Chapter 1: Reckless and Idiotic
Narrator: Free at Last! As the people of Kiros begin the long road to recovery after their enslavement by the Zygerians a team of Jedi are forced to pick up the pieces after their own brush with slavery. Now Jedi Shadow Siri Tachi finds herself traveling to the Triumphant to see just how bad the damage was.
As she lowered her small, one man starship into the massive hanger of the Republic Venator the Triumphant she was suddenly struck by the sight in front of her. Hundreds if not thousands of malnourished and shivering Togrutas took up almost every available space, most were being fussed over by Clone Troopers and she recognized the grey painted armor of the 104th Battalion joined by the blue of the 501st as well as the familiar gold of the 212th who had recently arrived.
As she powered down her ship Siri Tachi slumped back in the pilot’s seat, watching the semi organized chaos unfold. Her heart went out to the poor people of Kiros, the Force seemed to weep for their suffering and it made it difficult to even be around them.
She had disagreed with the plan that had been concocted to locate the innocent Colonists, in fact the term “idiotic” and “reckless” had been adjectives she used to describe it. But, looking at the survivors here on this ship she knew she couldn’t argue with the results...oh wait, yes she could, it was still an idiotic and reckless plan that as predicted had gone sideways and those who had initiated the plan ended up needing to be rescued along with the Togrutas.
She sighed as her thoughts drifted back to two weeks ago.
“Queen Miraj Scintel is your typical spoiled monarch who grew up on a world that believes the natural order of things is for the strong to impose their will on the weak.” The hologram of Siri Tachi explained to three Jedi. “From what I’ve learned she lives in a bit of a fantasy world, she believes her life to be one big epic romance holovid.”
“Zygerrian scum.” Anakin Skywalker balled up his flesh hand in a fist and punched his leg.
Obi-Wan placed a hand on his shoulder and then regarded the hologram of Siri. “So, she’d be more open to talking with us if we approach it diplomatically.”
“It’s not that simple, while naive in many things she grew up around the slave trade so she is savvy and ruthless. Her father did a lot of business with Krayn so I became pretty familiar with the Zygerrians. They are some of the most notorious and creative for breaking slaves, they are not to be underestimated and Queen Miraj is no different.” Siri explained.
Anakin seemed to seeth more and it was obvious that Obi-Wan was debating if he should have the younger man leave the room and get some air. “Right, so what do you suggest?”
“If you are insisting on going in alone, which for the record I do not agree with, then don’t be afraid of using the most obnoxious forms of flattery you can devise. Whisper sweet nothings into her ear and get on her good side, flirt. And maybe, just MAYBE she’ll let it slip where she’s holding the Togrutas.”
“And you’ve heard nothing on your end regarding the colonists?” Obi-Wan asked, his voice hopeful. “None of your old contacts have anything?”
“No, I’m afraid not. The Zygerrians send their slaves through a conditioning regimen, they call it ‘processing’, but where the facility is located is a well guarded secret because otherwise they’d have other Slavers ransacking their location and stealing their slaves non-stop. As far as I can tell only the Queen herself and maybe a few selected Advisors actually know what system it’s in.” She took a breath, noticing Anakin nearly shaking with anger. “I’m afraid I’ve never come close to finding its location, however, I can tell you that there is going to be a secret, invite only event being held tomorrow on Zygerria.”
“Then I supposed we should try to get an invite.” Ahsoka said, glancing worriedly at her Master.
“Way ahead of you, the invitations should be on your datapads now.” Siri stated. “I’ll keep my ears open and if I should hear anything more about large groups of Togruta slaves you’ll be the first to know.”
Obi-Wan bowed his head in thanks. “We appreciate the intel Siri.”
“It’s what I do.” She smiled at him. “Gotta put my useless slave trade knowledge to good use once in a while.”
“I knew there was a reason we kept you around.” Obi-Wan teased.
Anakin rose to his feet in a huff. “We should get going. Every moment we wait means more suffering for the Togrutas.”
“Quite right Anakin.” Obi-Wan nodded.
“Oh, by the way, you should mention the name Bruno Denturri as a means to get an audience with the queen.” Siri chimed in. “They were at one time romantically involved, but it didn’t end well. Just say that he sent you, she’ll be dying to hear what he has to say about her.”
“What if she reaches out to this Bruno Denturri to verify our identities?” Ahsoka asked.
“Bruno won’t be able to verify much these days.” Siri cryptically answered. “He’s dead, his palace was raided two nights ago.”
Obi-Wan raised an eyebrow at her tone of voice and the implications it meant. “Do I even want to know?”
“Do you ever want to know?” She looked at him, her voice serious.
“Bruno Denturri, got it.” Anakin stated. “Come on Ahsoka, let’s see what kind of disguises we can scrounge up on this hunk of junk.”
Siri watched as the Master and young Padawan exited the room, she then glanced back up at Obi-Wan. “You look awful,”
“You should see the other guy.” He teased and she raised an eyebrow. “He had bombs planted all over the city and at the time we didn’t know the Togruta colonists had already been moved off planet. Anakin Needed to disarm the bombs, so I was stalling for time.”
“With your face?”
He sighed. “There really wasn’t much time to weigh my various options, I just went with the first thing I could think of.”
“And so you, Mr. Negotiator, the top strategic mind in the GAR came up with getting into a boxing match with someone clearly larger than you as the ONLY way to stall for time?” She folded her arms across her chest.
“Don’t be silly, it wasn’t a boxing match.” He defended. “It was a traditional Zygerrian fight of dominance.”
“...of COURSE it was.”
“You know, now that I think about it he may have harbored some ill feelings for the Jedi and was taking them out on me.” Obi-Wan’s voice was pithy as usual whenever he tried to avoid topics he didn’t want to discuss. He smiled, and then winced as the skin around his bruised eye stretched.
“A Zygerrian holding a grudge against the Jedi?” Her face remained neutral. “You don’t say.”
“Do we really want to compare notes about doing questionable things in the name of mission success?” It was his turn to raise an eyebrow.
“That’s fair...and no, we do not.” She conceded to his point.
They sat in silence for a moment, Obi-Wan attempting to prepare himself for what he knew she was going to say next.
“This plan is idiotic and really, really reckless. Even for you two.” She huffed.
He nodded, as expected she had no problem voicing her opinions. He had become very familiar with that side of Siri after all these years.
“So you’ve said.” He answered. “Repeatedly.”
“You should wait for a Shadow to take over this mission.” Her voice was stern yet worried. “We’re trained for these situations.”
“Other Jedi take on undercover missions all the time Siri.” He argued. “Besides, the Togrutas might not have that kind of time to wait for an available Shadow to arrive.”
She looked at him, her face more serious than he’d seen in years. “Then send another team. Anakin should not go anywhere near these slavers, Ahsoka is a sixteen year old girl whom you are having play the role of a slave, and you just had your head bashed in and are not in any condition to rescue 50,000 Togrutas single handedly. There are way too many variables and things that can go horribly wrong.”
“Siri…I’m fine, we’ll be fine.”
She shook her head. “Obi-Wan, I have a bad feeling about this.”
One of Siri Tachi’s favorite things in life was being proved right when it came to arguments with Obi-Wan Kenobi, this however, was not one of those times.
She took a deep breath and did her best to release her emotions into the Force before making her way down the small ramp of her ship. She needed to focus not on what had happened, but how things can move on from it.
She left the Togrutas in the capable hands of the clone medics and went in search of three traumatized Jedi.
“Koh-to-yah, Master Tachi.” Plo Koon smiled behind his breathing mask.
“Koh-to-yah, Master Plo.” Siri bowed as she replied.
“I do hope you aren’t taking time away from your own mission to be here.” The Council Member gently chided and Siri, ever irreverent clicked her tongue dismissively.
“Don’t worry, I was headed to Coruscant to give my latest report to the Council. You just happened to be on my way.” She stated, leaning up against the large window of the ship’s bridge. “How are they?”
Jedi Master Plo Koon sighed, Siri wondered if she’d ever heard him sigh before. “Not well.”
“How bad was it?” She asked, though a part of her dreaded the answer.
“It could have been far worse, though none came out unscathed.” The Kel Dor Master replied, sadly.
Siri was about to reply, but thought better of it and stopped herself. Plo tilted his head in curiosity.
“It isn’t like you to not speak your mind. Care to unburden yourself by speaking your thoughts Master Tachi?” The Council Member asked.
“That all depends, am I talking to Senior Council Member Master Koon, or uncle Plo?” Siri shrugged, picking at a thread on her sleeve.
The sides of his breathing mask pulled up into a smile. “Sometimes you remind me so much of your Master.”
“Flattery won’t get you out of answering the question.” Siri returned his smile.
“Please speak freely Siri.” Plo shook his head in fond annoyance.
“There used to be a time when Jedi were given mission assignments based on their particular skill set, has that just gone out the window along with diplomatic missions and maintaining actual peace?” Siri didn’t hide her frustration.
“Your concerns are valid, but with the war we are stretched so thin that sometimes difficult choices must be made.” Plo sighed through his mask.
“Kriff the war Uncle Plo,” Siri shot back, having grown up as one of the few Padawans chosen by one of the High Council Members Siri had grown close to most of it’s sitting members through the years and developed unique relationships with each of them which gave her the confidence to debate their decisions. “This was the worst possible team to send on this particular mission and you know that.”
“Master Kenobi and Knight Skywalker…”
“Cannot say ‘no’ to a mission.” She cut him off.
Plo sadly hung his head, he knew she was not wrong. “What is it you’d like me to say Siri?”
“That you’ll bring it up in a session. That if the demands of horrific undercover missions continue to pile up that we desperately need more Shadows trained and in the field.” She spoke with a passion rarely seen on the calm and collected Jedi. “We got lucky overall this time, the Force might not be so kind with the next one.”
“Aren’t you the woman who took a squadron of Padawans undercover behind enemy lines last year?” Plo folded his arms across his chest.
“I knew you were going to throw that in my face.” Siri huffed and Plo tilted his head in an innocent response. “Look, I’m not saying that Padawans or other Jedi shouldn’t be sent undercover, I’m just saying that there are certain missions…”
“We can’t take any of the Shadows off of the hunt for the Sith Master, that must remain your priority.” The Kel Dor Master said quietly yet commandingly.
“I know, it’s just…”
“Perhaps you might be letting your personal feelings get in the way of this instance?” Plo moved closer towards her, his voice hushed.
“Absolutely not, I can assure you that this has to do with the Council’s decision to choose Skywalker to be anywhere near slavers.” Siri retorted. “And the fact that a sixteen year old girl was sent undercover as a palace slave, you know the implications of that.”
“So if we had sent Obi-Wan alone on this mission I wouldn’t have been subjected to your hostilities right now?” Plo forced the young woman to look up into his goggles.
“Low blow, Uncle Plo.” Siri turned her attention back out the bridge windows. After a moment she decided to side-step the topic. “Ahsoka?”
“Besides dehydration, physically unharmed it would seem.” His voice was tense, Siri knew how much he cared for the young Togruta.
“They didn’t touch her?” Siri chose her words carefully.
“She said that they threatened, but no.” Plo’s raspy voice was quiet. “She was rescued before she was officially given to those who meant her that sort of harm.”
Siri wrapped her arms around herself and shivered. “Has she been tested, she could be avoiding admitting it for fear of what it’d do to her Master to hear it.”
“Yes, I made sure. And no, she was not touched.” Plo said, protectively.
“Thank the Force for that, she was luckier than most in that situation.” Siri let out a sigh of relief. “Still, the knowledge and threat of it can have lasting effects. She’s going to need time away from the men.”
The Council Member looked at Siri sharply. “The men would never hurt her, and she is very fond of them.”
“Logically speaking you are correct, but believe me I know from experience that in cases like this logic often takes a back seat to fear.” Siri found she couldn’t look at Plo. “She is a Jedi and will have to learn to release the fear, but she needs a safe space to do it in. She needs to not be confined to a ship full of men right now.”
“You make a very valid point. I will make sure she gets the time off.” He conceded, guilt was easily read in his voice. “Will you speak with her, I feel she might find your insight comforting.”
“Just try and stop me.” Siri looked at him and offered a sad smile.
“We haven’t been able to yet.” He teased in response. “Seems it would be foolish of me to try now.”
She reached out and squeezed his shoulder. “It’s good to see you Uncle Plo.”
“You should com your Master more often.” Plo reminded her in a fatherly tone. "She misses you."
“Tell her I said ‘yes mom’.” Siri rolled her eyes and tried to hide the fact that it brought her great joy to hear that her usually reserved Master talked about her so often after all these years. “So, tell me Master Koon, what can I do to help?”
The Jedi Master nodded as he realized the shift in their relationship happened with her professional tone of voice. “I am working with Senate Representatives to ease Kiros’ joining of the Republic. Perhaps you could check on our undercover team and make sure they are well. I’d imagine General Kenobi has been keen on avoiding medical at all costs.” He said and Siri sighed.
“Of course he has.”
“Go easy on him Siri, this...well, this was not an easy mission.” The Council Member spoke with great care. “The slavers tried to break his spirit, I worry that they may have succeeded.”
Siri felt her heart drop. “What exactly did they do to him?”
Chapter 2: 1,847
'Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery.None but ourselves can free our minds.' - Bob Marley
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
The heels of her boots clicked along the durasteel floor of the Star Destroyer with each of her haunting steps. She tried to process what Plo had told her regarding her friend’s captivity, to prepare herself for what she might see once she locates him. Obi-Wan had as all Jedi had gone through training to withstand torture, hells he had been tortured several times in this life already including a particularly nasty two month period at the hands of Asajj Ventress and had always bounced back. But this was different, what happened on Kadavo was something the Jedi were not prepared for.
The Zygerians used the compassion and selflessness of the Jedi against him, as a way to torture and break his spirit. And since the beginning Obi-Wan in particular was a Jedi who would gladly give up his life without a hesitation if it meant innocent people could be saved. The news that others were punished for his quick tongue or his attempts at standing up for injustices worried Siri in a way that she didn’t think possible, even more than all those times he’d been tortured physically.
The Zygerian’s method had been ruthless and devious, and Siri hated to admit that it was also genius. If this actually got out around the galaxy it could prove a terrible blow to the Jedi Order, it could embolden their already numerous foes if it’s believed that a Jedi could actually be broken. It would be imperative not just for his own well being, but for the sake of the Order that Obi-Wan come out of this encounter as strong as ever. She knew physical wounds could heal, even if there was permanent damage there were ways to work around them, but for a Jedi as well known and desperately needed as Kenobi to have his mind or spirit shattered that could be disastrous.
She did her best to cast out her anxieties into the Force. It would do neither of them any good if she let her worry consume her before she even had a chance to see him.
She glanced up at the figure who seemed to be standing guard at the door to the Map Room. It was an unusual post for someone of his ranking, but Siri knew it had more to do with the fact that he felt guilt for what had happened. She sympathized with Commander Cody’s plight, she knew it wasn’t his choice to leave his General on this mission, in fact he had petitioned to go instead of Captain Rex. From a logical perspective he had nothing to feel guilty about, none of what had happened was his fault. But, she also knew when it came to guilt, very rarely did logic come into play. She instead offered him a sad and knowing smile as he let her pass into the room.
And that is where she found General Obi-Wan Kenobi, leaning over the console of the map reader, seemingly lost in thought as his keen eyes surveyed the map in front of him. Siri immediately took in his physical state, noticing the gaunt and almost skeletal features of his sunken in cheeks, the purple rings around his eyes that were a mixture of bruises and sleep deprivation. The normally fair skin dotted with freckles now held a sickly pale hue due to a lack of sunlight. The tattered tunic that both clung to and hung off his body, the way that he kept an arm protectively around his abdomen and seemed to have trouble straightening his posture. His hair was a frightful mess, oily from a lack of washing and matted in clumps with dried blood. His beard was unkempt and far too long, the bristled ends just hovering over blistered skin that decorated his neck in the shape of a collar.
There was also a horrid smell, he reeked of sulfur, sweat, blood, burned skin and other body odors that resulted from a lack of bathing for two solid weeks. It was a smell Siri had grown familiar with during her time working undercover with the Slaver Krayn...it was the smell of a forgotten slave whose sole purpose was to toil in the mines until death.
