a struggled breath. “It wasn’t what I wanted.”


    “Yet it was you who came to me,” Anakin reminded sharply, his ice-chipped eyes boring into Obi-Wan’s.


    His old mentor did not flinch, he never did. “I had to try to bring you back.”


    “But there is no try, Master. There’s only do. What did you do? You attacked me. Not the best way to bring someone to the light, I’d wager,” Anakin hissed coming as close as he could without burning his skin on the energy shield. A sly smile curled his boyish features. “You hate me now, don’t you?” That caused Obi-Wan to wince, his penetrating gaze wavering from Anakin’s. “Must be disturbing with all that Jedi goodness inside of you. That you hate the boy you made.”


    A struggle warred over the bearded features, a struggle another might have missed. But not Anakin. He knew his Master’s weaknesses, could see the hidden emotions boiling inside of him. The struggle ceased and Obi-Wan’s gaze was once again the facade of a Jedi. “I don’t hate you, Anakin. I hate what you’ve become, but I can’t hate you.”


    “Careful, Obi-Wan. It is unwise to hide from your true feelings,” Anakin said snidely, a nagging sensation building at the base of his stomach.


    “Which isn’t to say that I’m not blazing angry with you,” Obi-Wan said in reply, his tone going cold with the strength of his emotion. “You turned your saber on me, you have killed people that I held as family and destroyed what was good and pure inside of yourself.”


    “And you remain innocent in this, I suppose?” Anakin growled.


    Obi-Wan blinked at the question, then shook his head. “No, I’m not blameless. I admit I made mistakes with you, Anakin. Perhaps I was too hard, too soft at times, but I did my best.” He swallowed, pain thundering on his features before blowing away like a summer storm. “If I caused you pain, know that it was done in the belief that it was for your own good. But this...,” and his hands waved to the cell Anakin was imprisoned in. “This, I won’t take blame for. You know what is right. You made a choice and you will be held accountable for it.”


    “You planning on killing me, my old Master?” Anakin asked, keeping the mocking tone to his voice. Fear, always fear, it swam through his veins, pumped as blood. It was his life force, his constant companion. Fear was all he knew. He had to become fear to dominate it. “I won’t go easily.”


    “Your death would do little good for the galaxy, Anakin,” Obi-Wan said quietly, his voice strained with repressed emotion. “But there are worse things than death. Something that you still have yet to learn.”


    “The galaxy must always come first,” Anakin quipped wryly. “For the great noble Jedi.”


    A sadness, deeper than anything Anakin had ever seen on his former Master, lined Obi-Wans face. “I wish I could bring you peace.”


    Anakin closed his eyes, denying the rise of the weakness inside himself. He had loved Obi-Wan; as father, brother, and mentor. It was so easy to fall back into that pattern of listening to this man, of seeking his approval. He could not allow the return of that love to make him vulnerable. “You speak of an impossible absolution.”


    “I don’t speak of absolution. You cannot erase what you have done, Anakin. You cannot erase the past. I speak of forgiveness. I would have forgiven you anything, I would have given you anything. Except the dark side.” Obi-Wan smiled, a strange twinkle lighting his otherwise abysmal eyes. “That was then. I’ve changed. Even the Jedi must change. Now, even knowing what you’ve become, I can only offer you forgiveness. Redemption, is something you’ll have to find on your own.”


    He walked out then, as quickly as he’d come in, leaving Anakin with his own thoughts. Were Obi-Wan’s words more tricks? He’d once trusted in every word Obi-Wan had uttered. Of course, it had not meant that he had adhered to it, but he had always believed those words had contained some measure of truth. His doubt to their importance in his life, had always been the dividing line between Jedi adages and himself. What need did a former slave have for forgiveness, for pushing aside his anger at injustice?


    Of course he would offer me words of hope. He could not afford to tell me the truth. That he’d rather see the Sith Lord dead,[/i[ Anakin told himself, now pacing his tiny cell. He never understood me. He wasn’t there when the life wafted out of my mother, he didn’t see her murderers going on about their lives as though they had little to do with her demise. It’s his fault that I slaughtered them, his fault that I’ve become this heartless Sith.


    ‘This, I won’t take blame for. You know what is right. You made a choice and you will be held accountable for it,’ Obi-Wan had said.


    Anakin shivered, falling onto his bunk and bringing the covers around him. ‘Space is cold,’ Padme had once told him as a child. He thought he’d become immune to the cold, until it was a part of him. Isn’t that what it meant to be a Sith, immune to the weakness of pain. Of its own accord, his mechanical hand rose to his face. He flexed the fingers of the mechanized hand, it could take a number of hits, could be shot at, and the pain was only minimal. He needed to be like the droids he’d once cobbled together in the darkness of his Temple quarters. He needed to be cold.




    “Distracted you are,” Yoda said at his side, poking Ben’s calf with his gimmer sick.


    Ben shrugged glancing down at the aged Master that would have, will have, taught his father. “Obi-Wan’s talking with Anakin,” he explained looking out the corridor window to where Anakin’s cell was. Stretching out, he could feel the tempestuous emotions brewing in that tiny cell. He feared that both souls would be blown away in the strength of unseen winds.


    He had come back in time to instigate the change in his grandfather and the Jedi, but now could find little footing in his path ahead. It was these times, with his father’s sense so close yet irrefutably changed, that he wished for the guiding hand of Luke Skywalker, the Jedi Master. Or perhaps the sharp wit of his mother. He missed them all at that moment, his Aunt Leia and Uncle Han; Jaina, Jag, and their little baby; Jacen and Tahiri. He had never known Anakin Solo.


    All of that could change, though he doubted he would be a part of their lives, he could watch on from the Force, waiting for his father and mother to mature, watching while they struggled, perhaps even falling in love yet again. Aunt Leia and Uncle Han arguing about something completely intangible to everyone around them; their children, his cousins, would get a chance at life. The Yuuzhan Vong would come regardless of what he did, but perhaps his sacrifice would bring a different life to those who’d come before him.


    “Can you see them Master Yoda? In the future? Can you see what will be?” Ben asked, remembering his father’s stories of his short but intense training period. Perhaps Master Yoda could see what Ben hoped for in his heart.


    “Know you do unsettled the future is,” Master Yoda answered after a brief moment of reflection. “No more can you do today, young one.”


    Ben nodded, feeling his shoulders slump. He closed his eyes, focusing on keeping the poison at bay. Sometimes, he felt so cold inside, the Vong venom stealing all warmth from him. Not even the Force could rekindle the banked flame that once burned in him.


    “Rest you need, long have you traveled,” Yoda said gravely.


    “I fear to lay myself down,” Ben admitted, his instincts forcing him to tell Master Yoda the truth.


    Heavy green eyes watched him. “Fear what do you?”


    “The dark,” he whispered. “To close my eyes and be forever blind to what will be. I fear to die and leave unresolved that which the Force set me to do.” He shook his head, wanting to feel the fire inside of him once again. Instead of the maw of emptiness in his belly. “I’m not my father. You don’t know him, but you will. He was, will be, strong. He’ll face whatever will come at him and he will not falter. He believed in goodness and light, he drew it out of people, showed their light hidden under shadow.


    “Strong your connection to him was,” Yoda ventured. “Empty his absence has left you.”


    “I was the last,” Ben said forlornly. He straightened his shoulders, forcing himself to show some measure of self-decorum. “I am the last. The last of what was but will not be again.”


    Hobbling off, Master Yoda said, “Come. Come, hold off the darkness I will. Sleep for a time, until your training we begin.”


    “Sighing,” Ben knew better than to argue with the Jedi Master. He followed Yoda into once of the cabins. Shrugging out of his vest, he tugged at his boots before stretching out on the bunk. A three-clawed hand touched his forehead as he closed his eyes, attempting to settle his racing mind. He felt Master Yoda’s essence bump against his own and he created the tiniest chink in his impenetrable shields to allow the diminutive Master in.


    “Damaged you are. Heal, young Skywalker, heal.”>
     
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  16. ZaraValinor

    ZaraValinor Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 31, 2002
    Chapter 7


    It was as though a bug was twitching its way around her skin, causing her nerves to flare with a ticking itch. She couldn’t stand still. She was sure that both her son and daughter could feel her agitation, after all they were the children of the vaunted Chosen One. After several hours of attempting to sooth them, she had decided to walk off whatever was causing the distress.


    She wore a simple gown, a long fur-lined robe kept her warm in the space-cold ship, and she had swept her hair in a simple braid that ran down the length of her back. A far cry from her usual aggrandized wardrobe. So much about her had changed since the Republic had fallen and had taken the heart of her husband with it.


    As she walked down the ships expressionless corridors, she toyed with the idea of seeing Anakin. Obi-Wan had stressed how important it was that Anakin stabilize before he could see her. But he no longer had any authority, neither of them did. As it was Bail’s ship, he was the only one of them that held any sway. Then there was the fact she was still pregnant and just as likely to be attacked as she had been on Mustafar. Still, she wanted to do something to breach the gap, to see her husband the way he had been before the galaxy had conspired against them.


    “Padme,” Bail pulled her from her reverie. He stood in front of a transparasteel viewport that looked in on the cargo hold of the corvette. “How are you feeling?”


    “Stronger,” she answered, sidling next to him and flickering her liquid brown-eyed gaze to the viewport. Her mouth turned down in a frown as she saw Ben Jade working through acrobatic maneuvers with Master Yoda.


    She had watched the young Jedi Padawan closely, since he had arrived with Anakin and Obi-Wan. It had struck her as strange the way both Jedi Masters, Yoda and Obi-Wan, sought confidence with the young man. And there was no doubt in her mind that he had convinced them to travel to whatever secret location she was not privy to. Then there had been his declaration about keeping the twins safe. Why would a Jedi Padawan she’d never met care so much about her, Anakin and their children? She found herself missing Ahsoka. She’d never had a need to doubt her loyalties.


    “He’s quite impressive isn’t he,” Bail pointed out, as Ben levered himself into a one-arm hand-stand.


    A heartbeat later, training probes encircled him. “Yes, very impressive,” she murmured, eyeing the still form that miraculously remained upright.


    Bail must have heard the dubious tone to her voice. “You don’t like him?”


    “I don’t trust him,” Padme admitted, bunching her arms into the thickness of her robe.


