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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. bookfan

    bookfan Jedi Knight

    Registered:
    Sep 3, 2012
    Oh, Thank you so much for posting this story, I have spent all day today reading it, and have loved every minute of it.
    and I have cried so much I need a new box of Kleenex.
     
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  2. ZaraValinor

    ZaraValinor Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 31, 2002
    Thank you so much. :)

    Wow, I'm so glad you liked it. Here's some more.



    Chapter 23:


    A convergence of destiny, each step they took towards Mount Tantiss was one more step leading them to this new destination. The only other time he'd felt such a stirring in the Force had been that moment before the Naboo crisis when he and Qui-Gon had waited for the Trade Federation delegation to convince them to lift the blockade they'd placed over a generally a gentle people.

    Just as it had been on Naboo, he'd felt the elusiveness of this destiny, the way it could quickly turn from one path to the other. There were many factors playing on this unknown future, both of the light and of the shadow. Energy resonated off of Anakin and Ben, they were the focal point, and he just one of the many factors distorting the waves they gave off. He knew that Ben's strength in the Force had been released by the eradication of the Yuuzhan Vong poison. At first it had been difficult to distinguish one from the other, Ben's signature having been dimmed for so long had become suddenly bright.

    Invariably, they were both children of the Force, though Anakin was the Chosen One, and affected the Force in a manner different than any other Jedi. He was surprised that his colleagues had not felt the similarity in the auras of these two young men who resembled each other so closely despite Ben's scarred face. It was no wonder that Padme had designated them as brothers.

    Still, he was loath to send them into this mission now, reluctant to break the slow progress that Anakin had made and expose him to the wealth and power Palpatine had achieved. And if Palpatine was to discover who Ben was, how long before he began trying to twist this younger Skywalker as he had the elder.

    It was these thoughts that prompted Obi-Wan to halt Ben just short of the threshold of the secret warehouse. Ben looked up at him askance, showing the diminutive stature of his grandmother. “You and Arissa be careful,” he warned.

    For a moment, it looked as though Ben would throw off his worries with some quip or witticism. Still very much a young boy. But instead, he nodded gravely, his oceanic eyes serious. “We will. And watch after him, I have a bad feeling about this.”

    Obi-Wan looked over his shoulder at where Anakin stood with Siri. “I sense it too. I'm almost tempted to abort the mission.”

    “Too, dangerous. We only have one shot at getting this equipment.”

    “Nevertheless, keep watch and stay alert.”

    This time Ben smiled cheekily at him. “Yes, Master Kenobi.”

    Inside the warehouse was just as Ben had remembered it. Spherical in shape, with each upper level degrading in size until it reached the top of the mountain tip. An elevator stood in the middle of the ringed levels and was guarded by four guards. The Jedi team stayed hidden within the shadows and careful of their movement in the cavernous building, where any sound could echo ominously.

    Obi-Wan released a breath he did not know he'd been holding, his eyes strangely centered on his former apprentice. He realized with a painful jolt that he'd been waiting for Anakin to reveal their location, to call out to the Clone Troopers guarding his Master’s prized possessions. Where had he lost the ideal that Anakin would eventually come to his senses, that he'd grow beyond the Dark Side as he'd grown beyond so much during his training? Sometime during the fight on Mustafar, his hope had shattered into doubt.

    And a shameful part of him, hated Palpatine and himself, for that doubt.

    “Coordinated attack,” he hissed quietly to his troops. “Siri, you and Ben take point, Padawan Deirs and Knight Celise and Knight Torriet, back them up.” He did not voice what everyone already knew, that he would be the guard over his former Padawan.

    Ben shot a glance to Siri, turned his lips into a challenging smile, his eyes alight with a sense of adventure that startled Obi-Wan. This was no longer the age-worn and battle-fatigued boy scarred as fully inside as he was outside. What should have been smooth, unbroken skin, was still marred by the evidence of his past but with the healing of the Yuuzhan Vong poisoning, his heart had changed. He was youthful, full of the exuberance of youth that Obi-Wan felt he could only remember.

    Siri rolled her eyes but crouched down to subdue the troopers by hand. The clonetroopers were down in a handful of moments. Together, the group began to peel the white uniform from the troopers. Arissa showed the most trepidation, but the others were also loath to don the armor themselves. If anyone had betrayed them as much as Ben’s own grandfather it had been the clones. It was one thing to know mentally why, it was another to have to face that reality and then wear the armor of that betrayal.

    “Check them for security codes, comlinks, anything useful,” Obi-Wan ordered the small group.

    Ben picked up a helmet and Obi-Wan saw him hesitate. “You all right?” he asked.

    “Yeah,” the boy said, his eyes purposefully ignoring Anakin. “I used to have nightmares about wearing helmets like this. But I’m fine.”

    Obi-Wan had never thought of that, the legacy that Anakin’s fall must have left. Ben afraid to be trapped in a suit that Anakin would now never wear. Or so they all hoped. At the back of Obi-Wan’s mind, where he’d pushed it away, there was still a fear nagging that despite all their efforts, Ben’s future, and their future was already written. Ben’s interference had only delayed the inevitable.

    “Its fine,” Ben insisted before forcing the helmet on his head. He and Arissa were too short for a clonetrooper, Anakin too tall. They could only rely on the Force and hope that the discrepancy would not be immediately noticed.




    Despite the necessity of keeping his life, Ben didn’t like hiding. Like his uncle, he preferred to face an opponent straight on, not relying on stealth and subterfuge. That coupled with his aversion to masks and it was all he could do to keep his breathing even and his focus centered. Since he’d first had inklings that he would travel in time, he had begun to wonder if the nightmares of Darth Vader he’d experienced as a child were really visions of the past.

    He’d finally found the good in his grandfather, but it had yet to blossom. What more did he need to do, to push him over that precarious line he was intent on straddling? Because Ben needed him to choose a side and he couldn’t accept the dark.

    He’d been patient, even when he thought the life was draining slowly away from him, but now, healthy and whole, he felt time sinking in on him. He didn’t know if that was his inherent recklessness coming out now that he felt his age or if the Force was silently nudging him further.

    He was pulled from his musings as Arissa paused mid step. He waited as her head covered in the white mask tilted to the side. He was surprised how much she’d proven him correct in her ability to sense things he could not. He sent his own power out, riffling through the complex for dangers. He didn’t sense anything more than the general hum of caution and the dark shadow the Emperor had already cast over the complex.

    “What is it?” he asked.

    “There’s a child here,” Arissa said, her voice muffled and distant in her musings.

    “What? How do you know?”

    Instead of answering, she slipped in hand into his, strange and awkward in their stolen uniform, and reached out to him in the Force. The connection was made without effort, as if the Forced had been waiting for one of them to take the first step. And maybe that was why he’d been healed. He wasn’t to be born for another several decades, his father was just a newborn, yet here was this connection to a person far outside of his time. He didn’t understand it, but he had missed it.

    No longer a boy facing his mortality anymore, he was a part of the universe again. And that was both frightening and thrilling at the same time.

    He smiled as he felt her mental nudge, a gentle reminder to pay attention. She guided him to the direction of the child. He felt the mind, different the unformed thoughts and hazy pictured emotions of his father, but just as familiar.

    “It can’t be,” he breathed.

    “What’s going on?” Anakin asked. His voice hinting to his concern.

    Obi-Wan had joined them, his sense just as worried. “There’s a child here,” Ben said, swallowing past the sudden lump in his throat. There were still too many people who didn’t know he was from the future. That wouldn’t understand that there was a little red-headed girl who would one day be his mother being trained to be a weapon. “We’ve got to rescue her.”

    “Ben,” Obi-Wan started and Ben could already hear his argument.

    “It’s important,” he interrupted. “She’s important to me, to my future.”

    Together Obi-Wan and Anakin stilled. “But the mission,” Obi-Wan cautioned.

    “Frack the mission,” Anakin countered, turning to his former Master with all the pent anger he held close to the surface.

    Before it could dissolve into another untimely fight, Ben held up his hands. “It doesn’t have to be one or the other. I’m guessing she’s being kept in the same area. We grab her and the technology we came for and then we can blast off this rock.”

    Anakin’s white helmet tilted towards Obi-Wan, a dark prodding in the Force daring Obi-Wan to argue. “Alright, we continue as planned, with one more addition to pick up on the way.”

    “Let’s go,” Ben said.




    He is here, the Force whispered to him, sending a tremor of uncertainty through the young Sith Lord. If Palpatine was aware of his base as he was with every piece of his environ, it would only be a matter of time before he met up with the Jedi and himself. Now was the opportunity he?d been waiting for and he was paralyzed by inaction.

    Ben was the cause of his uncertainty, the logic of his debate. He had given apart of himself to the boy and Ben had reciprocated a love that Anakin had not felt since the days with his mother. Could he give Ben into the hands of Palpatine? Destroy the character of that love as it had been purged from himself.

    Amongst everything he had given up in a violent cataclysmic moment, his mind could not let him ponder sacrificing Ben to the need for power. The boy was his...the boy was him, if things had gone differently. Not only the course of the future but the distortions of genetics.

    The younger Skywalker had told him that the slim humanity inside of him had been burned away in the inferno of Mustafar’s red rivers. Ben had stopped that from occurring. He was still Anakin, still human, could touch, taste, smell, and hear. His heart beat and his lungs gulped in the air, tasting the staleness of recyclers. He was a summation of triggers, of sensations and thoughts, some he had pushed down until he’d trusted them completely gone. But they flared, as an ember breathed upon.

    Darkness howled inside of him, trying to brush away this humanity, to disturb the presence of his life and remind him of all that had been taken and all that was his to command. What was breath, when you controlled the breath of others? What was flesh and blood, when it could be torn and spilt on a whim?

    His eyes clenched shut as he felt the presence of the newly claimed Emperor stir. Did he feel Ben now, the line of the Chosen One dancing in his aura? Could the old man guess at the truth that Anakin still had trouble believing in? And if he knew about Ben how long before he learned of Luke and Leia?

    Forcing his eyes open, they immediately fell upon Obi-Wan. Once he would have turned such questions to the mentor and father, near brother. But now there was a distance, a mistrust, he himself had created. They had chosen sides and now were enemies, but a tiny bit of his mind raged for Obi-Wan to offer his hand and tell him what to do. The larger and louder side of his mind, that which had harbored bitter thoughts towards the man who raised him, cried for that child-like voice to be silent.

    Indecision. Quick and easy. Self-sacrificing and painful. He could not choose and so he remained quiet, unmoving, waiting.
     