She slowly approached, not wanting to get too close or move too fast until she had a chance to figure out if he had any particular triggers. He didn’t look up from what he was doing, but she could sense within the Force that he had acknowledged her presence. She would wait for him to speak first, she would not pressure him.
“It would’ve been far more economical to simply leave the ‘I told you so’ message via comlink.” He finally addressed her, though he refused to look at her.
Under any other circumstances she would’ve retorted with something equally sarcastic, but she knew that was one of the ways he avoided topics he didn’t wish to discuss and she was not having any of it. She instead responded in a calm tone of voice. “What do you need me to do?”
“We’re working with the Senate to expedite the people of Kiros’ citizenship into the Republic, this way we can set up clinics and they can officially be under our protection.” He answered, his eyes flicking about the map.
She took a step forward, just a bit closer to him. “You misunderstood me. I asked, ``What do YOU need me to do?”
He looked up at her finally, she could see the pain flash momentarily behind his blue/grey eyes before it was banished again behind his impressive shields. “I’m fine, truly. Nothing a good night’s rest won’t cure.”
“Obi,” She risked another step closer and then noticed he flinched.
“Don’t,” His hands clung to the edges of the console, trying to gain control of his breathing. “Please, just...don’t tell me what to do right now, even if it's for my own good.”
“Okay,” she simply answered, not risking another step towards him.
He raised an eyebrow at the answer and then his gaze to look up at her. “Okay? You mean to say that you came all the way here and you’re not going to force me to go see Medical?” He seemed to finally be able to let go of his death grip on the map reader console. “Because you’d be the first one today not to hound me about it ad nauseum.”
“And a lot of good it’s done.” She softly said and he snorted in amusement. “No, Obi-Wan I am simply here to ask what it is you need right now.”
He stared at her in disbelief, as if the idea of him making a decision or having a say in his life was suddenly a foreign concept. He also eyed her with skepticism, unsure if this was all an elaborate ruse. She let down her mental shields, allowing him to sense her true intentions. She hoped he would realize she was truly there to help him, and she wouldn’t force him to do anything he wasn’t ready to do.
After several moments he seemed to relax and he sighed. “I am not so self destructive that I am refusing medical treatment out of a lack of self preservation like everyone always assumes.”
“Then why are you refusing to get checked by Medical?” She asked, her voice a mask of calm.
“1,847 what?” She tilted her head in confusion before the number registered in her head. Her face immediately went pale, of course he’d ask for that number, it was probably the first thing he inquired about once he knew of Anakin and Ahsoka’s conditions. This was the total of fallen Togruta colonists out of the 50,000.
“1,847 lives lost because of me.” His eyes returned to focus on the map reader. “The moment I stepped foot in that facility over a dozen died in an instant, for no other reason than because I was simply there...because I am a Jedi.”
Siri didn’t offer words to placate him, she knew anything she would say would only sound patronizing because she hadn’t lived it and he had. She wasn’t the one the Zygerians had tried to break, there were few words of comfort she could offer that he hadn’t already heard from others. And so, she listened and let him vent because she knew she was one of the few people he’d open up to and this was something she could do for him.
“If I attempted to step in to save one, they’d kill three more. If I spoke out of turn someone died, if I attempted to share my meager rations with a starving child, that child was killed. If I attempted to take on another slave’s workload they were beaten to death in front of me…” his eyes were vacant now, lost in horrid memories. “Sometimes they would murder a Togruta simply to see what my reaction would be.” His body shuddered. “I was powerless to help them, in fact helping them only caused them more suffering.”
She risked another step closer, his body tensed at her proximity, but he didn’t back away. “You did all you could Obi-Wan, I know you did.”
“That’s just it, doing all I could only made the situation far worse for those poor people Siri. It would have been better had I done nothing at all, and yet I couldn’t help myself.” His eyes shifted to hers, and she could feel the pain seeping through the cracks in his shields. “So, now that we’re free I refuse to be the cause of anymore Togruta deaths.”
“Is that why you are refusing treatment from Medical?” She asked, inching a little closer.
“I will not take any medical supplies, bacta tanks, or medics away from the people of Kiros.” His voice slightly cracked and a single tear rolled down his cheek which left a trail through the dirt and grime on his face. “I can’t do it Siri, please don’t ask it of me.”
“I won’t,” She softly answered instantly, shifting herself so she was right beside him now.
“You must give me this. You see, this way I can finally help them.” His breath hitched, he then averted his eyes from hers in embarrassment. “I know it seems like such a silly thing for a grown man to be crying over…”
“It’s anything but silly Obi-Wan,” She took a chance and reached out for his hand. “Consider it done, no one will force you to see Medical until you are ready.”
His arm stiffened at her gentle touch and then finally acquiesced to her request and he opened his clenched fist to allow her hand to wrap around his. “Thank you, my friend.”
They stood like that for a moment before he crumbled against her, the weight of the past two weeks not to mention everything else on his shoulders coming out at once as he clung to her tunics tightly and hid his face into the crook of her neck and sobbed. She didn’t say a word, instead attempted to send comfort and relief through the Force and along their shared bond.
She glanced over his shoulder at his back, seeing the tatters of his tunic in crisscrossed slashes, the edges of the fabric blackened from the electricity of the whips and caked in blood and crusty from dried pus. She knew while fairly superficial these wounds needed tending otherwise they could become infected (if they already weren’t). She released him and placed a gentle hand on the side of his face, he instinctively leaned into the kind caress having been starved from such gentleness for so long.
“I will make you a deal.” She looked at him intently. “Will you allow me to treat the wounds on your neck and back using my own medical kit?”
He backed away from her and began to shake his head, but she cut off his looming protests.
“I am not a medic, and this would be taking supplies away from me and not the Togrutas.” She chose her words carefully. “Please let me at least clean you up, I know you’ll start to feel more like yourself.” She offered a warm smile. “Plus, it’s probably been over two weeks since you’ve had a nice cup of tea.”
“You can’t bribe me with tea Siri, I’m not a child.” He tsked at her over his shoulder.
“Well, if you agree to let me look at those wounds on your back I might have something a bit more adult to bribe you with.” She offered a mischievous smile.
His eyebrow perked up in curiosity as he turned to face her. “Adult you say?”
“I was referring to the bottle of Corellian Whiskey I have on my ship, you dirty old man.” She rolled her eyes playfully. “but I’m glad to see you haven’t lost interest in everything.” The relief in her voice was evident, the fact that he was falling into their usual flirting and banter was a good sign.
He offered her a small smile, it wasn’t much but she counted that as a victory. “Alright Master Tachi, I’ll agree to your terms.” He then grew serious and distant again. “But nothing more, not yet. Not until I know the Togrutas have been looked after.”
“You have my word Obi-Wan.” Her voice met his in seriousness and she nodded. “Nothing will be done without your permission.”
He reluctantly nodded and his body relaxed slightly, “Now, where do you suggest we go?”
“I have an idea about that,” She reached out towards him, trying to coax him out from behind the map reader. “If you’ll trust Cody to get you to your quarters on the Negotiator I will return to my ship and bring over the medical kit.”
He quickly shook his head. “The colonists are in the hangar, I...I can’t.”
“You won’t be going anywhere near the hangar,” She spoke in a calm tone again, hoping not to make all their previous progress moot. “You my friend, will be taking an escape pod.”
He tilted his head towards her. “That’s...that’s pretty brilliant actually.”
“See, I have my moments.” She smiled, linking her arm through his.
“More than just moments my dear friend.” His voice once again sounded heavy. “Thank you.”
She looked into his incredibly sad eyes, she knew he was trying to hold it together for everyone else and needed space to allow this pain to pass into the Force. Siri patted his arm and smiled. “You know, if you didn’t smell like a Bantha right now I’d kiss your stupid face because I’m just so happy to see it.”
He titled his head back and let out a small barking laugh, it was not his usual full laugh, but it was still music to her ears. “That’s fair, rain check then.”
“Come on, let’s get you cleaned up.” She tugged on his arm and he once again hesitated, she looked back and saw the fear in his eyes. She stopped pulling him forward and stood still with their arms linked. “Whenever you’re ready Obi-Wan.”
After a moment of intense internal debate Obi-Wan nodded and took a step forward. “Okay, I’m ready.”
Siri had promised that the medical supplies would come from her own kit and she vowed to keep that promise, but he hadn’t specified that she couldn’t take food from the mess. She smiled up at the head cook as he helped her wrap up some fruits and cheese and other dried bits of protein. He apologized that he didn’t have anything more fresh as they hadn’t exactly expected to be housing 50,000 extra mouths when they ordered their last supply run. Siri thanked him profusely, snagged a couple tea bags (though she was fairly certain Obi-Wan would have a stash in his room) and headed out of the mess.
As she finished securing her satchel she glanced up and caught the familiar form of Ahsoka Tano walking with a group of colonists. Siri hated to interrupt, but she wasn’t sure she’d get another opportunity to check in with the young girl. She smiled at the group as she approached and bowed as Ahsoka introduced her to Governor Roshti.
“Your people are strong Governor,” Siri offered a sympathetic smile, glancing over at Ahsoka. “And have proven to be resilient. We are so sorry for your losses however.”
The elderly Togruta closed his eyes in sorrow and nodded. “Yes indeed, I thank you Master Jedi. Though we are indebted to you all.”
“I’m afraid I didn’t do much, I was on another mission.” Siri admitted. “But, if there is anything I can do to help now, please don’t hesitate.”
“I would like to offer my gratitude to Master Kenobi, but I’m afraid I haven’t seen him since we left that horrid place.” Governor Roshti sighed. “I fear I also owe him an apology.”
“I’m afraid Master Kenobi is tending to some Council business,” Siri lied, sensing the concern coming from Ahsoka. “But, I know he’s eager to help you all put this behind you.”
“As we all are.” The leader of Kiros replied.
“Governor, I apologize for my abrupt departure, but I have a rather urgent appointment to keep.” She bowed again and then looked at the Padawan. “Would you mind terribly if I had a word with Ahsoka?”
“Not at all,” Roshti lowered his head in a respectful bow in return and then smiled at Ahsoka before taking his leave.
The Padawan fell into step next to Siri as they headed towards the hanger. They made idle small talk, but kept the conversation light until they were in privacy in Siri’s ship. The older woman gestured for Ahsoka to have a seat on one of the benches in the small cargo hold.
“I wanted to speak to you.” Siri said gently as she sat down across from the Padawan.
“Is everything okay, is Master Obi-Wan…” Ahsoka’s eyes were wide and full of concern.
“I’ve got him, don’t worry. One less thing off your plate young one.” Siri’s voice was affectionate, but not condescending.
“Phew, well that’s a relief. I can tell Skyguy…” She stopped suddenly and looked at Siri, worriedly. “I mean Master Skywalker to relax about it then.”
“You call him Skyguy?” Siri asked, a wicked smile creeping up on her face.
“Yeah,” Ahsoka’s cheeks would be flushed if her skin tone allowed that. “But, it’s just cause he calls me Snips and I hate it.”
“Oh, no need to say anything more.” Siri laughed. “I love it, and I will store it away for future use.”
“He’s going to kill me.”
“Nah, you’re Master cares a great deal about you kid.” Siri sat back and crossed her legs. “Both your Masters.”
The Padawan rolled her eyes at the insinuation of her being trained by not one, but two of the best Jedi in the Order. But Siri could see the pride in her eyes. “How is Master Kenobi, really?”
“He’ll be okay I think, just give him time.” Siri answered honestly. “He’s more worried about you.”
Siri didn’t mind stating that as a fact even though she and Obi-Wan hadn’t even discussed Ahsoka’s well being yet, but She knew her friend well enough to know it was a factual statement.
“Worried about me? But, nothing happened to me.” She exclaimed, unable to look at Siri.
The older woman took a good look at the teenager, she could tell that while physically unharmed the Togruta was constantly folding her arms across her chest and as she sat she doubled over as if trying to hide. As she feared she could tell the young woman was on edge and dealing with emotions she wasn’t quite sure how to process.
“You know, when I was twenty three I was sent deep undercover.” She shifted the conversation away from Ahsoka. “I was to infiltrate a notorious Slaver.”
“Named Krayn, yeah, it’s a mission report Padawans still talk about.” Ahsoka shrugged. “You’re kind of a bad ass legend.”
“Huh, would you mind bringing that up the next time your Grand-Master is acting all high and mighty.” She smiled and Ahsoka giggled. “What wasn’t in the report though was how on my first night on this mission I was almost…” She found even after all these years it was difficult for her to say the word.
Luckily, Ahsoka caught on. “Oh,”
“But, I was able to improvise and change my character to be someone that the galaxy would fear to lay a hand on.” The corners of her lips moved up in a small smile. “And let me tell you, Zora would never stand for anyone to touch her without consent.”
Ahsoka’s eyes went wide, she wasn’t used to a Jedi Master being so candid. “Wow,”
“The point is Ahsoka, even though nothing happened it still wasn’t easy for me to feel safe afterwards. I had to create a completely different persona in order to do so.” She sighed and looked up at the girl. “One that took a couple of different Mind-Healers to help me out of when the mission was over.”
“I had no idea,”
“Why would you? It wasn’t something I or the Council advertised.” She shrugged. “But, these missions can linger, and if you aren’t careful they can change you.”
The young Tortuga wrapped her arms around her legs and pulled her knees up to her chest. “But, you seem fine.”
Siri chuckled. “You’re sweet, and a bad liar which is also not a good thing to be if you want to keep going on undercover missions.”
“I’m not sure I’m cut out for them if I’m being honest.” She placed her head on her knees, hiding her face from Siri.
“Few Jedi are, and you know what kid…” She moved so she was kneeling in front of Ahsoka. “That’s actually a good thing.”
“Then why do I feel like I failed?” Her tears began to brim with tears.
“I know Ahsoka, it’s easy to feel that way when a mission doesn’t go the way it was planned.” She sighed. “But anything that went wrong on this mission wasn’t your fault. It was planned in haste and emotions were high which always leads to mistakes.”
“I just wanted to save my people.”
“And you did,” Siri smiled and stood up. “Something else I learned about these types of missions. You have to cling to what went right, because so much of it will always go so very wrong.”
Ahsoka wiped the water from her eyes and nodded. “Thanks Siri.”
“No worries kid.” She offered the girl a hand to stand up. “Now, I should get back to your Grand-Master and make sure he’ll survive the night.”
“I thought you said he was FINE?” The fear on her face was palpable.
Siri put up her hands to try and calm the young girl down. “Oh no, kriff. Sorry, I’m sure he’s going to be fine.” She reached up and ran a hand down her face. “Shit, I’m sorry Ahsoka, I forget not everyone understands or appreciates my sense of humor.”
Ahsoka warily nodded. “Yeah, I can see why you and Master Obi-Wan get along.”
Siri decided to try her hand at sarcasm with the young girl again. “Could you tell me the reason then, because I’ve been wondering myself for years.”
The teenager rolled her eyes and turned to leave, but Siri stopped her by holding out a small piece of flimsiplast. “In all seriousness Ahsoka, if you ever need to talk this is my personal com frequency.”
“Thank you Master Tachi.” She took the flimsi, her eyes huge with gratitude.
“Siri’s just fine, no need to be so formal.” Siri waved her off. “And Ahsoka, one last thing…” The Togruta turned to look back at Siri. “It’s okay to say ‘no’ to a mission. If the Force is telling you something isn’t right, then in my experience its best to listen to it.”
Ahsoka seemed disturbed by the idea of refusing a mission, but she took the older Jedi at her word and nodded, leaving Siri alone in her ship. The blonde Jedi Master sat for a moment alone and let her mind gather itself from spiraling down unpleasant memories of past missions. She finally collected herself and moved to the pilot’s seat to take the ship over to the Negotiator , she knew her work that night was still not done.
She had to somehow give a man medical treatment despite her lack of healing talents, while trying to convince him to see an actual medic (all without looking like she was trying to convince him). While simultaneously convincing everyone else not to force medical treatment on Kenobi.
She sighed. “He was right, I should’ve just sent an ‘I told you so’ com message.
I've always been slightly bothered by Obi-Wan always being "forced" into medical after Kadavo. I can understand on other missions where he physically incapable of arguing or is in life threatening situations, but I always felt while his injuries would be severe the mental anguish would've been far worse for him and I just couldn't see someone who had all of their decisions taken away would be okay with people ordering him around (even if it was for the best intentions). So, I wanted to write him in that state...I hope it didn't feel too OOC for him.