    If she had exclaimed she was the Sith itself, Bails expression couldn’t have been more surprised than it was now. Bail revered the Jedi, held them to a light and greatness that she was sure any of them would feel uncomfortable under. Yet, he quickly recovered from his surprise. No doubt, in the wake of Anakin’s betrayal, realizing how easy it was during these dark times, for even the light in one so young to be snuffed out.


    “What makes you question him?” Bail asked.


    She shook her head, feeling that itching crawl. “It’s nothing I can pinpoint. He appears to have an unlikely sway over the Jedi,” she answered, thinking of Palpatine and how terribly he had manipulated her. “And his arrival is timed too coincidentally with Anakin’s retrieval. He’s incredibly strong, even I can see that.”


    “And yet?”


    Suddenly Ben leapt out of his handstand, even as the probe droids simultaneously fired on him, his lightsaber igniting in his hand as he spun out of their direction, an azure ambient light. “And yet...vulnerable,” she thought out loud as she observed his strong strokes.


    “Reminds me of Anakin at that age,” Obi-Wan said, suddenly behind her. He too gazed upon the young Jedi with a fond smile on his face. Was she right to believe that he was being manipulated by a young man who reminded him too much of the boy he had lost? “The strength and the vulnerability.”


    “You would know that better then I,” she commented with feigned nonchalance. “After all he entrusts you with all his little secrets,” she snipped snidely.


    Obi-Wan’s eyes held such a baleful glare at that moment. “I would not speak of secrets if I were you, m’lady.” His meaning was so implicit that it made Padme take a step back from him. How easily he had cut her with such simple words.


    Bail frowned at them, caught between friendships. “It was truly good fortune that you were able to rescue him, Obi-Wan.”


    An enigmatic smile graced the bearded face. “An act of the Force.”


    “I want to see Anakin,” Padme burst in.


    “We’ve already discussed this,” Obi-Wan countered. “Not until both Yoda and I feel that is safe to you and the children. Once Anakin knows you are with us, Palpatine could possibly know it. How long do you think it will take for him to come after you and the children, especially with Anakin in his condition? Do you really want to put them in that sort of danger?”


    She returned his pointed gaze with a fiery one of her own. “And how do you know we can trust this Jade? How do you know, he hasn’t already sold out my twins? You? And Anakin? He said he could hear Palpatine’s voice.”


    “I know,” Obi-Wan affirmed simply. “Perhaps if you could learn to trust me, this wouldn’t be an issue.”


    “Yes, because you’ve never manipulated me before,” she shot back, heatedly.


    She gasped, tears springing to her eyes. Obi-Wan had been a friend to her during the long years of the Clone Wars. From Anakin, she’d learned that he had covered for the two of them, somewhat unknowingly, in the last three years. In his own way, Obi-Wan had loved them both. How hard it must be for him now, with her recriminations and Anakin’s blatant rebellion. Yet she could not help her distrust of the situation.


    Palpatine had been charming, a father figure to help her along the rough courses of diplomacy. He had sprung the seeds of the Dark Side in Anakin, cultivated it until her husband was nearly unrecognizable, and had driven the galaxy from a place of peace and justice, into a universe of tyranny. It would not be difficult to turn a young boy into the seeds of their destruction.


    “I...,” she breathed. “Obi-Wan…”


    She was cut off by the sound of a whirring door. Ben and Yoda walked out into the corridor, Ben pulling his tunic over his bare chest. For a brief moment she caught a tattoo on his upper right arm. Circular, black and faded, it contained some sort of creature on it, unlike anything she’d ever seen before.


    Ben’s oceanic eyes looked between the three adults and narrowed in scrutiny. “What’s wrong? Has Anakin done something?”


    Again, Padme could not ignore the nature of Ben’s questions. He paid too much attention to her small family.


    “No, Ben, just a small disagreement,” Obi-Wan answered, avoiding Padme’s questioning eyes. He knew what lay beneath Ben Jade’s facade, yet he would not answer her questions about the boy.


    Ben deflated with relief, his shoulders slumping longer then they should have. It was these moments that Padme felt an undeniable urge to wrap her arms around the boy, to protect him from whatever bowed his back. Silent manipulation came in all sorts of forms. Palpatine had played the caring grandfather. Did Ben play the vulnerable child?


    “Eat. Go eat,” Yoda urged the young Jedi. “No more will I teach you today.”


    “I think I’ll join you, Ben,” Obi-Wan said. “Bail, Master Yoda, m’lady.”




    “You must allow her to know the truth,” Obi-Wan said, as he forked his rice.


    Ben chewed and swallowed a mouthful. He grabbed his recycled water and let it rinse the residue in his mouth. The training session with Master Yoda had left him drained, yet for the first time in a long while, he felt the poison threading in his own blood retreat. He wasn’t cured, but it was a step in holding off the pain.


    “And how will I convince her of the truth, when Anakin still doubts it?” Ben pressed. “It’s not like I can show her the future, what would have been. She dies in that version. My father never even knew her. And why stop at Padme. Why not tell Bail, the whole Jedi Order. They’ll have me locked up with Anakin. I’m too young to go insane.”


    “Where do you get this flippancy?” Obi-Wan asked, shaking his head ruefully.


    “My mother,” Ben answered, and the jocular tone fled his voice. “She could flay the hide off a Hutt with her tongue. Not the prettiest mental picture. But she wasn’t one for finery. She loved ships, though. As a wedding present my father built her a ship. Of course, the Vong eventually tore it apart. It seemed impossible my father had any duties as a Jedi, considering the starcurisers they went through.”


    Suddenly, Ben was aware of his memory trip. He gave Obi-Wan a chagrin look. “Sorry, I sometimes fear that Ill forget them entirely.”


    Obi-Wan looked down at his food, a sadness falling over him. “Anakin, once said something similar to me. He feared forgetting his mother.”


    “You spoke with him the other day,” Ben ventured, watching the older man’s features.


    “I did,” the Jedi Master said simply, a hundred meanings in those two short words.


    Ben took another pull of water. “How did it go?”


    Shrugging, the Jedi Master scratched his beard in delayed thought. “Better than the two of us trying to kill each other.”


    “I let him die,” Ben said bluntly.


    Questioningly, Obi-Wan cocked an eyebrow at him. “You let who die?”


    “My father,” Ben answered, pushing his rice from him. “I wasn’t the most obedient son or apprentice. I had my own thoughts and I voiced them often. My father was good to hear me out and weather my tantrums. But when the Yuuzhan Vong were so close upon us there was never a greater time I wanted to disobey. I even pulled my lightsaber on him.” Ben snorted at Obi-Wan’s wide-eyed expression. “Doesn’t make much sense does it? But I wanted him to live and I thought I could force him to come with me.”


    “He told me I had to survive, and he pulled the only thing that I could not ignore,” Ben continued. “The Force. He taught me to trust in its will, to follow the goodness in its guidance. He knew both paths, so did my mother, they knew the light from the dark and they instilled it in me. When I reached out for it, it knew. It told me I had to go on. I had to be the one to survive. So I got on our ship and I took off and I left my father to be slaughtered.”


    He saw the sympathy on Obi-Wan’s face, the need to come up with something to sooth away the pain. “It is always difficult to lose the ones who raise us.”


    “I didn’t tell you that, to get you to feel sorry for me, Obi-Wan. I told you the truth, because there’s a lesson in it. The very foundation of my father’s Order. Love is the most powerful feeling in the galaxy, it can be the greatest strength and the most debilitating of weaknesses. But it can be tempered by the Force. I loved my father,” Ben closed his eyes as pain welled up inside of him. “But my loyalty was to the Force. A loyalty my father’s love instilled in me.”


    “The truth is Obi-Wan. Every feeling from love to hate to feigned indifference has its dangers. We choose how we use them. We choose whether they become the things that bare us up or the banes that tear us down.”


    The older Jedi looked into his eyes. “Is this what your father had that I did not? Is this what aided him in bringing Anakin back, where I failed?”


    Ben shook his head. “I don’t know. You and Master Yoda were both instrumental in my father’s training. Perhaps you’ve only missed the truest meaning of your lessons. And I hope in that you find the way to my grandfather. The galaxy depends on it.”>
     
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  17. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Fantastic and moving talk between Anakin/Obi-Wan. =D= Full of candor and regret on the one side and avoidance/denial on the other. You can really sense the conflicted connection between them, still. [face_thinking]

    **

    A beautiful and accurate description of Luke: [face_love]
    He’ll face whatever will come at him and he will not falter. He believed in goodness and light, he drew it out of people, showed their light hidden under shadow.


    I loved Yoda's compassion. :)

    **

    Your portrayal of Padme is terrific! Her frustration and recriminations and distrust are understandable, although of course Obi-Wan has never been a traitor to her, and she knows it deep down. Poor Bail is caught in the middle.

    **

    Ben and Obi-Wan's talk -- lovely truths about love. Very heart-tugging Ben's indescribably hard choice to leave his father behind.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
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  18. ZaraValinor

    ZaraValinor Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 31, 2002
    The personal confrontations are always the most fun for me to write.

    Yeah, that's the Luke I believe in. Padme is always very hard for me to write, I don't know why, so I'm super happy you like her.



    Chapter 8


    Darkness swirled around him. He could feel the grit of mining dust, could feel the collar that had kept him aboard the mining yacht, scratch irritably against his skin. Thankfully, it was deactivated for the moment due to Qui-Gon Jinn’s great skill. In their hurried silence, Obi-Wan’s heart rapped in his ears, until he was sure each and every vein would burst with the pressure. Xanatos, the Jedi Master’s fallen apprentice, was going to destroy the entire planet of Bandomeer, covering up his illegal activities and killing thousands of beings in the process.


    This was everything he’d thought a mission would be like, had even dreamt about as he lay in his bunk in the Temple. He could almost hear the buzz of his model starfighters circling over his head. But in so many ways, this was unlike anything he had ever imagined. In his dreams he always came flying in at the last moment or blocked that crucial shot with his lightsaber.


    Right then as he felt Qui-Gon’s frantic thoughts bump against his own, he’d never been more helpless in his life. He wasn’t a Jedi, all this training seemed inadequate. People were going to die. And he was only an inexperienced child.


