Mustafar. It was fitting, Obi-Wan thought, that this fiery planet was where he would have to face his failure. To Padmé. To Anakin. Qui Gon would have seen it coming. He would have prevented it. Not for the first time, Obi-Wan regretted that it was his master and not himself who died on Naboo. These thoughts were ever present as he landed on Mustafar beside Padmé's own ship. They were arguing, Anakin and Padmé, and Obi-Wan felt a pang of sadness; they were undoubtedly arguing over what Obi-Wan had told her, but keeping it secret from the senator hadn't been an option. The arguing stopped as he disembarked from his ship, and the look of absolute hate that Anakin leveled him with was almost too much to bear. Padmé stepped forward, half in front of Anakin and looking close to panic, which Anakin mistook as romantic-Obi-Wan winced at the spike of anger in the Force, surrounded by the sorrow and loss of so many Jedi. The ash in the air was coating his lungs and stinging his eyes, but it was not the cause of his tears.
“Anakin.” he said and then paused, his voice breaking in sorrow. “Please Anakin. Stop this. Take Padmé. take her somewhere safe.”
Obi-Wan saw Padmé glance between them a moment before she spoke, voice trembling in pain. “Am I safe with him? What about the younglings?” Her voice broke on the last word, and Obi-Wan could see the tears burning in his eyes mirrored in her own face. He turned to Anakin again and just barely refrained from flinching. There was such hate in his eyes, burning golden and bright-the eyes of a Sith. Yet Padmé still lived, as did he. Anakin was still down there, somewhere. Obi-Wan wouldn't fail him again.
“You are. What I saw-” he said, choking off as a sob tried to force its way out of his throat. Of all he had seen in the war, all the pain and injuries he had experienced, Obi-Wan knew that nothing would ever compare to the crushing sight of their tiny bodies. “It was Anakin, and it wasn't. Sidious was in control then.” he finished, keeping his eyes on Padmé, trying to convey the anguish he felt for having failed her. For having failed them.
“Sidious has done nothing but respect me and guide me when the Jedi refused to do so!” The angry shout was accompanied by a blistering wave of hate through the Force, only magnified by the roaring inferno surrounding them. Obi-Wan felt his knees buckle and just managed to stay standing-the mental and physical exhaustion from the war had taken their toll.
“I know. And I am sorry. I am sorry I failed you so horribly. I am sorry I let him manipulate you and make you feel as if only he cared for you. I am sorry I wasn't there to protect you. And I am sorry that I didn't listen when you needed me to. I-” Obi-Wan was cut off as Anakin was suddenly there, directly in front of him; he only just dodged the punch.
“HE DOES CARE. Only he gave me the power to protect Padmé!” Anakin shouted, and Obi-Wan saw Padmé flinch back-he nearly did the same.
She brushed away angry tears and then stood firm, facing Anakin's anger head-on. “He changed you! He abused your trust and love for me to manipulate you!” As she spoke her voice cracked, trembling with what was either rage or sorrow, or perhaps both. Obi-Wan couldn’t tell the difference anymore. She reached forward and gently clasped Anakin’s shoulder. “Anakin, please. We care about you.” She said, her voice now pleading.
“...we? We?!” Anakin yelled, spinning around and advancing on Padmé; the senator didn’t flinch, but Obi-Wan darted forward in a panic and clapped his hand over Anakin’s shoulder, wrenching him around to face him. He was battle weary and torn, and he had been pushed far past the failing point of both his mental and physical stability. Simply put, Obi-Wan hadn’t seen the Force push coming, and by the time he realized what had occurred he was flying across the room-his head and back cracked sharply against the metal wall of the fortress, and he slid to the ground, his body throbbing in pain.
He heard Padmé scream out over the rushing of blood in his ears and agonizingly pushed himself up by his elbows, a move that triggered a coughing fit, blood dripping slowly out of his mouth. A good sign, Obi-Wan thought, and given the near crippling pain he was in he could surmise that he had any number of broken bones, and possibly also a good deal of internal hemorrhaging. Lovely.
