Title: It’s In The Little Things…
Author: Erin Maloney
Distribution: The Archive. Force Haven. Anyone else, just ask.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Warnings: Possible OOCness. Is short a warning? Does a needing to know that Qui-Gon count as a warning? Cause he does, kinda.
Category: Thought fic.
Pairings: None, except may be Anakin/Amidala. But only in Obi’s thoughts.
Summary: Obi-Wan’s thoughts after the events in “Whatever You Say”.
Obi-Wan sat up in bed and stared out the window. Anakin had been gone for only a few days, yet it felt as though he’d been gone for months.
When he’d first been told by Master Yoda of this mission, he’d been full of an ecstatic joy and a deep apprehension for his Padawan. There was also relief that he would not have to lie to the Council about what Anakin was doing. Though he would’ve done it, had it come down to it.
While he knew it was wrong of him to do so, Obi-Wan knew that he rarely denied Anakin anything.
And this mission was everything he knew his young friend had longed for-and he knew that he had to let him go. For years, he had been begging for this opportunity.
He hadn’t been lying to his Padawan about how he felt about his abilities, that was a promise he’d made to himself. There would be no springing any surprises on his charge as Qui-Gon had so often done with him.
Furthermore, he truly knew in his heart that Anakin was more than ready for this chance. If anyone could do this mission, whatever it was that the Force wanted him to do, it was Anakin.
But he worried over the emotional toil it would exact on him.
Of all the people he had known-and he included Master Qui-Gon into the equation, Anakin felt things deeply. Anakin craved human companionship and compassion in a way that baffled him. There was an almost dangerous hunger, an ache for the things that most Jedi left behind them.
His Padawan desperately needed the love and approbation of others, something that troubled him deeply. Yet, there was nothing he could do about it, except worry about what it would do to him the further on into the training he went.
This was a personal trial, all Jedi faced them at one time or another.
But Anakin’s was different, this one would bring him directly into contact with his beloved mother. Shmi Skywalker had a firm hold on her son’s heart. If she chose to do so, she could change the course of Anakin’s life. The question was, would she?
Unlike his Master, he had no previous experience with her. All he knew of her was her name and relationship to her son. Therefore, he could not truly judge her, though he felt that she would not unduly influence her son away from the path of Jedi.
At least, he hoped that was so.
From all that Anakin had told him, he knew Shmi had been the one who had encouraged him to go. She it was who had actually given him one of the lessons a Jedi must learn, to go forth and not look back. It would be best to trust that she would do the same now.
Another twinge of worry hit him. Senator Amidala and Anakin’s strong and worrisome reaction to her. It was not normal for a Jedi to be so…reactionary to a person. Yes, they had been through many things together.
Imminent, life threatening danger had a way of bringing souls together in life long bonds of affection and affiliation.
But that did not explain his attitude towards her. Nor did it explain the overdeveloped sense of needing to protect her. And daring to call her by her given name. Though it seemed like he had not heard it, he had.
And, while he had not mentioned it, he had not overlooked that slip of the tongue. These things signaled trouble for him for he had heard that his charge had once said that he intended to marry her one day.
It seemed that those hopes had not dimmed one iota in the intervening years. Not even after learning that Jedi were forbidden to marry for marriage implied ownership and possession of something.
And then there was the Supreme Chancellor.
In him, Anakin seemed to have found the father he had not known he was seeking. The Senator gave him the advice, counsel, and approval he sought but had been denied by Obi-Wan himself.
There was a great deal of shame inside his heart as he thought of his sins in regards to his precious Padawan. Duty had bound him to the boy in the sacred bonds of Master and Padawan. An older law, that of loyalty to his Padawan, bound them together.
Something that, while he honored, he rarely obeyed.
Fear had kept him silent when he should have spoken. It was not something he was proud of. He knew it was something that he would spend the rest of his life trying to rectify, all the while knowing that he would most likely fail at it.
Shaking off thoughts of Anakin’s troublesome emotions and their rather tumultuous past, he turned inward and examined his own feelings. This was something he had been putting off for fear of his own reasons behind wanting time away from Anakin.
Well, not fear exactly. More like he was worried that he still resented the younger man. That he still doubted, like Master Yoda did, the wisdom in training him the way they had.
Knowing that he shouldn’t put this off any longer, he took himself firmly in hand. Examining himself through a discriminating eye, he found that the joy he had felt for his Padawan was not there for himself.
