Title: Tipping Point
Rating: G (sorry!)
Summary: This is another one written in response to a contre la montre challenge, to write a story evoking the setting of pre-dawn, written in 30 min. It's not very slashy, but the list has been so slow I figure any Ani story will help, no?
Feedback: This one got mixed reviews on my LJ. Some people really got it, and others didn't. What do you think?
Disclaimer: I, being of sound mind and body, do hereby knowingly trespass upon Skywalker Ranch and all the galaxies contained therein. George Lucas, etc, etc.
This is my hour, the point when night tips slowly toward dawn. I walk through the lower levels of Coruscant, where the stench of trash hangs low on the ground like a fog. The lights are dim. Everything is in shadow except for the sky above. You can't see the coming dawn. The faint light is drowned out by the vehicles whizzing by overhead.
My footsteps echo in the dark, reflected back to me from the uneven surfaces of broken duracrete and discarded speeders and swoops. Dangerous beings lurk down here, sentient and non-sentient alike, but they do not trouble me. They know me by now. They know I will do them no harm.
As long as they do me no harm.
This is my hour. These are my streets. I own this path.
It's quiet now, or as quiet as Coruscant ever gets. All the partiers have finally gone home, and the early risers are only just beginning to stir in their beds. I seldom encounter anyone at this hour. I hear no voices, no blaring music. But it is not completely silent. There is the dull buzzing of the traffic far above, the humming of power lines, the drip of water, the dry scuttling of some scavenger in an alley. Not even the Temple, which is supposed to be a sanctuary, can drown out all noise. I swear I can hear it when Jedi meditate. I cannot find absolute silence on Coruscant, nothing like the living silence of a Tatooine dawn. But it is quiet at this hour.
I sneak out of the Temple on a regular basis, several times a week. My poor master. He has tried to get me to stop. It's forbidden for an apprentice to sneak out like this. Lots of things are forbidden, but I've been sneaking out ever since I was first brought here. I scavenge through the fascinating ruins of the lower levels, finding treasurers of old mechanical parts. I hunt out the illegal races that take place in Coruscant's most wretched hellholes. Sometimes I take it easy and just hang out with the night crowd in the shopping or clubbing districts. There is a chain of restaurants and bars that I've been visiting for years where the owners give me free meals. They like me.
Obi-Wan has been called before the Council numerous times as they tell him he must make me stop sneaking out. He lectures me, certainly. I feel sorry for him. I want to be able to tell him I'll stop, but that would be a lie. I cannot lie to Obi-Wan. He knows that, too. So he knows I will always sneak out. Poor Obi-Wan. He doesn't understand me. But he has stuck up for me in front of the Council. He finally told me, "Just make sure you're not caught." That was one promise I could finally make to him in good conscience. I haven't gotten caught since then. I'm good at it now. He knows I still sneak out because he knows me. The Council also probably knows, for the same reason. But I haven't had to listen to the lecture in years.
It's not that I don't like the Temple, but it's so controlled and peaceful. Everything and everyone has a proper place there. I need the disorder of Coruscant's nightlife, just to remind me of what I once was, to remind me what's still out there, just past the threshold of the Temple doors.
Of course Coruscanti nightlife is not my world, either. So many sad, desperate people trying to drown their unhappiness in drink or drugs or sex. They're pitiful and weak. I hang out with them, but I'm not like them. I have a purpose, a calling as a Jedi. My life means something more than theirs does, poor slobs. I enjoy my night excursions, but I'm not fully a part of this world any more than I am at the Temple.
No, this is my hour, the fulcrum between night and day, when I walk the streets alone. I, too, am between -- between two worlds, between darkness and light, between order and chaos, discipline and purposelessness. I pass many crossroads on this walk, some that lead to ports, some that lead deeper into Coruscant's bowels, some of which lead straight to the senate building and the seat of power in the galaxy. I can take any of these paths. I can go anywhere. I can be anything, clothed in the shroud of shadow. I am free in this hour.
But I take none of these paths. I head back to the Temple where I will grab a few hours of sleep before meeting my master for morning meditation and once again starting my day. When night falls I may head out again, but for now I go back to the Temple.
This is my hour. Because this is when I choose who I am.
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