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Saga Requiem for a Jedi. Completed.

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

  1. Valairy Scot

    Valairy Scot Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 16, 2005
    Title: Requiem for a Jedi
    Author: Valairy_Scot
    Timeframe: Clone Wars
    Characters: Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Rako Hardeen, Cade Bane, Morello Eval
    Genre: Short story
    Keywords: Clone Wars, Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, Obi-Wan Kenobi
    Summary: Story is based on the current 4 episode arc of The Clone Wars. Obi-Wan Kenobi is dead at an assassin's hands and Anakin Skywalker has to deal with his grief and his desire for revenge while the Jedi try to foil a plot against the Chancellor.

    A drabble based on my first draft is found here:]Broken[/url]

    Requiem for a Jedi

    In time of war, when truth is so precious, it must be attended by a bodyguard of lies. ~~ WINSTON CHURCHILL

    For the second time in his life, Anakin Skywalker was broken. His heart had shattered, not then, not at the actual blast that had sent Obi-Wan flying over the parapet, hand to his heart, but now at what was within his padawan?s eyes.


    Those impossibly large eyes held a glaze in them that spoke poignant words of loss. Cradled in her arms?


    Unlike his first roar of that name, when fear alone scrabbled at his heart as he stared down at the fallen Obi-Wan, yet with hope that this injury would prove minor and his fear groundless, this scream was of desolation and desertion. Obi-Wan! This second scream of his name as well as the third and the fourth came from awful realization. This was a wail of loss, an eruption of outrage that left him empty and shaking, unable to articulate another word, a name, or even hope.

    Hope was dead, like Obi-Wan.

    There was no denying it, not with the tears, not with Ahsoka holding Obi-Wan within her arms, not when he lay limp and unmoving, the scorch and grime of unwelcome death splattered over his heart. Just like Ahsoka's tears, that, too, told its terrible truth. Obi-Wan, the immaculate, the disdainer of dirty, who should be and would be in life brushing his tunics clean with a light quip about ?how uncivilized? his attire had become. Obi-Wan, who should be chiding his padawan for losing his quarry?

    No more...

    No more oft-repeated and oft-ignored lectures. No more wry grins lighting up his eyes with a twinkle while the mouth remained firm; a proper Jedi serenity on the face and human mirth within the eyes. No more Anakin snapping a comeback and those lips lifting just a fraction in acknowledgement. None of that: never again, no more.

    His partner in grief, his companion in pain, Ahsoka still knelt, her head bowed and her eyes not upon her own master but her master?s master, Obi-Wan the only one free of pain this night. The tattoo of approaching footsteps and the wail of emergency vehicles, the sounds of the world about them, receded to non-awareness, out-shouted, suffocated, drowned by shockwaves rampaging through the Force: silent agony from Anakin like a thundering sea battering land, a silent tear from his padawan like a released drop of dew from an overloaded leaf. Amidst chaos: silence. Amidst silence: chaos. Amidst tragedy: a tableau, a trio of statues sculpted from marble and encased in ice, immobile, linked even in this moment; the shattered, the grieving ? and the dead.

    The thundering silence was broken by a whisper.

    “He – he didn’t suffer, Master.” Another tear slipped free, fell like a benediction upon the still face, before the padawan finally looked up at her master. The words were meant to comfort, to ease pain. They could not, for the words damned him - he had not been there. He had not been there to whisper goodbye or thank you; had not been there to offer comfort or ease the passage into the Force, so how could he accept comfort for himself? He had failed: failed Obi-Wan, failed his mother, failed himself – he had sworn he would protect those he loved, promised he would save them.

    And that, even more than Obi-Wan’s death, was intolerable. It left him - shattered.

    “Master?” Ahsoka’s voice wavered now, her concern moving from the one physically dead before her to the one emotionally dead crouching beside her. “Shouldn’t we…uh…the Temple?”

    Anakin wiped his hands on his knees, almost too numb to think, and then nodded silently. He knew the words could not be spoken by him. To speak of it would let the pain overcome him; numbness was much better. Let Ahsoka deal with reality while he shuddered inwardly in the face of it. He reached out a hand and squeezed her shoulder; indicated with a nod of his head that she was to go speak to the emergency responders as well as the Temple. Tell them they were Jedi and one of their own needed to be returned to his own so that his body could be sent to join his soul within the Force.

    A sob shook his chest and Anakin forced it down and back. Sobs would not help Obi-Wan; sobs would not save him nor avenge him.

    But Anakin Skywalker would.
  2. Jade_Max

    Jade_Max Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jun 28, 2002
    This was fantastically well done; a great 'snap shot' of what Anakin must have been feeling at the time.

    Even though we all knew Obi-Wan wasn't going to die, Anakin's reaction in the show is heart breaking - and you put it into words by painting a picture so poignant here that it make my throat tighten... it's so... heart breaking.

    Well done!

    Ideas for a title? I think you have it nailed - but not because of what happened to Obi-Wan. This feels almost like one of those turning points for Anakin where he slips further into the dark without crossing the line completely...
  3. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Kessel Run Champion star 6 VIP - Game Winner

    Aug 21, 2006
    Your muse sure is back with this gripping story. And the right title
  4. Luna_Nightshade

    Luna_Nightshade Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jan 25, 2006
    Beautiful angst/description. Lovely to read and picture. When you update, could you please PM me?
  5. anakinfansince1983

    anakinfansince1983 Skywalker Saga/LFL/YJCC Manager star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Mar 4, 2011
    Love this. You have Anakin nailed, from the sense of failure he must have felt at losing yet another person he loved, to the reason he didn't say a word for awhile after it happened.

    I look forward to seeing more.
  6. serendipityaey

    serendipityaey Jedi Master star 4

    Jan 24, 2004
    Beautiful and sad description of what Obi-Wan is to Anakin. Great writing as always
  7. Toni

    Toni Jedi Master star 1

    Jul 11, 1998
    Don't watch the Clone War cartoons, but got what was going on. Another reminder of how hard the "no attachment" rule is especially for someone like Anakin, and made me think so sadly of Obi-Wan's canon death. Keep the angst coming- you do it so well.
  8. obimom

    obimom Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 31, 2010
    Ok, Found it!! Still beautifully written, and so heartbreaking. I loved the quote by Winston Churchill.

    Can't wait for more!! =D=
  9. ZaraValinor

    ZaraValinor Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 31, 2002
    Sorry, I've been trying to post a reply to this since you posted it. It love this, so very Anakin. Actually this story line is the only thing I've seen of the Clone Wars so far.

    Amidst chaos: silence. Amidst silence: chaos. Amidst tragedy: a tableau, a trio of statues sculpted from marble and encased in ice, immobile, linked even in this moment; the shattered, the grieving ? and the dead. This was my favorite. Well done.
  10. Valairy Scot

    Valairy Scot Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 16, 2005
    Jade_Max: Even though we all knew Obi-Wan wasn't going to die, Anakin's reaction in the show is heart breaking - and you put it into words by painting a picture so poignant here that it make my throat tighten... it's so... heart breaking.

    Thank you kindly [face_blush]

    Earlybird-obi-wan: Oh, I wish the muse were back. If it were, I might write a more original story ? here I?m relying on TCW for the plot outline while I write the story. But it feels good to put words to paper (screen) once more.

    Luna_Nightshade: PM, check.