Instead, what existed within was not joy, but a sense of a heavy burden of guilt being lifted off his shoulders. A feeling of deep relief that he could rest his weary shoulders and put that beast of guilt to rest at long last.
It was not what he had thought to find and he felt relief that his feelings were not entirely linked to getting rid of Anakin. What he felt had more to do with something else he had been avoiding for some time.
He well knew full well the reasons for its presence.
Since the death of his beloved Master and friend, he had not had a moment to be truly alone to come to grips with what had happened on that dark day so long ago. Now, he had the time to come to terms with it, to gather himself together and make himself whole once more.
The Council had relieved him of all his duties, knowing that he would needed this time to deal with the loss of an important part of his life. To come to grips with the fact that his own sense of well being had been shaken to the core.
To meditate and review their actions and life together. This was the time to relax and put everything into perspective, to hopefully recover what was lost and renew it in what he had now with his own Padawan.
Yet, he could not enjoy the peace he had always sought while he had been involved in the chaos of his life with his Padawan.
Though he had all the time to seek his own peace of mind, he found that he could not. Many times in the past few days, he could be seen staring out the window, contemplating a mission that was not his own.
His thoughts turned, not to the past and all its travails, but to worries of the present. A thing he found slightly shocking for he had always been a future thinking man, but not altogether surprising. Through association with Anakin, he had found it necessary to adapt to a more immediate pattern of thinking.
Something was…missing. A certain vital piece of his life and he was all to painfully aware of what that was.
His Padawan’s company.
It was amazing, he thought idly, tracing a pattern on the bench beneath him. The amount of sheer reassurance one felt hearing the sound of another’s breathing in a room. It was such a little thing, yet it meant so much to his own sense of self now.
He only really noticed its solid presence now that it was gone from his hearing.
As he had passed through the days, he noticed the lack of the little things that he usually ignored because they had always been there, hovering in the background.
Every day, simple things that he took for granted. The very sounds that used to annoy him and later came to mean that he was home, were missing and silenced. There was a sense of being isolated within the world he’d always known and found comfort in.
Obi-Wan found it more than a little disconcerting.
“That’s because, my young Padawan, you always preferred hard facts and figures to emotions. You believed that they could not hurt you for they were set in stone.”
Eyes flying open, he whirled his head about and scanned the room for the owner of the voice. There was only one who would have said such a thing to him with such authority. He almost welcomed the scolding for he knew it was well deserved.
Yet, as he had expected, there was no one to be found there. Once a Jedi left this life, they became a part of the Force. They lost all trace of themselves into the Living Force. That was their immortality, they became part of that which they had dedicated their lives serving and lived on in the actions of those came after.
It didn’t matter to him that he saw no one.
The words rang with a truth Obi-Wan could not in honesty deny or refute. Not that he wanted to, for Qui-Gon had always seen into the very heart of who he was.
They had always balanced each other, his logic to Qui-Gon’s emotion. His future based thinking countered with his Master’s more present minded ideas. The way he trusted to his own strengths while Qui-Gon had trusted in the power of the Force, though he knew his friend might disagree with that thought. They worked in a perfect kind of synchrony that he rarely had seen with another.
In fact, it reminded him of something, something he had only now begun to share with…”Anakin,” he breathed the name out loud on a whisper of sound.
A shiver ran down his spine at the sound of the name. Looking out at the sky, he wondered how his Padawan was doing. The similarities between his Master and his Padawan had never been so eerily apparent to him.
He knew what Qui-Gon had been capable of. It had always made him worry when he’d gone on solo missions, knowing of his penchant for finding dangerous situations. Or, at the very least, indulging in some of his more blatant oppositions to the Council.
For the first time in his life, he doubted the wisdom of the Jedi Council’s actions. In sending Anakin out without aid, had they condemned him to failure?
It was not that he didn’t trust him.
Quite the contrary-and he knew it would be to Anakin’s surprise if he were to know, he perhaps trusted him a bit too much. There had been many times in the past when he would trust Anakin’s intuition over his own, even on the flimsiest of evidence.
It had never let him down in the past. His ability to trust in him had eventually breached the fortified walls he’d put between them. With the walls coming down, they had truly begun to grow into all that a Master and a Padawan should be.
So, trusting in Anakin was not the problem…and yet it was.