  3. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha 2 Truths 1 Lie Host star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Understandable and compelling from Kenobi's POV, that he would wonder did Ben's intervention just delay things or has Anakin's future, and with it everyone else's, been turned completely around? [face_thinking]

    And this child -- hmmm. I feel like "she" needs rescuing as well.

    I love how Ben's healing has gone beyond the physical; his outlook and determination have also resurged with hope, not despair.
     
  4. ZaraValinor

    ZaraValinor Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 31, 2002
    Thanks for reading. Yeah, Ben's going to be a little more reckless and cocky now. I







    Chapter 24:


    Anakin followed after his grandson, watching as the boy weaved through the complex, bringing them to the central mainframe. He began to type in security codes and locating the cloaking shield tech and the location of the Spaarti clone cylinders. Spaarti had been a subsidiary of the Kaminoan enterprise. Anakin vaguely remembered reading at them while he’d been on Naboo after his wedding to Padme.


    He couldn’t remember exactly what they did or why their cloning technology was different. And he certainly didn’t know why Ben was so hell-bent on destroying them. He didn’t understand half his future grandson’s motivations. Especially when he could feel the anxiety and worry radiating off of Ben. The boy wanted to go after the child the Padawan had sensed with every fiber of his being. Instead, he handed over the copied cloaking shield plans and gave them directions to blow up the cylinders.


    “Where are you going?” Obi-Wan asked, creating a triangle among them so that only those in the know of Ben’s heritage would hear.


    “I’m going to go look for my mother,” he said.


    “Ben…”


    “Look, I know. Time, the future, everything happens for a Force-willed reason. But I can only think of what to do now. I can’t predict the future, not anymore. And it is just plain wrong to leave a child in the hands of the Sith, despite my connection.”


    “I was going to say, I could come with you,” Obi-Wan said after a weighted silence.


    Anakin’s head turned to stare at his former Master, Obi-Wan’s words clearly surprised him. Despite the distance between them, there was still so much said in that one glance. Why did he care now? Why hadn’t Anakin asked him to help with Padme? Where was his Master when his mother lay dying in his arms?


    Another thought hit Anakin like an asteroid off his aft side. Why hadn’t he rebelled? In almost everything, he’d questioned, challenged, fought, until he’d gotten what he thought was right. Why hadn’t he when he’d believed his mother was dying on Tatooine? Because despite the fact she was a slave, she should have been safe, protected by owner privilege? Or he had wanted Obi-Wan to agree, to give him permission? The one thing Obi-Wan was incapable of doing; rebelling himself. Something dark and cold shut the door on that continued line of thinking. No doubt afraid of where it would take him.


    Ben shook his head. “No, you blow up the tubes. I’ll grab my…Mara,” he said with a glance at the others. “We’ll meet at the main hub on the first floor.”


    For a moment, Anakin was sure that Obi-Wan would argue. A new thought dawned on him. Obi-Wan was fond of his future grandson. And not for Anakin’s sake or the future of the Jedi, but for Ben himself.


    “Be careful, comm if anything should go wrong,” Obi-Wan said.


    Ben looked between them, a sly smile curling one side of his mouth. “By the Force you two, don’t look so glum. This is old hat for me. The biggest danger I’ll be in is falling asleep from boredom.”


    “Move along,” Obi-Wan said. “We’ll be waiting for you.”


    “Don’t wait,” Ben countered. “You blow the cylinders and you take that information and get to the ships.”


    “We aren’t leaving you,” Anakin snapped.


    Ben paused, his entire presence stilling. Then he smiled. “That’s preferable but not a deal breaker. Now, I’ll be careful and you’ll leave with me if its safe, or you get the hell out of here and I’ll think of something. I always do.”


    Before Anakin or Obi-Wan could even think to offer a response, Ben ran off. Obi-Wan turned away, muttering something about ‘Skywalker recklessness.’ He issued orders, while Anakin wrestled with his own feelings. ‘It’s just plain wrong to leave a child in the hands of the Sith.’ Ben’s words played over and over in his mind.






    Ben turned abruptly when he noticed he was being followed. “You’re supposed to stay with the others.”


    “Your area of expertise is sneaking into enemy compounds, I know how to calm frightened children,” Arissa said. “I’m guessing you don’t have that experience.”


    Ben huffed out a breath. “I’m not known for being reassuring, no. All right. You come with me, but you need to follow my lead.”


    “Yes, Master,” she said with no small amount of sarcasm.


    Ben reached out a hand and took hers. “Come on, my apprentice.”


    She cocked a red eyebrow at him. “I believe I’m older than you.”


    Ben grinned behind the mask and led her toward the bright presence of his mother. It was strange, how memory came back to him. He’d played amongst some of the alcoves and crevices. He and his father had been in hiding, but it was one of the few times they’d been at peace. The Noghri had protected them, he’d played with their children.


    Now with feeling both of his parents, young, unmolded, but still Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade, he felt as though he’d been transported to a place another lifetime ago. Yet, he could not feel the distinction. His body, though healed of the poison, had been tortured, broken and reformed so many times, he felt well past his 18 years.


    He allowed himself to look at his hand holding Arissa’s. He was a man out of time, an anomaly, no longer slated for death. Could he live his life now? Maybe one day there would be another Ben Skywalker, one cleaner, purer than he was now. One he could watch from a distance as Luke and Mara Skywalker lead the Jedi Order once more against the Vong. This time so much stronger than they had been before, an entire legion of Jedi behind them. And he, an old relic working behind the scenes as he always had.


    With a hope implanted in his heart, he gently squeezed Arissa’s fingers. Maybe he wouldn’t be alone.


    He skidded to a halt and released Arissa when he saw his mother. They were outside one of the living areas that had been built into the mountain. How long had she been here? Guided by one of Palpatine’s dark acolytes, she looked around the area with an awed expression. Still, she didn’t look frightened, so Palpatine had held her custody for a while. Or she did not yet know she had been permanently taken from her family.


    Ben ignited his saber and rushed the acolyte. He brought the tip of the blue blade to the man’s throat. “Release the girl,” he hissed.


    “You don’t want to do this, Jedi. My Master has plans for this one,” the acolyte said, his thin narrow face contorted in barely restrained rage.


    “Oh, I know all about his plans,” Ben said. “Your Sith Master is just going to have to get used to disappointment. We all do at some point. Now release her.”


    The acolyte let go of his mother’s hand and Ben held out his own. “Mara come to me.”


    He felt Arissa’s sudden suspicion in the Force and ignored it. Little Mara, put her fists on her hips and took a step away. “I don’t want to go with you.”


    “See Jedi, she is exactly where she wants to be.”


    Ben gritted his teeth and restrained the need to roll his eyes. It would seem at any age; his mother was obstinately determined to get her way, whether it was good for her or not. “Arissa it’s time for your expertise.”


    She swooped in, gathering little Mara in her arms in one swift move. Instantly, she began to kick and claw at Arissa, fighting to get away from her. The other Jedi put a hand to his mother’s head and whispered to her. Almost immediately, Mara’s eyes began to droop, and her movements became mired in sleep’s embrace.


    “Now, head back to the others. I’ll make sure you aren’t followed.”


    “It matters not. My Master is here. He will not let the girl go.”


    “He won’t have a choice,” Ben said, even if he felt his heart drop. Palpatine was here. And Anakin hadn’t said a word. Not that Ben had felt him, but he had been shielding himself from the Emperor, a constant barrier to keep the Dark Lord from finding out anything more about him. “He’ll have to get use to disappointment.”


    Ben had long since learned that lesson.


    “If you follow us, I will kill you,” Ben said.


    The acolyte’s smile was the grin of a nek. “You could try,” he said. His voice was a serpent’s tongue, flittering over Ben’s skin; cold and stinging.


    A dark part of him urged him to strike, the man was unarmed, but dangerous in his own way. Ben had fought this particular beast before. When you were hunted constantly from near birth, loose tongues, no matter how well intentioned could bring death. He backed away keeping his lightsaber on the acolyte. He wouldn’t strike an unarmed man down, but he also didn’t want to leave a potential enemy. Dividing his attention, he used the force to open the door behind the acolyte. Then used the Force to push him into the room. Before the acolyte could use his own powers, Ben drove his lightsaber through the activation plate.


    It wouldn’t hold him forever, but enough for Ben to meet up with Anakin and Obi-Wan. He ran through the compound, working his way back to the entrance. He caught up with Arissa at the center of the hub. He fought the urge to snatch his mother up and hold her. Truly, he wanted her to hold him, but he would take what he could get.


    Arissa had her though, and right now, that was probably the safest place she could be.


    They were nearly to the first level, when the stormtroopers moved in, surrounding Anakin and Obi-Wan. Hopefully, they’d sent the team to the ships. Ben could practically see the lines of tug-a-war between he and the Emperor, as they both reached for Anakin.


    The crowd of troops separated, a wave of white, and the Emperor stepped toward the small group.


    “Get close to Obi-Wan and Anakin, and get out as soon as possible,” he whispered to Arissa.


    “What are you going to do?”


    “Buy you time.”


    He marched forward, pressing between Anakin and Obi-Wan. Lightsaber in hand, he gave Palpatine a jaunty salute. “Thank you for your hospitality, Emperor, but it’s time we checked out. Don’t you agree, Obi-Wan?”


    “Oh, yes, far past time,” he said. Ben was surprised at the hard edge of his tone. He could forgive Anakin, but Palpatine had issued him a lifetime of suffering while making him a pawn of his own demise. Every person had a limit, and Palpatine treaded all too happily upon Obi-Wan’s threshold.


    “I’m afraid two of your party belongs to me,” the Emperor said.


    “No, they don’t,” Obi-Wan beat him to the denial. “And they never will again.”


    “Maybe its best you and Anakin leave,” Ben said. Palpatine wasn’t high on his list of favorite people, but his hatred was an old thing, burrowed and beaten like an old satchel. He could toss it away and pick it up again at need. But to Obi-Wan, it was a wound, bleeding and reopened every time he looked at Anakin or Palpatine. He hadn’t had time to get full perspective.


    At Ben’s words, Anakin took a step forward. Ben wasn’t sure if it was too grab him or to help his Sith Master. Maybe even Anakin didn’t know.


    “Get to the ships,” Ben said, drawing the Force around him. He hadn’t been well enough to do so until now, but Palpatine was about to get a display on what happened when you blended a Jade with a Skywalker. “I’ll be right behind you.”