    His eyes flickered to Qui-Gon, who was doing his own estimation of the area, looking for any possible escape. But Obi-Wan knew, he’d been working the mining tunnels for days and how volatile an explosion an ignited lightsaber could do in a closed tunnel and enough stale gas. The other slaves on the mining yacht had not been hesitant in explaining the unlikelihood of their survival.


    Obi-Wan turned back to the shut door, his skin brushing against the near razor edge of the slave collar. Inspiration dawned and he shuddered. Slowly, he reached into his tunic and pulled out the remote that would activate his collar.


    It was then that the Jedi Master realized he was dreaming. The trial of his youth was long past over and this was only anxiety causing him to relive a part of his life that had been both struggle and reward. Lucid now, Obi-Wan allowed the dream to play out. He remembered turning to Qui-Gon then and declaring his brave and incredibly naive plan to save the planet of Bandomeer.


    But as he turned this time, he found Anakin in Qui-Gon’s place. It was not Anakin as he was now; jilted and given to anger and hatred. This was Anakin as he had been, on the cusp of becoming a Jedi as young Obi-Wan had been when Qui-Gon Jinn accepted him as his apprentice. He stood with his hands at his side, dressed in his customary brown and black Jedi garb, his hair shorn to the Padawan style, no longer long and wavy, his head considering Obi-Wan at a tilt.


    “Anakin,” he breathed, a line forming between his brows as he squinted in the pale light. His voice young and high.


    “Why don’t you open the door?” Anakin asked, the pace of his words, slow, milky, and deliberate.


    Confused, Obi-Wan shook his head. “This isn’t how it happened,” he argued. “You weren’t even born yet.”


    “Does it matter?” Now there was the lilting smile, the cocky grin. An image of Ben Skywalker flashed before the exit. “Time is running out.”


    “Xanatos is gone,” the next denial tore out of Obi-Wan’s young voice.


    “Disappointed,” Anakin said, “You’re still missing the point.”


    Unaccustomed to his former apprentice speaking in riddles, Obi-Wan felt his irritation rise. “What exactly is the point, Anakin?”


    “Are you going to use that?” the younger man asked, jerking his head at the remote still clutched in Obi-Wan’s hand. “You must decide.”


    Was Anakin to be concentrated on killing him even in his dreams? “The circle needs to be complete,” he exclaimed, pointing to the half-circle that had been Xanatos’s trademark.


    “When I left you, I was but the learner. Now I am the Master,” a menacing voice, breathed in a rhythmic hiss. He saw the flash of a red lightsaber, a cloak fluttering lifeless to a sterile floor.


    “It is nearly finished,” the young Jedi pointed out, scratching his neck thoughtfully.


    “Will you open it?” Obi-Wan asked. Back in his youth it had taken the power of both himself and Qui-Gon to complete the circle.


    In answer, Anakin walked to the blast doors and pressed his hand to the metal. Skin went through metal as the wind cut through the branches of trees. With a child-like smile, Anakin took his hand out and waved it towards Obi-Wan.


    “It takes two,” Obi-Wan admitted.


    A blink and Anakin had vanished, leaving him alone in the mining tunnel. No, he muttered and walked to the half circle emblazoned on metal. He put his hand on it and focused his will on the door. He would not lose Anakin again, especially not in the enigma of his own mind.


    The two ends, the edges of the near complete circle began to slink towards one another. But just as those opposite ends were to meet, his own power gave out and he could not make complete the circle. No! Dammit! He didn’t know what lay behind that door but he knew it was better than the darkness enveloping him. He had to believe in a better world. “Master, please,” he begged for the first time of the dead.


    Silence echoed his plea and he punched at the metal, the unyielding rock. He felt the darkness lick at his frustration, promising him easy power, enough to complete that circle.


    A hand clamped on his shoulder. “You cannot fight the darkness like that.” Ben Skywalker grabbed his hand. “I’m here to help.”


    Grasping the future Jedi’s hand was like holding sand, but eventually he got them positioned over the near-circle. With the power of two, Obi-Wan caused the ends to meet and the door hissed. He stumbled back as the slabs of metal spurted apart. Behind lay Anakin, as he was now, restrained in his cell.


    “Sometimes it is as simple as opening the door,” his Master’s voice reverberated in his mind.







    “You’re joking,” Ben gasped, as Obi-Wan finished laying out his plan.


    Cocking an eyebrow, the older Jedi replied, “This from the boy who traveled back through time on the whims of Force-visions.”


    Grunting begrudgingly, Ben said, “I had no other choice. It was either travel through time or let the Jedi become extinct.” Anger clouded Bens next words. “You release Anakin and you put everyone on this ship in danger. We’re talking about my father and my aunt. Innocence in this.”


    “I’ve trusted you, Ben. Against everything logical thought would tell me, I’ve trusted you. I understand that you fear for your family, but need I remind you that Anakin is a part of it,” Obi-Wan chastised gently. “All I ask is you return a little of that trust to me.”


    “A little? I suppose you think an asteroid is just a little obstacle,” Ben shot facetiously.


    A sly smile turned the corners of Obi-Wans mouth. “From a certain point of view.”


    Ben groaned. “Now I see where my father got it.” He eyed the older Jedi with his oceanic orbs. “Alright. But either you or I are with him at all times. Agreed?”


    “Agreed.”






    ”Mom,” Anakin ran into their tiny, sand sprinkled, disheveled, hovel that had been his home for the last six years. He held out the credits that Qui-Gon had secured for them by selling the his Boonta Eve-winning podracer to his care worn mother. “Look at all the money we have, we sold the pod.”


    It was more money than Anakin could remember every seeing in this entire life. It was not enough to free either of them from the degradation of slavery, but it would make their lives a fair bit easier. His mother could have a new dress, he could buy his friends a round of their favorite drinks at the cantina where all the space pilots told the best stories.


    “Oh, my goodness Ani, that's wonderful,” she said, her once strikingly beautiful face, once again brightening with his enthusiasm. A brief lightening of the load she carried.


    “And he has been freed,” Qui-Gon announced gallantly.


    “What?” Anakin exclaimed, missing the frozen expression on his mother's face.


    Qui-Gon offered a warm, fond smile. “You're no longer a slave.”


    The young slave boy could not believe his ears. He spun back to face his mother an eager but dubious expression on his boyhood features. “Did you hear that?”


    “You're free,” she said softly. Too young to understand the conflicting relief and fear in those simple words, Anakin could only smile dumbly. She bowed her head for a moment, then it sprung back up to regard the man behind her son. “Will you take him with you? Is he to become a Jedi?” Her wonder was infectious, and it seeped into Anakin as he gazed up at the taller man.


    Qui-Gon folded his arms into his sleeves and looked kindly at Shmi. “Yes. Our meeting was not chance. Nothing happens by accident.”


    “You mean I get to come with on your starship?” There was never a more blissful thought for Anakin, his dreams manifested in a heartbeat. Youth a general and inherently unfortunate to think that the galaxy revolved around them and slow to pick up on anything that does not readily involve them. So was it with young Anakin.


    The Jedi knelt down so that he was eye level with the excited boy. “Anakin, training to be a Jedi is not an easy challenge. Even if you succeed it will be a hard life.”


    “But it's what I've dreamed of doing. Can I go Mom?” he asked, to him she was the sole power in his world. How little he knew that there were others and many.


    She took his hands into her own and he felt the calloused skin against his own and thought nothing of it. Only Padme, the Queen's Handmaiden, could be so soft. “Anakin. This path has been placed before you. The choice is yours alone.







    He hid his surprise well, when both Obi-Wan and Ben entered his cell. Not since their first encounter had the three of them been together, there had been the more painful conversations with Obi-Wan – his pains he took care to cover in the ice of his anger - and the more laughable ones with Ben; it was getting harder and harder to invent reasons for this other Skywalker's existence. He could no longer doubt that Ben was a relation to him and his resolve to disbelieve the young man to be his future grandson was waning.


    Like a barrier being dropped, he felt a sudden surge of awareness of the ship around him. Instantly, he recognized the sun-warmed water-pool sense of Padme; next to Padme's sense there was an odd ripple in the Force as though it were reverberating off itself in a tiny swirl. It was tentative at best but spoke of untold potential. Abruptly, Anakin gasped as he made the connection from him, to the strange disturbance, and then to Ben.


    He looked up at the younger boy and the man who had raised him in unguarded shock. They had been hiding his family from him, but it was not this that gave him pause. Why, if it had been so effectual to keep his wife and child from him, did they now reveal the truth?


    “We're offering you an opportunity,” Obi-Wan answered his silent question. Ben frowned at this but did not say anything further. Obviously, this had not been his idea to allow the protective shield he kept in place but was playing the dutiful Padawan. It was then that Anakin felt the rest of his reserve slip and admitted that the boy was very much like himself.


    A thought occurred to him. If Ben had not suggested this, then it must have been Obi-Wan. It would have made sense had they still been Master and Apprentice, Jedi and Council Member; friends. Not Sith and Jedi.


    “You can either remain here and separated from Padme and your children or you can agree to a different sort of prison cell. One that consists of full time supervision by either myself, Ben, or Master Yoda,” Obi-Wan continued. “You will be allowed to wander the ship under our guidance and see Padme, and the child once he’s born, if you wish. However, the extent of your visit with them will be up to your wife.”


    “Know that if you get out of line, I will not hesitate to kill you,” Ben informed coldly. Obi-Wan sent him a disapproving glare, but Ben did not seem to notice. “Or if you lead that nerf Palpatine to my father and grandmother.”


    Shaken by the inexorable will behind Ben's words, Anakin turned to his former Master. “My death would do the galaxy little good. Isn't that what you said, my old Master?”


    “No, it wouldn't,” Ben drew his attention back. “But your life could make it worse if you put the future in danger. I don't want to kill you, but if there is no other alternative than allowing you to live and bring this galaxy to ruin, then I will.”


    Obi-Wan stepped forward, coming between the two Skywalkers as each glowered with similar expressions. “It's your choice, Anakin. I offer you a door. I will open it if you ask it.”


    Despite his better judgement, Anakin thought what this must cost his former Master. Obi-Wan's previous attempt to rescue him from the clutches of the Dark Side had ended in a battle that, if Ben had not interfered, would have caused Anakin's near death and Obi-Wan's exile. In some ways, he wished to be placed in the suit that Ben had spoken of, driven out of everything that had once made him feel human, vulnerable. These confrontations with Obi-Wan would have been much easier. Empty.