Resting at the heart of his worries was the fact that he had relied upon that boy, no. Not a boy. He hadn’t been a boy for a long time. No, the young man Anakin was for an emotional compass to understand and judge things.
Instead of dampening down his more…impulsive bursts of passion, he had encouraged it. Though it worried him, he had seen what it could do. At times, they had needed what it could do.
That boundless emotion he felt helped him do his work. It guided him through the labyrinthine maze of power to higher abilities. Contrary to what he knew, that innate ability to feel things so deeply was Anakin’s greatest strength.
It was also his greatest weakness.
Great, he thought, resting against the cool glass. Now I have a whole new load of worries to fret about. A whole new set of ways in which I have spectacularly failed my charge.
“Well, I wouldn’t say failed, Padawan. More like, placed an unhealthy burden upon him that you did nothing to counter,” Qui-Gon said. “And you have made an effort to rectify that mistake.”
“Of course you would, all seeing one,” he muttered. “Tell me, did you have something to do with this mission?”
“It is possible,” the reply was teasing.
“That’s what I thought, meddlesome Master,” Obi-Wan complained. This is a surreal kind of conversation I’m having with my previously silent friend, he thought. “Tell me, don’t you think that my life was complicated enough?”
“No. I actually believe that your life could be a great deal more complicated,” he retorted. Obi-Wan knew that if he had really been there, a mixed look of sternness and affection would be on his face. “As for Anakin, someone needed to do something. The Jedi Council and you were making a mess out of this whole thing.”
“And I suppose that you think some vague confession of ambiguous love will fix it?” he skeptically asked. “Forgive my extreme disbelief of your innocent belief, Master.”
“What?” He stopped mid rant, unable to understand the question in the context of what they were talking about.
“I asked why,” he obligingly repeated. “Why would I forgive you for speaking your mind and the truth? To repair what damage has been wrought will take more than mere words, Obi-Wan. It will take actual love and hard work. It will take accepting Anakin as he is, not as you think he should be. It may mean loving him even if he falls into the darkness. And he may just do that. Can you do this? Is your love for him real? Or were they words that you spoke because you felt that they needed to be said?”
“I do try not to say anything that I can’t live with,” he dryly replied.
“Padawan,” Qui-Gon sternly reproved him. “That is not what I asked you and you know it.”
Frustrated, for he was not sure what Qui-Gon wanted from him, he never could figure out what it was his Master had wanted from him. He let his head fall back against the wall and closed his eyes. After taking some time to think, he slowly conceded that he did not really know why he’d said it. “It is a fair question to ask, Master. I shall spend some time in meditation upon it.”
“Not all answers are to be found through meditation,” he replied. “Still, if it is the only way for you to see, then I will say no more.”
“You were always to content to live in the present,” he said with an affectionate smile.
“And you were so focused on the future you have rarely lived in the moment.”
The room filled with an eerie stillness after their conversation ended. He found it hard to figure out if that had actually happened. Or if he had missed his friend and mentor so much, he had imagined the whole thing.
Obi-Wan supposed it didn’t really matter, the words of counsel he’d received were things he needed to hear. It would figure, he thought, that my conscience would sound like him. I suppose it could be worse, it could sound like Anakin.
That thought made him give a little laugh. It was only a matter of time before it did. Opening his eyes, he studied the dawning morning. While he did this, he pondered some of the revelations he’d had.
He knew that he loved Anakin, it had become natural to him in their days together. It was so normal, that it did not register to him. It was just something he did. Not that it was an obligation or anything, it was part of him. Part of who they were.
He just had to trust in what they were. Had to trust that his Padawan would be safe within the arms of the Force. That he would make the right decisions in this test. It was something he found hard to do, trusting blindly in what he couldn’t touch or see.
Even unquestioning trusting to the Living Force was impossibly hard for him. It had been one of the things that had held him back from completing his training. This inability to just let go separated him from others, including Anakin.
Anakin could blindly trust that power and throw all caution to the winds because he knew, just knew that something would be there to save him. Whether it was Obi-Wan or a passing ship or something else, he knew that he’d be safe in the hands of the Force.
Obi-Wan was just going to have to trust in that.
“Anakin,” he spoke softly, watching the stars wistfully. “Be safe, my young Padawan, wherever you are. Listen to that inner voice of calm, though I hope you will not disregard your intuition.” Somehow, he felt that Anakin could hear him and take strength from their bond.It was enough.