I have always felt given the types of missions Siri goes on that she'd be a much different Jedi (like Quinlan Vos) and she'd be more candid with certain topics, but she'd also have seen and done things many other Jedi never would which would also give her insights into some of these dark situations (like Ahsoka's).
The response to the first chapter of this fic blew me away, thank you so very much for all the kind reviews!!
Chapter 3: This Might Hurt a Little
Obi 101 (by Siri Tachi): How to administer first aid to a broken and stubborn Jedi
Author’s Note: This chapter has some fairly descriptive depictions of wounds, nothing too graphic but just wanted you to be aware.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“He’s waiting for you,” Cody said as she rounded the corner, his voice tense.
“Thank you Cody.” She nodded and began to move past the clone soldier, but was stopped as he stepped in her way. “Was there something else on your mind Commander?”
“With all due respect Agent Tachi.” The Clone Commander began and Siri realized it was serious if he was addressing her by her title. “You’re not a healer and I’m not sure I can permit this...he is my General.”
Her face softened and she reached out to place a hand on his gold painted pauldron. “Cody, I understand your concerns, and truth be told I share them.” She sighed and looked into his amber eyes. “But, you’ve placed your trust in me before when it comes to General Kenobi, I simply ask you to trust me now.”
“This is a far cry from him overworking and needing sleep.” Cody’s voice was quiet and far less professional. “He needs to go to Medical.”
“I know Cody, and I’m working on it.” She sighed. “But, if I’m going to be able to do this I am going to need your help.”
She could see the hesitation on his face, the lifetime of conditioning to follow the rules and procedures conflicting with his compassion for his wounded General. Finally his stance relaxed and he simply nodded, moving away from blocking the door to Kenobi’s quarters. “What do you need from me?”
“I’m going to need a large bowl and as many towels as you can spare.” she offered a small, grateful smile. “I’m also going to need KP to boil a pot of water and add some salt to it.”
“I can just grab some saline from Medbay.” Cody replied and Siri shook her head quickly.
“No, nothing can come from Medbay.” She replied and he tilted his head in confusion. “I made him a promise.”
Cody snorted. “Du’kut Jedi.”
“Most importantly I need someone to stand guard and not let anyone in.” She continued, ignoring his insult. “And that includes General Skywalker...especially General Skywalker.”
“I’m not sure we'd be able to stop him if he was that determined, but we’ll do what we can.” He replied.
“That’s all I ask.” She smiled up at him, hoping it looked more encouraging than she felt.
Cody saluted the Jedi and turned to fulfill his orders. Siri watched him leave, impressed not for the first time at his devotion to his General. As her thoughts turned from the Commander to his CO she turned towards the door, thumbed the keycode and let herself in.
“What in blazes are you doing?” She asked when she saw him sitting on the edge of his bunk, his tunic open with a far away look on his face. It was clear that he had attempted to remove his clothing, but the fabric was stuck to his back. She moved closer to him, gently placing the medpack and satchel on the ground. “Easy...you could rip something.”
Exhausted, pain filled eyes glanced up at her. “Siri, how much more damage could I possibly do?”
Her jaw tightened at the implications of his question. She knew he was too intelligent for it to have been an offhand comment. “Knowing your luck you’ll find some spectacularly new and complex way to injure yourself.”
He offered a small, dismissive snort at her tease. “There’s no such thing as luck.”
“Keep telling yourself that.” She offered him a sad smile and then removed her outer tunic in order to keep it from becoming soiled and pulled her hair up into a top knot.
Siri then noticed he had been staring at and flexing his fingers slowly. “It’s so odd, ever since we were rescued the tips of my fingers won’t stop tingling.” He flexed his fingers again. “I just can’t seem to get it to stop.”
“Here, let me.” She pushed down the rising fear that nerves in his extremities had been damaged by the various electrical shocks and instead knelt down and gently took his right hand between both of hers and gently massaged his fingers while also sending healing waves through the Force. She then did the same to the left one, Obi-Wan let out a small sigh of relief. “Is that better?”
“Much less irritating, thank you.” He replied.
Siri squeezed his hands and then ran to the ‘freshner, to wash her own hands and to grab a towel. She then laid it out on the floor in front of the bunk. “Let’s start with that tunic, shall we?”
He offered a slight nod of his head, she could see his focus still seemed far away. She helped guide him to sit on the towel and she sat on the bunk behind him. She looked down at the tattered mess of what had once been an off-white garment. Stained and discolored in a combination of dirt, sweat and blood the tunic was also shredded in various places where a whip had obviously connected. The back of the tunic had taken the brunt of the whipping, slices criss-crossed in so many places it was hardly recognizable anymore. Siri carefully tried to pull the fabric away from the tender skin of his back and let out a soft hiss as she felt it catch against his wounds and his body tensed as a response.
She immediately stopped and gently placed a hand on his shoulder to center him. “This might take a while, you want to maybe attempt a healing trance while I take care of this?”
Obi-Wan took a deep breath and then shook his head. “I can’t, I’ve tried. When I close my eyes I hear their screams, it has prevented me from reaching any semblance of a meditative state I’m afraid.”
“Okay, no worries...” Siri tried to hide the concern in her voice, she knew that for him to be awake during this process it would make it last much longer and would be considerably far more painful. “We’ll just do this the old fashion way.” She leaned down and rummaged through her satchel, producing a round metal flask.
He raised an eyebrow as he registered the item she was holding out towards him. “Do you believe that to be wise?”
“Probably not, but it’ll take the edge off.” She shrugged. “It’s either this or I go grab some painkillers from the medbay.”
Without another word or protest he grabbed the flask from her and immediately drank from it as if he had been beneath the twin suns of Tatooine and it was cold water. Siri in the meantime moved towards the desk in the room, pulling out a pair of scissors. She then moved back to the bunk and began to cut away the tunic that wasn’t stuck to his skin. It was then that the door opened and Cody stepped through the threshold, carrying the items Siri had asked for.
“Thank you Cody, can you please fill the bowl with warm water?” Siri asked from over Obi-Wan’s shoulder. The clone commander obliged the request and returned from the ‘freshner a moment later with a bowl full of clean water.
“Thank you Cody,” Obi-Wan’s voice was low and had the room not been so quiet he would’ve missed it.
“Of course sir, please let me know if there is anything else I can do.” Cody replied, his eyes focused on the mess of cloth and wounded skin Siri was attempting to work on.
Siri looked up at him and nodded, her face sympathetic, she knew how bad their wounded friend looked. She watched as the Clone Commander exited the room before she returned her attention to the task at hand. It was obvious that fibers of the garment had clung to the blood that pooled within the various whip wounds, Siri hoped most of it was on the blood that had splattered outside the actual wounds, but looking at how many slashes that decorated his back that was pretty unlikely.
“Give me that,” She reached towards the flask in his hand.
Obi-Wan glanced at her from over his shoulder as best as he could, given the wounds on his neck. “That bad huh?” He attempted to offer her his usual playful tone, but it came across flat.
“Well, not to be too dramatic, but it looks like someone took a cheese grater to your back.” She tried to ease into their usual banter, but it ended up feeling inappropriate. “I will say that if you’re still insisting on not seeing a professional then I suggest you drink the rest of this and fast.” Siri’s tone was not playful as she took a large swig of the flask herself. “Because, this might hurt a little.”
She then pulled out a pair of tweezers and dumped a small amount of alcohol on the tip before she handed him back the flask and he immediately took a long drink from it. Siri then tore one of the towels that Cody brought and dunked it into the water before bringing it up to his back. Obi-Wan tensed as he felt something touch his back, a reflex left over from his time in captivity, but quickly steeled himself for the pain that was to come.
For her part Siri went slowly as she began to wipe away the dried bits of blood and grime from his back, careful to avoid as many of the open wounds as possible. To her relief large pieces of the tunic began to pull away from his skin with relative ease. She noticed the tension in his shoulders loosen slightly as the alcohol began to take effect, but then she came to the first bit of cloth that had adhered to a wound.
Obi-Wan let out a small grunt, and the muscles in his back clenched. Siri immediately pulled her hands away, not wanting to hurt him further. “You know, I do have some sleeping pills that might help.”
He shook his head. “You promised…”
“I said I wouldn’t take anything from the Togrutas, and I mean that. These are mine.” She used the Force to call her satchel closer to her, pulling out a small pill bottle.
“Siri, when did you start needing…” He looked at her over his shoulder.
She shrugged. “Helps quiet the mind before sleep. You know I’ve always struggled with insomnia, and sometimes meditation doesn’t do the trick.” She poured a small, blue tablet onto her palm and held it out for him. “Here, you can sleep while I clean up the rest of these wounds.”
He turned away from her, his voice hollow. “I’ll stick with the Corellian Whiskey, thank you.”
She swallowed back the rising concern and frustration she was feeling and placed the pill back into the bottle. “Okay, but I’ll leave them here on your bunk if you change your mind.”
An uneasy quiet hung over the two friends as Siri went back to work on his back. She found herself using the saline solution to wash out the open sores as well as release pieces of fabric that clung to the tender flesh. Each time she flushed an open wound out she could feel the pain radiating through the Force, but to his credit Obi-Wan made no noise.
As she pulled away the tunic she was getting a better picture of the state of his back, the cuts left behind from the electro-whips varied in depth and stages of healing. There were several white scars where only the slightly raised red skin around them showed that they weren’t quite done healing. Those he had probably endured while on Zygerria Siri realized, before he had even made it to the slave processing center. Others were nearly healed with cracking brown and green scabs. Then there were the fresh cuts, the skin surrounding them were charred red and black due to the electricity that had coursed through the whip and into his back.
Two large wounds worried Siri above the rest, one was scabbed over, however the skin beneath it was severely swollen and hard to the touch. As she pressed on it with a towel the scab began secreting both blood and a foul smelling yellowish-white liquid. Immediately she knew that particular wound was infected, and there was little she’d be able to do to treat it.
“Karabast” she cursed beneath her breath. She had foolishly hoped they had reached him in time to avoid infections, and this one looked really bad.
The other concern was an open wound that crossed diagonally down his back, there were third degree burns that decorated the edges of the cut and pieces of fibers from his tunic seemed to have melted into the under layers of skin beneath the burns. The wound itself was deep, looking as if it cut down to the bone. She offered him a gentle squeeze of his shoulder as she poured some cool water over the angry wound, his body tensed and he let out a loud painful hiss in response.
“Sorry, sorry, sorry…” she kept repeating as she aimed the pair of tweezers over a section of cloth and gently tugged.
He groaned again and closed his eyes tightly as the pain increased. He attempted to calm himself using various relaxing breathing techniques, but they failed to work as he could feel the fabric get caught again beneath the burned skin and he let out a pained cry. From her peripheral vision she saw the door open and the familiar face of Cody at the ready in case his General needed him. Siri stole a quick glance at him and shook her head and then continued her work.
“Siri, stop!” Obi-Wan groaned again in pain. “Please, just...stop!”
“Just a little bit more,” she tried to send comfort to him through the Force. “I’ve almost got it...there!” She finally pulled the last piece of clothing from his back, unfortunately a bit of chard skin went with it and he as a reflex pulled away from her.
He kept his back to her, she could see new trails of blood dripping down from the freshly cleaned wound. She waited a moment for him to catch his breath before reaching out again to him, but as the tips of her fingers touched his skin she could feel his body recoil in response.
“Wait,” he commanded, his voice almost a whisper. “Just, give me a moment, please.”
“Take your time.” Siri gently responded and then grabbed the bowl and moved towards the ‘freshner. “I’ll be right back.”
She dumped out the dirty, bloody water and rinsed out the bowl before refilling it. She then washed her hands again, glancing up at her reflection in the mirror. Images of his gory wounds danced across her mind and she quickly turned and knelt next to the toilet just in time to lose the contents of her stomach. She sat on the floor and took a moment to catch her breath, finally she stood up and splashed some water on her face and allowed herself to process the moment and release her anxieties into the Force.
“It’s okay Tachi, you got this.” She whispered to her reflection in the mirror, her voice shaking more than she’d like. “Evvvvverything’s fine.”
As she made her way back she saw that he had calmed his breathing down, he still tensed as she sat down behind him. Siri knew his trust had been broken and it would take time for her to regain it fully, but the fact that he wasn’t stopping her from continuing her treatment spoke volumes and she’d not take it for granted.
As she poured the homemade saline into the large cut he let out another small hiss. “Kriff me,” his voice trembled as he let out an unusually undignified curse.
“I warned you this might hurt a little,” her voice was apologetic.
It was as if his voice got caught in his throat. “I’m sorry I put you in this situation.”
“Obi, let me worry about that.” She said followed by a soft shushing sound. “Right now I just need you to focus on healing.”
Out of the corner of his eye he noticed she was reaching for a tube of bacta gel, he quickly reached back and grabbed her hand. “You promised me,”
“I promised nothing would be taken from the Togrutas. This is from my own kit.” She pulled her hand from his. “You also promised, remember?”
After a moment he relented and his body relaxed, she then went to work applying the sweet smelling, cool bacta to his wounds. She realized it wasn’t enough to properly treat his more severe injuries, she knew what he really needed was to spend about a week submerged inside a bacta tank, but this would have to do for now.
She then took out what bandages she had and gently placed them over the open wounds, wrapping gauze around his torso to hold it in place. She took note of his pained groans as she lifted his left arm, realizing that he probably had a cracked rib or two. She took a deep breath to try and steady herself, as she continued to treat his superficial wounds it became more and more apparent that she was in over her head.
After she was satisfied that his back had been taken care of she moved to look at his neck. The normally soft skin was swollen and red, and blisters had formed in several places. But compared to his back the burns didn’t look too bad which surprised her considering she knew he had been wearing an electro-collar. She had seen slaves literally burn to death because of these devices, she then realized with a sick feeling sinking in the pit of her stomach that they tended to burn the victim from the inside out and that the real damage might be internal.
“I’m going to put a cool towel around your neck.” She made sure he knew what she was doing, hoping something being placed around his throat wouldn’t trigger a bad reaction. She dipped a towel into the bowl of water and then placed it around his neck, she felt him tense and then he relaxed as the cold water offered some relief to his scorched skin.
Obi-Wan let out a hum of appreciation. “Thank you Siri.”
“Don’t thank me yet, we still have to figure out how to get the rest of you cleaned up without doing more damage.” She shrugged.
“Sponge bath perhaps?” He tried to make his tone sound light, but couldn’t hide the pained intake of breaths between the words.
Siri pretended to think about it and smiled at him. “I think I have a better idea, how about a sonic shower? It’ll give you a moment of privacy.”
His eyes softened, though remained serious. He was always grateful that Siri understood his needs, moreso in this moment than ever. He nodded, attempting to hide the tears that had suddenly sprung to his eyes. “That sounds lovely.”
“Do you think you can stand?” She asked, moving his right arm over her shoulder to help lift him off the ground.
He nodded in response and grunted as he felt his sore muscles strain to move from the floor. Both were then caught off guard when the sounds of arguing were heard on the other side of the durasteel door followed by the abrupt appearance of a disheveled Anakin Skywalker.
“What the hell is going on?” He asked the room, but his gaze was squarely on Siri. “Kix said that you haven’t checked into medical yet.”
Before Siri could answer Obi-Wan cleared his throat. “Anakin, I appreciate your concern, but as you can see I’m fin…”
“Don’t you dare say ‘I’m fine’ so help me Obi-Wan!” His former apprentice snapped. “I saw Rex, there is no way that you’re ‘fine’ .”
As if to make a point the Jedi Master pushed his weight off of Siri and attempted to stand on his own, unfortunately as he took a step forward the muscles in his legs buckled and he fell. Siri and Anakin both knelt down to help, but he waved them off. Siri sat back on her heels and began to clean up the remnants of her first aid while Skywalker rose to his feet in a worried huff.
“That’s it, I’m calling Kix,” Anakin ran a shaky hand through his hair and pulled out his comlink.
Siri glanced at Obi-Wan who suddenly used the Force to pull the comlink from his former student's hand. “No Padawan.” His voice was firm.
“I’m not your Padawan anymore, you can’t order me around like you used to.” Anakin argued, his face growing red.
