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Title: The Visit
Author: Sue
Email: susieqla@yahoo.com
Rating: G
Pairing: none
Spoilers: TPM, AOTC
Disclaimer: The Star Wars universe belongs to G. Lucas. No profit is being made.
Summary: Two years after his freedom, Anakin is determined to set his mother free, one way or another.

Obi-Wan was not amused. These episodes with Anakin were spiraling out of control. A pouty Skywalker would have asked, "When are you ever amused, Master?" The question was unfair. Obi-Wan had a great sense of humor. It had matured under Qui-Gon Jinn's careful tutelage. Obi-Wan missed his sage master very much. A fond saying of Jinn's had been, "There is a time andplace for everything, young one."

Well, this definitely was neither the time nor the place for such levity. The boy's attitude was discouraging.

The Padawan learner thought the caper was brilliant. Chucking the whirring, blazing blue stab of light at those stupid, unsuspecting fountain fowl was the most fun he'd had in a long while.

What reason did Anakin have for behaving so childishly? Such blatant lack of respect for his teacher and the Order just wouldn't do.

Obi-Wan heaved a chest-expanding sigh, looking his young charge over sternly before demanding the return of his lightsaber.

"But, Master."

"But nothing, Anakin." Obi-Wan shook his head. "That will be all," he admonished. "You'll force me to an early grave, mark my words."

The tow-haired boy balked, upset that his master, the closest thing he'd ever had to a father, could suggest such a shocking thing. "I just wanted to see the length of the blade when fully ignited," Anakin remonstrated. The weapon suddenly felt heavier, more cumbersome in his grip. Was his master causing the sensation?

"Taking my lightsaber while I was sleeping." Obi-Wan shook his head. "That won't be tolerated. And what impelled you to hurl it through the air as though it were some common bastaska spear?" Again, the weighty sigh. "That weapon," Obi-Wan huffed, jabbing at his property, "can save your life, one day. The day when you've proven yourself worthy to possess one of your own seems a long, long way off after your prank. A lightsaber is not a plaything, Anakin. Not only might you have maimed or killed the defenseless temple creatures, you could have injured yourself as well."

"I'm *sorry*, Master," the lad apologized. How many times did he have to say it?

"As many times as it takes for it to sink in, Anakin."

With that, Obi-Wan, brimming with irritation, snatchedhis lightsaber away from Anakin. The teacher heard his student make several chuffing sort of sounds deep inhis throat. Obi-Wan stood thinking up a suitable punishment, and in the next moments was unprepared for the boy's unanticipated response.

Anakin Skywalker, the undisputed winner of the Boonta Eve's Podracing Classic, the precocious, outspoken boy who had made a regular practice of talking Sebulba down every chance he got, burst into tears...

Unsure about what to do, Obi-Wan's thought process shut down. Finally, he knelt beside his weeping apprentice. As he'd done so, his lightsaber had tumbled out of his hand to clatter upon the manicured stones of the temple grounds. The unpredicted consequence had gone unnoticed.

The Jedi put his arm around the tearful boy's shoulders. If ever a Knight was the picture of looking distraught, Obi-Wan was a study worthy of framing.

He reached out to the child through the Force. He also reached for the memory of his mentor...Qui-Gon.

"Anakin...Anakin." Should he be firm or concessionary with the boy? What would benefit his Padawan most in the long run?

Young Skywalker had never cried in front of him before. When Anakin's sobs sounded strangled, Obi-Wan knew what tact to take, instinctively, as though at that very moment his master had whispered into his ear. "There, there, Anakin. No need for tears. It's just that you need to heed the things I'm trying to teach you. I'm only looking out for your best interests. If anything happened to you, I'd be beside myself. You know that, don't you?" Obi-Wan quaked a bit after Anakin had thrown his arms about Obi-Wan's neck, hugging his master tight, as though for dear life. "There, there now. It's all right...really."

"W-why can't I s-see Mom?" Anakin abruptly asked. He sounded caught between a sob and a sniffle as he began to shudder.

Obi-Wan held him tighter. "Is that what all these recalcitrant incidences have been about?" He felt his heart melting out from under him. Anakin nodded against his neck, his soft mewling had replaced the sobbing. Wisely, he hoped to to touch his apprentice's melancholy heart. He desired to touch it in a way he had never dared to since the apprenticeship had begun.

There were always good, tangible reasons for everything, Qui-Gon used to spout fondly, Obi-Wan soberly reflected.

"I want to see her, Master! Could I visit her, please? I miss her so much! May we go to Tatooine? May we, huh?" All this had been muffled, spoken into the back of Obi-Wan's neck.

Anakin's barrage left Obi-Wan dazed. The patience and forbearance of fathers was to be admired. Anakin had not been separated from his loved one at birth. Of course there was an attachment, an attachment that even the vast distance of cold space would never sever.

Visitations were highly irregular, Obi-Wan knew, but not verboten. He would speak with Mace and Yoda, first of course, but he felt sure they'd sanction his appeal.

Clutching his apprentice hard before drawing away, Obi-Wan reached a decision before any internal objections got in the way. He looked Anakin squarely in his tear-stained face. His genuine affection for Anakin promted him. "Yes, young one. I don't see why not. The visit will have to be brief, and Masters Yoda and Windu must be consulted..."

A light Obi-Wan had never seen before set Anakin's eyes aglow. "Thank you, Master. Thank you, oh, thank you. I've just got to see Mom. I dream about her every night. I want to see her because I miss her so much. I love her so much." Leaping out of his master's arms, Anakin hopped and jigged about, chanting over and over again, "I'm going to see Mom! I'm going to see Mom! Yippee! Yippee!"

=\\==\\=

"Highly irregular it is. This you know, Obi-Wan." Yoda flexed his ears. The hoary hairs within them stood as though at attention. He sat on the edge of his Council chair with his aged eyes measuring the young Jedi Knight garbed in his stately robe.

"Yes, Master, I know. But there is good reason for the visit to his mother."

Mace Windu, poised by the huge observatory window closest to Ki-Adi-Mundi's vacant chair, looked out over the hustle and bustle of Coruscant at dusk. Fully attentive to the continuing conversation, he pondered the deeper meanings of Jedi life. When he faced around to Obi-Wan, his look was impassive. "His request is more than meets the eye, Obi-Wan. The boy is unnaturally attached to the woman."

Obi-Wan's heart skipped a beat, and waited. "With all due respect, Master Windu...the woman is his mother. I have the pronounced feeling that if he sees her, she will encourage him to buckle down with his studies and training; make true progress. I do not feel the timely visit will be his undoing."

"Feel this strongly you do, Obi-Wan?"

"Yes, Master Yoda, I sincerely do."

Yoda beckoned to his worthy compatriot with the mere shadow of a look. It was a look that spoke volumes of Jedi sagacity and yes, a trace of 'just this once...'

Mace nodded, leaving it at that. Yoda, by means of the Force, acknowledged with deference, the great concession Windu had made.

"Very well, Obi-Wan. You and young Skywalker to Tatooine must go."

"Thank you, Masters." Obi-Wan wrapped his robe securely about him, then bowed deeply. "Thank you. We shall leave tonight." He straightened up. The smile that he had tried his best to suppress hit the solemn-faced Jedi Masters full force. Pursing his lips, Obi-Wan bowed again, turned on his booted heel and departed from the Council chambers with Jedi speed before his peers had a change of heart.

"I have a bad feeling about this," Mace said.

"Feel it too, I do," Yoda corroborated.

"Then why permit it?" Windu came to stand at the side of Yoda's chair.

"The Force it was that did."

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