Saga - PT Token of Gratitude - (Anakin, Obi-Wan; post-TPM, oneshot)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Starith, Oct 17, 2022.

  1. Starith

    Starith Jedi Master star 3

    Apr 5, 2020
    Title: Token of Gratitude
    Author: Starith
    Timeframe: Post-TPM
    Characters: Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi
    Genre: Drama, introspection; oneshot

    Summary: Anakin takes up woodcarving as a hobby and makes something for his new master.

    Repliwood, the old instructor in crafting class had told Anakin, was the most viable substitute for the ivory wood of japor.

    Anakin looked at the small snippet, scrutinized his work, held it in between his thumb and forefinger and rotated it. The oval shape had a dull sheen. It was almost plastic-looking. Unlike japor, which had dark scrapable layers under its pale surface that made it so ideal for chiseling delicate lines as decoration, he'd had to paint on the purely beige wood, tiny and tidily, in order to make the etchings readable.

    He looked at the snippet, frowning. A piece of handwoven, knot-fastened cord lay on his workdesk, ready to be attached and made into a necklace.

    He had spent days on this intricate pendant, to his own surprise. Obi-Wan had encouraged him to take part in some Temple activities, insisting they be subjects that didn't involve lightsabers. Anakin suspected Yoda was still less-than-pleased with his less-than-stellar first day wielding a lightsaber... He'd made his first couple of swings in the air, trying to take it slow and steady as Yoda told him... but he couldn't help it: it had been so wizard holding a real lasersword, and he'd made a couple of airy swirls and spins that he thought would be harmless, barely registering Yoda and Obi-Wan suddenly raising their voices — and before he knew it there was a burnt streaks on the wall and one of the younglings was wailing, his braid sheared cleanly off.

    So, after being assured that he wouldn't be thrown out of the Temple, his choices in Temple activities were... limited. Gardening, swimming, and craftswork. Anakin had no interest in plantlife and growing things, and swimming... hadn't gone well. He'd never thought he would pass up the chance to learn to swim, to be immersed head-to-toe in the cool, clean water that a Tatooinite could only dream of; but after splashing stupidly and gargling lungfulls of pool water while trying to learn the lothdog-paddle, he hadn't tried again. He rubbed his throat. He sure wouldn't be getting rid of that sore feeling, or chemical aftertaste, any time soon.

    So craftswork it was. The instructor of the class, an old Ithorian Jedi, hadn't known what a "snippet" was when he told him about his project. He'd told Anakin to simply "be creative". Despite not knowing what he was making, he was helpful, helping Anakin pick out supplies and commenting that his work was "coming along well".

    But as Anakin had carved and whittled for only two classes in a row, he'd noticed something. Other Padawans and younglings murmuring, lifting their heads from their own projects, and quickly looking away when he caught his eye. And more murmuring.

    After three days, Anakin had left the class and taken his tools with him back to his living quarters. It wasn't as though anyone had been... unpleasant to him... no one really talked or sat with him, but everyone had been polite enough. But he felt watched in a way the others weren't. He didn't like it. It just made him feel like he was going to mess up and make a fool of himself.

    Besides, he had the tools. He knew what to do, didn't really need the Ithorian instructor's help anymore, so why bother going to the class? He always got more done when he was alone.

    Tomorrow Obi-Wan would be returning from his mission. Making the snippet had given him something to do, and Anakin had thought... maybe his master would like it?

    He blew out a sigh and kicked at the leg of his chair. He held up the hand-made snippet, and his eyes caught the translucent window of his room that framed the traffic of Coruscant. Against the backdrop of the busy cityscape, the little snippet look especially dull. A reflection hit the center of the round shape. He'd drawn a dark crescent there, outlined by Tatoo symbols. They meant "eternal gratitude".

    Which, he did feel toward Obi-Wan. He did.

    Anakin took a good hard look at the little pendant. Now that he thought about it, should he give this to his master? Obi-Wan hardly seemed the type who'd want a necklace. Jedi were, he was finding, not inclined to have much in the way of personal belongings, let alone trinkets. Then again he hardly knew his new master... had really only spent about a few weeks with him before he was sent off on that mission to the Mid Rim... and it had only been a month since the celebration of Naboo...

    Naboo... He felt a bit of warmth as he remembered Padmé. It had been so easy to give the japor snippet to her. She was special and deserved something special, and he had tried to think what a beautiful offworld girl who served royalty would want... he couldn't afford anything... so he'd made a snippet. "Good fortune" he'd chiseled on it. A good wish by itself, and with her then-predicament of being stranded on Tatooine, he couldn't think of a better thing to write.

    But that was different. When Padmé gave him a kind word, when she smiled, when she thanked him for his gift, Anakin knew she was being genuine. Obi-Wan... he was more... serious. More unreadable. Not unkind, but not a very... what was the right word... a ''people's-person''. Sometimes Anakin just wasn't sure what he was thinking or feeling.