    Once he might have met Obi-Wan's gaze when his former Master spoke so solemnly, instead he managed to look just over his shoulder, not a direct link but one he felt kept up a measure of his pride. The choice should have been simple enough, for he had already set himself the assignment of infiltrating the Jedi. Yet as he thought of the consequences to Padme and his child, a child he already knew a brief history of, he could not think to lead them into the hands of his current Master.


    Had Ben or Obi-Wan orchestrated this? Another sort of prison for their Sith captive? He did not find it unlikely for either of them. But even as one part of his mind debated this, another told him to accept and see Padme and one day the child. One who would bring about the existence of the young man before him.


    Trying to put his mind around the ramifications of the future only caused him to be frustrated. Ben had told him that his father, Luke, would rebuild the Jedi after Anakin and Palpatine had razored them down, but it had not been, or would not be enough to repel a threat that no one could have expected, not even the Force had sent out a warning. Palpatine had long since been dead at this point, killed by Anakin himself in saving his son's life. Had the Dark Lord lived, would this threat have been vanquished? Would his son not be at his side if he could convince Palpatine of the boy's worth? Padme he doubted would let him take Luke before the Emperor, but she was not the only one to decide their futures. Luke was meant to be his, he felt that instantly. He should have a hand in his direction. A father where he'd had none.


    “I agree to your terms,” he said softly, not needing to feign the sincerity in his tone. He would be under their watchful eye for the moment while he hunted his own escape.


    An alien expression fell over Obi-Wan's features, one that disconcerted Anakin. Once he would have known exactly what a look from his Master meant. Whether quiet pondering, a soliciting quirk of an eyebrow, or his reminiscent repose. Obi-Wan had once been a datapad for him to view. Now when he needed the knowledge of the man who'd become an enemy, he found that he stood amongst a stranger. He cringed at the anxiety of separation he felt. He's no longer your friend and mentor, he is the obstacle, he chastised himself.


    Obi-Wan stepped forward and pressed a keycard into the security slot. Anakin felt the working of the energy as the barricade cycled off. He was totally free from his physical prison and he stepped forward to join his former Master and the young man who would be his grandson. Past, present, and future.


    “I'll take you to see Padme now,” Ben said, his voice deadpan now, objective. In that, they were not alike. Anakin had never seen anything except from one viewpoint. He had yet to realize that he only saw as a slave saw.


    Obi-Wan shook his head. “Master Yoda asked that you return to the cargo hold. Your training will not be neglected.” The reproach was nothing new to Anakin but here was another thing to see it directed at another. Had Obi-Wan carried that hint of softness amongst the harshness of his reprimands when he'd once addressed Anakin as Padawan?


    He shook this last question off as unimportant, as there was no way to review his past. Except Ben had gone back to change the future for his father. Anakin also pushed that away, knowing the headache it caused thinking of past or future tense when knowing what would have happened. Could still happen?


    Ben's jaw worked, ruddy stubble marring his chin. Headstrong and stubborn, yes, now that Anakin had admitted it to himself, this was definitely a Skywalker, one that could have come from himself. And his grandmother, Anakin thought of how unmoving Padme could be when she stood by something she believed in.


    After an untold moment, Ben gave a crisp nod and walked out of the room. He had also learned that Ben did not waste a lot on useless words. If a hand gesture or a bob of his head relayed what he wished, that would suffice. Now that he could take the boy's claims seriously, he felt that Ben's eccentricities needed discovering.


    Of course, Ben had left him alone with the one person he had not wanted to encounter again. Obi-Wan regarded him at some length before asking, “Where would you like to go first?” he said it with what was meant to be a light air, but the spaces between them lumbered heavily.


    “Padme”, Anakin said tersely, adopting Ben's precise speech.


    “Of course,” the Jedi Knight muttered and they retreated out the door and into the ships corridor. “Padme is unaware of Ben's connection to you and her. To reveal it would only confuse her.”


    Anakin only nodded.


    It had not taken him much to learn that they were on one of Bail Organa's corvettes. Sharp angled, it was amazing these corvettes had a space-worthy hull. Anakin had always preferred the more sleek appearance of a fighter. It had been long years since he'd thought of his podracer.


    A morbid stillness hung around them, as Obi-Wan guided him through the ship. It was not a necessity of Anakin's inability to find Padme, her sense pulsed at him unknowing in the Force, but a condition of Obi-Wan's requirements. Nor did he believe he would be allowed to visit his wife unaccompanied.


    Obi-Wan stopped before one of the cabin doors that had appeared after rounding a corner. With a quick flick of his thumb, he pressed the announcer.


    Padme came to the door, her eyes guarded but hopeful as she looked between he and Obi-Wan. It had only been a few days, but she seemed even more round with child than she had before. By the dark smudges miring her beautiful face, she wasn’t sleeping well. By the hunch of her shoulder and the slight bend of her back, she appeared beyond tired and slightly in pain. His eyes, went to her neck, and was relieved to find no bruising there.


    “Anakin,” she acknowledged, tears forcing her voice to a whisper.


    “May we come in m'lady?” Obi-Wan asked, the formality in his tone was such that had not been between Padme and the Jedi for some years now. Was that for Anakin's benefit or had there been another reason for the curt tone of Obi-Wan's words?


    “Yes, of course,” Padme said, and backed out of the door jamb. Obi-Wan waited behind, leaving Anakin to trail after her.


    It was a simple room for a Royal vessel. The carpets a plush violet that Anakin felt his heavy boots sink into with every step. The walls were ivory and red-veined Alderaniaan marble stood in columns against the room-side door. A large bed, covered in shimmersilk and pillows sat in the right corner, set off-kilter to create an interesting space. Not far from the bed sat the bassinet trimmed in knitted lace and Anakin felt a thrill of excitement pass through him. Very soon he’d be a father. Everything he’d sacrificed for was coming true. But the cost…had it truly been necessary?


    The basinet was small, smaller than he anticipated, Anakin saw this and felt an undeniable need to tower over his child and fight anything that threatened that vulnerability. Not Darth Vader, not the Sith, he only saw how those weaknesses could be exploited by himself, by the Emperor. The conflict inside of him nearly caused him to tremble, but he had chosen his path and he silenced the Anakin-side of him. For he, too, had a vulnerability that could be exploited.


    He saw the instant hurt in Padme as he marched toward Obi-Wan and requested, “Let's go.”


    “But Anakin?” Padme tried to stop him.


    The plea to her voice stopped him in mid-step. Such a plea would have never gone unanswered a month ago, now he considered marching from the cabin without Obi-Wan, even if that resulted in him being placed in his cell once more. He felt a tiny mind reach out to his and recoiled from its touch. Luke, he identified it a minute later. The boy, no his boy, flailed for him blindly in a shower of artless images. That's when Ben's presence stepped in and drew Luke's tiny mind back to where it belonged. He knew his future grandson would be monitoring this first meeting.


    “I can't do it, Mom. I just can't do it.”


    “Anakin,” Shmi admonished gently.


    “Will I ever see you again?” a tear-stained Anakin had asked.


    Running a hand through his hair gently, she asked, “What does your heart tell you?”


    “Yes, I guess,” he answered begrudgingly, but did not know that to be his hope or the Force Qui-Gon claimed was strong in him.


    “Then we will see each other again,” she assured him with a tender smile. She lifted another hand and cupped his head so that he looked at her straight on. “Now, be brave. And don't look back. Don't look back.”



    Anakin jerked his head toward Obi-Wan but the Jedi ignored him for a moment to speak to Padme in hushed tones. The Sith Lord ignored this. It was strange that this intimate moment did not engender the same anger it had on Mustafar.


    Finally, Obi-Wan joined him and Padme came to sit on the soft couch that was as elegant as anything on Naboo had ever been. Her shoulders shook with repressed sobs, but Anakin knew she would not let them out until he was no longer in sight.


    Behind him the door spurted open and Obi-Wan waited for him to exit. A farewell sat on his lips unused as he exited and waited for Obi-Wan to leave. It had seemed such an important event in his cell to come face to face with his family, now he regretted it, felt shaken and off-centered. Obi-Wan gazed at him questioningly but said nothing.


    “Leave the child to its mother,” Anakin said as an answer to the silent words plaguing Obi-Wan's thoughts.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
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  19. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Ben's clarity of purpose and resolve: fantastic!

    The dreams of past pivotal moments for Obi-Wan and Anakin -- very compelling, given the lessons embedded in them. [face_thinking]

    Wow! Anakin's conflict and final choice - very interesting! I thought he would embrace the chance to travel a road of a united happy family, but it appears he is taking steps no one anticipated. =D=
     
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  20. ZaraValinor

    ZaraValinor Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 31, 2002
    This is me just doing my own head-cannon but at some point, I think it was difficult for Anakin to continue to be Darth Vader. Yes, he had moments where he freaked out (Not that I condone this) but he always managed to reign them in before he pledged his loyalty to Sidious. But at some point, that heated anger and fear had to die down and then what was he left with. The Jedi were gone, Obi-Wan was nowhere to be seen and the Dark Side really wasn't all that he thought it would be, Padme was dead. So he sets up his home on Mustafar, to keep that betrayal alive and to fuel at least the sense of selfish indignation and the deeper down self-loathing he held for himself. At this point, he's trapped, so he knows he isn't good, but that anger and fear have died down too so he isn't necessarily all Sith apprentice. As much as he wanted to be a father, at this point, he thinks it's just better to leave them with their mother.





    Chapter 9


    He was far too old to pout, had far too many obstacles to mount and had little time to sulk and brood on the object of his intense dislike. As much as he tried to muster the feeling, he could not hate his grandfather out right. Perhaps he had come to be filled with that same sort of idealism his mother used to jib his father about, despite his steely reserves and outward cynicism.


    His grandfather had abandoned the Dark Side for the sake of his son, for the sake of Ben's father. But indirectly he had been responsible for the second destruction of the Jedi, because he had been one of the sole purveyors of the first. The Anakin sitting desultory with Master Yoda, as the diminutive Jedi Master walked around him muttering words that only Anakin could hear, was not Darth Vader. He had neither condemned the Jedi nor had he saved his son but the potential for good and evil waged a war inside of him, which side would win out was what concerned the young Jedi the most.