    Anakinfansince1983 You have Anakin nailed, from the sense of failure he must have felt at losing yet another person he loved, to the reason he didn't say a word for awhile after it happened.

    You know, that is one trait both Anakin and Obi-Wan have in common: an uncommon ability to feel a sense of failure. I think the difference is that Anakin tends to project his failings upon others the older he gets and Obi-Wan tends to internalize them, and even accepts others? failings as evidence of his own.

    That?s not to say Anakin is entirely ?you to blame? finger pointing. From wherever it arose (and a lot from the weight of the prophecy put on his young shoulders by Qui-Gon), his destiny to balance the Force aligned with his natural tendencies to wish to help others. Somehow, some time, it got corrupted (Sids ? I?m looking at you for a lot of that blame).

    Serendipityaey Anakin was definitely attached to Obi-Wan; he clearly resented and loved him, much like a younger sibling might an older who took over the parenting role upon the parents? death. I think Obi-Wan?s AGE is one of the key factors in their relationship, not so much Obi-Wan himself as well as Anakin's normal childhood - a lot of interference and lack of understanding between the two.

    Toni: Another reminder of how hard the "no attachment" rule is especially for someone like Anakin, and made me think so sadly of Obi-Wan's canon death. Do tell ? first time I watched ANH after ROTS I literally broke down in tears and had to turn off the movie and hunt up one or two rather large handkerchiefs. Haven?t watched ANH since, though if we ever get a ROTTEN weather weekend, I?m holing up for a 6-pack viewing.

    Obimom: I?ve dug up several good quotes; it?s a shame most were FAR too long to consider as a title. But they work as chapter intros.

    ZaraValinor: :D For someone known not to be a fan of Anakin, I seem to get a lot of ?so very Anakin? comments. Truth is, I do understand him and I do sympathize with him, but I do not particularly like his portrayal (thanks to the films :rolleyes: ) ? sorry Hayden/GL (don?t know whether to blame the acting, directing or both for that).

    Chapter 2.

    War demands sacrifice…it gives only suffering in return.
    Yoda and Mace Windu stood on the landing platform, a solemn reception. Mace took charge of the body, accompanying it within the Temple. Yoda remained. Anakin knelt and bowed his head. A small three-fingered hand rested on his shoulder. The gesture, Anakin understood, was not for his grief, but for Obi-Wan’s loss, a show of solidarity.

    “Mourn not, young Skywalker…”

    Helpless to stop the snarl on his lips, only to stop the torrent of abuse seeking release in words, Anakin shoved himself to his feet and free of Yoda’s grasp, stalking off without a word. Anger, despair and grief trailed beside him, his constant companion now.

    How could the Force do this to him? First it stole his mother, now it stole his former master. Was he not the Chosen One, the one meant to save others? The one who held the full power of the Force within his grasp, the one who should be able to summon life to those deprived of it? If there was such a power, he would find it. No more death…no one else. He would save those whom he loved.

    It was a vow.

    And in his grief and rage, he did not feel the Force tremble.


    “I’m sorry, Master.” Ahsoka was too well trained to twist her hands in worry, eyes affixed on her master as he stalked away, so sad, so mad, so alone.

    “Sorry for what, Padawan Tano?” That brought her eyes back to Yoda. Kindness and curiosity showed there, not condemnation and most certainly not a rebuke. “Your fault it is not, Master Kenobi’s fate.”

    “No, no, not that, I know that, Master.” Ahsoka drew in a deep breath. “But Skyg – Master Anakin – he’s taken this hard. He hasn’t spoken a word; the Force is all twisted up like a knot within him. He – he grieves.” She finished in a whisper because Jedi weren’t supposed to grieve. Maybe not ‘celebrate’ death, certainly, but not grieve. Death was only a passage of life back to the Force, not something to fear.

    But down deep she agreed with her master: death was most certainly something to grieve, at least for a while.

    “Grief passes in time,” the old Jedi said softly. “Transmutes into something softer, something less painful and sad. Sometimes, even, into acceptance and joy, for when grief leaves, it leaves room for joyful memories to return and provide comfort. Obi-Wan found this to be true; so too will your master. One day Anakin will smile and one day he will again find joy.”

    “I doubt Skyguy will ever find joy.”

    “He will, young padawan; he will.” Yoda’s voice was strong and confident, so very sure, but Ahsoka thought he was surely wrong. Anakin would carry grief deep within him until the end of his days.

    “Master Yoda…what now?” To her dismay, Ahsoka’s voice wavered.

    “Now? Now we grieve and then we will move forward. To your master you go, hmm?”

    “I – I don’t know.” And she didn’t. Did Skyguy wish to be alone? She wished she knew; she wished she knew whether she wanted to be at his side or alone herself. If she escaped to her room alone, could she escape the memory of holding Master Kenobi’s body in her arms? He wasn’t Skyguy or Master Plo, but she revered him, trusted him, admired him. She could not imagine life without Master Kenobi’s teasing of her master, his grave courteousness, or the warmth he buried behind Jedi reserve.

    And poor Skyguy. He knew Master Kenobi many more years, had shared so much of his life with Master Kenobi. If she was hurting, Anakin had to be devastated. “Master Kenobi… oh, if you only knew what your death has done to him. If you had known, or even guessed, could you have hung on harder, hung on longer? Lived, so that Master Anakin wouldn’t die inside like he did; lived so that he, too, could live?”

    Master Kenobi might now be in the Force, but neither one answered.


    Twelve pairs of eyes were intimidating; even with Master Kenobi amongst them. Eleven pairs of eyes, minus him, were almost comforting, for there was almost a sense of shared absence, comfort in being surrounded by other Jedi who understood what this loss meant.

    Ahsoka stuttered to a stop, her master’s hand upon her shoulder. The Council had allowed Anakin his silence; allowed his padawan to speak for them both: no recriminations, no admonishments, no “There is no death, there is only the Force” reminders.

    No questions, even. Just silence.

    And that silence was what now unnerved her, for it was far too reminiscent of that fateful moment when – time froze, sounds ceased, and Master Kenobi - died.

    Before there had been sounds: the crack of a blaster, the thuds of pounding feet as the three Jedi separated in search of the sharpshooter, the thumping of her heart from the adrenaline – and then – and then –

    Then there had been the flash of movement caught in the corner of her eye, a thud as he –as Master Kenobi – hit the durocrete and that was when before became after and all sound ceased. That’s what she remembered now. The silence. The silence as the body – as Master Kenobi – lay outstretched with no groan of pain, and when she had scrabbled over to his – to Master Kenobi’s – side, no solid beat-beat-beat of a living heart. No soft exhalation of breath, no pulse, no life when not many moments before the three of them had laughed together on their way back to the Temple.

    All that was before: before the sniper.

    Before: when she cradled Master Kenobi in her arms and realized it was not him, only the body he had been allowed to wear in life and which now lay discarded and empty. And after the silence and during it: touch and smell; horror. Rough fabric against her finger tips, the soft brush of beard against her forearm, the weight of a muscular man resting across her legs…it was so real, once more, the stench and scorch of a blaster bolt burning in her nostrils like the acid burning of bile in her stomach…

    Ahsoka shuddered: seeing again the patterned floor of the Council chamber beneath her feet. If she looked up, she would see the empty seat slightly off to her left, if she looked off to the side she would see her master standing, so still, so contained, so hurt and oh, so very silent because grief and anger still tightened his throat and thrummed through his veins. His voice had fled – then – rocking his master’s body in his arms, mouthing words – commands – to bring life back to the dead.