    With that, he flung his arms out, the two rows of white-clad stormtroopers that had surrounded Palpatine were blown back by the unseen winds of the Force. The black splotch of the Emperor remained. A line of electric red sputtered into existence.


    “Who are you?”


    Ben ignited his own saber. “I’m a ghost. I’m here to haunt you.”


    “Come on,” he heard Siri call. “We’ve got to get to the ships. This mission will be for nothing if we don’t leave with what we came for.”


    He breathed a sigh of relief as he felt Obi-Wan’s pragmatism carry him away, pulling Anakin with him. If Ben died, there was always a chance that he could be reinvented again as the future pushed forward. He was already an anomaly of time, but if Anakin or Obi-Wan were killed, they didn’t have the same options available to them. As precarious as Anakin was now, he needed his mentor, his friend, someone who could love him unconditionally. At least for now. Ben hoped his grandfather could one day stand firm on his own two feet.


    Anakin hadn’t helped Palpatine, but he hadn’t stopped him either. Caught between two winds, he spun dizzying in one place.


    Ben’s gaze narrowed as the Emperor did very little to stop the retreating Jedi. “You don’t seem too upset.”


    “Either Lord Vader is with me or I will have to sway him again,” the Emperor replied. “He cares about you, boy. I know what to do with things he cares about.”


    Ben chuckled darkly. “What? Kill me?”


    “No, my young Jedi. Make myself the best option for saving you.”
     
  5. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha 2 Truths 1 Lie Host star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Fascinating confrontation with the Emperor [face_thinking] And [face_relieved] for the safety /survival of Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Mara. It would do all kinds of weird things to the timestream if they were lost now.

    Love Ben's musings about being an anomaly in time and how he might forge a future with Erissa ... and his mom and dad would have a strong future with many Jedi to fend off the Vong threat. That's a sequel BEGGING to be read! :cool:
     
  6. ZaraValinor

    ZaraValinor Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 31, 2002
    There was a sequel. If I do end up remaking it, it may be some time. As most of it is truncated and the computer it once existed on is long since dead. Though I'm awfully tempted.




    Chapter 25:


    Rage filled Anakin in such a way that he had not felt in the time since Ben had disturbed his battle

    with Obi-Wan on Mustafar. He cried out with all the power, good and bad, inside of him, the flesh

    of his throat becoming raw and bleeding. His prosthetic hand went through one of the bulkheads

    in the cargo hold of the ship he and Obi-Wan had escaped on. Even if he could feel the maximum

    pain available to the flesh that had been denied him by Dooku, it would have felt a pinprick against

    the tumult inside of him.


    “Anakin,” Obi-Wan came forward, forever unable to leave a violent situation alone.


    Without thinking, Anakin lashed out, cuffing his fist into Obi-Wan’s chin, feeling the dented and scratched metal of his hand cut through Obi-Wan’s flesh and sending the Jedi Master into the wall with a spine crunching thump. Blood pooled quickly on his former Master’s chin, catching in the rough fibers of his beard.


    Cautiously, Obi-Wan picked himself up from the floor, rubbing his sleeve against the wound, a trail of blood marring his arm. “So, this is what it comes to. Again! I’ve waited patiently, believed in Ben’s words, and yet no matter where we go, Anakin, we always end up where we began - the opposing sides we have chosen.”


    “Ben! Ben! Why was he sent here? To torture me. To bring back everything I had pushed away,” Anakin ground out between teeth clenched so tightly that they should have shattered. “He’s a bane, a curse and a gift. He’s mine and I will not let him have him.” With a swift gesture he held his arm out, his hand cupping an unseen object. Immediately, Obi-Wan’s face tightened, his breath becoming hitched. “You will turn this ship around.”


    He felt Obi-Wan gather the Force and push his own Force-grip from his throat, an invisible shoulder-shove against an equally absent foe. The older man coughed, doubled over, panted. “We”re slaved to the rest of the Jedi. We have no choice but to return to Natheana.”


    Another cry tore from the depths of him. One more thing he had no control over, one more person he could not save. Yet, no matter how many times he let loose that bubbling fountain of uselessness, of weakness, and despair, it rose up inside of him again. The angry fire inside him burned so hot that it flushed his skin, numbed the cool tears streaming down his face. The fire could be just as dimming as the cold. Just as damning.


    In his mind’s eye, he saw Palpatine debilitate Ben with a quick jab to the knee and yet his grandson had remained firm. A vision, once again, he was powerless to stop. What is in Ben that isn’t in me? a rebellious part of his mind joined the cacophony of violent pleas for release. Now he would never know, for Palpatine would surely dispose of one who threatened his power.


    This thought caused something to snap, a part of him that had not been aligned for some time fell into place and the weight buckled him. A million voices reached out to him, accusing him, urging him. He heard the terrified cries of the children he had murdered, behind that the tears he’d shared with his mother, the laugh of Padme and Obi-Wan’s thoughtful hum.


    That tiny voice that had been kept soft under the bellow of Darth Vader, exploded with the remembrance of all that he’d held dear and those very same ones he’d destroyed. What have you done? this long buried side of him accused him as though there were two of entities living inside his one body. The young boy who had only wanted to help the galaxy and Vader who had only sought to help himself.


    He thought he had known agony before, but there was no comparing the weight of guilt falling on the shoulders of a reawakened soul. Muscled arms, legs, torso, trembled with the sudden weakness.


    “Anakin,” the sound of Obi-Wan calling Anakin’s name was cottoned, sounding strained. Evidence of the abuse he’d recently taken by Anakin’s hand, one more pound of flesh to add to his guilt.


    Bile rose in his throat and he wretched, but his stomach was already empty. Nothing to regurgitate. It reciprocated the gritty rawness inside of his soul, the yawning howl of agony of everything he’d done in such a short time. By the Force, he’d tried to kill his own grandson. No matter how half-heartedly.


    “What have I done?” he gasped, collapsing to the ground, curling in on himself as he trembled against a pain greater than anything physical.


    He felt, rather than saw, Obi-Wan kneel next to him, the grate beneath his face buzzing at the impact. A hand touched his shoulder, tentative, kind, but still branding him nonetheless. A light that Anakin in his previous blind state could not handle. It burned to the very heart of him. “What is happening, Anakin?”


    “End it,” he pleaded, through the miasma of pain and agony. “Before it’s too late. You have to end it now, Obi-Wan.”


    His Master leaned forward, mistaken the shattering of his soul as illness. Perhaps it was. He’d infected himself with the Dark Side. And a purge was the only way to release the poison. It needed an exit wound. “Kill me.”


    Obi-Wan’s eyes widened and then a relief so palpable it was a soothing balm on Anakin’s raw spirit, softened his face and made him younger than he had been in the years of the Clone War. “It’s you,” he whispered, palming Anakin’s face with wonder. To Anakin’s shock, tears pooled in his Master’s eyes. “Is it really you?”


    He pushed the older man away, not wanting his relief, his compassion…his love. He waited for years to see Obi-Wan so vulnerable, only now he didn’t deserve it. “You have to do it. You were willing before. Do it now. Just watch, just watch after my family.”


    “No,” Obi-Wan said, taking a step back now himself, appalled by the suggestion. “I have not waited for this moment to lose you again.”


    “Master, I can’t live like this,” he said between breaths that came in and out too quickly. His body was in shock. “I’m not strong enough.”


    Obi-Wan took him by the arm, hefted him into up against his chest and held him tight. This time, his touch didn’t bring the torture it had before. Maybe he’d gone numb to it all. “I’ll help you. Ben will help you. You’re my brother, Anakin. I should have told you before, so many times before. I love you.”


    Anakin closed his eyes against the grey encroaching on his vision. Without thought, his breath began to even out, to match Obi-Wan’s chest rising and falling. “You shouldn’t.”


    “I’ll be the judge of that,” the Jedi said.


    “Master, this pain, I can’t…I shouldn’t…,” he drew off, unable to express what he felt. The Jedi…the children, even the Separatists that he killed, it was a million times worse than that night with the Tusken Raiders. He sobbed again. “I’m not strong enough.”


    “You have to be,” Obi-Wan snapped, tightening and arm across his chest. There was silence for a heartbeat, the Negotiator fighting for his words and coming at a loss. “You have to be.”


    “I don't know how,” and his voice had returned to that tiny little boy, scared of a future that had

    suddenly turned so bleak, that boy who had turned to Obi-Wan Kenobi and asked what would happen to him now.


    “We’ll figure it out. Together this time,” Obi-Wan said. A pointed reminder that they were stronger as a pair. He sounded as drained and stripped as Anakin felt. How much of his ordeal did Obi-Wan live in tandem with Anakin? The bond between them, never really broken thanks to Ben, was full and open. Did Obi-Wan feel Anakin’s pain as his own? Or was Anakin’s torment eased because his Master loved him?


    “Together.”






    Siri did not know quite what to do with the young three-year-old. It was obvious that she was beginning to lose her patience with the girl, who had wanted nothing more than to return to the Emperor. She was sure that Palpatine had manipulated the girl into believing him a kindly old man here to help her and that the girl in her youth and innocence had believed him, but it did not make it any less revolting to the Jedi Knight. It was ultimately what he’d done to Anakin Skywalker. What he’d done to the Jedi..


    It was eventually Arissa who got the girl to settle down, and it was only then that Siri remembered that Arissa had worked much with the younglings inside the Temple and knew how to gain a child's trust. She had taken the girl's hand and had led her into the galley, offering her food and comfort.


    Arissa managed to get the girl's name, Mara Jade, and each had exchanged concerned looks. Padawan Ben Jade had insisted upon the child's rescue when their mission had been explicit; get the materials from the Emperor and flee. Of course, no one, not even Skywalker, had expected to find Palpatine there. It had been another incident in a long line of bad luck. But there was no doubt that this little girl and Ben Jade were somehow connected.


    Mara now slept on Siri's crumpled up Jedi robe, with Arissa keeping her warm from the cold of space. Her tear stained face evidence of how frightened she had been. But there were other clues to, the girl was extraordinarily strong in the Force, if not as strong as the Chosen One, and her upset had been felt in echoing waves between Siri and Arissa.


    With gentle hands, Arissa tucked the folds of her robe around Mara, before regarding Sir. "What do you think about this, Master Tachi?"


    "I'm not sure, but I'm sure as hell going to find out," Siri answered sharply, positive that this had something to do with Obi-Wan's little secret about Ben Jade. "Kenobi's got some questions to answer."


    Arissa nodded absently, by rot more than agreement. Reaching out a hand, she ran her fingers through the red-gold hair, so much like Master Yoda's knew Padawan’s. He had not escaped, had sacrificed himself to give the Jedi and Skywalker time to take the technology they had gathered and run. Siri feared that he was dead now and worried what that loss would do to Arissa.