“If you’re going to throw technicalities at me then I outrank you in the GAR and I’m on the Council so it turns out that I can give you orders, young one.” Obi-Wan spat, his voice sounding exhausted.
“Rex went into cardiac arrest, Kix said it was because of the electro collar!” Anakin’s voice suddenly became high pitched and panicked. “It happened to some of the colonists too…”
At the mention of Rex and the Togrutas suffering Obi-Wan curled up into himself as best as his battered body would allow him, turning away from his former apprentice. Siri sensed Obi-Wan close himself off within the Force, she stood up and attempted to push Anakin towards the door.
“Anakin, stop.” Siri tried to keep her voice calm.
“Rex said they used the collar more on you than him, Kix said you may have already had a heart attack and now your heart might be weak!” Anakin began to pace the room, the Force suddenly felt heavy and suffocating within the room. “Come with me to medical.” Anakin pleaded “Why are you so damn stubborn?”
“Anakin that’s enough!” Siri used the Force to push him slightly, not nearly enough to hurt him, but enough to get his attention.
“And you’re enabling him!” Anakin spat down at her. "I thought you cared about him!"
"I know you're upset Anakin, but you really need to back off." They stared each other down until a soft voice broke the tension. It was full of desperation and pain and so unlike what they normally heard from the man they cared so deeply about.
“Get out. Both of you, please.” Obi-Wan said to them over his shoulder as he attempted to find a comfortable position on the floor to lie down.
“Obi-Wan, what about your sonic?” Siri placed a hand up to stop Anakin’s protest. The ginger haired Jedi didn’t respond and Siri took a step towards him. “Can we at least help you up to the bed?”
He offered no response and Anakin sighed. “Master, please let us help you.”
“Just, leave me be.”
I have to thank my wonderful Mother who even though she doesn’t quite understand my Star Wars obsession (though she is an OG fan), she is a nurse and assisted me with the medical side of this chapter because I wanted to root it in as much realism as possible.
Siri and Cody reference a short story of mine where she and Cody work together to help Obi-Wan stop over-working and rest https://archiveofourown.org/works/24767899/chapters/60390361
KP is my own invented Clone name for the head cook on the Negotiator (KP duty means Kitchen Police in the military and KP duty basically means you work in the kitchen)
Du’kut = Idiot/idiotic
Chapter 4: One Step Forward, Two Steps back
Anakin and Siri have a heart to heart. Let the worried for Obi-Wan pissing contest begin!
Thank you sooo much for all the love! I’m blown away by the responses to this story!! I especially liked the various reactions to Anakin in that last chapter. I’ll have more to say at the end so for now, enjoy the angst!
My apologies for the delay in updates, I’ve suddenly become super busy and truth be told I was fighting writer’s block for my other story ANOTHER PATH and had to focus on getting a chapter out in that one first. But never fear, I am back and let’s see what happens to our dear friends!! I will get to answering the comments, again I've been super busy.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Just, leave me be,”
His voice had been so soft, barely a whisper and yet it echoed loudly inside their heads. Three worried individuals found themselves on the other side of the durasteel doors, processing what had just happened. Cody, Siri and Anakin were probably three of the closest friends Obi-Wan had, each had seen Kenobi in various states after bouts with grief, torture and injuries, but this was something none of them had ever seen from the usually calm Jedi Master. And for Siri and Anakin the Force felt disjointed surrounding Obi-Wan, it was an odd sensation of as if they could sense his shields crumble only to be reinforced again and again with the broken pieces.
After a moment Anakin sprung into action. He was not comfortable standing still and just letting things unfold, he had grown up watching his former Master put his health last time and time again and this time he wasn’t going to stand for it.
“Obi-Wan! Enough of this,” he called through the door. “I’m coming in and we’re going to see Kix right now.” There was no answer to his outburst. “I’ll be with you every step of the way, I promise. I won’t leave you...please.”
He was met by silence which didn’t sit well with Skywalker, he sighed and moved towards the door keypad. “I swear you are worse than a youngling sometimes Obi-Wan, don’t do this to us…”
Siri could sense the turmoil rolling off the young knight in waves, she glanced at Cody who despite his lack of Force sensitivity seemed to feel it as well. “Anakin, let’s go get some Caf,”
She reached out and placed a hand on his shoulder and Anakin jerked back, clearly startled.
“Maybe just some decaf for you.” She offered a warm smile.
Anakin hesitated, looking back at the door and then at Siri. His heroic mask seemed to begin to crumble in uncertainty and it made him look far younger. The Jedi Shadow stepped closer to him, squeezing his bicep in encouragement.
“Let’s just give your old Master a moment.” She said, forcing Anakin to look at her. “Cody will com if anything changes.”
Cody nodded in response. “You have my word General.”
Before he could argue Siri placed a hand on Anakin’s back and led him away from the Officer’s quarters and towards the Mess. They didn’t speak as they made their way to their destination, both internally dealing with their own emotions regarding the situation. It wasn’t until Anakin grabbed a mug and went to pour himself a cup of Caf did Siri break the silence.
“Hang on, you don’t want that swill,” she placed a hand in front of his mug to stop him from pouring.
“I’m used to it by now,” he said.
“If that isn’t a crime, then it should be.” Siri joked and motioned towards the Clone behind the kitchen serving window. “KP my dear, please tell me you still have some of that Black Spire blend I brought you.”
The cook was from one of the early clone batches and was a grizzled veteran. His head was shaved clean and he was missing an eye which he covered with an eye patch. He was large and intimidating to any new recruits to the 212th, oftimes Shinies avoided making eye contact with his one good eye, but truth be told once someone earned his trust he was a big softy. Anakin wasn’t surprised that Obi-Wan had hand selected KP as his battalion’s cook, the clone reminded Anakin a lot of Dexter Jettster.
“Siri, Cyar’ika! You know I always keep some around in case you decide to grace us with your presence.” KP pulled the toothpick from his mouth and offered her a large toothy grin. Anakin didn’t have as good a relationship with KP so this was a little off putting for him.
“Bless you! You know that you’re my favorite, right KP?” Siri returned the affectionate smile.
“Well, don’t tell General Kenobi, but you’re MY favorite.” KP answered.
“Oh, believe me. I’m telling him every chance I get.” She smirked.
“Ha! Alright, two cups coming right up.” The clone shook his head and then moved into the kitchen to make their Caf.
“Why do you always do that?” Anakin leaned against the wall with his arms folded.
“Make jokes about everything.” He sighed. “You and Obi-Wan both do it.”
Her immediate instincts were to joke about how she does it better than Obi-Wan, but she realized that would prove Anakin’s point true. So, instead she quietly led him to an open table and sat down across from him.
“This coming from the man who makes it a game with his Padawan during every battle to see who can destroy the most droids?” She leaned her elbows on the table. “We all do what we can to get through this war.”
“Yeah, but there is a time and a place,”
He looked at her carefully. “Then why aren’t you taking this seriously? He needs a Healer.”
“He always does this, puts the worth of his life below others.” Anakin ran a shaky hand through his tangled hair. “He doesn’t think about what that does to the rest of us, to watch him suffer.”
Anakin slammed his mechanical hand down on the table, causing a loud echo of metallic clashing. “I thought you were going to take this seriously!” He scowled at Siri.
They were interrupted by the sound of a voice clearing their throat and they looked up to see KP holding two steaming mugs of Caf. Anakin avoided his accusing gaze and Siri offered him a grateful smile.
“Everything okay?” The clone asked.
“Yes, thank you KP.” Siri replied, taking a sip of the hot beverage. “Mmmm, I am going to have to restock next time I’m on Batuu. Please let me know if there is anything else you need.”
She offered the lingering clone a nod to let him know that she’d be okay continuing her conversation with Skywalker. She knew that several members of the 212th blamed the younger General’s recklessness for many of the causes of Kenobi’s injuries. Siri knew that it had nothing to do with Anakin and more to do with the bad luck magnet their General was. But, she realized much like Anakin was focusing on blaming her for things outside of his control they needed someone to place their own misguided blame upon. Even if it wasn’t true or fair.
“I’m sorry,” Anakin said after a moment, he had obviously released some of his frustration into the Force. “I just worry about him.”
“We all do, even the Council.” She had to bite back a laugh when she heard Anakin’s disbelieving snort. “It’s true, why else would Plo Koon be here?”
“He was the closest Jedi to our position on Kadavo.”
“But that doesn’t explain why he’s still here.” She took another sip between sentences. “He has every right to place the responsibility of getting Kiros set up in the Republic on Obi-Wan’s shoulders. Being that it’s Kenobi’s mission it’s technically his job to see it through.” She traced the handle of her mug with her thumb. “But instead he’s decided to remain here. Because he and the Council are worried about Obi-Wan, about all of you.”
“If the Council is so worried then why don’t they force him to go to Medical?” Anakin’s voice was like ice. “Gods know they’ve forced me to do things I didn’t want to.”
“They are worried about his mental health as much as his physical health.” Her voice was low. “You’re aware of what they did to him.” She said.
“Yeah, they tortured him by hurting the Togrutas.” Kenobi’s former Apprentice replied. “Kriffing Zygerrian scum.”
“He blames himself for not being able to help them.”
“His martyr complex rears its ugly head.” Anakin sighed. “Rex said they used it as a tactic to try and break a Jedi into submission...it’s not his fault. He’ll bounce back, he always does.” Anakin protested.
Siri set down her mug and took a deep breath. It was clear to the young man sitting across from her that she was trying to find a way to deal with an uncomfortable subject.
“Anakin, have you ever heard the story of Obi-Wan being selected as Master Jinn’s apprentice?” Siri wasn’t looking at him, her focus was on her fingers gently skimming the rim of her mug.
Anakin thought about it for a moment, he suddenly realized he had never heard the story. In fact he had heard very little about Obi-Wan’s apprenticeship. He always assumed it was because talking about Qui-Gon had been too difficult for his former Master.
“No, he’s never told me.”
“Qui-Gon refused to take him on at first...frankly Qui-Gon refused to take on any of us at the time. But, that’s a whole other story.” Her voice was soft and Anakin had to lean over the table to hear her. “So, Obi-Wan aged out and was sent to the AgriCorps.”
Wait, what?!” Anakin was sure he heard it wrong.
“He had a bit of a temper back then, many of the Masters felt he was too reckless to be a Jedi Knight.” Siri shrugged. “They thought he was dangerous.”
‘The boy is dangerous, they all sense it. Why can’t you?’
Anakin suddenly felt cold. If Obi-Wan had been considered dangerous by the standards of the Jedi how hard did he end up having to fight for Anakin who actually was reckless? The young knight shook off the question, saving it for a later discussion with his former Master. “Obi-Wan, THE Obi-Wan Kenobi was deemed too reckless?”
“Yeah, he was very different back then.We all were.” Siri was lost in her memories. “But, we’re getting off topic.”
“So, if Master Qui-Gon rejected Obi-Wan then how did they ever end up together?” Anakin was legitimately curious.
“I don’t know a lot of the details, your Master doesn’t like sharing this story.” She took another sip of Caf before continuing. “The AgriCorps station he had been assigned to happened to be on the same planet as Qui-Gon’s mission, Bandomeer if I recall...the name of the planet isn’t really relevant…”
Anakin could sense her unease. “Why do I get the feeling this isn’t a pleasant story?”
“Qui-Gon had an Apprentice prior to Obi-Wan who fell to the dark side,” she said as matter of factly as she could and continued before Anakin could express his shock. “That detail is only important to note because this former apprentice was enslaving people to work in his company’s offshore mine. At some point he captured Obi-Wan and put him to work as one of his slaves...Obi-Wan was only twelve at the time.”
“He was a slave as a kid?” Anakin felt a tightening in his chest. “Why...why didn’t he ever tell me? I used to scream at him that he didn’t understand what it was like, and he just let me…he never said a word.”
“To be fair he had only been enslaved for a few weeks, he knew if he had tried to relate to you on that level that there was no way he could compare that time to the nine years you spent in slavery.” Siri answered.
“I would’ve felt him being disingenuous had he tried.” Anakin reluctantly agreed. “But, I at least always had my mom, he was alone...like really alone.”
“Yes. All while watching his future of being a Jedi Knight slip away only to make room for a new future to be spent in chains.” Siri’s voice was hollow.
“E chu ta,”
Siri held up her mug in response to his curse, agreeing with the sentiment. “His time spent as a slave is not the real reason I bring up the story.”
Anakin finally taking a sip of his own Caf tilted his head in curiosity. “If it were anyone other than Obi-Wan I’d say that there can’t possibly be more to this story, but…”
“They were given electro collars to wear, much like what he wore on Kadavo.” She said.
“They are pretty standard, I’m afraid.”
She nodded. “Well, these were rigged with explosives. Much like the implants you were familiar with they were a deterrent for escape.”
“Oh Force, what did he do?” Anakin placed the mug down on the table a little harder than he intended.
The curves of her lips went up fondly yet sadly. “You know him too well.”
She took a breath. “Qui-Gon’s former apprentice was going to flood the mine and kill the workers as well asObi-Wan and Qui-Gon. Your Master decided that he’d place himself against the door with his collar and have Qui-Gon set off the explosion. His death would have resulted in saving the lives of all the other slaves. Not to mention the life of a revered Jedi Master.”
Anakin’s eyes were wide. “And he was only twelve?”
“Obviously Qui-Gon came up with another idea, didn’t let him go through with it.” Anakin let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding.
“Yes, at the last possible moment. But, this act of self sacrifice was what earned Obi-Wan his place back within the Jedi ranks and his apprenticeship to Qui-Gon Jinn.”
Siri took another sip, letting the moment land. “Now, imagine if your entire life as a Jedi hindered on a singular moment where you sacrificed your life for the lives of others. And then imagine being captured, collared and thrown into a mine to face another group of innocent slaves, who’s lives once again rest upon your shoulders.”
“Force, oh Force…”
“Only this time you can’t sacrifice yourself to save them, because those who have enslaved you want you alive. So instead everything you do means the innocent are the ones to suffer and die.” She held her mug between her hands, looking at Anakin intently. “You are powerless, and your compassion only makes it worse.”
“Kriff, he suddenly makes so much more sense.” Anakin didn’t really know what else to say.
“I know,” Siri placed her cup gently down on the table and reached out to Anakin’s flesh hand. “Look, I’m not blind Anakin, I know he desperately needs to see one of the Medics. But we have to convince him that the Togrutas are taken care of first, otherwise there may not be much left of him to save.”
Anakin pulled away from her. “You’re being a bit melodramatic, this is Obi-Wan we’re talking about, he’s been through torture before and he’s always bounced back.”
“No Anakin, this is very different. And if you would for one moment stop centering on your own anxieties and really focus on his Force presence you’d be able to see it too.” Siri argued.
“I can’t just let him die!”
“Nor can I,” Siri calmly said in response. “But Anakin,the death of a Jedi while tragic and in this case would be devastating, it would not paint a target on our backs the way it would if somehow the Zygerrians actually managed to break Obi-Wan.”
“And, this is where you lecture me about attachment.” His eyes narrowed as he spoke.
“Yes, it is.” Her voice was steady. “But something tells me it would fall on deaf ears.”
They sat in uncomfortable silence for a moment, Anakin seemed to deflate as the adrenaline from the mission seemed to leave him all at once. His shoulders slumped and he held his head in his hands. Siri could feel the emotions pouring into the Force, she had almost forgotten how loud Anakin Skywalker was in the Force.
“Anakin, are YOU doing okay?” She lamely asked, not sure how else to brave this topic with him.
“Me? I’m fine. I was checked out by medical...unlike SOME people.” He answered.
“That’s not what I meant.”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
“That’s not true, I can sense your feelings a mile away.” She said.
“What do you even want me to say?” He pounded his mechanical fist into the table again. “That I failed nearly everyone I care about, that I was given a choice to remain her slave in order to save them and I couldn’t do it, because I swore I’d never go back to being a slave!” He ran a trembling hand through his hair. “And now Ahsoka might be scared for life and Obi-Wan might die because I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t make that sacrifice!”
“Of course you couldn’t, and had you made that sacrifice I’d be now trying to talk your former Master out of a dangerous rescue mission.” She replied, taking the younger Jedi by surprise. “Look, this mission was doomed to fail from the beginning. And as Jedi we need to learn from the mistakes and find a way to move on. Dwelling on what could have been or finding fault doesn’t do anyone any good.”