    Part of him had hoped that Anakin would look down at Padme, feel his son, the babe that would become the man who fathered Ben himself, and realize his folly. But from what Obi-Wan had told him, Anakin had practically fled from the family that he had given up so much for.


    “I know that face,” Obi-Wan said, suddenly above his shoulder. Ben started, his body reacting faster than his mind. His lightsaber was half off his belt before he realized that the man to his side was friend not foe.


    Sharply chagrined, Ben turned away from Obi-Wan's surprised expression. “What face would that be?” he asked, hoping to direct the subject from his overreaction. You are getting sloppy, Skywalker, he chastised himself. What he refused to admit was that the Yuuzhan Vong poison was taking a toll on him both physically and spiritually.


    If Obi-Wan saw the tremor of Ben's hand as he drew his jacket tighter around him, he was kind enough not to point it out. “That's the face he makes when he is only half-listening. I wonder if he even is registering what Yoda is telling him, I wonder if he ever bent his ear to me,” the Jedi Master continued on a sigh.


    Ben wanted to run from Obi-Wan's pain, to flee from his own. Instead he remained silent, unable to utter any words of consolation for a man who perhaps was not yet ready to hear them. The silence was not at all comforting. They stood side beside watching Anakin and Master Yoda, each lost in his own musing.


    “What happened?” Ben finally asked, unable to endure the impregnated silence any longer. Obi-Wan looked questioningly at him, his head tilted to one side as though to keep an eye on both Skywalkers. “Between the two of you, I mean.” Ben clarified. “My father told me that when you spoke of him, you spoke with fondness, not the hatred you had every right to. You still love him.”


    “And you do not,” Obi-Wan answered with a strange affirmative.


    Ben shrugged, turning form his questing gaze. “It is not my place to love him. I'm here to save him for the good of the galaxy. My father can love him.”


    “Can you save what you do not love?” Obi-Wan said. “That was the question you brought to me, remember. Your continued antagonism of him will not help matters, nor will you glaring at everything around you, treating even Padme as a possible enemy.”


    “I'm not expecting you to understand,” Ben replied folding his arms around him, grasping on to what little warmth was left in his body. He hated this disease, hated feeling so weak and vulnerable. What would his father think of him right now, if he was what he had once been, what he will be?


    Obi-Wan shook his head. “I don't think that I could understand all that has happened to you Ben. And perhaps that was my same fault with Anakin. There was a war. Palpatine insinuated himself between us while appearing to be forever trying to keep us together. I was too young, too set in my own ways, yet so willing to heed the council of others before my own. I knew Anakin's faults and yet trusted the judgement of other's who perhaps did not see them as clearly as I saw them. Part of me hoped that they were only bubbles waiting to be smoothed out by age. Sixteen standard years separate us, Ben, and still I am the only father figure he can claim. I raised him as I had been raised, without thought that he needed something different or when it did occur to me, unsure of what it was he truly required. I knew how to be a Master, I did not know how to be a father.”


    An indecorous snort sounded from the younger Jedi. “My families down fall was the result of innocent ignorance and tenacious denials. Not very reassuring.”


    “I'm not expecting you to understand,” Obi-Wan threw his previous words back at him. “Regardless, it matters little in the wake of the present. You have been the only person to go back in time and even if I could, what would I tell myself. Vague compunctions that would only confuse me more. I tried my best with Anakin, but there is no success in my attempt.”


    “Do or do not there is no try,” Ben murmured. How many times had his father drilled that in him and yet only now did he truly understand the meaning behind it.


    “Yoda.” Obi-Wan made the name a praise, a compulsion for it had once been the clawed hand that had guided his own.


    Ben shook his head, feeling a wave of dizziness sweep over him. It was all he could do not to sway on his feet. “My father.” But that was only a half truth and it cracked on a note of sadness. Yoda had been the one to train a callow Luke and in return father had passed on to son. He told himself firmly that he would not cultivate Padme's suspicion of him by seeking out the tiniest touch of what his father had once been.


    Azure eyes suddenly snapped onto him, abandoning his former apprentice and the great Master. “You aren't well,” he stated.


    “No, I wouldn't be, would I,” Ben replied with a razor edge of purpose. Why did the older Jedi have to bring up the very subject that Ben was trying to avoid? He did not want to admit that he was afraid. Afraid that when he slipped away into the Force that only his essence would remain, that he would have no clarity of person, not definition of self. He would only be a thread in the tapestry of the Force. “I'm meant to die here,” he whispered, a confirmation of his fears.


    A period of awkwardness, more intense than any since that first moment Ben had appeared in this time, filled the space between them. A petulant boy, he knew that was what he had become, but he could find no way around his emotions. He hated that Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker had not been perfect, that the isolation of the Jedi had separated them from the rest of the galaxy so far that their cries had fallen on the deaf ears of a society that did not care enough to rise against an Empire, and he despised them all for their lack. Yet, he could not help but feel a certain kinship for the man he'd been named for and his future grandfather. The confusion of his commingled emotions and the continue battle of his Force strength against the might of the Yuuzhan Vong disease had caused him to be irritable and snappy. He could barely remember the time when he'd been just an innocent boy.


    “You flicker, like a repulsor engine spurting to life. I haven't felt that since....” he drew off and Ben could not guess at what tumbled in his mind. “If I could save you, Ben, I would. But death is something no one can escape.”


    At least he was not offering a promise he could not fulfill, though his words stabbed at him like a vibroshiv through his belly. He was well aware that death was unavoidable, he'd offered his father up to the inevitability of death before he'd come to this time. A thought occurred to him.


    “Are you saying that I should not have come here?” he asked, letting his own worry and doubt about moving through time, manifest through his trembling voice.


    Obi-Wan's concern showed on his bearded face. “The Force lead you here for a purpose.”


    “To save Anakin?” Ben forced himself to ask.


    “That is what I hope,” Obi-Wan said noncommittally.


    The younger Jedi would not be sated by that answer. “What do you suspect?”


    “I have no clear foundation for suspicion and therefore couldn't express one, but I fear that the Force might have other plans for us,” he said, a hand waving to take not only Ben and himself, but Yoda and Anakin, and the ship at large. He pointed his piercing gaze on Ben. “And for you.”


    Ben shook his head, biting his lip to keep a grip on his nausea. “You're wrong. You have to be.”


    The Jedi Master was saved from reply by the sudden arrival of Padme. Her gait was a determined one and her liquid brown eyes scrutinized him and Obi-Wan as though they were obstacles to be surmounted. It was at that moment, with her face so pink and young, that she reminded him of his cousin Jaina.


    “Master Kenobi, I would think that you have indulged in an indiscretion by the shared scowl on your faces. Padawan Jade, however, shares Anakin's pout. Are these factors inbred in all Jedi or are they learned from Master to Padawan?” she snipped.


    For a moment Ben feared that she had discovered what he fought to keep hidden but realized that Padme was lashing out at the only people around her, as he had been not seconds ago. Abandoned by her husband, left to raise her two children alone, children who had become the mark of a veritable mad man; Ben found little reason she should not carry her righteous anger. Still he could not let her even entertain the notion that he was somehow related to Anakin.


    Sometimes the best deception is a subtle one, his mother had once instructed him as they had worked the coral patches of the Yuuzhan Vong. “You're not wrong,” Ben said, a lilt of humor in his tone. Let her ponder that!


    Obi-Wan turned a chuckle into his hand. The baleful glare Padme sent his way, instantly melted his humor. “May we be of assistance, m'lady?”


    “Bail has informed me that we will be arriving at Natheana soon.”


    Obi-Wan and Padme continued to snip at each other, Ben returned to his study of Anakin and Yoda, and his mind turned to their next move. The Empire would spread quickly throughout a passive and uncaring galaxy or, so he recalled from the brief history that Aunt Leia had deigned to teach him, before she'd been taken by the Vong.


    Strikes would have to be crucially timed and placed if they were to impede the Emperor's ambition. He thought Wayland was perhaps a good place to start. He and his father had hid among the Noghri there after his mother's death. They’d left a short time later, afraid to lead the Yuuzhan Vong into a people who were still struggling to rebuild their culture after the degradation of the Empire.


    His head reeled with everything that must be done. He needed to find out if Natheana held any starfighters, weapons, or troops that could be used against the Empire, or would they be forced to send out their slim Jedi contingent, on foot to face the increasing might of the Empire. It had become a habit of Bail and himself to watch the holonews each day and learn of the sweep the Empire was making. There was already talks to put a Garrison on Alderaan, full of stormtroops Ben had been surprised to learn had originated from clones. Bail's absence from his planet could only be extended so far.


    Which left Ben and the Jedi in another predicament if they did not have transportation. One of them would have to accompany Bail, most likely Ben, for he would be the least likely recognized, to gain transport. That left Obi-Wan and Yoda to handle the Jedi and Anakin, something he knew they could handle, but felt he was abandoning them to. Over the years he had gotten used to handling everything himself and he could imagine how his mother would tell him it was his inherit Skywalkerism. Something he had managed to cultivate to rival his own father’s sense of duty.


    Like the rolling of the tide, his grief came afresh, knocking loose his walls of protection and sweeping them away in its recess. It was all he could do not to give vent to the emotions wailing inside of him. His doubts and fears blended with his aching loneliness until they all combined to form a wet, ugly lump inside of him. Something, he could not dispel despite his desperate attempts.


    Even the argument between Padme and Obi-Wan, so genteel heightened the difference between when Uncle Han and Aunt Leia had gone at it or the insults his mother used to toss so deftly at a restrained Luke. It hurt to think he would never hear their arguments again.


    “Ben?” Obi-Wan cut into his thoughts, bringing his attention back to his future grandmother and himself. When had they stopped bickering?


    At the sound of his name, he turned to face the older Jedi. It was cut off, his body hitching, as a pain as great as but different from his grief gripped him. He cried out, crashing to his knees, his every nerve thundering with pain. The Force flickered from him, like gossamer threads in the wind, and he reached in vain to grasp them. Strong arms gripped him or he would have keeled over on the parasteel deck.


