[FIC]

Apr. 24th, 2015 08:53 pm
master_obiwan: (Siri)
[personal profile] master_obiwan
Title: Confessions: Galactic Conversations
Prompt: FF100 #066. Rain
Character(s): Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker
Fandom: Star Wars
Word Count: 2,379
Rating: PG
Warnings Uh, spoilers for AOTC? Which, at this late date, means you must be new.
Disclaimer George Lucas owns Star Wars. Lucas is King. If he doesn't like me pilfering his characters, he can have his merchandise back.
Summary: Obi-Wan talks to Anakin about falling in love.
Author's Notes: Continuing in my Confessions-verse. Some dialogue taken/paraphrased from Star Wars: Secrets of the Jedi, and one line is based upon one of Obi-Wan's comments to Anakin in Yoda: Dark Rendezvous.

-----

It was almost fitting that a gentle rain was falling on Coruscant for this conversation. Obi-Wan wasn’t sure how Anakin would react to what he had to say, but he hoped it would be positive. One could never tell with his apprentice, and with recent events, Obi-Wan was almost convinced that Anakin wouldn’t be up to taking much more abuse. But still, Obi-Wan had to try.

Obi-Wan usually preferred the Room of a Thousand Fountains for conversations such as the one he was going to be having with Anakin, but the risk of Anakin having associated the lush arboretum with lectures and personal discussions was high, and Obi-Wan didn’t want to start with the disadvantage of a guarded apprentice. So he sat waiting in a sheltered copse within one of the actual outdoor gardens located around the Temple’s perimeter. Whether they would stay here was another matter entirely, as Anakin had been cooped up inside for quite a while.

"Master?" Anakin's voice was soft, as if something still pained him. Which it probably still did, as losing an arm - and a large piece of being connected to the Force along with it - was nothing to laugh at. Obi-Wan looked up to see his Padawan wrapped in his outer robe, with the hood pulled low over his face. He did look a little pale, still, and Obi-Wan frowned.

"Anakin," he said quietly. Anakin shifted uncomfortably. "I'm sorry," Obi-Wan added, his features relaxing into something more neutral. "I just..."

"It's okay, Master. I'll be okay."

Obi-Wan tried hard to believe him.

As Anakin moved to sit, Obi-Wan held up a hand and stood. "No, we've been in the shadow of the Temple for long enough," he explained quietly; his words morphed the puzzled look on Anakin's face into relieved curiosity. The elder Jedi motioned for the younger to follow, and they walked together in silence. Obi-Wan used the Force to keep them dry as they threaded through the streets and byways of the Temple District. He kept the pace easy, mindful of Anakin's recent release from the healer's ward.

They crossed into the Senate District and Obi-Wan led them towards the Galactic Museum. He could sense Anakin's curiosity spiking into genuine bafflement. They hadn't toured any part of the museum together since Anakin had been a child. By the time they entered the main foyer of the museum, Obi-Wan could sense Anakin starting to close off to him again.

The Master halted his Padawan and turned him so they were face to face. Obi-Wan reached up and lowered Anakin's hood and looked him in the eye. He smiled sadly and pointed over Anakin's shoulder to a sign. Anakin raised a brow before turning to look. The sign listed the wings that could be accessed beyond that particular passage; the first item was the Hyperdrive Wing, which held the history of the technology in exacting detail. Ankin turned back to his Master, clearly puzzled until Obi-Wan nudged him in that direction. Now the genuine bafflement had returned. Anakin knew full well how much this sort of stuff bored Obi-Wan to tears.

As they entered the first hall of the wing, Anakin glanced at Obi-Wan but found nothing on his Master's face to betray any explanation. They had wandered down the line of exhibits for only five minutes before Anakin couldn't take it any more.

"What are we doing here?"

Obi-Wan shrugged. "I wanted to talk, you needed to get out of the Temple." He gestured vaguely to their surroundings. "Two birds, one stone."

Anakin sighed. "I really don't want to talk-"

Obi-Wan interrupted him with a raised hand. "You don't need to; I just want you to listen."