    But not even the Chosen One could reclaim one already lost to the Force, no matter how fervent his voiceless whispers or violent his pleas within that same Force.

    Anakin’s hand settled gently on her shoulder, squeezing his appreciation that she had taken this burden from him, this recitation to an uncommonly kind Council. She, too, was grateful: that the Council had allowed Anakin his silence, had allowed her the time to lose herself in harsh memories without comment.

    She blinked, slowly raising her eyes but only to stare out the large window as she tried to regain her composure. So much traffic out there, so many folks flitting about their lives, their concerns important to them but so petty to her at this solemn time.

    Not just now, but these past few months, during this war. So many dead in this war: so many faces, the remembered and the barely remembered, too many for a mere Jedi apprentice to keep track of. Skyguy remembered; only Anakin remembered all their names; she still struggled with some. Anakin’s men: her men, the men of the 501st. So many - too many.

    And now, Master Kenobi.

    Master Kenobi had finally seen the end of war, not within his lifetime, but at its end.


    Deep within the Temple there lived a secret, one known only to the Council. Safe in the healers’ custody lay Obi-Wan Kenobi, still clad in scorched tunics and inert upon a padded platform. A droid hovered over the body, bio sensors twitching.

    “There are no viable life signs,” a metallic voice intoned. “The subject is deceased.”

    Mace Windu stood, arms crossed at the foot of the platform. Brown eyes grimly traveled the length of the body, noting the scorch marks but no sign of other bruising, no misshapen limbs indicating broken bones. He let a breath hiss out of his chest. The only damage was to the chest; none had been incurred by the fall, a rather lengthy one by Padawan Tano’s report.

    “Your death has shocked rather a lot of folks, Obi-Wan.” One might almost think the tone was soberly amused if one was not witness to Mace’s grim face – and the body before him. He laid the back of one hand against the still cheek beneath him and sighed. Mace had never quite realized how vibrant the reserved master was in life, only now when life was fled was it apparent by its absence. Strange, how death illuminated life, he mused in a rare moment of reflection.

    “Quite an impressive list of guests has flocked here for your funeral; it’s a shame you’re unable to see the impact you have had on some many lives. Don’t worry, your funeral will be dignified as befits one of our finest and no speeches – such would only be an unhappy reminder of your eloquence. As for Anakin, he has taken this much as expected, but don’t worry, Yoda and I will be speaking to him as soon as feasible.”

    With a final pat to an immobile leg, a troubled Mace left the cubicle, not looking forward to that conversation. Difficult would be the understatement of the century, but war had taught the Jedi – the Council – that in war there was nothing but difficulty. Choices were between bad decisions and disastrous decisions.

    War blurred lines dividing moral and immoral. War demanded sacrifices.

    The greater good. He snorted at the thought. Losing men to gain ground; sacrificing soldiers to save civilians.

    He really hated war, this war: the things war made them do. He hated the damage done to innocents and the choices forced upon the Jedi in order to protect and preserve the Republic and its citizens.
    He hated most of all that because of the war – he hated.

    It was time to meditate and loosen his hate into the Force. Hate had no place in a Jedi’s life.


    Hate rose like bile within Anakin Skywalker’s throat. It had been a mistake to come here, to the quarters he had once shared with Obi-Wan. Here he had been a boy raised to adulthood, a padawan raised to a knight. In all his life, he had had two constant companions: first his mother, then Obi-Wan, with the cherished blip that had been Qui-Gon in between.

    All three had been torn away from him. Death was a cruel dagger that severed his life into before and after. Before he lost his loved ones, and after, when he was set adrift on a sea of grief.

    What lay open before him was not before, only a representation of before, something to mock him. The room breathed of Obi-Wan in its tidiness, not a thing out of place. Like the man who lived here, it was a façade of orderliness and at first glance lifeless. Underneath one sensed warmth, the layer of textures and creases that turned sterility into – home.

    Not the home he had called his life with his mother or the home he called his life with his wife. Those homes were simple havens, built simply on love, not complex layers, built on discipline overlain on love.

    Obi-Wan had not been mother, not wife, not family. He had been so much less and so much more: he had been father and brother, teacher and friend, solid ground and unwanted conscience. He had been the leash that defined the perimeter he was allowed to explore, something resented and appreciated in turn.

    Anakin now wanted and now needed Obi-Wan’s guidance, be it lecture, advice or a hand on his shoulder accompanying a cup of tea. Ironic, he could almost hear Obi-Wan murmur, that you only want my help when I cannot offer it; that you need me to help you through my death when I am, well, dead and no longer able to help you.

    Dammit it, Obi-Wan! Anakin slammed his hand into a pillow and knocked it off the couch to the floor, howled his outrage, grief and pain to the Force. How dare you die, how could you do this to me! He kicked the pillow so hard it thudded into the wall. Dammit it, Obi-Wan!

    But not even his silent curses held the power to rouse Obi-Wan from the dead with a request to watch his language.

    Neither did his vow of vengeance.
  11. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Kessel Run Champion star 6 VIP - Game Winner

    Aug 21, 2006
    Great moving update showing the different insights from Anakin, Ahsoka and Mace

    PM please for the next update:)
  12. Jade_Max

    Jade_Max Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jun 28, 2002
    I thought the episode showcased just how mature Ahsoka had become and you caught her character right on, in my opinion, here. She's struggling with what she knows and what she's been taught, all of it overshadowed by her concern for her Master.

    Mace's section as he contemplated 'dead' Obi-Wan was insightful; I love how you had him hating the war - and then needing to meditate. His comments about Obi-Wan's influence while alive was telling and true; one never knows how many lives we touch until we're gone - and by then it's too late.

    The end with Anakin in the rooms he shared with Obi-wan was poignant and heart wrenching. This is a boy that gave up so much in becoming the man he is, has met and lost to hardship, and struggled with the very foundation of who he is set adrift deliberately but, at the same time, has latched onto and held what he can - only to have it stripped painfully away in such a manner that's is irrevocable.

    You showcased that extremely well!

    The angst in this is just choking me up; I love the missing moments!
  13. Luna_Nightshade

    Luna_Nightshade Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jan 25, 2006
    I love how you contrasted Anakin's reaction to Obi-Wan's death with Ahsoka's and Mace's reactions. They are all very fitting for the characters, especially with how it fleshes out Anakin's obsessive panic with Padme's possible death in RotS. It makes it make more sense overall, and more poignant. Very beautiful writing, of course. Looking forward to more.
  14. Gkilkenny

    Gkilkenny Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 27, 2004
    Riveting, and all I can say is with Obi-Wan?s death, comes 'The death of hope'. I can?t really accept that Obi-Wan is dead, not at such a young age and it does appear that it will send Anakin to the dark side quicker.

    Nice to see you writing again.=D=
  15. ZaraValinor

    ZaraValinor Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 31, 2002
    I think why your Anakin works for me, which most don't, is because your writing him as though his fate isn't already decided. Yes, he's conflicted, but he's also getting some things right. I really enjoyed it in the story arc of the Clone Wars where Anakin says that Obi-Wan wouldn't want the bounty hunter dead so he wasn't going to take his revenge(horrible paraphrasing). I'm so glad you're continuing it in this.