“I should’ve been stronger, I should’ve saved him from that arena.”
“No, what you should’ve done is stayed in character and finished the mission.” Siri’s eyes met his. “Everything went downhill the moment you decided to disobey the Queen to save him.”
Anakin nearly choked on his Caf. “They wanted me to whip him, humiliate him in front of everyone!”
“I know, I heard.”
“And here I thought you were his friend, someone who loved him.” Anakin seethed.
“I am, and I do...very much.”
He huffed. “You have a funny way of showing it.”
“Had you been able to put your personal feelings aside and stayed in character you might have learned the location of the Colonists faster. You certainly would’ve had Rex free to attempt a rescue on Obi-Wan and possibly saved him from two weeks of torture and slavery, and you would’ve been able to keep a closer eye on Ahsoka.” She leaned back in her chair, crossing her long legs and folding her arms across her chest.
“I...I thought we weren’t supposed to find fault.”
“I’m not finding fault nor am I placing blame.” She said. “But, if you feel you are prepared for an undercover mission of this calibur then you need to be prepared for the mission debriefing we usually receive. There is absolutely no room for emotions or personal feelings on these missions because as you have now witnessed it never ends well.”
“There is a reason these missions usually fall to the Shadows Anakin,” She continued. “You should’ve never been anywhere near Zygerria...none of you.”
“You think we couldn’t handle it?” The anger creeped back into his voice.
“And I was right.”
“I always appreciate our little chats Master Tachi,” Anakin rolled his eyes and began to rise from his seat. “But, I didn’t exactly come here to be ridiculed.”
“I didn’t mean it as an insult Anakin, not every Jedi is right for every mission.” She leaned forward to try and get him to stay. “Had I been chosen for one of your front line missions it would be a speeder wreck. I don’t possess a military mind the way you do. And, do you see that as a weakness?”
“Of course not.”
“It’s not a failure to admit that you don’t have the specialty skills to handle these types of missions. In fact, you should be happy that you don’t.” She reached out and squeezed his hand. “It takes a pretty kriffed up individual to be able to pull these off.”
“How do you do it,” he asked, suddenly taking her hand. “How do you come back from it?”
“A little less of you comes back after every mission, it’s easy to get lost completely if you aren’t careful.” She admitted. “But, there are various ways to cope with the aftermath of what you witnessed and what you did while in character.”
“Can you show me?”
She nodded. “I’d love to. There is also a Mind Healer most of us are required to visit after our missions. They specialize in trauma.”
“You see a Mind Healer?”
“I couldn’t imagine doing what I do without one.” She said. “She isn’t a Jedi Mind Healer though. Master Piell realized that having a Mind Healer spout the Code at us wasn’t really helping in our line of work. So, he started having the Shadows see Republic Healers. If you’d like I can put you in touch with her.”
Anakin thought about the idea of sitting in an office and having someone judge him and his thoughts and actions. Though, he had to admit the idea of having a person he could confide in about his secret marriage or the slaughter of the Tusken Raiders was rather tempting. But, he shook his head, he was the Chosen One, he was stronger than that.
“So, what are we going to do about Obi-Wan?” He decided to avoid the topic.
The change in subject wasn’t lost on Siri and she inwardly sighed. There was an old stigma within the Jedi Order about going to a Mind Healer, one that in her younger days she even shared. But, that view had certainly changed after her first undercover mission as Zora. She knew she wouldn’t be alive had she not had their professional guidance to get her through some of her more darker missions. She knew given Anakin’s background he probably could use some good therapy, and decided she’d make it her mission to try and change his mind once the war was over. For now, she’d take a lesson from Qui-Gon Jinn and stay in the moment.
“That Master of yours is the most stubborn individual in the galaxy. And as much as it pains me to admit this it’s nearly impossible to win an argument against him.” She sighed. “But, he can’t argue with facts and numbers.”
“I’m not sure how that will help here,”
“Gather up all the data you can on the care of the Torgrutas. If we can ensure that every last one has at least been looked at by a member of our medical team we might be able to beat him at his own game.” She finished her cup of Caf and placed the empty mug down on the table.
“This seems like a lot of work and a waste of time when we could just ask the Council to order him to see medical.” Anakin was clearly exhausted.
“I told you, the last thing he needs right now is to be ‘ ordered’ to do anything.” She looked at him, her voice sharp.
“Okay, fine.” He grumbled. “I’ll see what I can find. In the meantime do you think you can try to convince him to see how stupid he’s being?”
She chuckled. “Oh Anakin, I’ve been trying to convince him of that longer than you’ve been alive.”
Cyar’ika= Darling, sweetheart (in this case)
E chu ta = F*ck
Author’s Note: Sorry for the shorter chapter, and that we didn’t get to see Obi-Wan. But, trying to convince him to get help I felt deserved it’s own chapter. I might need to change the story title to “Siri Fixes Everyone”.
I personally believe in therapy 100% and Anakin’s views are not my own - please, especially in these uncertain times take care of yourself (don’t be like Anakin and Obi-Wan)! Stay safe friends!
Again, KP is my creation - feel free to use him if you need a cook for the 212th!!
PS: Writing Anakin is hard, especially when he’s like this. Let me know what you think about his and Siri’s conversation!! Thanks for reading.
Chapter 5: Phantom Screams
Siri tries another approach and things get rather personal
Author’s note: Hello there my friends! I am still blown away by the support that this little story is receiving, thank you for all of your kudos and comments!! I had inspiration to write another chapter in this story, so for those reading “Another Path” do not worry, I promise I’ll have a new update soon!
This chapter might have a trigger warning, it has a non graphic depiction of rape. So, if you are triggered by that please read with caution. I’ll have more to say at the end of the chapter.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Her steps barely made a sound along the dark, durasteel floor as she continued her journey back towards the Officer’s quarters. She had stopped by the medbay to check in with Helix, the head medic for the 212th, she wanted to make sure that there was a bed available should she be able to actually change Obi-Wan’s mind. Not surprising, Helix said that he’d be ready with not only a bed, but also a bacta tank which according to his professional opinion would more than likely be needed. It was obvious that everyone was worried about General Kenobi.
Siri stopped just before rounding the corner to his room and leaned up against the wall, placing the back of her head on the cool metal. She closed her eyes for a moment, calling upon the Force to settle her nerves and center her focus. She had to remind herself that it would do him no favors if she let her own worry cloud her judgement, she needed to be the calm and collected one now - which was usually his role in their relationship so if she was being honest with herself she was struggling to maintain the facade.
She took three steadying breaths before rounding the corner and standing in front of his door. She glanced up at Cody who was once again standing guard, she figured after the Anakin incident he had decided to take up permanent residence until his General was safe.
She offered him a weak smile. “How’s he doing?”
“I heard the sonic turn on. That’s a good sign, right?” The dutiful Commander replied.
She nodded and placed a hand on his shoulder. They didn’t say another word and Cody moved so Siri could enter the dark room. She looked around and noticed that it appeared as if he had cleaned up, she found the contents of her med kit no longer spread across the bed and floor and instead the repacked kit was now sitting on the desk next to her satchel. Siri rolled her eyes, but felt a wave of relief at the knowledge that he had felt enough like himself to care about the cleanliness of his quarters.
She moved further into the room and went to prepare a kettle for tea. She knew the real way to Obi-Wan’s heart was through soothing hot beverage and luckily she and Anakin had made sure to stock the kitchen with both Sapphire and Jasmine tea, the first being Obi-Wan’s favorite and the second being Qui-Gon’s favorite and what Obi-Wan always drank when he wasn’t feeling well. There were few luxuries allowed on a warship, luckily tea was easy to pack and Obi-Wan had even been given a self heating/portable tea kettle as a name day gift from his men during the first year of the war.
Siri opened two Jasmine tea bags and placed them inside of a plain white mug (she knew he preferred his tea to be very strong). She then filled the kettle and plugged it in before going to check on her patient.
She placed her ear against the ‘freshner door and could hear the sound of the sonic shower. It was unusual for him to be taking such a long sonic, but she chalked it up to the fact that he hadn’t bathed in over two weeks. Still, she felt a small disturbance in the Force and gently knocked on the door.
“Hey, don’t use up all the Republic’s resources Kenobi!” She teased. He had often chided her about using too much water for a shower, it was a bit of a disagreement between them regarding the use of Republic resources during the war.
She waited for a response and when none came she felt her nerves begin to get the better of her. She knocked again. “Obi-Wan, is everything okay in there?”
She was met once again by silence.
“I know you value your privacy, but tough Shavit. I’m coming in!” She called through the door and then called upon the Force to open the lock. She stopped short when she saw him leaning over the sink, staring at his own reflection wearing nothing but a towel.
She noticed that his hair and beard still appeared to have blood and grime caked in it and he held a razor in his shaking hands. Siri took a small step forward, her hands outstretched as if to catch him. The way his body seemed to be shaking she assumed it was the sink holding him upright.
He glanced at her through the mirror, she could see the pain etched in his eyes. “It appears I some need help.”
“Well my dear, the first step is admitting it.” She couldn’t help the tease, but deep down she was incredibly relieved to hear him ask for assistance of any kind. “What do you need?”
“I need to wash the stench of that place off, but I can’t seem to…” he took a deep breath and dropped the razor into the sink. “I can’t seem to stop this,”
He held up his hands and she noticed the severe tremors. She had mentioned the finger tingling to Helix and he had warned her it could be a sign of nerve damage. She shielded her concern, now wasn’t the time to overwhelm Obi-Wan with her own fears.
“I also can’t seem to lift my arm very high.” His voice sounded defeated. “I can’t wash my hair, can you...Siri, can you please help me?”
“I don’t know, that’s an awfully big favor Kenobi…” Siri’s voice was light, but her eyes were glossy and full of sympathy. “I think you’re gonna have to owe me one.”
“If you’re going to make that big a deal of it I could just ask one of the men to help me.” He said with a roll of his eyes.
“Sure, but where’s the fun in that?” She called over her shoulder as she moved into the next room to turn off the now screeching tea kettle and grab a chair and a large cup. She placed the chair in front of the sink and pointed to it. “Sit. Facing the sink please. I don’t think your back would be able to lean against something right now.”
Obi-Wan nodded and straddled the chair, placing his bruised chest gently against the back and leaning his head over the sink. Siri turned on the water and reached out with the Force for the shampoo. There was the standard issue GAR soap, but she opted for a bottle she used for her own hair that she had smuggled into his shower the on one of her previous visits. It smelled of vanilla and lilacs, she knew for a fact it was one of his favorite scents (he always commented on it whenever she used it). She filled the cup and gently poured the warm water over his head, she watched as the thick auburn locks began to soak through and the water running down the drain turned a brownish red.
She then poured some of the shampoo into her palm and rubbed her hands together before moving them gently into his hair. He let out a soft sigh as the familiar and comforting scent reached his nostrils, and he leaned into her touch as she began to work up a lather while massaging his scalp.
There was something incredibly intimate about the moment, and it was not lost on Siri that Obi-Wan had obviously let go of whatever anxiety he had held after she inadvertently hurt his back. He was offering her his trust once again and that was incredibly important to her. She knew this was a huge step and hoped it was his first on the road to recovery.
As she continued to wash his longer than normal hair she came to a tangled clump, as she worked her fingers through it she felt him tense. “Sorry, just a loth-rat nest back here.”
He let out a soft chuckle. “It is times like this where I long for the terrible short Padawan cut. My hair has always been a bit difficult.”
“This is nothing, try having to help Quinlan wash tar out of his dreadlocks while in the field using only rain water.” Siri smiled as she relived the memory.
“Do I even want to know?”
“Do you ever want to know if it involves Quinlan?”
“Ha! Fair point.”
Siri couldn’t help the smile at hearing him joke around, she only hoped it wasn’t just an act for her benefit while he masked the real pain beneath the surface of his impressive shields.
She finished his hair, bringing him to sit upright as she ran a towel through his ginger locks, letting them fall haphazardly around his face. She then knelt down in front of him and took a warm washcloth and began to clean his face and beard.
Once again he leaned into her gentle touch, his storm colored eyes still full of pain and grief. She could once again feel the turmoil surrounding him through the Force, his usual light seemed distant and less vibrant.
“How is Anakin?” He asked after a moment.
Siri rinsed the cloth in the sink and then brought it back up to his face. “He’s worried about you.”
“He shouldn’t have to worry about his old Master and instead he should focus on his Padawan.” Obi-Wan closed his eyes tightly for a moment and Siri could feel the pain slip through a crack in his shields. “...and Ahsoka?” He asked through gritted teeth.
She did her best to calm her own concern for his well being. She knew she had to play this intelligently and not emotionally. “She’ll be okay.”
“She wasn’t…they didn’t...” his eyes suddenly snapped open, fear was evident in his voice.
“No, Anakin rescued her before anything happened.”
“Thank the Force,” some of the tension seemed to leave his shoulders as if a weight had been lifted. “What about Rex? Anakin said he went into cardiac arrest.”
“I’m not sure, I can check with Cody.” She turned to leave and felt him grip her arm.
“You do too much,”
“Are you speaking in a general sense or do you mean that I do too much for you?” She attempted to keep her tone light. “Because either way, you’re not wrong.”
“Why are you here Siri, your mission…your duty”
“We’ve already discussed this. My mission is completed, and right now my duty is to help my friend.” She answered quickly, her tone now serious. “You’re not getting rid of me that easily Kenobi so stop trying.”
It took him several moments to answer, but eventually he let out a soft and sincere “thank you”.
She took his still trembling hands in hers, rubbing her thumb over his knuckles. There was a misguided opinion that Obi-Wan Kenobi wasn’t a very tactile person, he was in fact someone who enjoyed physical touch, and even craved it. He was just very particular who he felt comfortable enough with to allow such physical gestures of affection. Siri was one of the few who made the cut, her touch in particular was one he leaned into heavily whenever she offered it. She was aware of this and wanted to use everything at her disposal to help him feel safe and cared for, she knew from experience that after two weeks of being treated like human garbage he needed this almost as much as he needed to visit medical.
She leaned up to place a soft kiss to his temple, it was then that she noticed the heat radiating from him. She felt a pang of fear spike within her own Force signature, but she clamped it down as quickly as she could. She reached up and placed the back of her hand against his heated forehead, there was no mistake that he had a fever. She knew time was running short and she’d need to get him to a healer soon.
Obi-Wan’s eyebrow quirked up as if reading her thoughts. “You promised.”
“I know,” she took a deep breath and released her anxiety in the Force. “But, that was prior to you running a fever. Maybe you’ll forgive me if I am having issues with said promise now.”
“Siri, you don’t have to stay if this is too much.” He said gently. “I would understand.”
“I’m not leaving you,” her voice was more forceful than she had meant it to be.
“You are too good to me my friend.” His voice was soft in response.
“That’s probably true,” she offered a tired smile.
She could hear his teeth chattering and there was a slight shivering through his entire body now. She raked a hand over her exhausted face and tried to think of something, hoping Anakin would have the data they needed soon.
“Okay, if you’re still refusing treatment then you need to be in bed at the very least.” She stood up and took a commanding tone. “Maybe you can give a healing trance another try.”
She tossed him a pair of sleep pants and gave him the privacy to slip them on. She then moved back to the kettle to finish making him a cup of tea. Obi-Wan slowly made his way out of the ‘freshner and sat down on the edge of his bed.
“I already tried,” he admitted. “I can’t find peace, or quiet my mind. Everytime I close my eyes I see them, I hear their screams.”
Siri poured the hot water into the mug and watched it steep, the familiar smell of Jasmine tea seemed to settle in the air. She handed him the mug and then sat on the floor across from him in a lotus position.
“It isn’t easy; to live with the phantom screaming.” She said softly, unable to look at him.
He tilted his head in concern.
“The pills aren’t for insomnia, or rather they are but it’s not my mind I have trouble quieting it’s the screams from past missions.” She explained. “One in particular.”
Obi-Wan was surprised that Siri was admitting to lingering feelings after a mission, she usually dealt with them head on and refused to speak about any possible trauma. It had been a concern of his for a while.
“What happened?” He dared to ask.
