Italics indicates Yoda's train of thought, so to separate it better from
Obi-Wan's which comes as kind of indirect speech...
** indicates Obi-Wan's telepathic train of thought
A PART OF HISTORY
(Or JEDI COUNSEL Part 3)
(c) JEL 1999
There would be no questions, no accusations. The Council had been very understanding. Yet Master Yoda had asked him to join him for a walk later that afternoon. It was clear they needed to discuss the events of the past few days. It was painful. He was in turmoil. It wouldn't do to cleanse himself in meditations. He had tried... Sith... given all he had, all his patience, his resolve. To no avail. This chapter would be closed. No more to be written. Tonight it would be part of history...
Hard. Hard like before. Only deeper the hurt is, this time. Think I must. Careful I must be. Judge him I cannot. Need a friend he does. More than ever. Talk to him I will. Be there. Resolve this matter we must. Soon. Approaching, the Darkness is. Prepared we must be. Prepared as best we can...
"Master Yoda." A respectful bow, deep, easy.
Well-trained he is. Good at hiding his thoughts. "Obi-Wan. Show you something, I will."
What was that? He had honestly believed there would be a lesson, a way of letting him cope with his failure. And now? They were going to look at something? Well, he wouldn't complain. Qui-Gon had often masked a lesson with a pleasant attire. A smile came to his eyes, though it didn't show on his face.
Smile he would. He should. Resolved never to open again, he is.
"Understand you, I do. Not want to open up, you do. Go on like this, it cannot."
Speak to me like to Qui-Gon he does. No good this is. Talk to me he must.
"Tell me you must. This time the truth I want to hear."
Oh Sith, once again Master Yoda had found him out. What he had told the Council had been the truth, only had he let his feelings, his thoughts and his lingering guilt hide away behind his shields. Now he would have to go through it all again...experience all the hurt, the deceit, the sense of failure...
"We were on Naboo. Ana...My Padawan and I. Visiting his wife, Queen Amidala. Like...so many other times. But...something was wrong. With him. Amidala...felt it too...she came to me...one night, ...she asked me...what it was - if we had...quarrelled. And then...we...he..."
Guilty, he feels. Not help us that will. Sith be damned. Yoda smiled to himself. After all this time taking care of Obi-Wan's thirst for knowledge, teaching him in the Code, the subtleties of the living Force he seemed to have picked up some of the more...expressive phrases his student used from time to time. Though it had to be said that he - pronounced them - well, in a far more dignified manner, taking the edge out of the curses...
"Go on, you must, Obi-Wan. Deal with this we will. As before we have done."
Obi-Wan cringed inwardly. This was definitely going to be a long day. Difficult as well - his soul would be lying completely open and vulnerable before the ancient Jedi Master once again. There was nothing he could do about it. He might lie, shield himself... but Yoda deserved better. He had offered help and encouragement, been there for him, out of a sincere desire to take care of him. And that was why he had come to see more than a teacher in the little green creature. He was a true friend...a father figure, in a way like Qui-Gon had been to him so many years... And he owed him the same respect he did his first Master.
A deep sigh. "Anakin suddenly burst into the room...saw Amidala and me...I...she...I had... hugged her to...comfort her...and he...accused me of...seducing his wife...of...breaching his trust, breaking his marriage apart... Amidala said he was wrong...he shouted at her...insults, language I had...I didn't know he had ever learned..."
Right I was. Deeper this runs. In his thoughts, Amidala is. Always. "Love her, you do?"
From anyone else, Obi-Wan would not have expected such an intimate question. But it was Yoda... he would be as impudent as he wanted if he thought it was necessary...a streak that, once again, reminded him of his lover at times...
"Yes, Master. I love her. As a friend, a woman, a sister...but...not like I loved Qui-Gon. She...is a part of my life I...could hardly do without. Yet..."
"No bed would you share with her."
Blunt to the utmost, frank and absolutely to the point. The venerable Jedi Master. Obi-Wan's eyes sparkled with mirth for a moment.
Ah, rare this is. A smile I see in his eyes. Rare and precious. The boy I know there is. The man Qui-Gon loved.
"Accused you two, Anakin did. What else ?"