    The young Padawan peered up at Siri and asked, "Have you noticed the similarity of features?"


    She hadn't, not one to usually search out for familial patterns, but she did now. The color of hair, the green tinge too oceanic eyes. Belatedly, she wondered if Mara could not be Padawan Jade's daughter, though she would have been born to him very young. There was just so much she did not know about this Ben Jade and she did not buy one iota of Padme Skywalker's assurance that Ben was Anakin's brother. Though there appeared to be as much a connection between Skywalker and Jade as there was between Jade and this girl.


    "We'll have to wait to learn the truth, at least until we reach Natheana," Siri answered, turning to head back to the cockpit and try to sort out her own thoughts on the subject.


    She was stopped by Arrisa's call. "Master?"


    "Yes," Siri answered, a little uncomfortable with the tone of the young Padawan.


    "Will the Jedi go back for Ben?" she asked in a hesitant stutter.


    Siri folded her arms, seeking warmth in her own embrace, the only comfort she had. "I guess that is something that we'll have to discuss. A rescue mission for one Jedi in such dangerous circumstances could possibly lead to our further destruction."


    "Then we're condemning him to death," Arissa responded in a tone that was both accusation and acceptance.


    She cares for him, Siri suddenly realized and felt her own pang of regret for their situation. For it had not been so long ago when she'd been a young Padawan and realized she loved her fellow

    student. "We do not know that for sure," she reminded gently. "It may be deemed that he is

    instrumental to the cause."


    “He’s important,” the girl said.


    “I’m sure Master Kenobi will take up his cause,” Siri said. Probably Master Yoda, too. They seemed very trusting of this strange Jedi who seemingly appeared from out of the Force itself. Siri shook her head, taking her gaze from the Padawan.


    “It’s useless to ponder until we reach Natheana. He’s an innovative kid. He may have rescued himself before we have a chance to go back for him.”


    And she sure as hell wasn’t going to let anyone attempt a rescue until she had her answers. He’d taken down Skywalker without much of a problem. Why had he fallen so easily to the Emperor? She had to be sure that this wasn’t another clever deception.
     
  7. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha 2 Truths 1 Lie Host star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Beautifullly compelling and touching scene with Obi-Wan and Anakin! Gorgeously in character: the remorse of one, the compassion of the other.

    Arissa and Padme's scene was great as well: Arissa's natural curiosity and insistence that they need to rescue Ben :eek: =D=
     
  8. bookfan

    bookfan Jedi Knight

    Registered:
    Sep 3, 2012
    about 2/3 way thru the story I realized I was wringing my hands in worry, I have laughed at stories, but never hurt myself. I love it can't wait for more, and a Sequel would be nice.
    So glad Anakin saw the light, but how heartbreaking to see him in pain, and yet know he deserves it. (I am not as compassionate as Obi-Wan)
     
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  9. ZaraValinor

    ZaraValinor Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 31, 2002
    Thanks for still reading #WarmNyota_SweetAyesha and #bookfan.



    Chapter 26:


    He crept in softly and perched himself in front of his unseeing former Padawan. Anakin had taken to meditating a lot during their trip back to Natheana, trying desperately to remember the man he'd been before. Many times, Vader had leapt to the surface, a flare of anger which eventually became directed at Obi-Wan. He'd weathered these first with a sense of trepidation and then with the knowledge that Anakin would eventually push the Sith down. Ben had awakened in him his sense of duty and light and Obi-Wan could never repay the younger Skywalker for that.


    But it was not just the anger that caused Anakin to seek out the calm of meditation. There were many times that Anakin woke with the cold sweat of nightmares, nightmares that had once been real life. His actions against the Jedi haunted him constantly. Obi-Wan could only wish that his old friend might find some small peace inside the Force, though he hoped that Anakin would never forget the pain either. He found he could be of so much mixed emotion when concerning his former Padawan.


    Obi-Wan had done nothing less then what he’d done when Anakin had just been a child, he had wrapped his arms around the boy and had tried to offer feelings of love and devotion. For despite the Jedi Code, he loved Anakin, as son, brother, and friend.


    “It used to be me who watched you,” Anakin said with a look of chagrin, not opening his eyes.


    The memory was warm with the past but held a bite for things that had suddenly gone wrong. He offered a chuckle to dispel the storm cloud that arose from those recent memories. “You never could understand why I meditated so much.”


    A pregnant pause, then, “We’re nearly there, aren’t we?” There was that sound of a child in Anakin’s voice. So much he still feared despite his release from darkness.


    “We’ll be coming out of hyperspace soon,” Obi-Wan admitted. “Are you prepared for that?”


    Once Anakin might have snapped a comment about Obi-Wan’s distrust of him, that he did not feel him ready for whatever task lay before them. Now, Obi-Wan saw the difference, the near destruction of self confidence in the man who had once been labeled the Hero without Fear. “I don’t know if I can face them.”


    “I remember when you were about ten, and I had been away on a mission. You had accidentally caught fire to Master Yoda’s bed and had run away from the Temple, sure you could not face him. I think you were still uneasy about things, not sure what to expect from the Jedi who called themselves Masters. You only knew a Master as a dictator and punisher,” Obi-Wan recalled. “But I eventually convinced you that you could come back, and all was forgiven.”


    Unexpectedly, Anakin leapt his feet and began to pace. “This isn’t a matter of fire in a Master’s bed. I kill....what I did to the Jedi,” he drew off again, his breath coming in gasps.


    If only I could spare you this, Obi-Wan thought. But he knew. He knew that Anakin had to face the Jedi, had to come toe to toe with the guilt of his actions, and move past them. To linger would only cripple him further.


    Anakin closed his eyes and Obi-Wan felt him fight to contain that pain. Obi-Wan reached out and took his arm. “Don’t hold on to it. Let it teach you, but don’t let it fester. If you become hopeless, if you leave yourself no other escape, then we lose you all over again. Don’t make their deaths worthless. Make them a sacrifice.”


    “Shouldn’t sacrifice be a choice?” Anakin snapped, between his struggling breaths.


    “In truth yes, but in our perception; many lives were paid to teach us humility, Anakin,” Obi-Wan said. “Let us not fall swiftly into comfortable arrogance.”


    “Us? What have you done?”


    “I deceived myself, you and many others by trying to push out something I thought was wrong with me. Where if I had only admitted it, many of our problems may have been mitigated or avoided all together. At least between us. Maybe, it would have been me you would have chosen to believe in.”


    “Obi-Wan, I…”


    The Master cut him off with a hand. “We all have need of redemption, Anakin. I’m just glad that things have turned out in a way we both can have a second chance.”


    Obi-Wan’s heart lightened at the shy smile that softened Anakin’s haggard features. He’d feared to never see it again, either masked by the arrogance that had become more and more prevalent or that breathing device that Ben had warned him had been part of their future.


    Together, Obi-Wan and Anakin walked down the steep slant of the ramp only to find Siri Tachi and Arissa Deirs waiting for them. A young Mara Jade cradled in the Padawan’s arms. By their expressions, each man knew what the other was expecting. And if things weren’t bad enough Padme Skywalker was seen coming onto the landing platform with the look of thunder in her liquid brown eyes.


    Anakin leaned over to him. “Do you ever get the feeling we just hop from a bad situation to one worse? Out of the blaster fire and into the lightsaber battle?”






    “Why do you continue to allow this pain, young Jedi?” the Emperor announced his return. Ben withheld a response from the Sith Lord's feigned cheerfulness. “Why not choose a better path?”


    “Let me guess,” Ben said, no longer able to hold back the sharp retort. “I should join your side and help you rule the galaxy. Your time is growing thin old man. You no longer have your cherished apprentice. You’re a Sith Lord all alone, amongst many Jedi, and Anakin will no longer do your bidding.”


    He knew this to be true now, he'd felt the shifting in the Force, the change in his grandfather. He could not express the joy he felt in this knowledge. It wasn't just the purpose of his time travel, that Anakin, his grandfather and friend, was now no longer under the clutches of this horrid beast who pretended to be human.


    “A pity that. Lord Vader had the potential to be the greatest Sith Lord alive,” he cocked a sallow eyebrow. “But you have a power I’ve never sensed before. You are greater than the Chosen One. If you were to join me, there would be no stopping us.”


    “Except I’m getting everything I’ve ever wanted. Anakin’s away from you and the Jedi are working together to rid the galaxy of the Sith.” Ben shrugged as best he could in the position he was in. However, the motion caused him to wince in pain. Every muscle felt as though it was in constant traction, that every move he made might just cause the fibers of his muscles to rip. His vision was already blurred and doubled, giving his baleful glare at Palpatine a certain humorous character.


    The wrinkled, yellowed features of the Emperor came face to face with him, so that his blurred vision could see the glowing red haze of the Sith’s eyes. “But if you were to join me, I would assure you the safety of all your Jedi comrades.”


    A thready chuckle emitted from the tired youthful Jedi. “Oh, you just don’t give up do you? You have to admire tenacity, but I’m liable to trust you as far as I can throw you right now. And considering my current position, I’d rather trust a Jawa with the fate of the Jedi.”


    Ben’s weak laugh seemed healthy compared to the cold cackle that came from the decayed Sith “Oh, you are special, my young Jedi.”


    “I’m not anything of yours,” Ben snapped.


    The red-hazed eyes brightened with glee. “You hate me.”


    “Not exactly holonews,” Ben countered wryly. “You have a knack for the obvious.”


    “I convinced the Jedi of my benevolence,” Palpatine shot snidely. “Your order has fallen.”


    “And yet here you are, alone, against a...what was it that you called me?...a child? That’s got to ruffle a number of feathers. My dear Sith Lord, you just ain’t what you used to be. It’s a common problem amongst the aged and evil, holding on to the glory days.” There let the old animal get a taste of his verbal bile.


    “You try my patience, boy,” Palpatine warned darkly.


    Ben fought to right himself. “Then why don’t you just kill me? Because I’m just getting started.”


    “Ah, but what would I use to lure young Skywalker back to me?” he questioned sagely.


    That struck Ben. He didn’t want Anakin coming here, not yet. His grandfather was just too new back to the light, his foundation slippery. “Why would he come here?”


    “Don’t underestimate me, child. I have known Anakin Skywalker from the time he was a boy. I know his heart, what drives him, and his vulnerabilities. He loves deeply and profoundly. And whatever he loves, he comes for,” Palpatine said on a manic sneer.


