Title: Then the dreadful night shall break Author: Blue_Daddys_Girl Timeframe: post Zygerria arc [TCW S04e12] - 20 BBY Characters: Obi-Wan Kenobi, CT-7567 | Rex, Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu, Vokara Che, Ahsoka Tano, and more. Genre: Drama, Hurt (very little) comfort, whump, angst, character driven Rating: Mature (for early depictions of torture and very mild suicidal ideation) Type: Completed multichapter. There will be 12 of them, posted bi-weekly. Keywords: AU canon divergence, Dark side of the Force, Living Force vs Unifying Force, Making up Force lore, Protective Mace Windu, Ahsoka Tano is a sibling to the clones, Clone shenanigans, Jedi Temple, Healing Halls, Dreams, Nightmares, Slavery, Feelings, Introspection, Heavy Mood, Hurt Obi-Wan, Dark Obi-Wan, Minor Amidala, Minor creepy Sheev Summary: Obi-Wan Kenobi is a slave to the Zygerrians. To protect the togrutas he was tasked to rescue, he must endure. But how much can an already exhausted general withstand? How much sleep can Obi-Wan lose, before something in him breaks? This is an AU where Anakin did not show up in time. Obi-Wan makes his own way back to the temple, and the consequences of his fall ripple out through the Order. Notes: Heya everyone! This is my first post on this forum. I joined recently but was a lurker on and off. I don't have a strong grip of how this forum works yet, and I might put myself up for adoption... In the meantime though, I'd like to share with you all a bit of Sad Kenobi, it is our speciality! This story was originally written as a one shot in response to my friend KitePiper's fic, The Pipe. Price of Silence [1/12] All day Obi-Wan toils, sweat dripping in thick rivulets through the grime, striping his face in a mockery of the skin markings of his fellow slaves. He keeps to himself unless forced to join a group for work. He speaks to no one, and no one speaks to him. They all know better by now. If he helps them they are flogged. If his collar is set off, so are theirs. If he shares food, they are made to starve. And if he begs, the Zygerrians only laugh. If he speaks... But he doesn't, not any more, not for days. At night, the guards wake them constantly. They all grow weaker, each day of teeth-grinding labour blurring into the next. Obi-Wan can feel the resentment and the twisted hate in the silence. He feels weighted stares trailing like broken nails along the whipped planes of his back. He is the fallen saviour, the source of additional suffering in a place where the minimum is already unbearable. Jedi training should keep him strong. It ought to reassure him that all this darkness is but a step towards greater light. That someone is coming, that hope never fades. The lashes fall, the collars shock, the slaves sob in the night and their masters barge in, batons ringing against the metal bed frames, lights flashing. Obi-Wan stays silent, curled up on his bunk, and blows on the ember of his optimism, worried he might not know how to rekindle it, were it to fade. At first he doesn't mind the lack of sleep. His hunger would have kept him awake if the guards hadn't. He watches them, notices how they return every twenty minutes during the first half of the night, and then every hour in the second. He sleeps in stolen snatches, accepts this as just another form of torture, another thing to get used to and wait out. And wait he does. He shambles off to work, wondering when will Anakin come, prodding weakly at their bond and feeling nothing. The force is pain all around, the darkness a suffocating presence, numbing his senses. The day passes and night returns, still devoid of comfort or respite. Obi-Wan starts awake, again and again, and again... He prods at the hairline fractures spreading inside his self. He keeps his eyes tightly shut, tries but fails to meditate, fails to block out the sounds. The constant hum of machinery, the wet rasps of the sick, the moaning of the injured, the sobbing of the broken, and faint over it, echoing down the hollow corridors, the shrieks of those being put to... more strenuous methods of conversion. It all rubs his nerves raw, corrupts his thoughts, turns him on his fellow captives, so noisy, all of them. 'Stop it,' he snaps at a whimpering woman. 'Just–' his voice cracks, rusty with disuse, 'be quiet.' Obi-Wan isn't sure if his Zygerrian overseers know what they are doing, if they realise how tired he’d already been before all this, and how far they are pushing him. He isn't sure they even care to know. He works, silent, and his thoughts fester. Doubt gnaws at his heart, and the code rings in his mind until the repeated words lose their significance and turn to a sludge of meaningless phonemes. Hope needs no words to be kept alive, it needs no mantra, but it still eludes him in the night as more noises jerk him away from his rest. 