Title: Break the Stars
Author: Chelle
Rating: PG
Spoilers: Tiny ones for Attack of the Clones
Summary: Obi-Wan muses about Anakin.

I loved you from the first time I saw you smile.

"Dangerous, this boy may be." It's Yoda's voice; I hear it in my mind even now, as I watch you. The warnings of the Council are forever in my thoughts. Your eyes are closed, and the wind ripples gently through your hair; it's the color of the sand, I think, of a beach I visited once, in another lifetime. When I was younger, too young to be immune to the miracles of the universe, to the wonder that comes from gazing out at the billions of stars we've yet to count.

Now and here, the Force is everything -- and fighting, and politics. How I hate politics. For the Jedi, politics is too quickly becoming the line drawn between life and duty, the thing which defines them both. We've none of us time for beaches or star-counting.

None of us but you. You'd make the time, if it were important to you; in a way, I envy you your impetuousness, your freedom. For all my remonstrations, part of me wants to run beside you. To go where you go, and feel what you feel.

You're meditating now, centering yourself. I can feel every breath you take -- you're silhouetted against the stars, against the city below, and I wonder what a kiss from your thin, curving lips would feel here in the crisp night air. You would taste of heat, perhaps, and ambition. Yes, of ambition.

I close my eyes, fighting back the same old surge of pain. You don't know it, but you're not the only one who hates these cursed rules sometimes, who hates the constrictions, the dogma, the stricture of being what we are. Of being Jedi.

"Jedi don't have nightmares," you said to me once. I've heard you say it again to others; you must like the sound of it. But you are Jedi -- I can feel it, sense it every time I look at you. You were born for it, into a fate that's more complex than anything I can really understand. I'm still young, too, and I'm only just learning how much I don't know. You are Jedi, and you have nightmares. I know this because I hear them.

I found you once, tossing and turning, crying out in your sleep. I stood over your bed and watched you -- your face pale, brows drawn, beads of sweat crystalline on your forehead. And, in that moment, the only thing I wanted in the world was to sit beside you, take you in my arms, and smooth my hands over your feverish skin and tell you everything would be all right -- to kiss you, even, and the rules and restrictions be damned! You were, in that moment, everything I'd ever wanted; the feel of your hair under my fingers, of your heart beating so very near mine. Everything.

I didn't do it; I turned and walked away, and left you to your nightmare. It might be the most courageous thing I've ever done, or the most cowardly. You love her, the brilliant and beautiful queen-turned-senator. I've known it for perhaps longer than you have yourself. You were so young, once... She's to arrive tomorrow, and I've worried over it until I've made myself miserable. The lack of control is embarrassing, disheartening; I tell myself it's not selfishness, at least; I tell myself that I'm concerned for your future as a Jedi, concerned that your heart might get in the way of your mind, of your -- our -- purpose.

You don't see me watching now. I could go to you -- I could walk up behind you and slip an arm around your waist, I could lace kisses across your smooth neck and strong shoulders. You might laugh gently, sarcasm at the edges of your lips -- all your laughs are bitter these days, it seems. Or, better, you might turn to look at me with those blue, impossibly blue eyes and smile. When you smile, it's like the entire universe has stopped spinning, and I exist only because you do.

I take a deep breath, feel my jaw clench. I'm supposed to be your mentor, your guide. Your father, even! --and I do love you for your trust in me, my Ani. I do. Just as I love you for your impetuousness, for your refusal to be tamed, for the spark in your eyes every time you bow your head and murmur the expected, "Yes, Master." You trust me, and I love you, and I'm failing you even now, failing you slowly and surely a little more every day.

Suddenly, I feel you shift and turn. And you're watching me, I know. I take another quick, deep breath, forcing my hands to stop trembling, and I open my eyes. You look at me strangely.

"Master?" You're concerned. You do care about me, yes. You love me, even. As a father. As a father! Failing you... I wish I could give you more. I wish -- I wish so many, many things.

"Good evening, my young Padawan," I say after a only the tiniest of hesitations. And I smile, though it feels as though my heart is shattering, slowly, into a million glass piece, breaking into a billion countless stars.


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