    Brilliant job.
  16. Valairy Scot

    Valairy Scot Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 16, 2005
    Earlybird-Obi-Wan: All ?mourn? differently, of course.

    Jade_Max: Ahsoka is at that age, caught between her teachings and her experiences. HOW she applies that reflects growth, that she learns from it shows growing maturity.

    Mace: fanon or canon, not sure which, has Mace growing grimmer and grimmer with the war. I think war desensitizes some and Jedi have to fight ? have to want to fight ? against such.

    Luna_Nightshade: Anakin certainly latches onto people, perhaps because he is aware of how easily slaves can be discarded, perhaps because they?re a means of self-validation. Certainly his mother was a wonderful ?conscience? when he was young when life itself seemed to be in others? control, and without ?them? he is lost.

    Gkilkenny: I?m writing again (and it feels GOOD) but not plotting, as you can see. I somewhat self-identify with the style of a certain SW writer who was absolutely blasted (quite brutally) over in LIT for aspects of her writing that mine echo. It was ? disheartening ? to see how abominable the comments were and know that those same words could be applied equally to my writing. Any self-esteem I may have had as a writer just plummeted and I just could not ? did not even want ? to ever write again.

    ZaraValinor: Anakin is not doomed to go good or to go bad. Like everyone, he is a mix of ?good? and ?bad? traits (although I think very few traits are so easily identified). Anything to extremes is bad, and Sids manipulated every emotion, instinct, and thought of Anakin?s in such a way that ?good? was twisted to ?bad? ? even in such ways as favoring individuals over principles. Each is good in balance, each is bad in extremes.

    If only Anakin could have struck a balance between individuals and principles ? he might truly have brought a new kind of balance to the Jedi, and beyond them.

    Chapter 3.

    The moral reality of war is divided into two parts. War is always judged twice, first with reference to the reasons states have for fighting, secondly with reference to the means they adopt.... ~~ MICHAEL WALZER, Just and Unjust Wars

    Amongst many stood one alone.

    In this hallowed hall of mourning, serenity and solemnity reigned supreme. Those whom the Jedi master had touched, not just Jedi, but friends outside the Order, some of them politicians - the latter an occupation which Obi-Wan pretended to abhor - circled the funeral crypt: Satine Kryze, Duchess of Mandalore; Senators Bail Organa; Padmé Amidala, and Mon Mothma most notably. Absent was Chancellor Palpatine, who had sent his heartfelt regrets and deepest condolences.

    Only the soft sobs of one broke the silence. Duchess Satine, whom Anakin had once teased was Obi-Wan’s “girlfriend” on a mission he had dared to call “romantic” not long ago. That had earned him a withering look, but then Obi-Wan had never been one to willingly reveal feelings, especially ones potentially so personal.
    There had been something between them and, as then, he suspected it had been more than the intimacy of a year-long mission, no matter what Obi-Wan had said. It wasn’t just the soft tones his master adopted when recounting missions with Qui-Gon, but the gentle admiration for the sharp-tongued Duchess that had warmed his voice as he recounted the year “on the run” guarding a woman dedicated to peace.

    Peace was a fragile edifice, as Anakin well knew, built on a foundation sunk into human avarice, greed, and selfishness. Peace for Mandalore had been won, but if peace were ever to hold, it needed more than victory – it needed to win the heart and the soul of the populace, the defeated and the victorious both. True peace could not be won, only earned – and Anakin had felt how deeply Obi-Wan wished to see peace seep into the foundation that Mandalore rested upon.

    “You didn’t stay to help her.”

    “That would have been – problematic. My duty as a Jedi demanded I be elsewhere. ”
    “Demanded? But it’s obvious you had feelings for her,” Anakin had protested, but of course, Obi-Wan had let duty lead him away.

    “I live by the Jedi Code.” The simple statement had been layered; an excuse and a reason both, Anakin thought. Always with Obi-Wan, principles had trumped people and duty had trumped self-interest, something Anakin found maddening and now – unutterably sad. What had Obi-Wan earned in his too short life – only this, a handful of mourners who only paid lip service to grief and in a few short days would cease to remember one Obi-Wan Kenobi.

    He had more than existed: he had lived, even if Obi-Wan had never allowed himself to really live life to its fullest. Oh, he had his moments. He had laughed, oh how he could laugh when he allowed himself more than an amused chuckle. Witty and wry quips, a sign of the mirthful depths buried fathoms deep and his humor, so dry that were he on Tatooine the planet would burst out in tears of shame, soon to be awash in salty seas.

    Feeling a hypocrite at that time, aboard the Duchess’s ship and yet not ashamed in the least, Anakin had continued on as if in agreement, “As Master Yoda says, a Jedi must not form attachments.”

    And Obi-Wan, stoic, grave, placid Obi-Wan murmured something Anakin had never thought to hear: in Obi-Wan’s dulcet tones the words were almost a harsh indictment of the Code that the Jedi would never consciously rebel against: “Yes, but he usually leaves out the undercurrent of remorse.”

    That had been the closest Obi-Wan had come to opening up to Anakin as a fellow human being, a man with regrets and sorrows to match his joys. Always Obi-Wan, ever Obi-Wan, Master Kenobi had slipped for a precious moment into someone Anakin scarcely knew and wished he had known better. He had refrained from showing actual vulnerability, but had shown his humanity. The war had done that, Anakin was now realizing, stripping away the veneer of Jedi serenity under the ruthless assault of exhaustion and horror.

    War dehumanized so many in Anakin’s experience, but ever contrary, war had only humanized Obi-Wan. And now war had torn him away.

    In a distant corner of his mind Anakin noted his padawan, standing at Plo Koon’s side and eyes upon him. She was too concerned for one living to grieve the dead; a part of him resented that on Obi-Wan’s behalf but then he supposed that he grieved enough for two. In any case he was incapable of truly caring. He was drained of all but anger and even it flickered beneath his frozen exterior, seeking an outlet. It would explode into fiery ignition when time, for nothing and no one could quench the fire for vengeance.

    “I’m worried about Anakin; he hasn’t spoken a word since it happened.” Ahsoka risked a glance away from her master to her informal mentor. Please tell me how to help him. She knew she should focus on the funeral, show honor to the fallen man who had been almost a second master, but Master Obi-Wan had always taught her by example that a Jedi put duty first. A padawan’s duty was her master.

    She honored Master Obi-Wan by worrying about Anakin. She could almost hear him saying, “The living take precedent over the dead; the hurting take precedent over those beyond hurt.”

    So with what would be his blessing were he able to voice it, she buried her guilt as the draped body sank into the crypt. As the tongue of light flamed to the sky, she had eyes only for Anakin, thoughts only for his pain.

    Master Plo touched her elbow, nudging her away. Master Kenobi was released to the Force; the funeral over, it was time to depart. Looking over her shoulder she saw that Anakin alone remained. Face twisted in silent grief, hands no doubt clenched into fists at his side, he sank to his heels. With a keening sound of distress, his hands crept from the depths of his sleeves; pressed against his knees to brace himself while his face retreated further into his cowl, withdrawn and cloaked in shadows. A shiver iced up her spine.

    Without Master Obi-Wan at his side his very light seemed diminished.