    Ben shook his head. “Maybe he’s changed.”


    “Oh, no, my young Jedi. He will come for you. Because he loves you too much and that will be my power over him.”


    Ben thought over Palpatine’s words after the decrepit man left. For all his snark, he knew the old man was at least partially right. Anakin would come for him. He shot his gaze around the room, looking at the energy constraints that held him. He’d played up his captive state when the Sith had entered his room. The pain was real, but his susceptibility to it was not. He had been tortured and poisoned by the Yuuzhan Vong and still managed to escape their clutches.


    It was time to rescue himself.
     
  10. bookfan

    bookfan Jedi Knight

    Registered:
    Sep 3, 2012
    I have waited years to read this story and I thank you so much for giving me the chance. I love Ben, he seems to be channeling his mother very well.
     
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  11. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha 2 Truths 1 Lie Host star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Obi-Wan and Anakin--a wonderful and poignant talk there. [face_love] Ben with Palpatine--oh yes, definitely got a true sense of the Mara-esque side of the family. ;) :cool:

    I do agree, it is too soon, Anakin's hold on the light is too precarious, but already a lot has changed, fundamentally since Mustafar was circumvented. [face_thinking]
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2019
  12. ZaraValinor

    ZaraValinor Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 31, 2002
    I'm so glad.. Hopefully, I'll be updating more often.

    Ben is definitely Mara's son in the snark department. Anakin definitely needs time.



    Chapter 27:


    “You are the greatest fool in this galaxy,” Siri hissed to him as they headed for the conference room that they were to meet Padawan Deirs in.

    Upon arrival, Yoda had taken Anakin and Padme off on a different path, with his own agenda Obi-Wan was sure. He’d seen the aged Master’s sleepy eyes, the look of hope as he gazed on the changed Anakin. Obviously, Siri had not taken the time to note the changes in the Chosen One.

    “He’s come back, Siri. I can feel the difference in him,” Obi-Wan defended tightly, annoyed that Siri had yet again resulted to insulting him instead of buoying him up. He also hated the fact that events were moving so slowly. Ben was in the grasps of the Dark Lord of the Sith, without this changed Anakin, he would probably die there, and she wanted to disprove what he knew to be truth.

    “And how do you know that it isn’t another ploy of Palpatine’s? Play the good little Jedi, pretend
    remorse and then kill us all,” Siri snapped back, rounding to face him. “Are you going to risk the
    lives of what few Jedi we have left for your love?”

    His jaw tightened with repressed anger. “You know I would have killed him on Mustafar, that I felt
    it must be done. Can you not understand how that could have destroyed me? Instead you want to
    taint what I consider a miracle of the Force with your doubts and petty jealousies.”

    “It won’t be my back he slides his saber into,” she countered.

    “You weren’t there, you didn’t see him. He truly wishes to help the Jedi now, he wants to make
    amends for what he has done,” his voice was now strained with thinning patience. “Can you not be
    happy for me?”

    “Unlike you, I don’t give in to my feelings.”

    He steadied his piercing azure gaze on her. “No, Siri, I think that’s exactly what you are doing.”

    “Why you arrogant...”

    “Do you have evidence to deny this charge?” he asked, evenly, cooly. He had enough of fighting
    to last him for a lifetime.

    She raised her arm, whether to strike him or to strangle him he wasn’t sure. With quick reflexes,
    Obi-Wan caught it as it began to move, using it as leverage to slowly bring her into his embrace.


    “What are you doing?” her voice was tenuous now.


    “A different kind of diplomacy. If m’lady will allow it.”


    Their lips met.


    It was the first time Obi-Wan succeeded in silencing this particular woman.




    It went without saying that Anakin Skywalker had never been one for patience. As he knelt inside
    what had obviously become Master Yoda’s quarters, he felt his skin itch for something to do. Ben
    needed him. He and Obi-Wan needed to start gathering the forces to take on Palpatine’s Empire and rescue the son of his son. Yet, he knelt in place, unmoving, waiting for Master Yoda to speak.

    The little wizened Jedi Master had asked Padme to wait outside and then had entered the quarters
    and began pacing around him. With every slap of the gimmerstick, Anakin felt the time ticking
    down. Remorse flooded him, wrapped his heart in an eternal struggle of hot and cold, in self-pity
    and self-derision.

    More and more he found that he did not know how to think, did not know how to feel, the self-
    confidence and sure knowledge he’d once felt was now gone. He felt as he did that first day as Obi-
    Wan’s Padawan, in a world exciting and frightening, but in some ways he knew too much,
    understood too well, his fatal flaws.

    Unexpectedly, the gimmerstick leapt out and struck him on the shoulder. Confused beyond reason,
    Anakin didn’t react at first. It wasn’t the first time he’d been struck by the aged Jedi. His skin flared
    with pain as the gimmerstick fell again and again, heating his skin and the tight core he’d kept held
    over his anger since he’d forsaken the darkness. His teeth ground together, and he felt the pull to
    instant power, the strength that would let him destroy this pitiful creature.

    The memory came rushing up on him. Master Yoda had become Ben’s Master, Master Yoda was
    the leader of the organization he could have easily destroyed. Aside from Obi-Wan and Padme, Yoda perhaps had the most reason to hate and despise him. But that isn’t what he felt from the Jedi Grandmaster, instead, he felt hope. This was a test. A test to see if Anakin could accept pain without retaliation, without resulting to the Dark Side.


    What Yoda didn’t understand that this was a pinprick to what his own actions had brought him. The attack ended as abruptly as it had started.


    He bowed his head and accepted whatever came next. He was relieved and slightly horrified to see the glimmer of hopeful tears in the Master’s limpid eyes. It had been easy to convince himself that no one on the Council, save Obi-Wan, had cared for him. That he’d become a useful tool in their war, but a tool to be feared and criticized, chucked aside the moment it became an inconvenience. He’d believed all that and more, but seeing the Master now, he realized that despite their attitude, in their own way, they’d done what they thought best.


    “Believed it, I could not,” Yoda said softly. “Changed you have, as young Skywalker predicted.”


    He inwardly cringed at the mention of Ben. Palpatine wouldn’t kill him, he knew that much. If he concentrated on Ben’s presence in the Force he could feel the echoing waves of pain that were being inflicted upon the young time traveler. It hurt, and the anger was never too far away, so he didn’t linger. He didn’t want to misuse Ben’s sacrifice. The one freely given and not selfishly taken.


    “I’m trying,” he muttered. He finally met the Grandmaster’s eyes. “But I’m weak. Perhaps you were right all along Master.”


    “Perhaps not,” Yoda countered. “For 1,000 generations have the Jedi communed with the Force. The Republics good it was for. In a single day we fell. Heard the call of the new Empire against our mistreatment, have you? Murdered in the open by those we trusted. In strength, vulnerable we were. In weakness, strength you may find.”


    Anakin swallowed, fighting to decipher the Master’s words. As a child, even in his teenage years, much of the Jedi’s teachings had seemed over his head, impossible to comprehend in comparison to the ease at which the Force answered his call. He understood now that he could not possibly bring balance to the Force, if he couldn’t bring balance to himself.


    “Master, what about Ben?”


    A familiar mischievous light in the Master’s eye alleviated the heaviness in his heart. “Take care of himself, young Skywalker can. Until his rescue, arranged can be.”


    Anakin nodded. His head agreed while his heart wanted to argue. Ben had survived where so many had died, fled capture and purchased his own freedom, and had traveled through time. If anyone was going to slip through Palpatine’s clutches, it was Ben.


    “Patience, Anakin, dismiss your concern I will not. To heal, now is the time,” Yoda said, he limped out of the room and before the door could close, he heard the familiar soft steps of Padme.


    Faced opposite the door and still on his knees he didn’t immediately face her. He’d made vows to the Jedi and to Padme and he’d broken them both. He ran a hand through his wavy hair. His place with the Jedi had always been uneasy, but with Padme. She’d loved him, married him, given him children – and then he’d betrayed her and her ideals.


    “I’m sorry,” he said into the silence. Her presence lingered near the door. What seemed a lifetime ago, he’d turned his back on her, shattered her trust.


    When she remained quiet and hadn’t moved, he slowly rose to his feet. With a deep breath, half afraid to find a cold disappointment on her beautiful face, he turned toward her.


    “Padme, I…,”


    She took two long steps and leapt at him. Her arms reached up around his neck and pulled him into a desperate hug. “Oh Anakin, my Anakin.”




    The thing about Dark Side acolytes is that they grow accustomed to being manipulated and used. Ben had seen it first-hand, both with Palpatine and with those who wished to avoid the worst of the Yuuzhan Vong captivity. Then there was Ben. He had his own way with people.


    He’d seen the cuff release when Palpatine had first imprisoned him. A wafer sized piece of duraplast and circuitry. Wave it over his cuffs and he’d be free. Free enough to start working on wiring the door lock.


    He figured each of the acolytes had one. What good was there in serving a Dark Lord if you didn’t get to inflict the same kind of pain on your fellow prisoners. And the Dark Side thrived off of fear. Pain and fear were old allies.


    Ben really enjoyed swindling them.

    “So, when was the last time you saw the sun?” Ben asked, grunting only a little as the cuffs pulled at his sabered knee. “Is the pasty, sallow look in homage to Palpatine or do you just like looking sickly?”


    The acolyte’s jaw tightened, but he continued tightening and loosening the tension of the electric tethers to his binder cuffs. By the sudden jolt to his left leg, Ben deduced he’d gotten a little to him.


    “Or do you prefer Sidious? I never understood the changing the name. I go evil, I got to call myself something else. But I guess, Darth Ben wouldn’t put too much fear into the marrow. Now Palpatine, already creepy. I’m a little ashamed no one caught on to that sooner. Did you have to change your name? When you decided to worship the Dark Side? Are there guidelines? Like Man of Stupidious. Moron Galactus. I got more.”


    The hand whipped out and snapped his head back. Surprising, Ben could already feel it hardening and bruising. With a snort, he worked his jaw. “Wow, I did not see that coming. But I’m not sure if that hurt because you caught me by surprise or if you actually are worth more than groveling at good old Sidious’s feet.”


    “I’m not a simpleton, child,” the voice snapped, rough from disuse.


    “Child? I’m eighteen years old. I’ve been fighting in a war since before I was born. Literally, I helped save my mother while I was in the womb. So a little respect. I mean isn’t that how the Dark Side measures everything by power? If I wasn’t in this getup,” he said, gesturing with his eyes to binders. “You couldn’t touch me.”