'Shut, UP!' He screams. Fear and anger ripple back towards him through the force and oh, but he hates them too. The cries, the sobs, so damned loud! Why can’t they be quiet? How can they not crave silence? What does he need to do, to get some kriffing peace? The voice that whispers that these poor togrutas are victims too is so dim and far away, it might as well not be there at all. Obi-Wan seethes, his frustration rising through him on a tidal wave of hot tears. He only wants this all to stop. He only wants to sleep. At this point, he would not mind never waking up. His eyes flutter, mind adrift and drowsy, ready to fall into the oblivion of sleep... But yet again the lights come on, and the guards, pummelling random victims with their batons. They holler, rattle beds, same as before. Same as next time. The guards leave and hushed, anxious silence falls over the room. They’ll have peace for twenty minutes. And then twenty more, and then, if he hasn't lost track, he'll have an hour. Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jedi master, rolls himself into a ball and weeps. He's lifting rocks, pushing carts, choking on his daily portion of mouldy bread, staring into the middle distance. He keeps his thoughts far from the things and people he loves, afraid that handling such precious memories might sully them, taint them with the same revolting grime that mats his hair and cakes under his nails. He feels his soul unravelling. The once thick and vibrant weave of his personality a moth-eaten rag, fraying under his touch. The person he was... The calm, collected man, sometimes to a fault... Sometimes a little too cold and obedient... Where has he gone? Like a shade into darkness, swallowed by something greater than himself. Reality ebbs away. Day and night, nightmare or wakefulness, it all tastes like blood and ashes, it all feels like pain. These slavers, they truly don’t understand what they’re doing, tearing him up like this. They can’t even start to guess at what happens, when you truly break a Jedi. They’re playing with fire, with rhydonium! Obi-Wan tries to make Agruss see. First he tries to reason with him, but before long he grovels in front of the Zygerrian. He pleads. The man laughs, driving his hovering seat out of Obi-Wan's reach. 'You beg nicely, Jedi, I'll have to admit. Say what you will, but I think our program is working just fine on you.' 'Obi-Wan!' Rex calls out, forcing his way from his group to get closer to him. 'Don't–' Don't what? Obi-Wan wonders. He'll probably never know. Rex is beaten up and taken away, of course, and Obi-Wan is ordered to return to his line. That evening he climbs in his bunk, arms shaking, stomach aching, back itching. A man coughs and Obi-Wan growls. Don't what? There are so many things he doesn't do already. Right now for example, he doesn't sleep , because a woman is wailing. Someone else tells her to can it. Another voice rises, saying they should be quiet. The argument builds, droning over the crying. Something snaps in Obi-Wan then, the last thread that held the tapestry of his being together finally succumbing to the strain. He watches himself rise and walk to the woman. Watches as he grabs her by her tattered shirt and brings her close to his twitching face. 'Why won't you shut up?' He screams, shaking her. 'Shut up! Shut up!' A hand falls on his arm, trying to drag him away, someone yells at him, and Obi-Wan lashes out. It's a pitiful melee, full of weak punches and desperate clawing, but the guards are prompt to come and break it up. Far beyond himself, Obi-Wan pushes. The collar snaps from his neck, clattering on the floor. The guards rush him, brandishing their weapons, but really, these slavers don't understand. Obi-Wan grips them both through the force, right at the throat, and squeezes. With a crunch they stop their struggle, and when he releases them they collapse like broken puppets, dead. The silence is resounding, a pure and precious thing, and Obi-Wan cries even as he breaks it with his own manic laughter. This was so easy. And it feels so good. The slaves step away from him, shuffling back into their cots, wanting no part of this. Fools. Animals, the lot of them. Noisy and wanton creatures, worthless shackles he has finally freed himself from. Obi-Wan walks through the dormitory's door. He slams the warden against the ceiling and back down to the floor. He paws his broken body, fingers trembling as he takes his keypass and his comlink. Freedom. Sweet freedom within his grasp. Obi-Wan makes his way through the compound, prowling the corridors like a starving nexu. He kills every Zygerrian he encounters, and thinks nothing of it. He has a plan now, an escape route he can see the end of. He'll steal a ship, and then he'll sleep. After that he doesn't care. Don't, a voice whispers at the back of his mind. Don't, as he crushes windpipes, squashes organs, pulverises bones. Don't, as tears stream down his face, adding new streaks in the filth and blood. Don't, don't, don't as he forces his way through Agruss' quarters, watches the life drain from his eyes. Obi-Wan recovers his lightsaber, a sliver of his soul, singing to him, trying to worm its way back into the shattered mess at his core. He leaves it on his belt, untouched. He doesn't need it. It's a civilised weapon, and nothing here is civilised. For a moment he titters, uncertain on his feet in the middle of the heady quiet of Agruss' bedroom. His head pounds, his eyes sting. If he closes them he might well fall asleep standing there. Don't, the voice says. Rex! Obi-Wan gathers himself once more, grimacing with the effort. He must rescue the man first. Then find a ship. Kill more Zygerrians? Rescue… then sleep. Even thinking hurts. He lurches forward, and with a snarl, Obi-Wan Kenobi proceeds with his plan.