    Obi-Wan Kenobi lay on a padded platform behind a locked cubicle door as a medical droid ran a scan over him. It had already taken a blood sample and confirmed that the drug to suppress his vital signs had all but cleared out of his system, though he could attest he was still a bit less clear-headed than he liked. His bones told him it had been a hard fall, even broken by boxes.

    All in all, it meant he felt a trifle achy, a tad tired, and uncommonly testy – all of which could be put to good use in the ruse to come.

    He sighed, still uneasy over the Council’s decision that had led to him being here “dead.” He had acquiesced: a battle lost was best accepted gracefully and yet – his deep concerns remained.

    Those “concerns” were not for his role or the danger thereon, but for the individuals affected, foremost amongst them his former padawan.

    Still, reluctant or not, duty had demanded that steps be taken to protect the Chancellor from an imminent and not entirely clear plot and no other alternate course had been deemed acceptable by a majority of the Council, led by Mace Windu. Duty! Duty always triumphed over personal concerns, but Obi-Wan knew that when it came to his padawan, Anakin Skywalker’s concerns could result in consequences that the Council could not foresee.
    Elaboration of his disquiet, further argument that this course of action would only antagonize and foment distrust in the Order’s most formidable knight would be counterproductive serving only to convince the Council that the young Knight was one too ruled by emotion and too little by necessity.

    Obi-Wan could not betray and would not diminish his former padawan like that. Better a deception that wouldn’t be as perpetuating. One way or the other, however, the master expected repercussions that might well shatter their relationship, but better Anakin be severed from his master than from the Order.

    In the end, after an acrimonious and testy Council session, Obi-Wan had found an unhappy middle ground, exacting a promise that either Yoda or Mace would fill Anakin in as soon as possible. The whole charade depended on Anakin’s authentic reaction to his death: only the distraught Knight and his grief would sell Obi-Wan Kenobi’s “death” but there was absolutely no reason not to divulge the truth shortly after.

    Obi-Wan did not envy the master that would be tasked with facing an angry and no-doubt-feeling-betrayed Anakin Skywalker. Not even Master Yoda would be immune from his former padawan’s curt tongue and Obi-Wan found he could not even care, no matter how egregious the potential violation of courtesy and protocol. What they were doing – to Anakin especially - was a terrible deception, no matter how necessary. Forgiveness might well prove elusive; Anakin was not one to forgive easily and quite frankly, Obi-Wan wasn’t sure any of them were even entitled after perpetuating a deception of this magnitude.

    “If you are no longer feeling dizzy, Master Jedi, you may sit up now.” The attending medical droid intoned in its metallic voice. “Your bio signs have normalized and are now within normal parameters; your death has been successfully reversed.”

    “Yes, well, I don’t doubt that you would see it that way for some reason. Chalk one up to Jedi healing.” He looked up as the door slid open to admit Mace and Yoda, burying his misgivings under false cheer. “So, how was my funeral?”

    “A better performance than you your corpse gave,” Yoda grunted, causing Obi-Wan to raise an eyebrow in surprise at the curtness of the comment before he realized Yoda was just as apprehensive as he. Yes, Yoda had expressed some reservations about this plan and while committed to it, wasn’t above expressing his displeasure at the need. Well, Obi-Wan wasn’t too happy about it, either, but he had taken the fall for the Council – literally – and risked his relationship with his former padawan to boot. Surely that alone should be worth something, not such a disparaging comment.

    “Whatever do you mean? I fell from the top of a building; I could have killed myself,” he reminded Yoda, letting a little of his disgruntlement over the whole situation be known.

    “Survived worse you have; young Skywalker knows this,” Yoda retorted.

    Yes, well, Obi-Wan preferred not to go there. Some memories, once released, were best left released and not relived.

    Absently rubbing a shoulder, he found that he could not as easily dismiss the memory of Anakin’s reaction then and squelched a wince. His padawan had been so distraught while he – no, no best not to go there – deep breath, release, let it go – let it go. Anakin, yes, Anakin, focus on Anakin. Or perhaps not; this time the mental wounds were inflicted with his full knowledge and cooperation, unlike then. Selling Anakin’s reaction was his best option for returning alive from this undercover mission, he knew that and so did the Council, but no matter how necessary, it was a cruel thing to do. Not just to his former padawan, but to others as well; he had not asked who had attended his funeral as he had no wish to know: the fewer things weighing down his conscience at this time the better; his full attention needed to be directed at the mission.

    This is all for a good reason; this is necessary. The Chancellor was far too important to risk; better to risk his relationship with Anakin. Obi-Wan was all too intimately related with losses, what would one more be? One more loss to absorb and move on from: just another casualty of war, just another sacrifice at the altar of duty.
    You keep trying to persuade yourself, Kenobi. You don’t fear the mission, dangerous as it is; you fear the consequences far more – and now that you’ve admitted it, release that fear to the Force so you can do what you have to do.

    “There’s no way that he could know I’m alive,” he said softly.

    Perhaps Yoda sensed a bit of his feelings, perhaps not, but he had clearly heard the unspoken plea in that last comment: Don’t leave Anakin long to grieve me! Whether it was meant to assuage that flicker of doubt yet to depart or was a transparent attempt to assuage his own misgivings, Yoda simply replied. “Not know, sense he will that something is not right.”

    However meant, that was simply not reassuring. If Anakin were not clued in soon he would pursue Obi-Wan’s assumed persona with or without the Council’s permission, and Anakin Skywalker was not a foe to be trifled with. The last thing Obi-Wan wanted to deal with was a rampaging former padawan who could blow his cover – or be hurt or worse in his pursuit of an assassin already in custody.

    Because if he was ever forced to choose…duty and honor both required Obi-Wan to put the Chancellor, the Republic and all its citizens before one man, Force help his conscience, but forced to a choice between his padawan and himself there was no doubt whose well-being he would put first. He would more than willingly jeopardize or even sacrifice his own life long before he would allow Anakin to be harmed.

    That was a vow and a promise; one witnessed by the Force.

    “What’s done is done; we need to get your transformation underway.” Mace was all business; all Jedi, seemingly concerned only with getting this done without regard to any of the people affected. It was the Jedi master’s way of coping, finding refuge in dispassion and duty, but to the detriment of the compassion Obi-Wan knew was within him. Some charades evolved into realities. War was changing all of the Jedi, in ways large and small.
    When all was said and done, blasters and lightsabers returned to belts and no longer turned against others – what kind of Jedi would they then be and perhaps more important, what kind of men? Would their light be forever tarnished or would the stains of war be absorbed into the Force in one of the greatest acts of absolution known to the galaxy?

    May the Force have pity on all our souls.

    With a slight look askance and a shrug of his shoulders, Obi-Wan muttered, “Well, time for a shave.” As the droid began shaving his head, he invited Mace to tell him more about his target.

    A hologram of a Phindian’s head sprang up from the projector plate in Mace’s hand.

    Moralo Eval, a known associate of Count Dooku, Mace explained. The underworld was rife with rumor that Eval was involved in a plot against the Chancellor, expected to take place in three days on Naboo during a celebration. Aware of the plot, the Chancellor insisted that he had every confidence that the Jedi could protect him from harm and would attend rather than withdraw.

    It wasn’t the first time Palpatine’s confidence in the Jedi made life so much more complicated than it needed to be. This whole horrible charade could be so easily avoided if the Chancellor simply stayed safe on Coruscant. Obi-Wan knew that, Mace knew that, and Yoda knew that; no point in stating the obvious.