    “I know what you’re doing. It will not work”


    Ben cocked his head and turned a faux sympathetic look at the acolyte. “Do you? I admit simpleton is an advanced and apt word.”


    The acolyte hit him again, this time in the stomach. His body curled in a little before snapping back to the previous position. Shifting shapes danced before his eyes as his leg protested for a third time. But he heard the static crackle and felt the brief give on his right arm, as the imbalance the acolyte had yet to realize he’d left on his datapad control. He’d just have to get the Dark Side lackey to hit him harder. Shouldn’t be to hard.


    “Come on, Moron Galactus,” he spat, blood and saliva landing on the floor before him. He’d must have bit down on his cheek that last hit. “You can do better than that.”


    He felt it, the release of controlled anger and malice into outrage. Moron built up his power like he compressed a spring and then let it out. This time, Ben nearly buckled in half and he felt his right hand go loose. He reached out to the Force, using it to grip the release wafer and pulled it to his grasp. Before the energy tether could snap him back, he waived it over his left hand.


    Falling forward, it was time for a little payback. He used the momentum of his fall and threw a punch down onto the acolyte’s head. The man went down and Ben landed on top of him. Closing his eyes, he wrapped his arm around Moron’s neck and pulled. He held on unto he felt the shift to unconsciousness.


    Contorting in ways that cracked the burnt edges of the lightsaber wound in his leg, he released both of his ankles and rolled off the Dark Side lackey.


    Laying on the cold permacrete, he worked to clear his darkening vision and even his breathing. [i]Come on, Skywalker. No time for a nap.[/i] The longer he lingered, the more likely Palpatine would have a chance to catch him again.


    Staggering to his feet, he patted the acolyte on the back. “Nice doing business with you.”


    He snatched up the datapad, keying in the release for the door, before locking it behind him. He didn’t have his lightsaber this time to burn it to slag, but it would still give him time.


    [hr]


    Anakin came into the communication room to find Obi-Wan and Yoda waiting for him. “What is it? What’s going on?”


    “It’s about Ben,” Obi-Wan said.


    “Is he okay? Has Palpatine made contact?”


    “I’m glad you’re worried for me. But I’m in a short-ranged fighter and could really use a pick-up.” Anakin faced the familiar voice to find a holoprojection of Ben grinning wearily at him. “If you know a good pilot?”


    Anakin felt his own grin beam as he exchanged a look with Obi-Wan and Yoda. “I think I can arrange that.”>
     
  13. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha 2 Truths 1 Lie Host star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Obi-Wan and Siri -- a contest of wills and words until - yum! ;)
    Anakin with Yoda -- a wonderful test to see if the 'change' holds. [face_thinking] And if Anakin can exercise patience.
    Sweet with the A/P -- she also can tell something fundamental has changed.
    LOL for Ben's flippant remarks about a pilot and yay! [face_relieved] An excellent update all around.
     
  14. bookfan

    bookfan Jedi Knight

    Registered:
    Sep 3, 2012
    I was so excited to see an update last night, but I waited until the morning to read it and savor it.
    I liked the Obi-wan and Siri tug of war and of course the result. Also Anakin and Yoda, I am glad Anakin made it through. Ben, well I am glad Ben is Ben
     
  15. Ben_Thryss

    Ben_Thryss Jedi Knight

    Registered:
    Sep 13, 2011
    Lost this story a long while ago. Decided to do some research to see if I could find it (I’d forgotten the name), and it took a while, but I’m pleasantly surprised that it’s just as wonderful as I remember. Such spot-on characterization and emotion. I really hope you decide to continue on to the sequel.

    I did notice a change or two here and there, like the mention of Ahsoka in one of the early chapters. Any plans to involve her in the story?
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2019
  16. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
  17. ZaraValinor

    ZaraValinor Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 31, 2002
    Thanks WarmNyota_SweetAyesha, bookfan, Ben_Thryss, and Cowgirl Jedi 1701


    Chapter 28:



    Ben stumbled towards the hatch of his stolen ship. He’d gone into a light healing trance after contacting Yoda, Obi-Wan and Anakin, but it still buckled anytime he put significant weight on it At least the throbbing had stopped. He waited as they sent the tether over for him to transfer to the cruiser. The sound of metal bending as outside the hatch the space became pressurized. He keyed it open, expecting to find three Jedi with relieved but slightly disapproving looks on their face.



    Instead what he got was three angry women. He held up his hands in surrender. “Remember, I’m injured.”



    Siri rolled his eyes, while Padme carefully enveloped him in a hug. “I guess Anakin and Obi-Wan told you?”



    She pulled back, her dark eyes tracing the curves and edges, the scars of his face. She put a hand to his cheek. “You could have told me.”



    He shrugged. “It was hard enough to convince Anakin. And the less people know…we’ve already had a few close calls. I just wanted to keep things as simple as possible.”



    “Secrets all but tore this family apart,” she said. “I’m as responsible for that as Anakin. But it stops now. No more secrets, Ben. Please?”



    He swallowed a sudden lump in his throat. Padme had gone straight to the heart of the problem. Now he knew where his father and Leia had gotten it.



    “Sure. I promise,” he said with a nod.



    A hand slipped into his and turned to see Arissa pulling at him. “We should get you to the medbay.”



    He shot her a lopsided grin. “This little thing. I’ve had far worse.”



    Padme and Arissa exchanged concerned looks.



    “So the obliviousness wasn’t an act?” Siri said.



    Ben scowled at her. “Why are you here again?”



    “The Padawan’s right, you need medical attention.”



    “Ahh, you do have a soft spot for me.”



    “No, I really don’t like you.”



    Ben laughed. “Yes, you do.”



    Siri sighed. “You’re worse than Kenobi.”



    “I’m really not too bad,” he said, squeezing Arissa’s hand. “I did a healing trance earlier. One more and I’ll be good as new.”



    “Then you won’t mind Master Tachi and I looking it over?”



    The three women lead him across the tether without another word. It was slow going because they were extra careful and kept him at an even, deliberate pace. If he were truthful, he had to lean on Arissa more than he liked. He probably had damaged a lot of the surrounding tissue when he fought Palpatine’s acolyte.



    “Traitors,” he greeted Obi-Wan and Anakin. He couldn’t contain the grin as he gazed at his grandfather. Anakin looked different. Cowed, but full of light and humility. The cresting of the dawn after a long, cold night.



    The two older male Jedi took Arissa’s place in holding him up. Obi-Wan smirked over his head at his former apprentice. “It is always best to follow wise counsel.”



    “And Padme and Siri give the best counsel,” Anakin finished for his former Master.



    Ben shot them a dubious look that was dimmed by his joy at seeing them once again in sync. He could feel the Force hum with their reformed bond. Together they managed to lever him gently into a med bunk. While Siri and Arissa cut away his pant leg and began to examine him, he let himself close his eyes. The temptation to fall into sleep swept over him like a tide.



    Without opening his eyes, he asked, “So what’s the plan?”



    “Plan?” Obi-Wan asked.



    “Yeah, we need to get Palpatine out in the open again. What have you been doing while I’ve been escaping?” He cracked an eye open. “You Jedi of this time, so lazy. It must be because you’re so old.”



    Anakin scoffed. “I’m five years older than you.”



    “And already a grandfather,” Ben joked.



    Obi-Wan eyed him before switching his gaze to Arissa. “The infection must be making him delusional.”



    “Just loose-lipped,” Ben interjected. “Besides, you love Siri and Arissa saved my mother. I think we can trust them with the truth. As Padme said, no more lies.”



    “Oh, shut up,” Obi-Wan said as Anakin gave him a knowing look.



    The redeemed Jedi held up his hands. “I didn’t say anything.”



    Obi-Wan pressed two fingers to his temple. “You’re thinking very loud. As I said, he’s delusional.”



    Maybe teasing Obi-Wan would be the way he and Anakin could bond as family. “Sure I am.”



    “I told you we should have left him with the Sith,” Siri said. “So what’s the big secret?”



    He felt the gel cast envelop his knee, the coolness dampening the heat and the incessant throbbing. “By the Force that feels good. Is my mother okay?”



    “She’s fine,” Anakin assured him. “We’ve put her in with the other younglings.”



    Ben relaxed further into the cushion of the medbunk. One more weight off his shoulders. His purpose for coming here was complete, plus an added bonus. Now he just had to help Anakin destroy Palpatine. For the first time in a long time, he felt like he could truly rest. If just for a while.



    “I’m sure she’s making Yoda rethink his 900 years of life,” he said, dreamily. “Did one of you...drug...me?”



    ===



    “Did you drug him?” Anakin asked Siri and the Padawan. Siri shook her head but Arissa avoided his gaze. “You did drug him.”



    She tipped her chin up and glared at him. “Do you have a problem with that?”



    He could sense her fear of him and he felt his heart drop into his stomach. It would be this way for a while, he knew. He had run through so many scenarios of how the Jedi would respond to him. A few were like Obi-Wan, open to see that he’d changed again. But not only back to the light, but better than he’d been before. Better and worse. Others were openly belligerent of him, and still more than that were afraid and volatile.



    Arissa fell in the last group it seemed. Still, he was impressed that she faced that fear and confronted him so boldly. He knew Ben had feelings for her and he didn’t want to be at odds with his grandson any further.



    He held up his hands, showing he wasn’t vying for a fight. “I’m not questioning you. I’m just wondering why?”



    She sighed and gave the unconscious young man a fond glare. “He’s as stubborn and stupid as a Gamorrean. He wouldn’t rest and I think anyone who has spent ten minutes with him would realize that. As Master Tachi and I were working as his healers, I made the decision for him.”


    He looked over at Obi-Wan, unsure if Arissa should be praised or chastised. Regardless of which, neither should come from him. His footing in the Order was precarious and for the time being he would be as rule abiding as Obi-Wan and then some.



    His old Master shrugged. “As long as you don’t make this a habit, Padawan, I don’t see a problem. We all know how difficult Ben can be.”



    Padme turned knowing eyes on him. “I wonder where he got that from?”



    Siri narrowed her gaze on Obi-Wan. “What’s the secret? He said you could tell and I’m getting a little tired of innuendo and half-truths, Kenobi. I know it has something to do with the traitor,” she jabbed a finger at Anakin, “So out with it.”



    “Siri!” Obi-Wan snapped. Anakin gritted his teeth and accepted it. He knew he deserved far worse than name-calling. The pain that it sent him wasn’t Siri’s fault. That was all his own.