"He was very... he reduced Amidala to tears...she...feels for him as I...for Qui-Gon and...he broke her heart, tore it out...trampled on it..."
Anger made its way into the soft, dignified voice. Only for a moment, then it was replaced by the calm serenity, Obi-Wan had learned to command, to channel and to use like his Master.
Feel for the girl, he does. Know what she goes through... Imagine it, I can. Bad this situation is. Very bad.
A wave of the tiny hand told Obi-Wan to continue. His voice was stretched to breaking point, his throat felt dry, the words came out in a hoarse whisper. "He... challenged me...the...Dark Side was with him. I...told, asked, pleaded - he never flinched. His...eyes were emotionless, his face...a mask...he came at me...I had to...defend..."
A soft hand on his shoulder. "The fight, you need not talk about. Told the Council everything, you have. Wounded, Anakin was. Died, he should have. Disappear he did. The Dark Side - saved him, it has. A new apprentice the Sith Master has found."
"I feel responsible. As if... I had... failed..."
"Nonsense. Fail you did not. Clouded, Anakin's future was. Your best you did. Gave up part of yourself, you did. His friend you were. Sway him you could not."
"I might have in the future...I...dreamt..."
"Be that, it may. Always in motion, the future is. Bide your time you must."
Neither of them spoke for a long time. Obi-Wan still believed he might have done better, yet it was good to hear Yoda tell him he wasn't to blame for the events of the past months. And he knew he had done all he could at the time. When Anakin began to slip away more frequently, to be rash, inattentive, neglected his lessons...he had taken what precautions he thought were necessary, talked to the boy...man. He had been turned down time and again, but he had not given up. He hadn't made it easy for his apprentice to slight him, to leave him. Yet he had done it.
"Reveal himself, the Sith Lord will. A battle before us lies. Fight we must, soon. Die, many Jedi will..."
"You believe the Sith...intend to destroy us?"
"In their way we are. Too powerful. Strong with the Light we are. Find them out we might. Stop them we could. All together."
"But we can't all fight together, can we ? We will be separated...by chance, or accident or..."
"Destiny. Right, Qui-Gon was. The Chosen One the boy is. Bring balance to the Force he will. Die all Jedi will. All but two... A Master and an Apprentice."
Obi-Wan sighed. He had so wished Yoda wouldn't confirm what he had foreseen in his dreams and daytime visions.
"With child, your friend is."
"Yes, Master. I...have shielded her from Anakin...ever since...she found out."
"Save the children you must. Jedi they will be. Need them, we will."
"I will do my duty to Amidala...and my Padawan."
Neither of them would call him by his new name yet. "Darth Vader", the Sith Lord. Apprentice to the darkest Lord of the Sith, who yet remained invisible, even though his hatred and power could be felt clearly by every Force sensitive. Anakin Skywalker had joined history...
See him again, I will. Once more. Its course, destiny will take...
A YEAR LATER...
Welcome you are, Obi-Wan.
No more words were exchanged. They walked in silence between the ruins of the Jedi Temple. The Clone Wars had left the Galaxy vulnerable and in turmoil. The Sith had destroyed all the Republic and the Jedi had once stood for. The only ones left, Obi-Wan and Yoda knew they couldn't stay.
It was time to say good-bye. To take their place in the future. Chancellor Palpatine, the "Emperor" as he delighted in calling himself, had revealed his secret. Coruscant had stood in awe, now it was no more. The centre of the Republic would be the centre of the Galactic Empire.
Not much time we have.
**I have taken Amidala and her children to my friend Bail Organa, to Alderaan. They should be save there. The girl shows no great Force potential as yet, she will be hard to sense.**
Strong with the Force, the boy is. Shield him, you do.
**He has all his father's potential. It's very prominent, there's the possibility he might be detected.**
Take him away you will?
**Yes, Master. Amidala has given her consent. After I leave Coruscant I will take him to...Tatooine...**
Good, your decision is. Not go to his birthplace, the Sith Lord will. Fond memories, find there he might.
**I will ask...someone...I know...if they...**
Yoda nodded. A relative of Obi-Wan's presumably. Someone who didn't like him all that much...
**The boy will be safe with...Owen and his wife. I...will stay close, shield him.**
A hard life, it will be.