    The Council’s plan was simple: under an assumed identity, Mace would hire a bounty hunter of known skill and equal bravado named Rako Hardeen to murder Obi-Wan Kenobi. After time sufficient to brag of his bounty, the Jedi would take Hardeen into custody and Obi-Wan would take his place. After infiltration into prison as his own assassin, the Jedi-killer “Hardeen” would obtain the details of the plot from Eval and then wait for extraction.
    It was hoped that Hardeen’s reputation as a “Jedi killer,” and not of just any Jedi, but that of a well known Jedi master and council member, would give Obi-Wan instant credibility upon insertion. Obi-Wan was less certain; most of the prisoners had reputations of their own and he suspected that Jedi-killer or not, Eval would be slow to trust anyone new with details of any plot against the Chancellor.

    “Any details that might help me gain his trust?” He looked at Mace expectantly.

    “He killed his mother when still a boy, told the authorities he did it because he was bored.”

    Obi-Wan raised an eyebrow. How charming. “Well, then, I’ll try not to bore him.”

    “Not a game is this, Obi-Wan; the risks great they are.”

    Which of course explained the bad feeling he had had since that cursed Council meeting. He withstood Yoda’s scrutiny impassively. Let Yoda glare at him. He was not a padawan to be chastised, even if it felt as if years were being removed along with hair.

    Speaking of which…

    He ran a hand over his scalp, marveling at the feel of so much skin. It was a strange sensation but he was sure that he would soon adapt. The loss was impermanent and if he felt just a bit vulnerable – well, so be it. A feeling of vulnerability might well be an asset; help keep his senses honed and alert to danger.

    At least this part of the process had been painless. As for the next step– he had a very bad feeling it would not go so well. So be it. He was no stranger to pain; he would survive it as he had survived so much else.

    He slid his legs onto the table and leaned back as the droid positioned the machine beside his head. With a flick of a switch, a long needle extended itself forward and into his neck. Well, this isn’t so bad…yet; just a mere pinprick, at least at first but as the contents emptied into his system, he hastily retracted that statement in favor of - no, painful was a terrible understatement. Agonizing? Excruciating? Yes; yes, that would work. Excruciating. Perhaps this was his just recompense for his role in this deception…

    Mace hurriedly grabbed hold of one arm to hold Obi-Wan from writhing off the platform, his face etched with sudden concern as a paroxysm of shudders and involuntary muscle spasms threw the Jedi master from side to side, his face contorted in a desperate attempt to restrain his agonized grunts and groans and maintain at least a semblance of tight-lipped control before his audience of two senior Jedi. Every nerve and sinew, muscle and bone stretched and flexed: he was being torn apart and rearranged from the inside out; overloaded nerve synapses flamed red hot beneath his skin. Ah, ah, Force, Anakin, nothing you can do to me can equal this…ahhh!
    A ragged cry burst from his lips as his back arched into the air, ripping him away from Mace’s restraining hand before he slumped back to the platform and sucked in a deep breath of warm, wonderful air.

    And just like that, only the echo of his agony remained, felt in the thudding of his heart and the tingling of his newly arranged face. It had been an eternity of torment, though perhaps only seconds for Mace and Yoda.
    “Well that was – fun.”

    Strangely, no one, including him, found the attempt at a joke anything but pitiful.

    In the funeral chamber stood only a few mourners, most of the Jedi departed. Obi-Wan Kenobi had been sent into the Force; there was little reason to remain.

    Those remaining were loath to leave, loath to sever the last thread to the dead. There would be no memorial tablet to lay flowers upon, no place except within heart and mind to mourn, for the Jedi Temple was not open without invitation to non-Jedi.

    Senator Padmé Amidala focused not on the dead, but on the dying, for on the other side of the room stood her poor husband, so very alone. She longed to go to him, wrap her arms around him and encourage him cry into her shoulder, but that would have to be later. Now, he died alone, dying on the inside, pieces of him chipping away with each second, with each unshed tear.

    Anakin was so torn up, so very hurt by Obi-Wan’s murder. She wasn’t even sure he was aware of her presence here at the funeral; his eyes held a blank feral look that admitted of no softness and no grief. He was – lost. Lost, in pain, so full of fear and fury without Obi-Wan; lost as he had been after the murder of his mother. Fragile, like then, so very fragile that not even her arms could soothe him. Not now, not yet.

    He would come to her when he was ready; when the hard edges of his pain melted into sobs.

    Leaving her heart with the man she loved, she reluctantly turned her eyes to the woman at her side. Satine and she had forged a tentative friendship some time back. There had been no time to forge anything deeper but both women were united in a mutual friendship with Obi-Wan Kenobi and now both were united in grief for that same man.

    Somehow Padmé had avoided tears, perhaps by focusing on Anakin and his needs rather than the dead, much as she had done years before at Master Jinn’s pyre. Anakin had and Anakin would always come first; she justified it now as putting the one in pain before the one no longer in pain. Obi-Wan would want it that way. Obi-Wan always wanted what was best for Anakin.

    Because of that, Obi-Wan had wanted her to distance herself from Anakin. As much as she resented that she understood. Anakin put her ahead of everything: put her ahead of duty, ahead of destiny, ahead of the multitudes that needed him. A Knight should not so need, be so attached, but her husband was and always would be more than a Knight to her: he was Anakin Skywalker. Even if the Jedi shouldn’t need her, the man did, and she put the man ahead of the Jedi.

    Obi-Wan wanted what was best for Anakin: that was all that mattered now when all that was left of him were memories. Anakin had loved his master and his master - he had hidden it well, but the sentiment had been returned.
    Goodbye, Obi-Wan – and I forgive you.

    A soft sniffle brought her attention back to the moment. In the entire assembly, only Satine Kryze seemed to grieve the man rather than what his loss had represented. The Jedi present had been stoic as always, any grief sublimated and released to leave them seemingly untouched by sorrow. Anakin, somehow never part of “the Jedi” in her mind, was too lost in his pain to grieve. She and his padawan, Ahsoka, were focused on husband and master respectively, not Obi-Wan.

    Of them all, Satine alone had cried.

    “I’m sorry; I rarely give in to tears.” Satine wiped her eyes dry. She had noticed no one else seemed overcome with emotion, and remembering, her lips curled a bit in derision – Jedi were so unfeeling sometimes, preaching detachment and mourning nothing - but then her eyes fell.

    No, Jedi like to pretend they don’t feel, even Obi, but they do – I know they do.


    Dear, dear Obi.

    He had never fooled her. Even when she was most angry at him, she was angry at his pretense of emotional detachment for she knew he felt – could see it in the wry twist of his lips, by a glint in his eyes, or a barely noticeable undertone to his placidly infuriating voice. Obi-Wan Kenobi was a walking contradiction: he felt deeply and yet not at all. So typical of him: to be so very human and to be so very Jedi. Infuriating, the both of them. Dear to her heart as well.

    A man and a Jedi the galaxy would miss, even if it knew it not.

    Another tear trickled down her cheek; she angrily brushed it away. Once, Obi-Wan had been there to brush her tears away, those moments of weakness during that long year on Mandalore.

    “You and Obi-Wan; I didn’t realize you two were that – close,” Padmé ventured softly.

    Satine stiffened. Whatever had been between them had been long ago and it would stay in the past. The past was full of old wounds; the present only tearing open the scabs.