“If I tell you you’ll never look at me the same way.” Her voice was devoid of emotion.
“That is not possible Siri,”
Her jaw clenched and she swallowed before speaking, clearly trying to find a way to put her feelings into words. “It was during the Krayn mission, I was tasked to work my way up into his inner circle and as you can imagine that required some pretty horrific things done on my part. I have spent the better part of a decade releasing what I did and witnessed into the Force.” She closed her eyes tightly, unable to look at him.
He could feel her shields tighten in the Force, clearly she was being careful of what emotions she projected as she told the story and that only concerned him more. After another moment she cleared her throat.
“Krayn was testing me, all of us really. He had placed me in charge of a group of men to ransack a village and enslave the villagers…not dissimilar to the Togrutas.” She sighed. “I did my best to stop the men from killing or maiming the slaves, I also did all that I could to stop them from raping the women.”
Obi-Wan’s blood ran cold.
“But, Krayn saw this. He accused me of being a spy, which of course I was.” She inhaled three times before continuing. “He then threatened to kill all of the villagers, unless I chose a girl for him.” She pulled her legs up to her chest and wrapped her arms around them. “All I could hear was my Master telling me that the needs of the many were greater than the needs of one.”
“I knew if I didn’t give him what he wanted he would’ve killed them all, and probably would’ve raped all the women first, and then would’ve raped and killed me which would’ve meant my mission was a failure and more suffering would’ve endured throughout the galaxy by his hand.” She felt moisture collecting in the corners of her eyes. “I also knew if I just offered myself instead of one of the innocent girls that I would’ve blown my cover...I had no choice.”
“You did what you had to do,” Obi-Wan tried to reassure her, though he was having trouble coming to terms with it himself.
“Yeah, well...Krayn wasn’t satisfied with me just choosing the girl.” Her voice trembled. “I also had to hold her down while he had his way with her.”
Obi-Wan felt his breath hitch, he had thought he had his fill of horrific slavers over the course of the last two weeks, but apparently there was still room to be horrified.
“Thirteen years later I still wake up every night to the sounds of her screams inside my head.” The female Jedi kept her eyes down, her voice was thick with emotions that he wasn’t used to hearing from her.
“Siri, I’m...I’m so sorry.”
She shrugged. “It’s all part of the job,”
“It shouldn’t be.”
Her eyes suddenly snapped up to look at him, it was very uncharacteristic for the ever dutiful Obi-Wan Kenobi to question the Jedi’s role in the galaxy. A large part of her who had experienced too much suffering and done too many dark things in the name of good wanted to agree with him. But, she had also seen way too much good come about in large part to the actions of the Jedi and she couldn’t allow herself to question that.
“You’re right, it shouldn’t be.” She answered, standing up and moving towards the bed. “But it is part of the job, and though that moment and many others will forever haunt my dreams I know in my heart that I did all I could to save countless others like her.” She sat down next to him and sighed. “I have to make her sacrifice worth it and her screams are the burden I must bear as a reminder not to fail the next time. And now, you must do the same.”
He laid his head on her shoulder and released a long breath. “I struggle to see how I can make the sacrifice of 1,847 Togrutas worth anything.”
“It is true that they died needlessly, just like that girl was defiled needlessly…” She laid her head on top of his. “But, it is our actions that honor their sacrifices. We cannot wallow, and we cannot give up. They died and now their brothers and sisters will live as valued and free and safe citizens of the Republic, and that is worth everything.”
“You are far stronger than I am my dearest,”
She felt tears threatening to fall, she turned and placed a kiss on top of his feverish head. “And far smarter, more beautiful, the better swordsman…”
“Well now you’re just making stuff up.”
She chuckled fondly and felt his body tremble beneath her, causing her concern to spike again within the Force. “After that night I found new resolve for my mission, I was not going to allow Krayn to win and that is what you need to do now. You cannot let the Zygerrians defeat you, you have to go on.”
“This is where you try to convince me to see a medic.” He lifted his head and looked at her, the whites of his eyes suddenly spotted with patches of red.
“Siri, I’ve already made my feelings on this clear.”
“And I’m keeping my word, this will be your choice.” She sighed. “I am just hoping the sensible part of you will eventually kick in and will see reason.”
“...Siri” his voice was suddenly breathy and the tingling sensation had moved up his arms and had settled in his chest.
“If you are doing this because you feel this is a punishment you deserve I want you to realize that you are sharing this suffering with others.” She grabbed his face and forced him to look at her. “Anakin, Ahsoka, Rex, the Council, Cody...me. Just to name a few.”
His breathing suddenly became ragged, he seemed to struggle for breath. His vision began to swim and he struggled to remain conscious. “...Siri,”
Siri turned to look at him with another argument on the tip of her tongue. It was then that the Force screamed a warning and she watched him fall to the floor, his body convulsing. “Karabast! Obi-Wan! Oh Force, no no no...Obi-Wan!”
She knelt beside him in one swift movement, she was barely aware that Cody was also rushing to Obi-Wan’s side. They exchanged worried glances and the Clone Commander pulled out his comlink and called for a medical team.
Siri placed her hands over his chest and attempted to send healing energy through the Force. Her crystal blue eyes locked with his pain filled ones momentarily before he slipped into unconsciousness.
“Just hang on Obi-Wan, help is coming.” Her voice begged both him and the Force. “Just hang on, please.”
Author’s note: I know that was a tough chapter and a terrible cliff hanger to end on, my apologies friends!!
I have often thought about some of these undercover missions that the Jedi are sent on, in particular Siri’s mission to infiltrate Krayn’s operation and I just know she would’ve had to witness and do things that would haunt her as a Jedi. But also knowing her character I’d imagine she doesn’t talk about it much, even with Obi-Wan so this was a huge moment for her character, and also gives a little more insight to her concern about Ahsoka.
I hope you’re all still enjoying my take on this story-arc, please leave me a comment and let me know!!
PS: KP was my character, but I am fairly certain Helix is someone else's creation (I've seen him in several fics) so I am using him as the 212th's medic - hope that's okay by whoever created him.
Chapter 6: A watched comlink never rings
Emotions run high and everyone prays for Obi-Wan
I'm so sorry for the delayed update - trying to figure out how to fit fanfiction into working full time again! I might have to go back to only writing one story at a time...ha ha!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
She slowly opened her eyes and lifted her hand to look at the small comlink clutched between her fingers with a sigh. There is no waiting room on a Star Destroyer, the medbay is not meant to house grieving friends or family, it is made for efficiency. And so, because of this they were all instructed to wait elsewhere as the medics pushed Obi-Wan through a set of double durasteel doors.
Not one for following the rules of course Kenobi’s former apprentice argued with the clone medics, insisting his presence would be helpful to the healing of his old Master. But in the end he was denied access and Siri was forced to endure the wrath of Anakin Skywalker.
“What exactly happened?” He snapped at her.
She leaned against the wall, her arms wrapped around her body. “I told you, he collapsed. I’m not sure how many other ways I can say it...he passed out, fainted, crumbled to the floor,”
“This isn’t a joke!” He seethed.
“This is all your fault!” He screamed at her, not caring if the entire 212th battalion heard him. “I wanted him to go to medical two hours ago, but no, you insisted we wait...” He walked up to her and due to the height difference he peered down at her angrily. “If he dies his blood will be on your hands.”
She tried not to shy away from the dominating power that threatened to swallow her up in the Force, she began to feel the beginnings of a headache as he continued to project his anger and fear. She swallowed and her jaw tightened as she met his gaze.
“I thought we weren’t finding fault or placing blame.”
“I’m just giving you a mission debriefing…” he stood to his full height, backing away ever so slightly. “And you failed spectacularly.”
They had been given a brief rundown of Obi-Wan’s condition after that, saving her from potentially getting into a fist fight with Skywalker (she realized that she needed to deal with her own feelings of anger and fear).
“Initial scans look like he might’ve had a ischemic stroke due to vasospasms caused by low-voltage alternating electrical currents from the collar.” Helix told them, his voice eerily used to giving bad news. “We’re running an MRI on him now, we’ll know more soon.”
She rolled over and nuzzled her face into the pillow, she could still smell the faint but familiar musk of Obi-Wan and her stomach dropped. The MRI had shown that Helix’s guess was accurate and then some. Beyond the stroke he had also suffered from a peripheral nerve injury, all of which culminated into wreaking havoc on his central nervous system. Add on top of that the infection continued to raise his temperature and they were now worried about it becoming septic. And that didn’t even cover the possible skin graphing that might be needed for his back, though Helix had hoped that Bacta would take care of most of it, though he’d definitely have scars for the rest of his life.
Anakin had punched a wall at the diagnosis, Cody disappeared onto the bridge and Siri must’ve looked like she was going to pass out because the medic urged her to try to sleep. He had told them he was going to have Obi-Wan in surgery and it would take several hours, there was no point for them hanging out in the medbay.
Siri felt numb, but she went through the motions of cleaning up the spilled and broken tea cup that Obi-Wan had dropped. She then took a shower and crawled into bed to try to sleep, but she knew that wasn’t going to happen, and she refused to take her sleeping pill just in case she missed the call. So, she did her best to rest her body since she couldn’t rest her mind and her knuckles grew white as she clung to the comlink.
“Okay, this clearly isn’t working.” She spoke out loud to the empty room and swung her legs over the edge of the bed.
Normally in these instances she would’ve gone to the hanger or one of the training rooms to work out her emotions in a rigorous series of katas, but the colonists of Kiros took up every nook and cranny of the ship so she settled for another cup of caf in the mess.
It was late, or rather it was the middle of a sleep cycle so she knew that KP wouldn’t be there. She decided her penance for not getting Obi-Wan to see a medic earlier should include the awful caf served to the GAR. So she filled a mug, gathered as many packets of cream and sugar she could in hopes of covering at least some of the taste and sat down at one of the tables along the far wall.
Her leg restlessly bounced up and down as she applied the sweet elements to her steaming mug. She braced herself for the taste and yet her face still twisted up in a disgusted grimace at the dirt tasting liquid that apparently the Republic felt was good enough for their soldiers. She placed the mug down and leaned her elbows on the table, unconsciously nibbling at her fingernails, it was a nervous habit her Master had attempted to wean her off of. In that moment she felt she really wanted a cigarra to calm her nerves, but SOMEONE *cough, Kenobi, cough* had convinced her to quit.
Kriff, she was tired. She hadn’t really realized it until this moment just how physically, mentally and especially emotionally exhausted she was. Her own mission had been six weeks of hiking through a rain forest in search of a primitive dark side - Sith worshipping cult. The Jedi were truly leaving no stone unturned for their search for Sidious, however like most leads this had turned out to be nothing of significance and a waste of her time.
...time she could’ve used better by taking on this mission to Zygerria. And then maybe her best friend wouldn’t be lying on a surgical table.
She placed her face behind her hands and took a deep breath. ‘That sounds an awful lot like attachment thinking Tachi, pull yourself together.’
“Is this seat taken?” Came a small peep.
Siri opened her eyes and looked up to see Ahsoka standing across the table from her. “By all means,”
“Thanks,” the Padawan took a seat.
“Can I grab you a cup of...well, I wouldn’t call it caf.” Siri asked and Ahsoka chuckled.
“No, I’m good thanks.”
“Smart girl.” Siri shrugged and took another sip of her cup and made another disgusted face to Ahsoka’s amusement. “Couldn’t sleep.” it was not a question.
“It’ll get easier,” She finally had enough and pushed the mug away from her.
“Doesn’t seem to be any easier for you.” The young Togruta said quietly.
Siri eyed her carefully. “You know, it’s not really fair that you’re being trained by both Skywalker and Kenobi...you’re becoming too perceptive for your own good.”
“You evade questions like he does.” She folded her arms across her chest. “Like EXACTLY the way he does.”
“Your grandpa and I have clearly spent far too much time together.” She couldn’t help the slight curving of a smile.
Ahsoka giggled at her calling him grandpa, but then her face fell.
Siri’s smile immediately faded and she cleared her throat. “No, not yet. Helix said he’d com both me and your Master as soon as he has an update.”
They turned their attention to the small comlink sitting on the table between them. They sat in a silence that was not awkward, nor was it comfortable. Ahsoka finally couldn’t take it anymore and decided to say something.
“Are you okay?”
Siri looked up at the young woman with a raised eyebrow. “I’m fine,”
“Yup, evade questions EXACTLY the way he does.” She sighed.
“I appreciate the concern ‘soka, I really do, but I wasn’t the one on Zygerria or Kadavo.” Siri leaned back in her chair. “There are plenty of others who have suffered who could use your concern, I’m just not one of them.”
“I heard what Anakin said.”
Siri remained quiet, biting the inside of her cheek. She didn’t want to say something negative about this child’s Master.
“He can be a real tool when he’s angry and worried.” Ahsoka replied after a moment, taking Siri by surprise. “I love him, but...it’s not your fault, you know that right?”
“From a certain point of view Ahsoka it very much was my fault.” Siri did her best to keep her feelings in check. “And while your Master could’ve done a better job expressing his emotions, he wasn’t entirely wrong.”
“Nope, I refuse that answer.” She was met by another raised eyebrow from the older woman. “I’ve been hearing all day long people apologizing to me, saying how it was their fault. Master Plo is blaming himself for not fighting back with the Council more, Anakin keeps going on and on about how all of this was his plan so therefore his fault. Even Rex apologized to me saying it was his fault he couldn’t protect us!” She tried to calm her voice, but was now realizing all her pent up emotions were tumbling out with her words. “I bet that Master Kenobi has already filed a mission report saying the whole thing was his fault! And now you are blaming yourself and you weren’t even there! You tried to warn us that it was a bad idea! It can’t be everyone’s fault!”
Siri wanted to argue with the girl, explain how in fact from various perspectives it had been everyone’s fault. But, she understood what she was getting at and appreciated the sentiment. She reached out and took one of Ahsoka’s hands and gave it a squeeze.
“I’m so glad I’m not a Padawan right now.” Siri said after a moment, taking Ahsoka by surprise.
“I just don’t think I would’ve had the strength to grow up on a battlefield. You're so amazing to do it with such grace.” She answered, casually. “Well, maybe I could've handled it...I was a bit of a twat as a kid. It might’ve been good for me.”
“I couldn’t imagine you as an annoying Padawan.”
“Oh trust me Ahsoka, we would not have been friends. You would not have liked me much,” Siri answered with a small chuckle. “Honestly, until your Grand-master I didn’t really have any friends.”
“What was he like?” She asked, leaning her chin on her hands.
“He was a little shit,” she replied with a snort and Ahsoka covered her mouth to hide the startled laugh that broke the silence. “He and Quinlan Vos and Garen Muln used to play these terrible pranks on everyone that only they found funny.”
“Master Obi-Wan played pranks?”
“That can’t possibly be true.” A deep voice interrupted them and both women turned to see Anakin leaning against the doorframe. Siri and Anakin locked eyes and both apologized to one another with a simple look. “Obi-Wan is not cool enough to play pranks.”
“I never said the pranks were cool.” Siri answered, motioning him to come sit with them. “In fact I think the only really good one was against the Council, and Master Yoda was in on it.”
Ahsoka giggled and Anakin’s face was in disbelief. “What’d they do?”
“I wish I could remember,” Siri shook her head. “You’ll have to ask Quinlan, or Obi…” She suddenly looked away, her eyes downcast in sorrow.
Anakin reached out and held her hand. “We will ask him when he wakes up.”
Siri felt tears threatening to escape, but she stubbornly held them back. She placed her other hand on top of Anakin’s and then Ahsoka placed hers on top of both of theirs. They sat like that for several moments before they were interrupted by the ringing of their comlinks.
Anakin fumbled for his, but Siri was quicker. She pulled it out and spoke into it, hoping her voice didn’t sound too frantic. “Helix? What’s the good word? General Skywalker is here with me.”
“I think you all need to come down here, quickly.” The tired voice of the 212th’s chief medic replied. “I’m going to call for General Koon to join us as well.”
The three Jedi looked up at one another, all of their eyes reflecting concern. “We’ll be right there.”
"I have a bad feeling about this." Ahsoka said quietly.
Author’s note: Please excuse the shorter than normal chapter. This was a natural stopping point (I know, I’m evil) and the next chapter is going to be much longer so I wanted to give you all a tease!!