    “Ben what is it? Is it the poison?” Obi-Wan hissed in his ear, as Padme begged in a tight voice, “What is wrong with him?”


    “Help,” Ben grunted past the pain.


    Obi-Wan's hold on his shifted as he put a hand to his forehead. “I can't get in. You're repelling me.”


    “Not me, poison,” Ben protested weakly before darkness encroached over his vision.
     
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  21. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    This is so utterly insightful & moving:
    "He hated that Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker had not been perfect, that the isolation of the Jedi had separated them from the rest of the galaxy so far that their cries had fallen on the deaf ears of a society that did not care enough to rise against an Empire, and he despised them all for their lack. Yet, he could not help but feel a certain kinship for the man he'd been named for and his future grandfather. The confusion of his commingled emotions and the continue battle of his Force strength against the might of the Yuuzhan Vong disease had caused him to be irritable and snappy. He could barely remember the time when he'd been just an innocent boy."


    [face_nail_biting] for the final physical collapse. It makes the final outcome, especially for Anakin, even more shrouded in uncertainty.
     
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  22. ZaraValinor

    ZaraValinor Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 31, 2002
    Ben's a fighter, but it will definitely have an impact on Anakin.




    Chapter 10


    “I wouldn’t move if I were you,” a soft if slightly sardonic voice was the next thing Ben heard. It took him only a few heartbeats to recognize that it was a voice he did not recognize and that he felt as though a heard of Banthas had attempted a rain dance inside his raw mind. Still, his reflexes caused him to move before logical thought, his rising chest hindered by a sudden firm but gentle hand. “You don’t listen very well do you?”


    He was relieved to find that his blindness was only an effect of dimmed lights. “Who are you? Where am I?” he demanded, in his uncertainty forgetting that Yuuzhan Vong did not respond to the Force and the power he put behind his voice was useless.


    “Natheana,” the voice replied in a feminine monotone. “My name is Padawan Quelee Zhan.” Ben heard the rustling of cloth and sudden gasp of air. “We are strong aren’t we?”


    There was an inexplicable strain to her words as though it was Ben’s fault that she had crawled into his quarters and wakened him suddenly. He’d pushed her away using the Force. He felt his cheeks burn with recrimination. His parents had always taught him to be careful with the power that he held. It was all too easy to blame it on his sudden confusion and he did his best to keep from walking down that line. He was responsible for his actions; whether purposeful or accidental.


    “Sorry,” he muttered, even as he racked his brain for the events following up to his little recovery. “I can’t get a grip on what’s been going on.”


    “I’m not surprised,” the voice, Quelee, said. “What with the size of the seizure Master Kenobi described, it is amazing that you are as coherent as you are.”


    Memory snapped into place with a resounding mental twang. “So that’s what they’re calling what happened to me?”


    “What else would they call it?”


    Ben shook his head regardless of the fact he knew Quelee could not see him. “I just wasn’t sure,” he sputtered. “This hasn’t happened very often, only a time or two before, and I was unable to see a medic.” At least that much wasn’t a lie. Passing out like that had only occurred when he’d gone too long without going into a healing trance. In retrospect, he should have informed Master Yoda and Obi-Wan about this little issue before he demonstrated it physically.


    “Didn’t your Master worry about these episodes?” she asked aghast.


    “He would have, if he hadn’t joined the Force,” Ben snapped, feeling a certain defensiveness for his father. Even though the poor healer, for why else would she be watching over him, could not have known the horror of leaving his father behind to die.


    There was along silent pause, in which Ben wasn’t sure if he should apologize again or storm out of the room, blind as he was. Instead, he whispered, “Could we have some light?”


    Again, there was shuffling, but it was so economical that it reinforced Ben’s belief that his companion was a healer, and the lights flickered on. As he blinked against the sudden brightness, he was surprised to see that it was a girl, no older than himself, that had been his protector. Her voice had entertained such a low, melodic tone that he had assumed older woman. I’ll kick you in your assumptions, my boy, his mother had been fond of saying and a smile tweaked the ends of Ben’s mouth.


    Her long dark hair had been bound in a braid save for one slim tail that fell behind her ear and trailed in a line past her right shoulder. She was dressed in the same type of tunic and leggings that he had noted on Obi-Wan and Anakin, though his grandfather preferred darker fabrics. Still, he bypassed the plainness of the clothing to her green eyes. They were large and set in elfin features. And they measured him with equal study. “You have been knighted?!”


    Ben was thankful that he had been kept modestly clothed and that he was not currently hooked to monitors. He wondered if any had tried to take blood from him, if so he’d have to make sure that the samples were destroyed. “Not hardly,” he said, swinging his legs over the edge of the medical bunk. He lifted himself out onto the floor and nearly dropped embarrassingly to the floor, instead he sagged against the bunk, thankful for its handy steadiness.


    “You’re still weak,” Quelee informed him wryly. “And apparently the seizure damaged your hearing. You should remain still.”


    With a much more deliberate and careful movements, Ben maneuvered himself back into the bunk. “I won’t argue about that. I need to see Master Yoda or Obi-Wan Kenobi?”


    For a moment the girl balked at him as though he were certainly a Tusken short of a tribe. “They are both rather busy. They have captured the traitor.”


    Ben didn’t know if he felt guilty or not, for not rising to Anakin’s defense as he had for his father. Perhaps it was the fact that what Quelee said was true, Anakin had betrayed them. “Look, Queelee, tell them...”


    “It’s Padawan Zhan to you,” she cut him off.


    “Whatever,” he dismissed with a wave of his hand. “I’m not much in the mood for explaining myself. Now, if I must, I’ll drag myself out of this bed and crawl to Master Yoda and Obi-Wan, but I’d really rather not. So be a sweet and get one of them for me. Tell them that Ben S... that Ben Jade needs to speak to them.”


    She wagged between disbelief and indignation, but finally acceded to his request. “Don’t leave.”


    “Where would I go?” He scowled.


    “I’ll be back soon,” she said, as though to state that she still didn’t quite believe he wasn’t going to run off.


    Muttering something about noisy healers, Ben pushed his jelly-like legs underneath the warmth of the blanket. He hadn’t realized he was so cold until painful feeling came back to his nerve endings. Gritting his teeth against the sharp flares of fire, he acquainted himself with the area. The med-equipment was, not surprisingly, outdated by his standards, and seemed overly bulky and loud. There was a bacta tank in one corner, the type that has father had spoken of with a wince when he recounted the days on Hoth. It was the most advanced technology now, it would have been considered overused in the time of the Rebellion, by Ben’s account it looked archaic.


    However, the bed was comfortable, and he found his wearied body drifting off to sleep when the door sputtered open. He forced his heavy eyes open. It had not taken the healer long to find the busy Jedi. “That was quick,” he echoed his mental musing, when Padme entered the medical clinic. “On second thought, this is unexpected.”


    “An unfortunate surprise?” Padme asked, and there was no mistaking the air of command in her tone. Ben was reminded that she had one been a Queen and then Senator to her home planet.


    “That’s not what I said,” he countered, trying his best to look at ease despite the nagging sense he felt from the woman who would be his grandmother. “Was there something you needed or do you just like visiting the med ward?”


    His words had the desired effect, she blinked at him, unsure how she wanted to continue what had obviously been an interrogation session with a weakened opponent. “You’re unlike any Jedi I’ve ever met before. Yet, there is something familiar about you.” She settled a dark gaze on him. “Who are you?”


    “You know who I am. I am a Jedi Apprentice,” Ben answered levelly, making his tempered answers seem almost an insult; as if she could not follow his thoughts unless he spoke in a slow cadence.


    “A sick Jedi Apprentice, who appears out of the atmosphere, and has instantly fallen into the good graces of two of the most influential Jedi alive,” Padme ticked off the list on her fingers. “Some might say this is a clever ruse.”


    Ben sat up against his cushions. “Certainly, you realize Jedi get sick, and they have a certain knack for appearing when and where they are most needed, and Master Yoda, Obi-Wan, and I have a certain connection.”


    “And Anakin?” she asked, unknowingly voicing his own private worries to Obi-Wan.


    He snorted. There was nothing better than telling the truth. “I want to help him turn away from the Dark Side. I want to save his soul.”


    ‘Why?” she asked, and there was no mistaking the strain of tears in her voice.


    “Because, I believe that he still has something to give the galaxy, that there is something he still must do. That his destiny is right now unfulfilled and that until it has been brought to fruition the galaxy, including the twins, will suffer for it,” he elucidated.


    She drew out a blaster then, somehow able to mask its arrival from him in the Force. Perhaps there were still things he did not know about his future grandmother. “And why would you believe that?”


    Pulling the Force into an intricate weave around him, Ben kept his facial features opaque. “Padme, I’ve seen the future,” he continued his truth from a certain point of view. Great, I’m turning into Kenobi now. “I know what will happen if we do not change the path Anakin and the rest of the Jedi have put themselves upon. I was born to change it.”


    He knew that if she was were to take a shot at him, he could deflect it or dodge it. He didn’t want to do either. This was his opportunity to get her trust without releasing the entire truth. “Give me a reason to believe you?”


    “Because I have no reason to lie about something so important, and because I’m dying,” he admitted more than he’d like, but he saw how she responded. Her mouth fell open into a small ‘oh’ and her eyes grew nearly as wide. “In fact, I could use your help. I can’t allow the healers to learn the extent of my illness. They would never let me out of this blasted place. And then there’s the fact that your blood is like living death. “I wanted to get Master Yoda or Obi-Wan to do it, but to prove my faith in you, I’d leave it to your capable hands.”


    After a few moments of silent deliberation, Padme returned the blaster into her long robes. “Alright, I’ll help you. But I want a favor in return.”


    Knowing he’d gotten himself into this debacle, he nodded his ascent. “Seems only fair.”


    “I want to speak with Anakin. He has been denying my presence, and I believe I might be able to help,” Padme said.


    “Which is probably the very reason he keeps you at arm’s length. He is still a danger, Padme. He knows that. I don’t want to put you into unnecessary danger.” Is this how she would have died? Trying to bring back a humanity inside a machine that could not yet remember it. It made him shiver to think. “And there is the fact that Anakin cannot be out of the sight of a Jedi.”


    “You could take me to see him,” she pointed out, coming to the foot of his bed.