    “We had an – odd – relationship. I loathed the warrior life he led and never hesitated to let him know that,” she quietly admitted. Loathed the life and grown to love the man. Her eyes softened. “I admired him greatly and fought with him frequently. He often drove me to distraction and yet – and yet, somehow being in his presence always made me feel safe and happy.”

    “Anakin told me you introduced him to your court as a ‘collection of half-truths and hyperbole known as Obi-Wan Kenobi,’ not so long ago. It rather amused him, although I gather Obi-Wan wasn’t too pleased.”

    I’ve always known how to annoy him, not that I’m proud of that. “I’ve called him worse as well; somehow his ego has always managed to survive - oh.” Satine clapped a hand over her mouth, eyes widening in horror. Now all I can call him is – gone.

    Noticing her distress, Padmé slipped an arm around Satine’s shoulder in support.

    Goodbye, Obi…I – I did love you, even when I most disliked you. I didn’t lie, there on the Coronet.
  17. obimom

    obimom Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 31, 2010
    REad this "over there" and love it just as much here as there. This is a great story...Can't wait to see how you play this out (if it's much different from the show...or a more in depth version of the show)...
  18. Toni

    Toni Jedi Master star 1

    Jul 11, 1998
    I feel so bad for Obi-Wan and Anakin especially )-: but you did a good job capturing what was happening. Hope Obi-Wan can get back soon, but I have a feeling he's right and this is going to take a while.
  19. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Kessel Run Champion star 6 VIP - Game Winner

    Aug 21, 2006
    Love this. The insights you give in all the characters. Anakin and his emotions. He could have been a great Jedi. Satine - one who has loved him. And Obi-Wan's remarks about the mission.

    Now waiting for the action and more of your insightful musings.
  20. ZaraValinor

    ZaraValinor Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 31, 2002
    I have no idea who Satine is but now you're really making me want to see the rest of the Clone Wars story. Another remarkable post. And I totally agree with your comments from before. Balance. Much could have been avoided if they had all learned balance.

    I can't wait for the next post. =D=
  21. Luna_Nightshade

    Luna_Nightshade Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jan 25, 2006

    You dissected all of their emotions very beautifully and accurately--a very enjoyable experience. Looking forward to more.
  22. serendipityaey

    serendipityaey Jedi Master star 4

    Jan 24, 2004
    Beautiful thoughtful writing, and nicely done :) Hey if they didn't leave holes, we wouldn't get to fix them, right?
  23. anakinfansince1983

    anakinfansince1983 Skywalker Saga/LFL/YJCC Manager star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Mar 4, 2011
    Very spot-on to what everyone had to be feeling at the moment: Ahsoka's concern for Anakin, Padme wanting so badly to comfort him and not being able to do so, and Obi-Wan, not altogether comfortable with the whole ruse and fearing the consequences for Anakin. And Mace, feeling most comfortable with duty to the Republic--that was well done.

    I also like the mention of Anakin not forgiving easily, and Obi-Wan not being sure that what they were doing was forgivable.

    And the prior post: I liked Ahsoka's talk with Yoda, and Anakin's anger at Obi-Wan for not being there, even to tell him not to be angry.

    Excellent posts. :)
  24. Valairy Scot

    Valairy Scot Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 16, 2005
    Obimom: It?s the same plot (so far) as TCW but you?ll see a lot of difference in how I present the action scenes.

    Toni: Obi-Wan?s getting more than he bargained for ? he planned to go in, get the info, get out. Now he?s breaking out.

    Earlybird-obi-wan: Anakin had the potential to be great, I agree. Obi-Wan is going to be a bit doubtful about the ?means? of his mission although being a ?good Jedi? he?ll set them aside for the good of the mission. But his heart and his mind are a bit at odds.

    ZaraValinor. Ah, Satine is the Duchess of Mandalore. In last season, we found out Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan spent a year protecting her as she fought insurgents on Mandalore. She is a strong pacifist and strongly objects to the Jedi?s ?strong arming? others into submission. Supposedly she and Obi-Wan fell in love during that mission and Obi-Wan contemplated leaving the Order for her.

    Luna_Nightshade: Aw, thanks. More coming up.

    Serendipityaey: Holes are wonderful fun to plug!

    Anakinfansince1983: I threw in a minor sub-text of Obi-Wan being constantly put behind others in priority- it?s something he does to himself and something others do to him. In this case, certainly, the living may have precedent over the ?dead,? but even in life, Ahsoka and Padmé will put Anakin before Obi-Wan (of, course, as master and husband respectively, that's rather understandable). Usually Anakin would put them first as well, only in this, he is consumed by grief and rage and he?s (sort of) putting himself first ? he truly thinks it?s all about Obi-Wan, but it?s a lot of what and who he has lost from his life.

    So, tonight is the final episode in the arc and I haven?t even posted my version of Episode 3. :D Here?s Episode 2 with my twist on it. Future posts will probably be spread out a bit more since there?s no longer any need to tie in to the arcs (and I haven?t even written Episode 3 chapters yet [face_shhh] ). This is a short chapter.

    Most, if not all, dialogue comes direct from the episode itself, to give credit where credit is due.

    Chapter 4.

    One can survive everything nowadays, except death, and live down anything, except a good reputation. ~~ Oscar Wilde

    Into a seedy bar in the dingy underskirts of Coruscant strode Rako Hardeen, full of self congratulation and expectant of a big payout. Jedi weren’t easy to kill, even in ambush or from a distance. The murder of Obi-Wan Kenobi was a bounty that would spread his reputation far and wide, give him the bargaining power to raise his rates, to indulge in a better class of alcohol and feminine companionship.

    His helmet under his arm, he gazed around, wary of danger before settling himself at the bar. He was not surprised to see a woman a stool or two away eye him appreciatively before leaning over to get a better look. He was a well built man, if not particularly tall; his body promised and delivered strength and endurance. After his business was concluded, he might well let her discover just what Rako Hardeen could deliver, well, that is, if he didn’t find someone a bit more classy.

    Classy, yeah, that was it. He wasn’t fussy about companionship, a female was pretty much a female under the sheets, but classy would be nice, a great way to celebrate his elevation in the bounty hunter rankings. Rako Hardeen had scored a Jedi and he was a real somebody now.

    The Anacondanbartender uncoiled its upper body and lowered its head to a polite distance to ask his choice of drink.

    “A shot of your finest.”

    He swiveled to the room, oh, how he would enjoy this moment. With a sweep of his arm he announced, “I’m celebratin’. The death of a Jedi…,” he paused, to savor the news, “I killed Obi-Wan Kenobi.”

    Oohs and aahs of appreciation and delight spread throughout the room. Down on this level, Jedi were the scum; meddlesome busybodies trying to convert dishonest business to honest and interfering with the dictates of evolution by protecting the weak from the strong. Government fops, bullies and thugs in their own way, relying on hocus pocus and magic rather than hard work and skill. Strip a Jedi of his Force and he wouldn’t last long down here.

    Hardeen had become an instant hero and he intended to make the most of it.

    He tipped his drink to the crowd, downed it in one gulp and ordered another as the patrons lifted their glasses in salute.

    This indeed was going to be just the start of his celebration.

    Anakin finally roused from where he was sunk deep within himself. The room was empty, now. Obi-Wan was gone and so too were his mourners.

