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Title: Last Words
Author: Dhvana (Dhvana@aol.com)
Rating: R
Pairings: Obi/Ani,Obi/Qui-Gon
Archive/Distribution: Other than main archive, please ask first
Spoilers: Movies, I suppose.
Disclaimer: Not mine, no money made, none to give you if you wanted it anyway.
Summary: In the hours before his death, Obi-Wan contemplates his life.
A/N: My first Star Wars fic, hope you enjoy! All of my work can be found in the files section of my group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Dimensions_of_Dhvana/

I have failed you, Master.

I have failed myself. I have failed all Jedi. I have failed him.

And in these final hours, as I prepare to fail yet another generation, my thoughts turn to you.

I have failed you, Master.

For years you stood by me, watching over me, taking care of me, trying to impart the knowledge you held into my stubborn and occasionally unreceptive mind, and it was all for nothing. With the arrogance of youth influencing my actions, I thought myself to be ready before my time, but I wasn't ready. Far from it. And now look at the results.

He was too old. Everyone always said it. I believed it then, and I still believe it now. Despite his talents, despite his destiny--or perhaps because of it--we should have left him there.

You should have left him there.

You never should have removed him from that desert planet, never should have shown him that there was more in the world. When you took him away, I can't help wonder if you did him more harm than good.

He wasn't ready.

By the time a typical Jedi-in-training becomes an apprentice, most of us can barely remember what our home planet looks like, the names of our mothers and fathers, if we have any brothers or sisters. We only know each other, and our training. He, on the other hand, became an apprentice immediately after leaving the arms of his mother. Her warmth, her love, her endless affection were still fresh in his mind and in his heart. Unlike the rest of us, his feelings hadn't been worn away through years of practice and meditation. His emotions were strong, and he thought he was trading one family for another. Instead, he immediately lost his father- figure and got in your place a man not yet ready to be a teacher, not even quite ready to be a man, whose ideals were too unbending to provide the affection a young boy craved.

Jedi do not feel love.

Isn't that what the universe believes? Or rather, what it needs to believe in order to make us its impartial peacekeepers? But we know the truth. We feel love perhaps deeper than all other beings combined. Does the Force not reveal to us through its own machinations the things no one else can see? Does it not show us the ways in which we are connected to all living things? Though such feelings are supposed to have been trained out of us, does the Force not give us the ability to feel more towards our fellow creatures? We Jedi simply learned something he never did, to swallow those feelings and bury them deep inside.

But Anakin was never like the rest of us. I don't know that, if given the chance, he ever would have been. Even you, with your disregard for the rules and your terrible compassion, even you had boundaries. He had none. What we trained ourselves to hide, he carried around with him like a banner, proclaiming to all his strengths and weaknesses, his true self.

And so used were we to hiding, we were too blind to see it. We didn't want to see it.

I didn't want to see it.

But I knew it was there. The darkness, lurking always beneath his skin. The anger, the hatred, the fear. All were there, plain for anyone to see, but I, a Jedi who wasn't supposed to know love, loved him too well not to look away.

I often wondered if you, watching over us with your gentle presence, saw what was happening in my heart. Did you pity me? Laugh at my folly? Or did you sympathize, having once felt the same for your young apprentice? I often suspected your feelings for me were stronger than you revealed, but I never knew for certain. You held your boundaries around you tighter than your cloak, particularly when it came to me, and how I wish you hadn't. How I wish you'd told me what you felt. How I wish you'd eliminated the uncertainty that plagued my youth. After you were gone, I used to think of all those moments when I thought you would finally step past the realm of student and teacher, only to watch with a broken heart as you backed away from each possibility, a lingering sadness around your smile.

Why the sadness, Master? Did it cause you pain to turn away every time? Then why turn away? Because we're Jedi? Or was the sadness from knowing that what I wanted would never be what you wanted? Maybe you didn't feel the same way. Maybe it was all my imagination.

And look at me now, Master, so old that while my hands remain steady, my eyes have to squint to read my own writing. I'm about to see the conclusion of decades of living, and I'm still filled with so many questions.

It will end in a battle, this much I know. We spent so much of our time fighting those last few months, it makes sense that our final meeting should emulate those troubled weeks leading up to our parting.

I did the best I could, Master. I tried to help him, to teach him, to guide him, but it wasn't enough. He needed you. He needed the one who knew when to bend and when not to yield. It seemed I never made the right choice. I always yielded when I should have remained strong and refused to bend when I should have trusted him.

Is that your warm chuckle I hear, Master, as I finally admit the truth? You're right, as usual. I never learned to trust him. Of course, he was always breaking my trust, which did not help, but the moments when his instincts guided him, practically dragged him in the right direction, I wasn't there for him. And when his instincts turned towards darkness, it was too late.