Thank you for all your comments, kudos and bookmarks!! It really helps me get through these crazy times to see such support of creative endeavors!
PS: I you are reading ANOTHER PATH I promise I will get a chapter out by the end of the week! I’ve just had crazy writer’s block with that story.
Chapter 7: Weird Force Osik
Sometimes the Force is very protective of her children.
Author’s note: Hello friends thank you so much for your continued support of this story!! I’m sorry for leaving it again on such an evil cliffhanger. This story has gone in a bit of a different direction than I had originally planned (just can’t say no to my Muse) so things are going to get a little odd thanks to the Force.
Osik is Mando’a for Shit
/ / = memories
I only re-read this chapter once, I was super busy but I really wanted to get this chapter out to you guys - forgive any grammar issues!!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“So he didn’t have a stroke?” Ahsoka asked when none of the adults would. “That’s good news right...right?”
Plo Koon placed a clawed hand on her shoulder to remind her to have patience and to allow the medic to explain. Siri was leaning against the wall with her arms folded while Anakin wore a hole in the floor pacing.
“What you’re telling us is the MRI was wrong.” Anakin huffed, his exhaustion evident.
“Except he DID have a stroke,” Helix tried to explain, though he was just as confused as they were. “But when we went in for the thrombectomy there was no sign of the blood clot, it was as if it had disappeared on it’s own. And so far initial scans are not showing any lasting brain damage.”
“And what’s the horrible catch to all of this Helix?” Siri did everything she could to keep her voice calm, there was something she could feel within the Force and she didn’t like it.
The clone medic sighed. “He is unresponsive, his brain activity is through the roof if anything it might be too active, but he will not respond to any outside stimulants.”
“Why won’t he wake up Helix?” Anakin seethed.
“I was hoping you all could give me a clue, I figured it was some kind of weird Force osik.” The worn out medic exclaimed then seemed to notice the Council member in the room. “Sorry General, I meant no disrespect.”
“None taken, it could very well be some weird Force shit.” Plo answered, folding his arms across his chest. “May we see him?”
Helix reluctantly nodded. “Be prepared, it might look physically worse than it is. We’re still draining the infected wound and a medical droid has begun removing some of the damaged layers of skin to prepare him for bacta submerging.”
“Ahsoka, maybe you should wait out here.” Anakin said, his voice holding a slight tremble.
The young Togruta shook her head. “No way, he needs to know I’m here.”
The four Jedi nodded and Ahsoka quickly attached herself to Anakin’s arm, Siri wasn’t sure who was the one offering the support, but she realized it probably didn’t much matter. They were led into a small operating room where they found a surgical hover gurney in the center. Beneath the bright light the figure of Obi-Wan was seen lying face down. His arms were placed on smaller hover tables on either side of him and his face was turned away from them. His lower half was covered in a thin blue sheet, but his upper back was exposed as a medical droid carefully using a laser to remove layers of damaged skin.
Ahsoka’s breath hitched and she clung to Anakin tighter.
Wires and tubes and sensors were everywhere, including a thin clear tube that ran beneath several layers of gauze and seemed to be pulling out a thick yellowish liquid. Siri couldn’t focus on Helix’s voice as he went over what the various other wires and tubes were for, most were monitoring his heart and brain functions. While IV’s fed him fluids and a strong antibiotic, not to mention pain medication.
The sight was disturbing, but the feeling within the Force was eerily calm. Siri and Plo exchanged glances as they moved closer to the wounded Jedi Master. It was then that they all simultaneously felt an invisible barrier come between them and Obi-Wan, they were unable to move any closer.
“What is happening?” Ahsoka asked.
Plo Koon closed his eyes behind his goggles and tried to find answers within the Force. “I’m not certain, I have never felt anything like this.”
“It doesn’t feel malicious,” Siri commented.
“It feels like mental shields.” Anakin said as he attempted to take another step closer only to be stopped in his tracks.
“It’s like the Force is wrapping itself around him,” Ahsoka exclaimed. “Is that even possible?”
“Hmmmm,” Plo mumbled something beneath his breath and turned to leave the room.
The other three Jedi exchanged worried glances and quickly followed after the Kel Dor Master. They caught up with him in the hallway just outside the medbay as he finished up a voice message.
“There have been some developments that I would like your advice on, please contact me as soon as you receive this message Master Yoda.” He hesitated for a moment before placing the comlink back into the pouch on his belt.
“Master Plo, do you know what is happening?” Ahsoka asked, her blue eyes wide with concern.
“No little ‘Soka I do not, merely a guess of what it could be.” The Council member answered.
“That’s better than nothing, what is happening to Obi-Wan?” Anakin placed his hands on Ahsoka’s shoulders.
“We believe it to be a vergence in the Force.”
“What does that mean, a vergence?” Ahsoka asked.
“A vergence in the Force is usually a concentration of the Force, but it’s not typically located around a person.” Anakin answered, ignoring old memories that sprung to mind when he overheard someone say that about himself when he first came to the Jedi.
“The best way I can describe what we think is happening is the Force is creating a protective barrier, almost like a cocoon around our friend.” Plo answered.
“Wait, when you said “we” you mean the Council? Has this happened before?” Siri folded her arms across her chest.
The Kel Dor nodded solemnly. “Phindar,”
“I thought his river stone saved him on Phindar,” Siri unfolded her arms, clearly disturbed.
“I’m sorry, Phindar? Can someone please clue us in?” Anakin interrupted and pointed to himself and Ahsoka. “What’s a Phindar?”
“Phindar is a planet that your Master was sent to in one of his earliest missions.” Plo Koon explained. “He and Qui-Gon were separated and he was captured.”
Anakin rolled his eyes. “Glad to see some things never change.”
“They had found a way to manipulate a droid mind wipe procedure to work on sentient beings.” Siri filled in, her tone of voice more serious than Anakin was used to hearing from her. “It erased all memories and then the victims were set free on a dangerous planet left to die.”
“Kriff,” Anakin said under his breath.
“Obi-Wan was subjected to the memory wipe.” Plo helped Siri fill in the blanks.
“Kriff,” Anakin said again, with more anger in his voice.
“It was also his thirteenth birthday.” Siri added.
“Seriously, what the kriff?!” Anakin nearly yelled.
“But, Master Qui-Gon got to him in time?” Ahsoka asked, her voice hopeful.
“No, Qui-Gon didn’t find him in time.” Plo said quietly. “He went through the procedure, but he was able to overcome the effects.”
“He said it was all thanks to a Force sensitive river stone that Qui-Gon had given him.” Siri added “But, it sounds like the Council has a different theory.”
Anakin found himself reaching into his inner tunic pocket to feel the same stone resting against his heart. “I am familiar with the river stone, it is Force sensitive...couldn’t it have helped him?”
The Jedi Master sat down on a bench just outside of the medbay. “It is possible as all things are possible in the Force.”
“But, Obi-Wan is incredibly strong with the Unifying Force and some on the Council believe he could’ve tapped into the cosmic energy to create a shield around himself. It would be as if the Force itself is protecting him.”
“Is there any record of that happening in the history of the Order?” Siri asked, unsure if she believed it.
“Nothing we have been able to find so far.” Plo answered with a rasp of his mask. “But he also found a way early on to guard himself from those visions of his when even the Mind-Healers couldn’t help.”
“Wait, Master Obi-Wan doesn’t get visions.” Anakin argued.
“As someone who slept in the same creche I can attest that he definitely used to suffer from visions. He’d wake us all up, it was awful.” Siri quietly replied.
“But, he used to always tell me that dreams pass in time.” Anakin wasn’t sure what to think, he was seeing such a different side to the man that had raised him.
“That’s Qui-Gon talking,” Siri sighed. “He never understood Obi-Wan’s visions. But, in his defense they were extremely volatile and caused a lot of damage, perhaps downplaying them in Obi-Wan’s mind helped.”
“I had no idea,” Anakin was flabbergasted, he once again felt back about screaming at his Master for not understanding something he was going through. He wondered why Obi-Wan kept these experiences from him.
“They had long been under control by the time he took you on,” Plo replied in a kind voice.
“Though visions of Naboo lingered for a long while.” Siri chimed in.
“He’d have visions of the past too?” Ahsoka asked.
“Time doesn’t exist in the Unifying Force, and unfortunately makes it nearly impossible to decipher when in the middle of a vivid vision.” Master Koon explained. “That is why finding an anchor in the Living Force is so important to those few Jedi who specialize in the Unifying.”
“Hence his apprenticeship to Qui-Gon.”
“But, I guess I don’t understand why the Force would be trying to protect him now. He’s home and he’s safe.” Anakin felt frustration bubble over and mix with his worry.
“That is the puzzle young Skywalker. Why now?” Plo responded.
‘Every time I close my eyes I hear their screams’
Siri felt her breath catch as the memory made itself known. She closed her eyes tightly and tried to release her anxiety into the Force. “Because he’s having visions again.”
“Are you certain?” Plo asked, concern evident in the echo of his voice.
Siri nodded slowly. “He told me, right before he lost consciousness. It had been so long since the last time he had these visions, Zoogala, I think. I didn’t even consider...this is my fault.”
“No!” Plo said with more force than necessary causing the other three Jedi to jump. “This is no one’s fault.”
“Except the Zygerrians,” Anakin seethed. “And Dooku.”
The other Jedi didn’t argue Anakin’s statement, they were all too tired to even try. Ahsoka came up next to Siri and silently wrapped an arm around the older woman’s waist. In response Siri wrapped an arm around the Padawan and offered her shoulder a squeeze as a non verbal thank you.
Jedi Master Plo Koon took a moment and looked at the three younger Jedi. He marveled at their strength, he knew the demands each of them were facing on a daily basis and he was always left in awe of the resilience of youth.
“Obi-Wan is stable, that much is certain.” He finally said. “Helix confirmed it.”
“Except for the tiny detail that he won’t wake up.” Anakin argued.
“I need to consult with the Council and probably Master Che to discover our next course of action.” The Kel Dor Master put up his hand to stop any further debate. “I suggest you all rest or meditate. Something tells me it is going to take all of our strength to reach our dear friend.”
The three younger Jedi bowed in acknowledgment of the Master’s wisdom, and watched him retreat to do his research. Siri then looked towards Anakin and then finally Ahsoka.
“I don’t know about either of you, but I’m definitely not going to be able to sleep.” She said.
“Do you think it’d be alright if we stayed with him?” Ahsoka asked, her voice cracking. “I don’t want him to wake up alone.”
Siri offered a warm yet sad smile. “He’s not alone, he literally has the Force.”
“Come on,” Anakin rolled his eyes and motioned them back towards Obi-Wan’s room.
They found that the medical droids had finished their work, and the infected wound had been properly drained and his back was now covered in bacta soaked bandages. Helix had told them he didn’t want to risk submersion without him responding so they would wait. So the three Jedi settled in on the floor as close as the Force would allow and sat in silence. The beeping of Obi-Wan’s heart monitor and the breathing apparatus creating an unsettling white noise.
“When you guys were in the creche, how did they calm him down from these visions?” Ahsoka finally asked, causing Siri to come out of her light meditation.
“Honestly Ahsoka I barely remember. They moved him out of our dorms when I was about five or six because they were so loud that he kept all the other children up.” She answered to a devastated pair of Obi-Wan’s padawans. “He actually slept in the Halls of Healing for about a year, they didn’t know what else to do with him.”
“No wonder he hates the Halls.” Anakin sighed.
“Tip of the floating iceberg my friend.” She retorted with an affectionate chuckle. “You know there was something I remember, Bant used to sing him a particular song when he had visions. It didn’t always pull him out, but it usually calmed him down.”
“Do you remember it?” Ahsoka asked.
Siri racked her brain trying to recall the memory, she had been so young and frankly Obi-Wan’s visions scared her. She suddenly had the fleeting thought to call Bant, but then remembered that they had lost her to the war a few months prior. She and Obi-Wan had shared a bottle of Mon Cala Sake in her honor.
She pushed back the grief and closed her eyes. In her mind she could see the dark dorm with it’s rows of bunks. She and Bant were two years younger than Obi-Wan and the rest of their friends, but whenever Kenobi was in the fit of a dream Bant would paddle over to his bed and hold his hand and begin to sing.
/ “Hush now, my Storeen
Close your eyes and sleep
Waltzing the waves
Diving the deep
Stars are shining bright
The wind is on the rise
Whispering words of long lost lullabies”/
Siri found herself lost in the memory, speaking to Anakin and Ahsoka as she began to hum the tune. “She said it was a lullaby from her home world, she was never a very good singer but that didn’t matter…”
/ “Oh, won't you come with me?
And in the morning sun
We'll be sailing
Oh, won't you come with me?
Where the ocean meets the sky
And as the clouds roll by
We'll sing the song of the sea”/
She then remembered a time when the entire dorm softly hummed along to Bant’s song, unknowingly pushing love and support into the Force for their age mate. Siri felt a tear threatening to escape as she thought back to that night.
/ “I had a dream last night
And heard the sweetest sound
I saw a great white light and dancers in the round
Castles in the sand
Cradles in the trees
Don't cry, I'll see you by and by”/
Her humming grew a little louder, as she did her best to remember the lyrics. Ahsoka leaned against Anakin who found himself thinking back to memories of his mother singing lullabies to him. She finally remembered enough to sing the final chorus.
“Oh, won't you come with me?
Where the ocean meets the sky
And as the clouds roll by
We'll sing the song of the sea”
She inhaled deeply and exhaled, thanking the Force for the memory and letting the emotions go. She reached up and wiped away the stray tear before offering a small smile to her fellow Jedi. It was then that she noticed their attention was fully focused on the bed behind her. Siri turned to look and saw Obi-Wan moving his fingers.
“Someone get Master Plo, and Helix.” Siri said cautiously as she rose to her feet. “Tell them we got through.”
Author’s note: The song is Song of the Sea (Lullaby) by Nolwenn Leroy...I felt like Bant would know a lullaby about the ocean and this was very sweet.
I know these chapters have been a bit shorter, but hopefully that means they’ll be posted a little faster!! Thank you again for all of your comments, they really keep me going!
Let me know what you think of this new direction!
Chapter 8: Protector of the Guardian
A plan to help Obi-Wan is hatched and some discoveries are made.
Author’s Note: Thank you so much for all the comments on the previous chapter! I was blown away by the response!!! I will reply, I just as you know have been busy and felt working on a new chapter would probably be more appreciated, but just know how much your comments mean to me!!
Okay, Hopefully my muse knows what she’s doing. Here ya go!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Sometimes with extreme cases of trauma the mind will do many amazing things in order to cope.” The hologram image of Dr. Vokara Che explained. “As seen in Dissociative Identity Disorder the primary identity will often hide itself or the other personalities might even protect it from the trauma.”
“So you’re saying the Force is acting like a split personality for Obi-Wan?” Anakin asked, desperately trying to understand.
Vokara sighed, her eyes offering sympathy. “The Force is as much a part of us as any of the rest of what gives us life. Jedi have different connections with the Force and it’s possible that Master Kenobi has tapped into a whole new way to use the Force.”
“Knowing him he accidentally stepped in it without even knowing.” Siri chimed in, her comment getting a snort from the Healer that seemed to say she agreed with Siri’s hypothesis. “So what can we do?”
“Typically with a patient who has retreated into their mind we use the Force to enter their mind and assist them in rebuilding their mental shields or pull them back out.” Che explained. “Or if it is more closely related to Dissociative Identity Disorder then usually we speak with the other personalities and attempt to get their help in bringing back the primary identity. The issue here is this is unprecient and I’m not one hundred percent certain the best course of action.”
“There is also the other complication that it appears that the Force is blocking us from getting close to him.” Plo Koon reminded them.
“If you bring him here I can rally the Mind Healers and we can attempt to break through.” Che responded.
“I don’t think he has that kind of time Master.” Anakin replied. “He needs to be placed in bacta like yesterday.”
“Before he had the stroke he was refusing to go to the Medbay until he knew that the Togruta Colonists had all been treated.” Siri said quietly, her guilt rising in the pit of her stomach. “He was adamant about it. Could it be possible that this triggered the...Force cocoon?”
The Twi’lek contemplated this for a moment. “It’s very possible. His body was requiring him to see a healer and his mind just wouldn’t have it.” She sighed. “That sounds like Kenobi.”