“I…will not…fail you again.” Obi-Wan gasped out, struggling to even breathe, let alone speak. He gripped the side of the wall beside him and heaved himself up, standing on trembling legs that protested holding up his weight. He took a step, attempting to close the now huge gap between himself and his friend, his family, and suddenly felt nothing but open air underneath him. It was instinct that saved Obi-Wan, his arms moving and catching the edge of the platform on their own accord.
As he dangled helplessly above the roiling, molten rock that made up Mustafar’s surface, a thought flickered through his mind. It would be so simple just to let go and fall. There would be no more pain in death. No more causing pain. It would be so simple...but to do so would be to abandon Anakin and Padmé; he couldn’t die, not until he knew there was nothing to be done to bring Anakin back. Obi-Wan struggled to drag himself up, the ash in the air near blinding him and magnifying his struggle; each time he managed to pull himself up slightly he soon lost his grip, making him slide further back off of the platform.
He distantly heard footsteps running closer, but he wasn’t fully aware until he was hauled back onto the platform by strong hands, and turned over, facing the sky. Anakin’s face entered his field of vision, his eyes startlingly, wonderfully blue and full of panic. His lips were moving but his speech was muffled and slurred; Obi-Wan nearly panicked until he realized that it wasn’t Anakin whose speech was failing. It was his hearing. Padmé had appeared in his field of vision, standing just barely back from Anakin and looking down at them with tears in her eyes. He hadn’t wanted to make her cry anymore, to make her feel any additional pain. All Obi-Wan could clearly hear was his own ragged, wet breathing, and he realized that he could very well be dying. He continued watching Padme, saw discomfort flash across her face, and his eyes widened. Anakin’s hands were on his shoulders and shaking, his voice louder but no less muffled, and he struggled with his arms until he managed to grasp one of Anakin’s hands.
“Take...Take Padmé. Your ch...children. Soon. Go.” Obi-Wan choked out, unable to hear his own voice and hoping that his message had gotten across. Anakin turned round and paled, seeing the same signs that Obi-Wan had; Padme kept her gaze on Obi-Wan, and he pleaded with his eyes. They had to leave, had to get somewhere safe and far away from this planet and him. They had to be safe. Anakin turned back to him and shook his head, saying something that Obi-Wan couldn’t even begin to understand. They were both crying now, both of them looking panicked and so very, very young.
“Mustafar...is enough of a p-pyre for me.”
Anakin shouted something, and Obi-Wan felt raw anguish ripple through the Force where once he only felt hate. He leaned down, bringing him close enough to Obi-Wan’s face to just barely be heard.
“....kriffing dare...send someone for...stay alive.” was all that he could make out, and Obi-Wan gave him what he hoped was a reassuring smile. “I will try.” As he choked out the words, Anakin’s tears began again in earnest. He was apologizing now, Obi-Wan could tell, and he brought his trembling arm up to rest on Anakin’s shoulder, too weak to put any pressure behind it. “Thank...you. For coming...coming back.” Anakin let out an anguished wail that Obi-Wan only just heard. Over Anakin’s shoulder Padmé’s face contorted into a grimace, and Obi-Wan gestured weakly to her. “Go.” Anakin looked helplessly between Padmé and Obi-Wan, and he looked over his shoulder to catch Padmé’s eye. She caught Obi-Wan’s gaze and nodded, walking forward and gently touching Anakin’s shoulder. He glanced up at her, his face full of sorrow, and slowly stood, pulling off his cloak and easing Obi-Wan down onto it.
“We’ll be back for you.” Padmé said, her voice full of emotion, and Obi-Wan gave her a weak smile. He hadn’t truly heard her, but he understood the sentiment. They walked to her ship together, and Obi-Wan felt his eyes burn-he could no longer tell if it was the ash or his tears.
When the rescue party comes to Mustafar, comprised of those who Padmé trusted most, Obi-Wan is nowhere to be found.
Obi-Wan Kenobi dies on Mustafar.
Ben Kenobi emerges on Tatooine some months later, another broken, injured refugee who lost his family in the war.