    “I could, but Anakin is not exactly in his right mind,” Ben felt he had to remind. “He has given himself over to a dark power. Anything he says and anything we tell him can be used against us.”


    Those deep brown eyes filled with tears. “He feels so far away from me now. Even during the war, I felt there was a part of me with him and him with me.”


    He watched her as she collected herself, dashing slim hands under her eyes to erase the wet drops escaping their soulful prison. He wondered how Anakin could bare to see this proud woman reduced to such a struggling state. Slapping his grandfather around wouldn’t necessarily mean an act of the Dark Side.


    “I’ll help you,” he answered.






    “There you are,” Padawan Zhan said, as she identified Ben. Obi-Wan was just thankful the boy looked greatly improved from his sudden ordeal. If it hadn’t been for Master Yoda sensing the distress from his young apprentice, they might have lost Ben from this mysterious disease.


    The young Skywalker ignored the Padawan and focused his attention on Obi-Wan. “Where’s Anakin?”


    “Under surveillance and currently being questioned,” Obi-Wan answered, slightly disconcerted by Ben’s lack of decorum. Apparently, Luke Skywalker organized the Jedi in much looser terms than they exhibited now. “You left the medical area.”


    “What you think I should allow myself to atrophy? The quicker I’m on my feet, the better,” Ben informed. “Besides, there’s enough here on this military base of yours to make my wildest dreams come true.”


    Obi-Wan crushed the smile that begged to come on his lips. “And what would those dreams be?”


    “Crushing Palpatine into the dust,” Ben answered without any shame. “Oh, do not give me that look. You’re worse than my f...my master. You’d think any truth was a spacelane to the Dark Side.”


    “Perhaps your eagerness for the task, is what causes the trepidation, Padawan Jade,” Obi-Wan pointed out, his eyes flicked to the young healer who was trying very hard not to be intrusive while hanging on their every word. Healers, the greatest gossips of the Jedi Order.


    Ben, however, was not attuned to the present culture and continued to speak as though their words were not going to be scattered throughout the field of the Order, like Muja seeds. “Oh, and you enjoy being repressed and hunted down. Perhaps you’re unsure as to what the Dark Side entails. Come on, Obi-Wan, we don’t have time for this sort of distraction.”


    Straightening and throwing a surreptitious glance at Padawan Zhan. He could only hope that the boy was as quick as he appeared to be. “Padawan Jade, you will address me as Master Kenobi and I will report your behavior to Master Yoda. I do not know how your former Master ran things, but Master Yoda will not stand for this lack of discipline.”


    He should have worded that differently, he saw as Ben winced at the shaded mention of his father. And he was sure Ben did not have to put on too great an act to appear chastised. Bowing, he said, “Forgive me, Master Kenobi. I have been long from the order.”


    Cursing his chosen role as demanding Jedi Master, Obi-Wan snapped, “Excuses will not save you now, young Jedi. Come now.”


    He did not look back as he headed for Master Yoda, he knew that Ben would play his part and trail begrudgingly after him, but he wondered how many times he’d had to play this same sort of role with Anakin and how it might have been the chips that eventually caused the chasm between them. Once they were a fair distance from Padawan Zhan, Obi-Wan slowed his pace to come even with Ben.


    “The healers are perhaps the most dangerous to speak with. They revel in all the secrets of the order. If I had not chastened you, many would wonder at your freedom,” Obi-Wan said by way of apology.


    “I should have known better,” Ben admitted. “All my years of caution and I atrophy in a few short days. I just...,”he drew off.


    “You just want to feel safe,” Obi-Wan filled in.


    The young Jedi shook his head. “Nowhere is safe, Obi-Wan. Not here, not in the future, not the past. Not even inside me.” He stilled himself. “I need you to be my strategist. I’m fair, but I’ve always heard that you were quite the tactical mind. We’ve got ships, I’ve seen them. Fair for the standard starfighter, which means their prime for this time. I suggest you pose a strike against Palpatine right now, while he’s still reeling from Anakin’s absence.”


    “You think he’s disoriented?” Obi-Wan asked thoughtfully. What he had learned of Palpatine, the man had excelled at setting all around him off kilter, with him at the center of the push.


    “He doesn’t know it yet, but he’s exposed himself, and that makes him vulnerable,” Ben said. “So we strike, where it will make him feel the most weak.”


    “And where’s that?”


    “His secret storehouse.”






    The boy seeks to destroy me, Palpatine hissed in Anakins mind. Lord Vader. All we have done will be unwound. You cannot allow him to live.


    Yes, Master.
     
    Kahara likes this.
  23. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Padme's "favor" and heartbreak - very much in character. Ben's idea to strike is a wonderful one, but [face_nail_biting] then we get the last couple lines! =D= =D=
     
    ZaraValinor likes this.
  24. ZaraValinor

    ZaraValinor Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 31, 2002
    Let's hope Ben's right.



    Chapter 11


    Anakin's new cell had no marked differences from the one on Bail's ship, save that when back on the cruiser he'd only dealt with Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Ben. Now he had what Jedi survived from the attack on the Temple and the coup that Palpatine had formed with the clone troopers who had been thought to be loyal to the Jedi, watching his every move, drilling him with questions that he refrained from answering, and crying for justice. They had taken him in and he had betrayed them all.


    Well, it was hardly his problem that the Jedi had trusted Palpatine as far as they did, nor did he feel regret for choosing the side of the Sith, where his power was never restrained. He used it as he saw fit and his desires were made flesh, not the idealistic dreams of a stupid boy. He would never be so weak again.


    He was dwelling on his lack of apathy when Ben walked in. He hadn't seen his future grandson in days, not since Yoda had burst out of their little revival session and Obi-Wan had covered as his chaperon, a decidedly worried expression on his features. A cursory glance told Anakin that Ben was thinner, mostly in the face. What should have been boyish flesh, was sunken and gaunt, ashen rings dusted around his eyes, making him appear as old as Master Yoda.


    “Come with me,” Ben stated with finality. He did not wait for Anakin to follow but expected it. The young Sith had little choice in the matter, he had brought himself into the belly of his enemies, any untoward move would get him executed. It was another clue into Ben's psyche that the young Jedi understood this precipitously. Was his grandson used to giving such commands?


    He would never know. His orders were clear. Alive, Ben was a danger that Palpatine had not been prepared for and had only one avenue to deal with. Whether his Master knew that Ben was a future Skywalker, the son of Anakin's son, it did not matter. He knew that the younger man needed to be dealt with. To reveal Ben's true identity was to reveal his child's existence.


    The young man had offered him the perfect opportunity to exact the execution, taking him away from all those seeking eyes and demanding glares. He could fulfill his Master's wishes and perhaps escape before any was the wiser.


    “Where are we going?” he asked, hoping for someplace isolated.


    “Practice room,” Ben said tersely. His voice distant. “There's a surprise for you there.”


    Anakin resumed silence. He doubted that if he pressed the subject that Ben would tell him and though he wanted to know what the young Jedi was planning, it was not important in the wake of his assignment.


    Predator to prey, Anakin studied the boy who would be his future grandson and was nothing more than a stranger. If Palpatine had not known of this other Skywalker, Anakin would have been tempted to get him to join his side. Now, he zeroed in on weaknesses that he might target, the best and easiest way to bring this strong Force-user down. The faster Ben was dead, the quicker he could run.


    Someone else would have to raise Luke until he had more leeway as to where his next assignment was. Padme was out of the question, she caused feelings to flame in him that he wished to douse in the chill of the Dark Side. His feelings had to be hidden and defeated, to leave no exploitation.


    Ben had learned to hide his own well. It was the unnatural bounce to the step, the way he measured his movements, as though he knew exactly how much they cost him, that revealed Ben's fatigue. What had the Jedi sent this young one to face while they had transferred Anakin to this holding facility? Anakin recognized the fatigue as a type he'd once held during the war, the unending days, that had sapped his strength like moisture in the Tatooine desert. The scars running down Ben's face and arms, only heightened the effect. He appeared both tired and infinitely alert. Which marked him as a soldier to Anakin.


    One other thing to be wary of in his future grandson.


    They reached the training room and Ben entered the access code, the door slicing open. Anakin entered ready to make his move when he stopped short, the air rushing out of him at the sight of Padme. He made to leave the training room, after a moment of snap deliberation, however, as he had before, when Anakin had been on the precipice of falling into a molten bed of lava, Ben intercepted his path.


    “Get out of my way,” Anakin ground out the order between tightly clenched teeth. It was amazing they did not shatter in his rage.


    A supercilious expression came over Ben's scarred features. “You see, you don't get to make demands. You're a prisoner of the Rebellion and right now one of its members would like to speak with you.”


    “I am not talking to her,” Anakin interjected.


    Ben shrugged, even though Anakin was a good handspan taller than he was and was doing everything he could to be intimidating. “I didn't say you have to talk. In fact, I'd rather you didn't because I would hate to see her upset. However, she asked to see you and I told her she'd get her opportunity to. Now I know you don't want to make me into a liar.”


    “You know very little Jedi,” Anakin hissed back. “You think that you can save me by reminding me what I used to be, you're a bigger fool than Obi-Wan. It was not so long ago that I was what you want me to be. I've opted for a better choice. I don't need saving. I've already been saved.”


    “Intelligence doesn't really run from your side of the family does it?” Ben whispered back tightly. “This isn't up for negotiation. Turn around and face your wife. You owe her that much.”


    “What would you know about what I owe her?”


    Ben took another step towards him, until they were toe to toe, and Anakin could feel the shimmer of his essence. “Because despite all you've done, she still loves you.” He cocked his head thoughtfully, peering at Anakin through one oceanic eye. “I wonder what it is about you that instills such loyalty from those you betray. Her,” he jerked his head at a waiting Padme. “Obi-Wan and my father.”


    “But you don't fall under that spell?” Anakin sneered, twisted knowledge.


    His red-gold hair waved as he shook his head. “You want my loyalty, you earn it. You want my love, you earn it. The only history we have, is the future, and your one redeeming quality is that you would have saved my father.”


    As they had before, Ben's words gave Anakin an internal shock. Was his life an inevitable pod race, where he dipped and rose, banked and wove, from one side to the other; from slave to tyrant, from tyrant to savior. Frustration, as it had always done, bled into anger.