    “You forgave him, I never said I did. And if all this secrecy is for him, I’ve got to doubt your allegiances too,” Siri snapped.



    Anakin could practically see the verbal battle building in Obi-Wan's mind. He held up a hand to stop his friend. “It’s all right, Obi-Wan. Sir...Knight Tachi’s correct. I have no right to secrecy and Ben did say he was fine with them knowing. If Padme doesn’t have any objections, I don’t either.”



    Padme’s face mirrored the storm in Obi-Wan's Force-sense. They’d both become strangely protective of him and he knew part of that was due to their fear he’d revert to the Dark Side. He’d argued he could take whatever the Jedi had to throw at him, and he would take it willingly. His only exception was if others targeted the twins or Padme. He would mitigate the repercussions of his fall from his family. Anakin would have to stand on his own.



    “As long as they promise not to use this information against you or Ben, then I'll agree,” Padme said.



    “Does this have to do with Mara Jade?” Arissa asked.



    Anakin cringed. He’d forgotten that only he and Obi-Wan would know why the small girl was so important to Ben. “Yes and no. It’s complicated. The first thing you have to know is Ben is from the future.”



    Siri scoffed and the Padawan’s eyes grew big. “It’s true, Siri,” Obi-Wan interjected before she could comment. “Yoda can confirm it. Beyond that, Siri, look at him. Feel him in the Force. He doesn’t feel like anyone else here, except...”



    “Skywalker,” Arissa answered, her gaze jumping to Anakin. Unconsciously, she took a step away from Ben. “He’s your son.”



    The doubt in her voice was another stab at Anakin. Ben had already paid such a high price; he’d hate for his grandson to lose his friendship with Arissa because of Anakin. “No, he’s my grandson. The child back in our quarters being watched by Master Yoda will be his father.”



    “And Mara, she’s his mother,” Arissa continued. Reeling, she looked as though she might fall straight to the floor, if Padme had not guided her to a seat. “How is this possible?”



    “We’re not entirely sure,” Obi-Wan said. “He has never been very forthcoming about the mechanics. All we know is that the situation was dire, and the Force willed he come here.”



    “To bring Anakin back from the Dark Side,” Siri finished, her gaze pensive.



    Anakin nodded. “In his time, I eventually did without his interference, but there was a great cost and the budding Jedi that Luke was beginning to form were overwhelmed by an external threat.”



    “That’s why he’s so scarred. He said he was born for war,” Arissa mused quietly.



    “Ben’s life hasn’t been easy. You’ll find him suspicious, paranoid at times, but he has the Jedi’s best interest at heart,” Obi-Wan directed his words at Arissa. “I know it will be difficult, but I ask you to keep an open mind about Anakin as well.”



    “Yes, Master Kenobi,” Arissa said. Shakily, she stood up. “I’m going to check on our course and then get some rest myself, if you will allow it Master Kenobi, Master Tachi?”



    “Of course,” Obi-Wan said.



    Arissa cast a quick look at Ben and then said, “Please let me know...please let me know when he wakes.”



    “We will,” Padme assured her.



    Anakin moaned as soon as she exited the medbay, rubbing his flesh hand over his face. Siri went to do further testing on Ben. He knew that Obi-Wan's old friend still didn’t like to leave Anakin alone with him. Padme sidled next to him, a comforting presence. He could feel Obi-Wan reach out to him in support. The twins, his wife, his best friend and his future grandson were the ones keeping his fragile mind and heart intact.



    Obi-Wan had begged him to find a way to continue in the light after the darkness he’d performed and experienced. Unsure of himself, his place in this galaxy and in the Force, he no longer doubted how much he was cared for by Obi-Wan. The power of his Master’s simple acceptance and forgiveness.



    Yet everyone he loved would pay for his sins with him.



    “It won’t be easy,” Obi-Wan spoke into the silence. “I believe Arissa will come around.”



    “How is he, Knight Tachi?” Padme asked, she ran a gentle hand over the scars on Ben’s face as though she could erase the evidence of Ben’s mistreatment.



    Padme hadn’t spent as much time with Ben as he and Obi-Wan but Anakin knew she felt guilty about her mistrust of him earlier on.



    “He’s done a number on that knee and his captivity wasn’t any more kind to him,” Siri said. “But with treatment and rest, he should be fine in a few days. There is evidence that his claims of being through worse were true. I could do a full body scan and let you know what has healed correctly, what needs to be reworked.”



    Anakin’s gut instinct was to say yes, do everything he could to fix Ben’s pain. More and more, he found he would have to fight against that desire to set up the galaxy to his best version. “We’ll ask him when he wakes up. I don’t think he likes all of his scars out in the open, especially the ones that are already so well hidden.”



    Siri gauged his response as she reviewed Ben’s vital stats, Anakin felt a wave of begrudging approval from the older Jedi woman. He and Siri had always had a good relationship and he knew she had every right to despise him, but he hoped with time they could be friends again. If not, for Obi-Wan's sake, he would have to leave his Master’s side.



    Siri turned her gaze to Obi-Wan. “How do you fit into all this?”



    “Me?” Obi-Wan said, his wide eye gaze full of feigned innocence. Anakin had to withhold another moan. Whenever Obi-Wan was annoyed, his attitude became a strange mix of caustic politeness and passive aggression. “I’m just a family friend.”



    “Right. He’s just named after you, actually kind of looks like you and thinks it’s endearing to anger me,” Siri listed on her fingers. “Not really an innocent bystander.”



    “In the future, apparently Anakin’s son is fond of me,” Obi-Wan said. “And clearly any similarity is because of that. Now, come. The boy needs his rest. Us debating pointlessly, is only going to disturb that rest.”



    Padme moved back out towards the hold of the Nubian ship she had procured for this rescue mission. Anakin and Obi-Wan following a step behind her, both lagging behind with questions. Siri stayed behind to continue to monitor Ben. Something nagged at Anakin and instead of holding it in or letting it explode out of him in a rush of anger, he asked, “How is Ben named for you?”



    “I was born Ben. I’m not sure why the Jedi changed my name when I came to the Temple, but it was one of the pieces of information given to me when I was made an apprentice. Qui-Gon said I could reclaim it if I wanted, but I rather liked that my name matched my Master’s.” He shot Anakin a half smile. “I also rather like that your grandson carries that old name now.”



    Anakin nodded, unable to express what still nagged at him. Something else was there hidden, but it wasn’t on Obi-Wan's end. He pushed away for now, smiling at Obi-Wan and resting a hand on his shoulder. “So am I.”
     
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  18. scienfictionfan

    scienfictionfan Jedi Padawan

    Registered:
    Jan 1, 2020
    I am really glad this has continued, you have an excellent story here.
     
  19. Ben_Thryss

    Ben_Thryss Jedi Knight

    Registered:
    Sep 13, 2011
    Some fun character stuff. I love that all the major players (Palpatine aside) know the secret now, and I’m real excited to see what kind of interactions come from it.

    Thanks for writing! Looking forward to more.
     
  20. ZaraValinor

    ZaraValinor Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 31, 2002
    Thank you. Here's more.


    Thank you.




    Chapter 29:



    Ben sat in isolation as he starred numbly at the datapad in front of him. He’d been pulling things from Natheana’s archives all day in the hopes of finding another way to get Palpatine to come chase him. This needed to end soon before he got too attached to these people. He looked around his empty recovery room. Obi-Wan had been by earlier but after Ben’s foul mood he had left saying he would come back with dinner. Anakin and Padme had checked on him shortly afterwards, but Anakin had training with Yoda and they both were raising newborn twins.

    The person he found himself longing to see, was the one that hadn’t shown up yet. He guessed being a time-traveling grandson to Darth Vader had finally scared Arissa away. He didn’t blame her, but the realization was enough to sour his mood and chase off any other visitors.

    As the hours dragged on, he turned to political law. Much of the Empire still functioned as the Republic had before Palpatine had declared himself except now he was the Emperor and no longer Supreme Chancellor. His word was law now. The senate could debate and possibly overturn him with enough support – well, except that he was a Sith Lord and wouldn’t give up his power easily – but most of the senators had been taken in by Palpatine’s grace and charm. They didn’t know what truly lay beneath it.

    But politics was the furthest from his forte as possible and he ended up flinging the datapad to his feet and starring up at the ceiling of the room. Boredom and Skywalker don’t mix. He needed to get out of here and soon.

    His leg had all but healed by the time they had reached Natheana. But then Siri went tattling to Master Yoda about his old, poorly healed wounds and he’d spent the last week being broken, aligned and mended. Why he bent his will to the old green hobbit, he didn’t know. He was still working out the taste of bacta from his tongue.

    “Hey,” a soft voice said from the doorway.

    He’d been so lost in his bitter musings; he hadn’t noticed Siri enter the room. “I’m going to put a tracking chip in you,” he groused. “Maybe one that will have a selective mutism option, since you’ve become so chatty lately.”

    She gave him a wry grin. “You know in this time, you’re Padawan age and expected to listen to your elders?”

    He blew a piece of red-gold fringe from his eyes. He needed to cut his hair. “No wonder you have so many problems.”

    “Bored?” she guessed.

    “Incredibly! I’ve been in prisons that were more entertaining.”

    She glanced at the reading from the vital machine they’d wired into him. “Next, I think I’ll convince Master Yoda you need psychiatric evaluations. Your brain clearly needs healing.”

    “Doesn’t mean I’m wrong,” he said.

    She shook her head and pulled up the datapad from his legs. “Galactic law? No wonder you’re bored.”

    “Yeah, I think I’d like to go back to Palpatine’s torture. At least I’d know where to find him and this whole ordeal would be over.”
    She put a hand to his forehead, and he withstood her gauging in the Force. He couldn’t quite make out why Siri had become so attentive to him lately, he missed their caustic bantering. Since he’d struggled with a low-grade fever after the med repair, she’d been checking him for fever ever since. “How’s it look, medic? Can I escape this hell before I go barvy?”

    She gently pushed his head back against the pillow before ruffling his hair. “Your fever’s gone, so you’ve met the first requirements of the healers. We’ll have to see what Ten We Waa and Bant think when they come to check on you.”

    He peered up at her, mirth and a knowing gleam in his eyes, “Is that when the life strand comparison will be done? You know for a Jedi, you require a lot of evidence for the unseen.”

    Siri stilled, clearly not used to being unmasked by what she considered a Padawan. Ben had spent years crafting his own masks, despite how few those years were, he had plenty of experience. “There’s nothing wrong with being thorough.”

    “Especially when this is all to protect Obi-Wan,” Ben said. “And he’s been suckered before by a sweet boy.”