I remember the last time he apologized to me, the last moment we shared in which we were truly civil to each other. I'd found him curled up on my bed in my room at the Academy, not surprised he'd found his way there but curious as to why he'd stayed. Looking down on him, his face tormented even in sleep, little did I know that he was a husband, an impending father, a student of the Sith. All I saw was my apprentice, a boy I'd never really understood, a young man I'd been furious with only hours before, someone who needed me but didn't know how to let me in. Even if he had let me in, not knowing what to do, I would have stumbled around like an idiot and inevitably broken something precious.

"Anakin," I whispered as I knelt down next to the bed, my fingers brushing over his cheek. "Ani, wake up."

The lines of his face eased beneath my touch and he slowly stirred into wakefulness. His blue eyes opened with no confusion, only regret.

"I'm sorry, Master," he said softly as he sat up. Wrapping his arms around his knees, he looked around the room to see if we were alone, perhaps fearing I'd bring the judgment of the Council down on him right then and there. "I never should have yelled at you like that. It was wrong of me to defy you."

"Yes, Anakin, it was," I said as I sat down on the edge of the bed. "And I accept your apology, but these outbursts have to stop. You need to learn to control your anger. The Council is growing concerned. There is talk. . ."

My voice trailed away, uncertain how to continue, but he already knew.

"They want to take you from me," he said, his voice harsh. "They want to revoke my apprenticeship."

"And I have told them time and time again that will never happen. I made a promise to you and to Qui-Gon, a promise I intend to keep."

"But what will you do, Master, if they disregard your promise and decide to cast me out?"

I shook my head. "I do not think that will happen, not in these troubled times, not with our numbers growing smaller every day. They need as many Jedi as they can get."

"Just not me."

"Anakin--"

"But maybe it's better this way," he said, raising his head, his eyes shining with an eerie light. "There are others out there who want me, who have things to teach me!"

"Anakin--" There was a sense of dread in the back of my mind warning me of those who would want to abuse my apprentice's talents.

"I don't need to stay here. I can leave the Academy, learn what they have to teach, become the power the Jedi don't want me to be!"

"Anakin, that's enough!" I snapped, taking him by the shoulders. "What we want--what I want--is what's best for you. Everyone else just wants what's best for them. The sooner you realize that, the sooner you'll understand that I'm not trying to smother you. I'm trying to protect you. Anakin, if anything ever happened to you--"

I stopped before I took that final step. How could I continue, knowing the words that wanted out? I'd ruined so much already--how could I tread on the remains of our tenuous bond? But he was stronger with me than I was ever able to be with you, and he refused to let me hide.

"What, Master?" he demanded, his eyes searching mine, his fingers digging into my arms. "Tell me what you would do! Tell me how you would feel!"

Any words I could think of would be useless, inadequate things to describe the enormity of my true feelings. Only action would suffice, so I leaned forward and kissed him, a kiss that was harsh, demanding, greedy, taking all from those lips that I could knowing this would be my only chance.

And then with a gasp, I broke from him. "I'm sorry, Anakin. I shouldn't have--" I tried to move away but his arms were still clutching mine. I looked up at him and saw no anger, no resentment, only despair.

"Why did you have to wait so long?" he wailed softly, his voice filled with pain. Before I could think of an answer, I found myself lying on my back with my apprentice on top of me. Our robes were quickly flung aside as lips and tongues and skin met with a heat the threatened to burn me alive.

Was it my conscience that cried out for us to stop in the moment before I buried myself to the hilt in him? Or was it your voice, Master, I heard in that moment, your cry coming a second too late? If Anakin heard you, it didn't stop him from wrapping his legs around me and pushing me deeper.

Were you watching, Master, as we finally found the release in each other's bodies you never sought in mine? If you were, I only wish you could have felt what I was feeling, experienced such sensations I had never experienced before. I was finally able to understand why Jedi must be detached--we could never be peacekeepers with such feelings ruling us all the time.

For one long night, we were the exact opposite of what Jedi are meant to be. We were completely absorbed in our own selfishness, not caring about the consequences, about the people we would hurt, about the ones we betrayed. We only wanted each other.

It was after hours spent in each other arms as the first hint of dawn touched the sky that I first thought to consider the night a mistake. Actions like ours should have made us partners in every sense of the word. Instead, the night pushed us further apart, and I couldn't understand why. It was only later I learned of his marriage, and the betrayal I felt was unbearable. We fought more furiously than we ever had before, a fight that will finally reach its conclusion today.

Do you see the boy in front of me, Master, carrying in him such vast potential? Looking into his eyes, he is so familiar to me, and yet so different. There is so much of his father in him, it frightens me, but it also gives me hope. I almost wish I might live long enough to train him, to try and erase the sins of the past, but it is not meant to be. My job is simply to see that the door is opened.

Our ship is docking, this battered thing I hired to carry me to my end, and it is time for us to take our places as smuggled cargo. I know I will be with you soon, Master, and maybe then I will finally get the answers to some of those questions you refused to let me ask while you were alive.

And what shall I do with these words, you wonder? Leave them for him, of course. It is possible there is no longer enough of him left to care, but if even a hint of the young man I loved remains, then let him read this final message and know I do not hate him. Let him know that even as he strikes the blow that ends my life, I love him still, and he is forgiven.

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