Anakin scowled. "Which is all I seem to ever do when it comes to you. I guess this is the lecture you were going to give me on Tatooine?" The young man turned away, mental barriers being quickly raised. He was stopped by a single word:

"No." Obi-Wan shook his head. "Anakin, I've said everything I wanted to on the matter. What I want to say is that I have a fair idea of what else happened to you on your mission before I arrived."

Anakin was looking at him again by this point, his frown turning dark. The Padawan raised his chin in defiance, and Obi-Wan felt the pain of old wounds flare in his heart. "And what of it?" Anakin wanted to know.

I know what you're going to say. But don't diminish it... His words to Qui-Gon almost 17 years ago had Obi-Wan closing his eyes to the memory and turning away. He continued walking, arms crossed over his chest, hands tucked in his sleeves. After a moment, Anakin caught up and fell into step with him.

Swallowing thickly, Obi-Wan started: "When I was thirteen, Master Qui-Gon and I were sent to Melida/Daan to aid in the conflict between the two factions; what we found was a secret militia comprised of children from both sides, who wanted an end put to the fighting."

"Understandable," Anakin interjected, "but I don't see how this is relevant."

"That's because I haven't gotten to the relevant bit yet." Anakin flashed him a skeptical look. "The leader of the Young - that's what they called themselves - was a young girl named Cerasi. When Qui-Gon came to the conclusion that there was nothing more we could do, the Young begged us to stay. Qui-Gon said no, and I rebelled. I relinquished my lightsabre and told Qui-Gon that if leaving the Order was the only way for me to help the Young, then so be it."

"Master, I really don't...wait, what?" Anakin stopped and stared at Obi-Wan. "Did you just say...?"

Obi-Wan met the younger man's gaze. "I did. Qui-Gon thought it was because I'd become too attached to the children, that my judgement had been compromised because I'd gotten too close to the situation." He smiled sadly. "He was only partially correct. I had become too attached, but not just to the Young as a group."

Anakin blinked. "You became attached to Cerasi." The awe in Anakin's voice was palpable. "Didn't you?"

"I felt a connection with her that I couldn't explain at the time. The only person other than yourself that I've ever told this story to, called it for what it was."

Awe gave way to incredulity. Was his Master really capable of falling in, "Love?"

"What passes for love at thirteen years old, yes."

"What happened?" Because clearly, here Obi-Wan stood, a venerated and highly respected Jedi Master, so obviously the defection was temporary.

"Cerasi died in my arms two days after Qui-Gon left me on the planet. I then realized how foolish I was to have forsaken the Jedi path, and I begged Qui-Gon for his forgiveness. The Council deemed my defection as a case of being misguided, and they placed me on probation for a time."

They resumed walking in silence for a spell, Anakin clearly gnawing on this new information. Obi-Wan could almost follow the thought-process the younger man had to be indulging in: if Obi-Wan had been seen as simply misguided because the Council and Master Qui-Gon hadn't know the true extent of the details, then maybe Anakin could get away with a similar indiscretion? Before this idea could root itself, Obi-Wan broke the silence.

"I very nearly left the Order twice more, after that. Even after having experienced first-hand what that would mean."

Anakin stopped in front of the exhibit on Sleeper Ships and peered at his Master. "Hold on a second," he said. "You breaking the rules is hard enough to believe, but breaking the same rule three times? You're lying."

"Do you sense me to be lying?" Obi-Wan asked, smiling wryly.

"Well, no, but..."

"The second incident you can verify with Master Yoda," Obi-Wan offered. "The third I'm afraid you'll simply have to take my word on. I don't even think Qui-Gon caught on with that one. Both were born from high stakes missions."

"So the second girl you fell in love with was...?"

"A fellow Padawan, when I was eighteen. She and I had what you would call an antagonistic relationship, up to that point. I'd always thought she was friends with one of the initiates who bullied me, and she hated me because of the Melida/Daan incident. During our first joint mission together, I discovered that she wasn't really friends with the initiate, and she discovered that I really was loyal to the Jedi. We became friends after that. It wasn't until several missions later that we realized we had a growing attraction to each other, and we'd both planned to leave the Order to pursue it."

"That's rich, coming from her. You temporarily leave and she questions your loyalty, only to contemplate the same sin years later?"
Anakin snorted softly with a shake of his head.

Obi-Wan smiled. "The irony isn't lost on me, have no fear. But it didn't matter. Qui-Gon and Yoda found out, and they both told me that if she and I took this path together, it would end in misery."