    Gone. His lips trembled and his hands shook as it finally, irrevocably hit him. Obi-Wan was dead – gone – and he had been brooding instead of grieving, thinking of his pain rather than mourning his best friend.

    He reached out a hand, his flesh hand and laid it over the crypt. “I’m sorry, Obi-Wan,” he whispered, the words raspy coming from a throat dry from lack of use. “It’s not all me, not all wishing to avenge you. It’s not about me, truly, but it’s the only way to deal with the pain of losing you. I miss you, so much. I – I loved you and I never told you, did I? Jedi don’t speak those words, but it is true and I think you knew it. I knew you loved me, so you must have known I loved you. You did, didn’t you?”

    “Oh, Ani, I’m sure he knew; I knew.” His wife knelt beside him in the shadows as her hand reached out to take his.

    “Padmé!” His heart leaped; he was not alone, never alone with Padmé at his side.

    “Shhh. We’re alone now. It’s safe to cry now, Ani; I’m here to hold you.”

    And the wife wrapped her arms around her husband as Anakin fell into her embrace, finally letting go some of the choked up pain. But where pain had been, anger and fury crept in to fill the hole that grief and pain left behind.

    Summoned to meet his employer in a back room, Rako threw down some credits with a “Drinks for the house,” and with a roar of approval propelling him down the dark hallway, pushed open a door and stepped into shadows.

    His mysterious employer spoke from the darkness. “Well done, Mr. Hardeen. You have done precisely the job we hired you for. We have your credits right here,” a hand gestured to his credits, “but first, one more thing…” his employer stood and take a few steps forward, out of the shadows. “…your clothes.”

    “What the –” Hardeen took an involuntary step back as another Rako Hardeen stood before him, hand extended in a soft request that was anything but: it was a demand cloaked in the velvet of a soft and cultured voice. Alarms flared within Rako. That voice…he knew that voice and it wasn’t the voice of the man who had hired him. It was the voice, he swore it was, of the man he had murdered. Dressed like a Jedi, looking like Rako himself, wanting the clothes off his back - and the pieces clicked. This was the man he had killed. A stinking Jedi. He backpedaled, thinking furiously until a hand slapped onto his shoulder and pinned him in place.

    Another stinking Jedi.

    There was nothing to do but comply with two stinking Jedi in the room. Rako stripped off his outer clothing sullenly before his hands were bound and it was strongly “suggested” he sit or be sat down.

    “This is stupid, confessing to a murder I didn’t even do,” Rako spat to the bald Jedi interrogating him.

    “Oh, but you did. For all intents and purposes, Obi-Wan Kenobi is dead and that certainly was your intention.” The supposedly dead Jedi walked forward into the light, adjusting Rako’s clothing with a combination of fastidious distaste and begrudging approval. “Do we have enough recording?”

    The bald Jedi nodded and produced an object the size of a teazle ball, a vocal emulator. Rako knew enough about droid construction to recognize the object but he had never heard of one being used on sentient life forms. Was the Jedi supposed to wear it or eat it – surely the Jedi didn’t stoop to field surgery to implant something like this, at least in a dingy dive like this.
    “I believe so,” he tossed the object to the other Jedi, who stared at it for a moment with what might have been a flicker of fear, or doubt or just plain old foreboding.

    “How do I…?”
    That was the same question in Rako’s mind.

    “You swallow it,” the big Jedi said with a hint of dry humor in his words as he turned to Rako and passed a hand before his eyes. “You can go to sleep now.”

    He heard, as if from a distance, a softly voiced, “oh, dear.”

    For a moment Rako almost felt sorry for the Jedi.

    A few hours with Padmé had soothed Anakin’s jangled nerves. He had cried, stomped, and paced away much of his pain, but much still lingered beneath his skin and within his heart. It joined the pain from losing his mother, an itch that couldn’t be scratched, a demand that those who so callously took life should pay the price.

    Blood calls to blood. Obi-Wan would argue differently, than hate was best conquered with forgiveness, darkness overcome with light, injustice with justice.

    But Obi-Wan had never loved enough to hate deeply; he had never known the thrumming call in his veins. He had touched – and recoiled – from the dark on Naboo; one moment in which only Qui-Gon had mattered and no Jedi code of conduct; where being a man had overtaken his being a Jedi.

    Anakin knew both hate and love far more intimately. He had not recoiled from the dark on Tatooine, but embraced it; it was a part of him now, even if not a part he was proud of. Those who steal life should have life stolen from them in return. Palpatine had not exactly said that to him, but the very fact that he understood Anakin’s actions that date and did not condemn them had in some way said that very thing. Where there was no justice, it was up to each to seek his own.

    Obi-Wan’s murderer could not be allowed to go free, to boast and celebrate his deed. Already word on the street said he was partying and drinking hard, probably how Yoda had discovered Hardeen’s whereabouts. It was only right and only just that Yoda give the duty of arresting the scumbag to Obi-Wan’s padawan. Now, with Ahsoka flying beside him, Anakin was going to find that bounty hunter and fling him into prison so fast and hard that with luck he might rebound off the walls and crack his head open.

    He smiled grimly at the mental picture. He wasn’t going to lay a hand on the man unless forced to, but dear Force, let Hardeen pull a weapon on him and he would do what he must. If the Force was merciful, it would nudge Hardeen into resistance and allow Anakin to thrust him into oblivion.

    Ahsoka at his side, he strode into the bar, ignited his lightsaber and growled, “Hardeen?” The room was silent, but no one raised any objection. They weren’t intimidated, they were drunk. Anakin was almost disappointed; a good fight would have worked out some of his pent up feelings before confronting Hardeen.

    “Back room,” the bartender hissed, its tongue slipping in and out.

    With solid thwack to the entry panel, Anakin stood framed in the doorway ready for anything but the quiet that awaited. The Force hummed in disquiet but was strangely devoid of actual warning. Hardeen lay on his side, oblivious to the two Jedi who had so unceremoniously entered the room. Peering over his shoulder, Ahsoka asked, “Is he dead?”

    “He will be,” Anakin snarled. In two long strides, he reached the man’s side and grasped a shoulder to roll Hardeen onto his back.

    “Eh, a Jedi?” the man slurred, barely cranking open an eye. He rolled back, his eyes closing. “Already killed a Jedi today, lemme sleep.”

    “He’s not dead, he’s drunk,” Anakin shot over his shoulder to Ahsoka, disgust coloring his words. Turning back to Hardeen, he yanked hard, “Get up, you filth.” Slamming Hardeen against the wall, hard, he growled, “If it was up to me, I’d kill you right here.”

    Only Anakin’s hands kept the bounty hunter on his feet, his head lolling from side to side. Stinking drunken murderer… he was so drunk he merely blinked, bleary-eyed. Anakin gritted his teeth. He wasn’t losing control; he wasn’t. He would not unless provoked, not in front of his padawan. He could feel Ahsoka’s eyes on him; could almost see her blink and wonder if she should step forward and intervene. Because Ahsoka was there, because Obi-Wan was there as well if merely through his teachings, he merely snarled, “Lucky for you the man you murdered would rather see you rot in jail.”

    “Now let’s go, you coward, before I change my mind.”
  25. Toni

    Toni Jedi Master star 1

    Jul 11, 1998
    Love everyone's reactions - so in character. And will Anakin learn the truth soon?