    “You aren’t sweet,” Siri dodged.

    “Maybe ruggedly handsome, devastatingly smart, but, no, not really sweet.” He sighed, shifting so he could sit up straighter on the bed. “The overprotectiveness for the man you love is actually very familiar and reassuring, but it might go a long way if you actually believed Obi-Wan. And I kind of need you two to get along.” He could feel the blush rise to his cheeks. “I mean really get along.”

    She narrowed her gaze at him. “What? Why?”

    “Well, my mother is going to need parents. I’d like that to be you and Obi-Wan.”

    Siri let out a laugh but once she saw the earnestness on his face she stopped. “You must be joking.”

    “Not in the least,” he assured her. “Look. I’ve changed a lot of things here. I’m surprised I haven’t evaporated myself out of the job yet. You remind me of her, Siri, my mother. Her pragmatism, her intelligence, and her loyalty. Obi-Wan's loyal, too. He nearly lost the one thing he’s ever allowed himself to love and it nearly destroyed him, but it didn’t turn him to the dark either.”

    “Skywalker has too much sway over him. You want me to encourage that behavior?”

    “I want the Jedi to be bound to the people of the galaxy and less bound to its government. You can’t do that from a Temple, separate, arrogant, unloving, unmoving, full of the Force but not full on life,” Ben said evenly. Blasphemy to this timelines Jedi. He drew a deep breath, not for the first time wishing that it was fully grown Luke here instead of him. Aunt Leia. Hell, at this point, Kyp Sithin’Durron was probably a better choice than Ben.
    “The Force is life, Siri. The Code should guide us, I will never say it shouldn't. But life means love, it means happiness, there is anger, and pain. It’s messy and not nearly as straightforward as we’d like it to be. It is still the Force. And that means, it’s troublesome and full of question and doubt. For all their darkness, the Sith got that. They changed they learned. Now it’s the Jedi’s turn. There’s emotion, we choose the peace.”

    “That adds up to me and Kenobi raising your mother as a family, how?”

    Ben turned away, watching his feet move back and forth underneath the medical covers. He’d always been more comfortable in a battle, swinging his lightsaber, than sharing his emotions. He’d become pretty good at locking them up and ignoring them. But his own words about pretending emotion away came flying back to smack him in the nose. He possessed a number of bad qualities, but he’d worked hard not to be a hypocrite.

    “Because I’m scared, Siri. Terrified. I think the Force is working things out, so they aren’t incredibly different from the time I come from. Why else lead me directly to where I can find my mother. But I don’t know that for sure. Part of the reason my mother fell in love with my father was because he saw the good in her. And she saw the potential dark danger in him.” He gave her a significant look. “He didn’t deny it, he took what she said to heart and changed, and that’s why he loved her. With what I’ve done, will that still be true? If we succeed, Palpatine will no longer have influence over her, my father will never know Anakin as Darth Vader.”

    “From this point forward, everything’s a risk. I need a smart, compassionate, realist, a loving and hard as duracreet grandmother for my mother to be like. Then maybe, some version of me will still exist. Maybe a far better version of me.”

    “You aren’t so bad,” Anakin’s voice interjected. He was leaning against the door frame with a shy smile that Ben hadn’t seen before Anakin had turned back to the light. “I didn’t expect you to be playing matchmaker.”

    Ben spread out his arms innocently and gave a smirk. He didn’t think he’d ever had that Skywalker shy smile. Even as a Jedi Master, his father had had it. “I’m a man of many talents.”

    “Master Tachi,” Anakin said a little more formerly. Ben was relieved to hear that there wasn’t nearly the awkward or angry tension in their exchanged that there had been at the beginning of the week. He just wished that could be said for Obi-Wan and Siri.

    “Skywalker.” Siri leaned over and squeezed Ben’s shoulder. “I’ll leave you two to talk. And I’ll think about it.”

    Once Siri left, Anakin sat on the foot of his bunk. “Word from past experience, getting involved with Obi-Wan's girlfriends not the best idea.”

    “Yeah, well, I’m tougher than you,” he said, kicking at his grandfather’s side.

    “Says the Padawan in the medical bunk,” Anakin quipped.

    Ben rolled his eyes, a huff of long-suffering escaping. “Please tell me you came here to break me out.”

    “I’ve been forbidden,” Anakin said, holding up his hands in surrender. “Your future grandmothers have both decided if we try to move you before the healer’s release you, there will be repercussions.”

    Ben’s mood instantly dipped back to grouchy sulk. “Well, then why are you here?”

    “Obi-Wan said you were grumpy. Good thing he and Padme are coming to visit with a surprise.”

    “Oh, great. If its dinner, I’d rather just go back to sleep.”

    Anakin cleared his throat and looked as uncomfortable as Ben felt. Which didn’t bode well. “Ben...I know I have no right to ask this. But things you’ve hinted at give me concern.”

    “That’s not a question,” Ben said.

    “The siren song of the Dark Side,” Anakin recited what Ben had said in one of their early battles. “How closely did you listen?”

    Silence followed the question, the only sound the blips and beeps of the machinery monitoring his vitals. The cadence of his own heartbeat seemed to triple at the question. Ben closed his eyes. A thousand memories assailing him. He’d toed the line. So many times, he’d toed the line, probably crossed it more than once. This whole thing wasn’t supposed to be about him, it was supposed to be about saving Anakin. His family of this time were hell bent on breaking him down and rebuilding him.

    He’d fought hard not to see that dark part of himself, to keep it leashed. It would only take one more chink before it came spilling out.

    He wanted to tell Anakin that he was right. That he didn’t have any ground to ask such a question. “Why do you ask?”

    “Circumstances and my own stupidity made me feel as if I was alone, and the only one I had to listen and understand was Palpatine. I purposely blinded myself to a lot of things. It would be very convenient for you to tell me to go open an airlock now.”

    Ben opened his mouth, ready to make that witty retort. Anakin cut him off by stepping off the bunk only to come closer. “Ben you were alone. Alone, young and on the run from a group of extra-galactic invaders who couldn’t be influenced by the Force. You must have felt betrayed.”

    “Don’t,” Ben snapped. He swallowed down his fear and anger. His shame. They didn’t know, couldn’t possibly understand and thankfully it didn’t matter anymore. It was being fixed. The future had hope again. He glared up at Anakin. Subconsciously, his grandfather stepped into a fighting stance. “Don’t bring it up. My past is gone.”

    “It matters to you,” Anakin countered, the flare of Skywalker indignation in his eyes. “You matter to me.”

    Ben scoffed. “Let’s get something straight. You may be genetically my grandfather, but I’m an adult and don’t need to be parented.”

    The muscle along Anakin’s jaw leapt as he bit back his own angry retort. Curse all seven Sith hells that when he needed his grandfather to be emotionally compromised, he was using the Force to calm himself.

    “Do you really think there is anything you could have done, that I wouldn’t forgive?” Anakin asked, his eyes kind and the same blue as his son’s. “That I wouldn’t understand?”

    “It’s not about you,” Ben hissed.

    “Is it about Arissa?”

    “Arissa’s the smart one. Do you think I’m angry she left? No. I’m glad. I’m angry because I’m the one who put himself in the situation to make her frightened. You don’t know me, you don’t know what I’ve done.”

    Anakin shook his head. “It won’t change my mind. I’m willing to listen.”

    “I traveled through time, Anakin. What do you think it takes to do that? I was so twisted up on the inside, I’m not even sure what side of the Force I used. If the visions were the will of the Force or my own subconscious desires. Even now, I’m making changes that have to do more with me than the galaxy. How does that make me any better than the Sith?”

    “Unless any of that included genocide, and the manipulation of a pointless civil war, I think the scales are tipped in your favor.”

    “Don’t make light of it,” Ben warned.

    “I’m not trying to, Ben. I’m grateful to you and the sacrifices you’ve made. That doesn’t mean I want you to live with the consequences. I want you to find the peace I denied myself for so long. And I think I know what will help.”

    Ben fought down his ire and evened his breathing, while Anakin spoke into his commlink. “Padme and Obi-Wan are on their way.” Anakin held up a finger. “And no arguments.”

    Dinner with his weird family dynamic wasn’t the therapy he wanted right now. He needed a saber and something to destroy.

    Now Anakin’s grin grew wide. “You see, I’ve had a little problem named Luke Skywalker. He’s been projecting out for his son and getting upset when he’s been shielded out. I promised him I’d fix it.”

    Not a breath later, Obi-Wan came in holding Luke and Padme cradling Leia. Ben’s breath caught at the sight of them. They’d grown so much since he’d last seen them. He’d kept his distance, trying not to influence them anymore than he already had. His father, mother and aunt were now all on Natheana, being raised at the feet of Jedi.

    As soon as baby Luke saw him, he reached out with chubby arms. Obi-Wan obliged and brought Luke to Ben. Already, Luke and Leia’s sense in the Force had become more organized. Not the haphazard maelstrom of a newborn.

    “Do you really think this is a good idea?” Ben asked, cradling baby Luke in his lap. The teenage side of him marveling at the awkwardness of Luke’s drool pooling on his arm.

    “Yes,” Padme said with forced cheer. She plopped next to him, holding a sleeping Leia in her lap.

    Anakin had a finger in Luke’s grip and was pretending to wrestle it out. “They aren’t crying, eating or filling their diapers with poodoo. This is the best kind of peace.”

    Hesitantly, Ben reached out to the Force and felt his father instantly grasp the tether. He couldn’t be too far gone if Luke in his innocence could still long for his company. How did his mind even comprehend how he and Ben were connected?

    Obi-Wan watched the family a pace apart, and Ben felt a twinge of guilt. He was loved here. He had blood relatives, but the Jedi Master still felt like an outsider looking in. Ben let his gratitude for the older man touch Obi-Wan. The Jedi Master stiffened slightly than relaxed, giving him a nod.

    The baby removed his hand from Anakin and reached up to pat Ben’s cheek, bringing the time travelers focus back on him. Ben rested his head against baby Luke’s. His father gave a high-pitched giggle. The future had hope again.
     
  21. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha 2 Truths 1 Lie Host star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    OH I LOVE THIS! Chapter 28: the discussions and the honesty. Chapter 29: how INCREDIBLY fascinating as Ben encounters and discusses the present affecting the future. [face_thinking]
     
  22. bookfan

    bookfan Jedi Knight

    Registered:
    Sep 3, 2012
    I love, love, love it, the chapter that is. over the moon about the story. Ben the matchmaker
    it almost can't get any better.
     
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.