    “I have little use for your loyalty or your love. If I wanted it, I would have taken it by now.”


    “Take it from somebody who is offering it,” Ben said, and made of show of locking the training room. “Because you aren't getting out of here until she's ready to throw you out.”


    “Fine,” Anakin said, and made to go to Padme. He stopped mid motion and swung a fist at his future grandson. Better to reveal to Padme who he was now and what he was capable of and take out this menace to his Master.


    Anakin’s fist connected with the scarred flesh of the younger Skywalker, Ben back-pedaling towards the secured door. He hit it with a metallic ringing, the air rushing out of him. As Anakin stepped forward to deal the Jedi another strike, a strange look came over Ben’s features, a near feral gleam shining from eyes that were now as unfathomable as the sea they imitated.


    “You don’t want to do this,” Ben warned.


    “I have my orders,” Anakin said and cocked his arm back for another strike.


    Metal slapped into flesh, as Ben grabbed his approaching metallic arm in mid swing. “Yeah, I heard that. For a Sith, the Emperor has a pretty loud mental voice. But you’re going to find that I’m not that easy to kill.”


    The grip on his arm twisted and Ben slipped behind him, pressing a strong hand to his back, until his face was smashed into the door. “I was raised by an assassin and Jedi Master. You would have known her as ally, but I knew her as mother.”


    Anakin jerked his head back and felt it connect with the younger Skywalker’s skull with a sickening thunk, the pressure against his back released. “Yes, please continue to tell me your sad story. How I should change my ways because your life has become so terrible.”


    “What are you two doing?” Padme cried out, reminding both Skywalker men of her presence. “Stop this right now.”


    “Padme get out of here. I’m sorry, I didn’t give you your chance, but there’s no point in you getting harmed,” Ben said, taking measured strides further into the training room but away from his future grandmother. He fixed Anakin with a cloudy glare. “He’s not the man you loved.”


    “What kind of Jedi speaks words of love?” spat the young Sith, ignoring the younger man’s plea to his own wife. “What do you know of love?”


    His words struck a target he had not been expecting. “Not much, war has been my existence,” Ben said and snapped a roundhouse kick that caught Anakin in the gut, sprawling him to the floor. “Go now, Padme.”


    For a moment she starred at Anakin and Ben, a wondering look of recognition in her brown eyes. Ben missed it, not knowing the former senator and queen as Anakin did. Padme knew though that Ben was a Skywalker. “You...your...,” she struggled to form the words.


    Seeing as Anakin wanted his wife to leave the area as much as Ben, he threw himself to his feet with a quick flex of his muscles and advanced an attack on the boy once more. With easy grace and skill, Ben deflected his strikes. “Padme, now!”


    Ben’s words spurred her forward and she ran to the exit, her pause to initiate the release code was the time of a short breath, and then she was gone. “That leaves you and me, grandson,” Anakin said in a sing-song tone, before he launched another attack at the boy.






    Padme did not stop her head long race through the corridors of the Jedi headquarters until she found Obi-Wan Kenobi. He was talking with one of the Jedi who had grown up with him, Siri Tachi, Padme believed her name to be. She had long blonde hair that was bound in a pony tail so sharp, it made her beautiful features severe and unyielding. Her startling blue eyes found Padme first. She touched Obi-Wan’s arm and gestured to the approaching Senator.


    “M’lady,” Obi-Wan greeted, his tone already measuring her distress.


    “Master Kenobi, Master Jedi,” Padme returned, knowing she didn’t have the familiarity with Knight Tachi to address her so informally. “Obi-Wan, we have a problem. Ben and Anakin are having a very violent discussion.”


    She had never seen such a reaction from the usually mannered Jedi Knight. Obi-Wan paled till she thought all blood had left his head and prohibited him from making any decisions. His reaction caused her to suspect her thoughts about Ben and Anakin were true. And that made her wonder all the more why they had kept Ben’s true identity a secret.


    Knight Tachi saw his reaction and turned to him expectantly. “What is she talking about, Kenobi? I thought Anakin was held under deliberate restriction.”


    “Ben has access to him,” Obi-Wan said off-handedly, dismissing Knight Tachi’s questions. “Where are they?” he asked.


    “Training room at the east end,” Padme answered, wishing that the blonde Jedi would let them alone so that she could question Obi-Wan further about her husband’s brother. She had seen how each of their eyes burned, the way they pinched in the corners, the turn of their mouth when they frowned, even their frames resembled each other, despite Ben’s slighter stature.


    “Lets go,” Obi-Wan said.


    “Kenobi,” an irritable voice rose between them as they headed back the way Padme came. Knight Tachi was following them. Padme exchanged a glance with Obi-Wan, hopefully relaying her desire to do this with only the two of them.


    Obi-Wan came to a halt and gave Siri a pleading glance. “Siri, I’d rather take care of this on a more intimate level. You and Anakin once shared a friendship but he is not the boy we knew.”


    Knight Tachi shook her head. “I read the report, Obi-Wan. He would have killed you. I’m not about to let him get a second chance.”


    “Trust me on this, I beg you. Things with Anakin are delicate as it is, with your special...personality, they could become volatile,” the Jedi tried to ease his friend.


    The other woman looked as though she was going to argue but glanced up into Obi-Wan’s eyes and read something there that Padme did not see. “All right. Just be careful.”


    “I will,” Obi-Wan said and returned to Padme.


    “Come, m’lady,” Obi-Wan said, and pushed her along the corridor.


    They walked in silence for a long while, Obi-Wan glancing behind them a number of times, as though to make sure Knight Tachi had not followed them. She wondered at their relationship. They had not appeared overly close, but there were certain mannerisms, a significance in phrasing that Padme had been too hurried before to notice. Certainly, they were friends, but had they been something other than Jedi could they have become more.


    “Why didn’t you tell me?” she said, cutting her own ponderings short and turning to the topic that offended her.


    Blinking, Obi-Wan cocked a ruddy eyebrow at her. Was she wrong or was their apprehension beneath that haughty questioning? “That Anakin had a brother.”


    It was as though Obi-Wan had suddenly stepped into hardening permecrete, he stopped that abruptly. “What?”


    “Ben,” she said irritably. “Why didn’t you tell me he was Anakin’s brother?”






    “I don’t give a damn what my decisions have done to you, Ben. Really. Perhaps it was my decisions in your version of the future that lead to it. The decision to save my weak son, the decision to turn on my powerful Master. Whatever destroyed your Jedi, surely would have fallen under the might of the Sith,” Anakin spat blood along with his words.


    Ben pointed at a scar that had been made even paler by the heat of their fight. “You see this. I got it when I was five years old. The Yuuzhan Vong were going to take my mother and I and sacrifice us to their abhorred gods. I used the Force to throw a tree at them. At that age, the Force held no bounds for me, but they still took us by sheer numbers. For three years they kept us in the corral patches as slaves before my father found me. My mother died in our rescue attempt.”


    “You’re not the only one to lose family, Ben,” Anakin shot back, dodging a fist and returning it with one of his own. An uppercut that doubled Ben over. He was about to use his elbow to drill the boy to the ground when Ben’s head came up and clipped him on the chin.


    “Yeah, but see, I don’t use that as an excuse to do whatever the hell I like,” Ben countered. He bowed his head and rushed Anakin, connected with his solar plexus and jamming him against the wall. Adjusting his grip, he kept Anakin pinned.


    There was no doubt in the older Skywalker’s mind that Ben used the Force to keep him there. Not only was Ben sick but he didn’t have the muscle mass to keep the bulkier Jedi trapped. “Which wouldn’t include going back in time to change the future to you own means.”


    Ben flexed his arms and slammed Anakin’s back against the solid wall. “Do you think I wanted this? That there was nothing else I’d rather have done. I could have just gone far back enough to save my mother and my father. But instead I let the Force choose where I was needed and wound up with my know-nothing grandfather and a bunch of lack-luster Jedi.”


    ‘Then join me and we’ll show them the truth of power,” Anakin changed tactics. There was something in Ben’s eyes at that moment, that made him believe that temptation was already there.


    A shiver went through the younger Skywalker, Anakin felt it tremble to him, and Ben released him. He staggered back so abruptly, it was as if Anakin had hit him. Pain etched itself on the young Jedi’s face and by the way he held himself, Anakin could guess he wanted to disappear.


    “You just don’t understand,” he muttered. “The power we have is too much not to give over to the will of the Force. I hear the siren song of the Dark Side, I don’t need you harmonizing with it.” Ben shook his head and for a moment he looked unsure on his feet. Blood trickled from a cut on his forehead, where Anakin’s boots had lanced the skin. Another scar. “You can pretend that you have no power over who you are, that you are a victim of circumstance and the only way out is to give yourself to that dark power. But I have to take responsibility for what I do.”


    He limped over to the Sith Lord, paused a safe distance away. “You aren’t a slave anymore, Anakin. It’s time you remembered that.”


    “I haven’t been a slave since I was nine years old. I am the one in power,” hissed the older Skywalker.


    “You were saved from slavery. A clever ruse manufactured by a well-intentioned Jedi, but you didn’t take that path for yourself. I fought my way out of the coral patches of the Yuuzhan Vong, I paid for it with the life of my mother, and for years of discord with my father,” Ben narrated. “Perhaps this is your chance to free yourself. Stop being a slave, stop giving your will to Palpatine.” He took a step, bridging that small gap between safety and dead. “Or take my life now.”


    For a long time, ice-chipped eyes meat oceanic ones, each willing the other to act, each unsure which they wanted the other to do. “Ben, my Master,” Anakin stuttered.


    “Will take everything he needs from you,” Ben filled in. “Choose, Anakin, choose.”


    Another stagnant pause. Anakin knew he could do it, fulfill his Master’s design and take the life of his future grandson. All he had to do was reach out to the Force, grasp its power and cut off Ben’s air flow, silently strangling him. Yet that part of his mind would not obey his commands. It still remembered holding Padme in a similar state.


    Silence was broken as both Padme and Obi-Wan ran into the training room.
     
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  25. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Wow! So many layers upon layers between Anakin & Ben, who is Amazingly able to fend him off physically. Fascinating nuances with Siri/Obi-Wan. [face_thinking] Padme and Obi arrived just in time looks like during this intense contest of wills!
     
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