**I believe that is what Qui-Gon told Anakin about being a Jedi.**
Miss you, I will.
**Thank you. For everything.**
Obi-Wan knelt down, taking the little creature in his arms. He didn't fight his tears. Grown-up he might be, yet it was not to be supposed he could leave the one friend he still had left...except Amidala...and he would even have to leave her... Loneliness. He shook off the thought.
Yoda patted his last student's back.
**I won't be the last, Master. I foresee you will train a Skywalker yet...**
The grin, I see. Tease me, you do... Proud of you I am.
They let go, Obi-Wan straightened his robe. It was time.
**May the Force be with you.** they thought in unison.
The ancient Jedi Master waved his stick after the departing figure, before he himself set out to find his transport.
Time it is for you, Qui-Gon. Need you he does. Ready he is.
A MONTH LATER
Tatooine. He had never believed a name could hold so much scorn. He couldn't stand the planet anymore than when he first came here all those years ago. Here, the end of all his happiness had begun... He forced himself to forget about it. Damn, it would be a long time out here, in the dunes. Sand, the horizon a bleak streak of whitish yellow, twin suns, both as garish as one could imagine, glaring at him...
The hut was sparsely furnished. His duty was done. Anakin's son, Luke, had been placed under the care of Obi-Wan's cousin Owen. He had grown up beside him, he was like a brother, and the closest thing to family he had ever had. They had been in touch. Not often, it had been more out of a duty. Now, he had asked the ultimate favour of this man. Taking care of a child whose father had turned to the Dark Side and who was strong in the Force himself... Not an easy task, but Owen had accepted it.
Obi-Wan sighed as he settled down on the rug in the middle of the room. He felt old, all of a sudden...
Old? And you always told me, that I wasn't old. What does it make me when you think of yourself as old? Ancient?
It seemed as if he had just heard his lover's loving, mocking tone again. Deep inside his soul he felt an old wound breaking up again. "He's long dead. Qui-Gon is dead, one with the Force. I haven't heard him in all those years. I can't hear him now... The heat must have got to me." He would have to convince himself. If he failed in that now, he might find he was crazy before his task was completed. And that was something he could not allow.
I see you still take your duty very seriously. Master Yoda said you should be mindful of the future. He...has taught you well. Probably better than me in many aspects. I...had my reasons for not...talking to you.
"Like what?" Damn, now he was actually giving in to the sensation of hearing the voice he loved so much inside his head. That was foolish. He must not indulge in memories. Concentrate on the moment. That was it. Forget the past, push the future aside, live...
I had no idea you took my teaching so seriously. Mocking, soft, warm. It was Qui-Gon's voice...he was sure of it.
"Who...What do you want?" Obi-Wan's voice shook.
I don't wish to hurt you, my love. Look up, open your eyes. I'm here now. Grey-blue eyes opened slowly, taking in the sight of a bluish glow around a silhouette whose curves were as familiar to Obi-Wan as his own body.
Yes, my love. It's me.
**You won't stay.**
We all have our time.
**Don't talk about destiny. I...why now?**
Yoda...I felt...we both knew you were not ready to take me on. A well-known grin. Mischievous twinkles in the startling blue eyes that sparkled in the Force-ghost as they had in the man.
I'm proud of you, Obi-Wan. You have proven you merit your place among the greatest of the Jedi.
**I...It's good to hear YOU say that.**
That's what Yoda said.
**What did he say?**
That there would be a day when his praise would not be enough to fill the void anymore. When you would need a more...familiar presence to remind you that you are loved and that your efforts will not be in vain.
Obi-Wan smiled. A genuine smile.
You haven't smiled a lot in the past years, my love.
**I lost you, half of my soul. How could I just go on like before? I changed, love.**
Not as much as you think, my dear.
**Will we meet again?**
I hoped you'd want to...I'm glad you asked.
The Force gives us eternal life.
**So we will be together, after I die?**
Yes, my love.
**Good, I'm tired of missing you.**
I hope the years won't seem too long to you.
**I'll think of the things I'll do to you, when we see each other again.**
I can't wait, beloved.
The bluish glow faded, along with the soft May the Force be with you, my love. Obi-Wan smiled. Though alone, he wasn't lonely...