    And sometimes... sometimes he didn't know why he said the things he said...

    "No, Master Yoda wasn't angry... Don't be too embarrassed, Anakin, it was an accident. Of course you'll be allowed to try again.... You know... even Master Qui-Gon had a few mishaps with a lightsaber in his younger days. He once told me..."

    Anakin had frozen up, a strange pit in his stomach. He'd already felt awful about the disaster in the training room, and had said he was sorry, and he was sorry... he already felt so out of place... why would he want to feel even worse by thinking about Qui-Gon? Qui-Gon was dead. Why would he want to be reminded that he was gone and would never come back?

    Seeing his reaction, Obi-Wan had quietly changed the subject.

    The sunlight glinted on the tiny snippet in his hand.

    Now Anakin was noticing how uneven the carve-work was. The jagged paint strokes, the weird shape. Like a lumpy wooden egg.

    He could think of one Jedi who would appreciate a stupid, egg-shaped snippet made by a little boy, and Obi-Wan Kenobi wasn't him.

    He left the window and dropped it into the waste bin. He went to the table and picked up the carving board. The woven thread, chipped scraps and dust was brushed off into the bin as well.

    What had Obi-Wan suggested to help him stay calm... right, meditation. Anakin eyed the mat in the middle of the room. He sat on it cross-legged, the way Obi-Wan had told him to, hands on his knees and eyes closed. Anakin swallowed. He took in a deep breath and tried to quiet his mind.

    Last edited: Oct 17, 2022
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Clash of Titans Winner star 8 VIP - Game Winner

    Aug 31, 2004
    Wonderful musings. =D= You can truly get the sense that Anakin is still trying to find his place. It's hard feeling like everyone is 'watching'. It's heart-tugging reading about him wanting to give Obi-Wan something then deciding it's literally something to trash.
  3. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Clash of Titans Winner star 6 VIP - Game Winner

    Aug 21, 2006
    I like Anakin's musings. How different he is from the others
  4. devilinthedetails

    devilinthedetails Fiendish Fanfic & SWTV Manager, Admin of Comms star 6 Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 19, 2019
    @Starith Wonderful job with this fic! Stories following what happened to Anakin just after TPM and what his relationship with Obi-Wan might have been like are some of my favorites so seeing this story today filled my heart with joy[face_love]

    I do like how you have developed that creative side of Anakin hinted at in TPM with his carving of the snippet for Padme and also how you have shown how Obi-Wan and Anakin are sort of "talking past each other." The reader can get a sense that Obi-Wan means well when he tries to reassure Anakin with a story of a young Qui-Gon's mishaps with a lightsaber (sort of passing along stories that were told to him as a demonstration of affection for both Qui-Gon and Anakin, I imagine), but understandably Anakin doesn't want to be reminded of someone he has loved and lost with stories of Qui-Gon. Obi-Wan and Anakin grieve and communicate in different ways and I think this fic showcased that in a thoughtful, moving way!

  5. Findswoman

    Findswoman Ammonia-Breathing Fanfic Mod in Pink star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 27, 2014
    Oh, oh, oh, my heart! Ouch! In just a few words you really showed us how the process of crafting or making something, especially crafting or making something as a gift, can unlock all sorts of emotions that can lead all sorts of places and to all sorts of second thoughts. And when the crafter in question is Anakin, it’s that times eleven! It’s perfectly believable that he really does feel eternal gratitude toward Obi-Wan, just as he felt affection for Padmé and put that affection into the snippet he made for her. But it’s also perfectly believable that he would second-guess himself in the making of this gift, and very believable that he was so much affected by Obi-Wan’s passing mention of Qui-Gon—someone with which both he and Obi-Wan have common ground, as @devilinthedetails points out. And when that leads to him literally tossing such a carefully and lovingly created piece of art into the trash—well, ow! =(( Still, it’s significant that the story ends with him remembering something Obi-Wan taught him to do to calm himself, and dong it—that too is a token of gratitude, in its way, and one that I am sure was appreciated by the man who later would call Anakin his brother. <3 You’ve got a wonderful handle on these characters and their complex relationship; great work and thanks so much for sharing! =D=
  6. UltramassiveUbersue

    UltramassiveUbersue Jedi Knight star 3

    Nov 7, 2022
    Lovely little fic!

    Poor Ani is all too relateable; we've all had those moments where lacking confidence keeps us from connecting with each other. Obi-Wan would have appreciated that gift so much, if only for the assurance that he is making a real connection with his padawan. I love how you show how excessive anxiety about how others will think of us actually inhibits our ability to empathize with them; we're too busy listening to the noise in our head to perceive what others are actually feeling.