"How can following your heart end in misery? If you're with the one you love, doesn't that justify your decision?"

Obi-Wan smiled inwardly. Here, now, was the root of all of Anakin's conflict. This was the moment, Obi-Wan knew, where he would either plant the strong seed of reconsidering his attachment to Senator Amidala, or Anakin would be lost to him - and the Jedi - forever. He sighed gently and led Anakin to the nearest bench where they both sat. Anakin kept his robe close around him, the prosthetic arm concealed within the fabric. Obi-Wan relaxed his posture as he formulated his reply.

"It would end in misery, Anakin, because she and I were both Jedi. Following our hearts and being together would have been amazing, but as time moved on and the heat of our new-found passion relaxed into whatever it is such emotions end up becoming in long-term relationships, we would forever be looking back to our time as Jedi, asking ourselves, what if...? How could we know that this war would happen? And if it did still happen, and we were no longer Jedi, our compulsion to help in the same capacity as a Jedi would be strong and unfulfilled. We would begin to view the other as the reason for our inability to serve, and our love would turn to bitterness, and eventually morph into hatred. As it was, we parted on awkward terms, and things have been amiable, but strange between us since."

Anakin was frowning again, but this time in his deep-thought way. "And the third?"

"Sprung from a long-term mission.Qui-Gon and I were mandated to protect her during a period of turmoil on her planet. We, uh," Obi-Wan fidgets little over this detail, since it's a little embarrassing to say, "we had a short-term affair, but in the end we both decided to focus on our respective duties: She as the leader of her people, and I as a Jedi. We parted amicably. In all honesty, Anakin, if she had asked me to, I would've left it all for her."

Anakin blinked over the fact that, with the exception of Qui-Gon being sent along from the start, the mission sounded a lot like Anakin's most recent set of orders regarding the Senator from Naboo. Suddenly this show-and-tell session got a whole lot more personal, and it was Anakin's turn to fidget. "Do you still love them?" The need to know rolled off him with a touch of desperation.

"Yes," Obi-Wan confirmed. "And I've learned to live with knowing that nothing can ever come of my feelings."

"How?"

"By living one day at a time, Anakin. I know now that Master Yoda was right: I am a Jedi and that is where I find my strength and my comfort. I know it deep in my soul."

"Even though you love?"

Obi-Wan smiled. "We are not immune to love, my Padawan. If we were, our Order would be the soulless husk that the more cynical of the galaxy believe us to be."

"So I have to choose, then." A statement, not a question.

"Yes, but allow me two warnings to consider - and consider them well - before you make a decision; and know that I am always available, should you ever need someone to talk to."

Anakin composed himself and nodded. "Let's hear it, then."

"First, you cannot find a compromise to 'make it work'. You will essentially be serving two masters: your calling as a Jedi and your devotion to the woman you love. In such a situation, one will always feed resentment of the other. And no, the rules cannot, and will not, be changed for you. Second, if the choice to leave the Jedi is what you seem to be leaning toward, make sure you can answer what if? with no doubts, and no regrets over what you discover. If there is any shadow of misgiving, then you must reassess that choice."

Obi-Wan's words hung heavy between them. Around them, the ebb and flow of patrons enveloped them in a cocoon of quite conversations and movement.

"What will you tell the Council?" Anakin asked, finally.

Obi-Wan considered it. "Nothing. Not unless there is a reason to."

"So what happens now?"

"You and I finish our tour of the Hyperdrive wing," Obi-wan replied with a grin. "And when you're ready, I will recommend that you complete your mission by accompanying the Senator back to Naboo."

Anakin caught and held his gaze, looking for any sort of deception. Finding none, he allowed his mouth to quirk up into a tiny smile, the first since they'd met on the Temple grounds. "Then what are we waiting for? I can give you a much better tour than the so-called professionals they employ here."

Obi-Wan chuckled as Anakin stood and beckoned him to follow. The Jedi Master stood in one fluid motion and fell into step with his Padawan. He had no idea how Anakin would choose, or what sort of impact Obi-Wan's confession had on the younger man. He only hoped that it helped Anakin realize that he wasn't alone.

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Obi-Wan Kenobi

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