“What about the visions, do those play a factor?” Ahsoka asked.
“Strong prophet young Obi-Wan has always been.” Yoda chimed in. “Lost in his visions he could be.”
Siri raked a hand over her sleep deprived eyes. “But, the million-credit question is what do we do about it now?”
The six Jedi sat in a collective silence for a moment, not sure what the answer to that particular question is. Finally Yoda spoke.
“Bonds between Obi-Wan and another could be strong enough to push through the shield. Require an outside anchor in the Force it would.”
“What do you think Master Che?” Plo Koon asked, finally feeling a small measure of hope.
“I think it is a dangerous proposition. Untrained in mind healing could cause damage for not only the patient, but those attempting to enter.” The Healer answered, her Lekku twitching almost nervously. “But, the stronger the bond the better chance. And I’m afraid it might be our only option.”
“I will do it.” Anakin exclaimed, assuredly. “We never really had time to sever our training bond,”
Anakin was prepared to defend his bond with Obi-Wan and ignore the looks he expected from the two Council Members, but they never came. Instead the two Masters nodded in agreement.
“There is strength in numbers,” Vokara said. “I’d feel more comfortable if someone went with you Skywalker.”
“Hey, it’s me.” Anakin smiled. “The Chosen One, remember? I got this.”
“Okay Mr. Chosen One, maybe you could just ask the Force to let Master Kenobi go if you’re so strong.” Ahsoka teased, though it was easy to pick up the underlying fear of losing both her Masters.
“What if Master Koon goes?” Siri exclaimed, “He has a Council bond with Obi-Wan.”
“Not as strong as a training bond since it’s shared, but it could work.” Vokara answered.
Plo raised an eyebrow at Siri as she continued. “And Ahsoka and I will act as anchors.”
“Okay, I suggest all of you do what you can to cast out any anxiety and to get some rest. Though this is within the mind it is actually very physically taxing.” Vokara warned. “We reconvene in an hour.”
The hologram faded and the four Jedi glanced at one another for a moment before silently going their separate ways. Siri headed back towards Obi-Wan’s quarters, but was stopped by a deep and raspy voice calling out to her.
She stopped in the hallway, just in front of a large window. Her eyes wandered around the stars as she awaited the inevitable conversation she was desperately hoping to avoid.
“I’m surprised you volunteered to be the anchor.” Plo stated as he caught up with her.
“I think it’s the most logical position for me.” She answered, doing everything in her power to keep her voice even.
Her crystal blue eyes finally looked up at him. “What do you want me to say Uncle Plo?”
“It’s not about what I want my dear,” The Kel Dor answered softly. “It’s about the fact that you are by far the more appropriate choice to travel with Anakin.”
She returned her gaze towards the vastness of space out the window. “We severed our pair bond years ago. There isn’t much I can do.”
Plo Koon leaned back against the window and folded his arms across his broad chest. “Siri, you have one of the best Sabacc faces in the Order, that’s why you succeed at what you do. But, even you can’t hide the fear I sense in you over this.”
The silence seemed to drag on for eternity before Siri finally spoke.
“It was never supposed to go this far.” She let out a shuddering breath and leaned her head against the cool glass. “It was just a bit of comfort and stress relief.”
“When did you become aware of a bond?” Plo gently asked.
“You nearly died on Sullist, I remember he sat by your bacta tank quite diligently.” The Council Member nodded.
“Though it really wasn’t much of anything until after he came back from Mortis.” She said as she lifted her head from the glass and turned to mirror Plo’s posture.
“He told you about Mortis?”
She shrugged. “He tells me pretty much everything. And vice versa”
“Hence the bond.” Plo nodded.
“He can’t be held responsible for this, please Uncle Plo.” Her eyes were large in their determination and reminded him of the young girl he’d watch grow up. “If he’s removed from the Council or…No, expel me if you must expel one of us.”
“Siri,” Plo held up a clawed hand to stop her from continuing. “Force Bonds don’t automatically equal attachments. They are an indicator sure, and something to be careful of going in a possessive direction. But they are not something to be feared.”
“But, we were told when we were younger to sever our pair bond…”
“A pair bond is oftentimes inherently possessive.” Plo explained. “Tell me, what you feel now does that feel the same as your old pair bond?”
“No, with the pair bond I was hyper aware of it. It was oftentimes louder than my own thoughts.” She answered. “But this is so very different. It is always there, but it isn’t overwhelming. I can just always feel his light in the back of my mind.”
“You’ve heard of a dyad in the Force, right?” Plo asked.
“That is definitely not us,” Siri was quick to reply.
Plo chuckled. “No, of course. I bring it up to simply point out that there are different types of bonds. There are those created by Force users and then there are bonds created by the Force itself. A dyad is just one of those, my guess what you have is another.”
“You seriously believe the Force would want us bonded?” She scoffed. “Can you tell the rest of the Council that?”
“The Force clearly has special plans for Obi-Wan.” Plo motioned to the Medbay doors.
“Then why does it feel like the Force is extra cruel to him?” Siri asked, her voice hitched.
“I’m not sure.” Plo admitted. “Preparing him perhaps?”
“I don’t even want to think about what he’s being prepared for if everything he’s endured up to this point is just a precursor.” Siri shuddered.
“And maybe that’s why the Force has bonded you to him.” Plo placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. “If we are to believe in prophecy then Obi-Wan is the Guardian of the Chosen One, perhaps you are the Protector of the Guardian.”
Siri thought about this for a moment, so much was happening way too fast for her exhausted mind to fully process. “And none of this screams ‘attachment’? I mean, I did fly here as soon as my mission ended to check on him.”
Plo’s mask moved and Siri was certain he was smiling. “Look how long it took to finally get you to admit that.”
“I’m serious Uncle Plo.” Siri rolled her eyes.
“Tell me, did you cut your mission short to rush to his aid?” He asked and she shook her head. “An attachment would’ve had you abandon your mission to take over this one for him. It was obvious you desired to do so and yet you still refrained. You were prepared to let him go if it came down to it. Love, compassion, friendship, a desire to heal are not the markings of an attachment. And Obi-Wan was not the only one you showed those attributes towards after you arrived.”
She looked back towards the medbay, her eyes still unsure and then finally nodded.
“Good,” The Kel Dor let out a sigh of relief. “Because I highly doubt Obi-Wan would’ve been pleased to have me inside his mind.”
Siri offered a sad chuckle. “He won’t be happy anyone was in there, but you do have a point.”
“Tell me, were you always this stubborn or was it something you learned from your Master?” Plo asked, hoping to lighten the mood.
“She actually learned how to be stubborn from me.” Siri replied, fondly.
Plo saw the exhaustion in her eyes and the concern on her face, he enveloped her in a hug. Siri was taken by surprise, she hadn’t been hugged by Plo Koon...well anyone besides Obi-Wan in years. She finally released her anxieties and melted into the embrace, wrapping her arms around his shoulders.
“Now go and do what the Force has chosen you for.” Plo held her at arm's length. “Go and protect our Guardian.”
Author’s note: Sorry about another shorter chapter, but this one is a bit of a transition before we get into more weird Force Osik. The mention of Sullist is a reference to a future story of mine - I try to keep all of my stories in the same universe (unless it’s an AU) so be on the look out for that in the next few months!
Thanks again for sticking around for this story!! Stay safe out there my friends!!!
Chapter 9: A Defining Moment
Anakin and Siri try to bring Obi-Wan back from the depths of his mind. The Force will not let him go that easily.
Author’s Note: Alright my friends, let’s see what my Muse has in store for us - more weird Force Osik!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It felt like floating in warm water, that was the best way both Siri and Anakin could describe the sensation as they drifted into the Force and traveled along their respective Force Bonds into the depths of Obi-Wan’s subconscious.
Plo Koon and Ahsoka knelt next to them in the physical realm, keeping them anchored to their bodies with the aid of the Force. They had been warned of the dangers of their mission, they could only stay under for one standard hour before they could risk getting lost themselves, Yoda described it as drowning. The problem was that if Obi-Wan was indeed trapped inside a vision it would be difficult to discern time and they would have to trust their anchors to pull them out before it was too late.
“I have no idea what you could be facing once you are in there.” Vokara Che’s voice was laced with concern. “If the Force is shielding him in the physical realm, it could be even more protective inside his mind.”
They slipped into a deep meditative trance and a blinding white light engulfed them as they passed from their side of the bond to the other, leaving them feeling disoriented. Siri pried open her eyes and found herself laying face down on concrete, she could hear the sounds of blaster fire and explosions in the distance and the smell of smoke and death assaulted her nostrils. She slowly rose to a sitting position, trying to center herself and ward off the dizzy feeling.
She looked to her left and saw that Anakin was doing something similar, he was holding his head with his mech arm. The two Jedi eventually rose to their feet, finally able to take in their surroundings.
The sky was a deep blood red with streaks of dark clouds peppering the horizon. There was no sun yet everything was bright as midday. Siri turned to see a standard Jedi transport sitting just to her right, though she realized it was over a decade old...maybe even older.
“We’re on some kind of landing pad,” she heard Anakin say. “I don’t recognize the planet, do you?”
She turned her head towards the looming city that the landing pad was attached to. She could see buildings collapsing with holes in the walls that could’ve only been created by bombs. Given the extent of the damage it was clear that this battle had been going on for a very long time. “I don’t recognize it, but it definitely is a battlefield.”
“I see some troopers,” Anakin pointed towards a group of white armored clad soldiers. “Maybe they can lead us to him.”
“It’s at least a start.” Siri nodded and they raced towards the battalion.
As they drew closer they realized that something was off about this particular set of troopers. Anakin seemed to notice it first, and stopped dead in his tracks. “Somethings not right, I don’t recognize this battle at all.”
Siri stopped when she realized Skywalker wasn’t keeping up, she looked back at him with a shrug and then took a closer look at the Clone Troopers. It was then that she realized just how small they were, her breath caught in her throat.
“Is that...is that a kid?” Anakin asked as he watched a child remove the familiar GAR helmet.
His head snapped in her direction. “What do you mean ‘oh no’?”
“It’s Melida/Daan,” she answered, her voice had gone quiet.
“I’ve never heard of that system, I guess I wasn’t there for that battle.” Anakin found he couldn’t take his eyes off the child clone trooper.
“No, you wouldn’t have been with him here. You weren’t born yet.” She suddenly looked up at him. “Anakin, we’re going to see things that we were never meant to see. Things he wouldn’t want anyone to see. We need to tread very carefully.”
“Siri, what’s Melida/Daan?” Anakin’s voice had an edge to it.
She turned back towards the transport. “A defining moment.”
Anakin was about to demand a straightforward answer, to remind her that they didn’t have time for cryptic responses when he saw a large silhouette coming down the ramp of the ship. “Hey! It’s Master Qui-Gon.”
“Anakin, wait.” Siri grabbed his arm, halting him from running up to the older Jedi Master.
The specter didn’t seem to notice them and was instead pacing in front of the ship until a scrawny young boy raced up to him in a panic. The pre-teen was short for his age with recognizable copper hair cut in a standard Padawan style. He looked up at the Jedi Master, attempting to catch his breath. Siri and Anakin crept forward, listening.
"No, Padawan. I will not make your betrayal easy for you. If you try to take this step, know what a hard one it is." The Master said, eyes full of hurt and concern.
Anakin stopped short as both the Master and Padawan drew their lightsabers as if they were going to fight one another. After an agonizingly tense moment where neither moved, they just stared at one another with looks of anguish Qui-Gon finally spoke.
"You must choose, Obi-Wan," Qui-Gon told him quietly. "You can go with me now, or stay. Know that if you stay, you are no longer a Jedi."
Anakin shook his head, ready to jump in and break them up, Siri tightened her grip on his forearm to keep him still.
I have found something here more important than the Jedi code,” Obi-Wan said slowly. "Something not only worth fighting for, but worth dying for." Obi-Wan handed his lightsaber to Qui-Gon. "You may go, Qui-Gon Jinn. But I will stay."
They watched as a stunned Jedi Master looked down at the determined and resolved face of his apprentice. The hurt was evident on Qui-Gon’s features and though Obi-Wan’s back was to them both Siri and Anakin knew him well enough to notice the slump in his shoulders. It was clear that the boy was trying to stay brave as he watched his dreams of becoming a Jedi walk up the ramp with Qui-Gon Jinn. After a moment the ship rose into the air and the boy crumbled to his knees.
“He just left…” Anakin’s voice nearly trembled in anger.
“Are you talking about Qui-Gon or Obi-Wan?” Siri asked, slowly moving towards the child on the landing pad.
“Both, I guess.” Anakin answered and turned to follow her. “Seriously, what the kriff? Was any part of his childhood pleasant?”
Siri turned back to look at the distraught knight. “Of course it was, you’re only being exposed to the most traumatic moments. I doubt very much that we’ll get to see visions of him laughing so hard at something Quinlan said that nerf milk came out his nose, or all the late night conversations with friends, or all the times Master Jinn took care of him when he was sick.” She sighed. “I know all of this is coming at you all at once, but we can’t lose focus, we don’t have much time.”
“I just don’t like seeing him hurt like this.” Anakin’s voice grew protective, gesturing to the small bundle on the landing pad.
“You think I enjoy it? But this is why we’re here. We can’t change what happened in his past, but he needs us right now. So I need you to reserve all of your questions till we can get him out of here and I promise we’ll have a stiff drink and I’ll answer any questions I can.” She reached out and squeezed his bicep, looking him in the eyes.
He nodded and squared his shoulders in determination. She then turned away from Anakin and she cautiously approached the young boy.
Thirteen year old Obi-Wan Kenobi did his best to compose himself, he sniffed and then wiped his watery eyes with his sleeve. Siri gently lowered to her knees in front of him, she couldn’t believe how her own childhood came rushing back to her as soon as those large eyes and that slightly round face looked up at her.
A wave of guilt hit here when she remembered how she had accused him of placing a cloud of mistrust in all Padawans because of his actions on Melida/Daan. Not for the first time Siri cursed her younger self for her lack of empathy and ability to see the big picture. She shook her head and pulled her thoughts back to the present moment, knowing she’d have to meditate on all of this later.
“Hey you,” she resorted to their shared greeting, unsure if this version of Obi-Wan was really himself or just a vision.
The boy looked up at her, and tilted his head. “Siri, Siri Tachi?”
“Yea Obi-Wan, it’s me.” She offered a warm smile.
“When did you get so big?” He asked, confusion in his eyes. “Wow, you’re going to beat everyone this year at the tournament.”
She couldn’t help the chuckle. “To be fair, I would have anyways even without the height difference.”
“It’s wrong of me to say that I wish I could see the look on Bruck’s face when you knock him on his ass.” A mischievous smirk appeared on his face, though his eyes were still grief stricken.
“You want to know a secret? I’d like to see that too.” Siri whispered and the boy offered a sad but amused snort in response.
Anakin cleared his throat and caused both the other Jedi to look at him. Obi-Wan’s gaze was curious and piercing. Siri looked up at Anakin and then back at Obi-Wan.
“Anakin Skywalker, meet Obi-Wan Kenobi.” She exclaimed gently as Anakin knelt next to her.
As the two reached out for one another their surroundings flickered and seemed to change from the desomated landing pad to the cargo hold of a luxurious starship, they both glanced back at Obi-Wan who seemed to have aged ten years in the span of a few seconds. Anakin’s heart constricted in his chest as a memory surfaced.
“Hello there,” The crisp, Core accent spoke.
“Obi-Wan,” Anakin released the breath he didn’t know he was holding. “We’re here to help you, to bring you home.”
The scene quickly changed again, the starship fading back to the dilapidated capital city of Melida/Daan and the hand holding Anakin’s became so very small. Two haunted blue/grey eyes looked up at Anakin and shook his head.
“I can’t leave, not when they need me.” He pulled his hand from Anakin’s grip and jumped to his feet.
“Obi-Wan,” Siri reached out and held his tiny shoulders, she found the sensation odd considering he had been bigger than her at this age. “You can help them best as a Jedi, come back with us.”
The child shook his head. “I’m not enough, being a Jedi is not enough. They suffered because I am a Jedi.”
As if on queue, screams erupted from the city and carried along the wind towards them. They sounded distinctly like children, it was raw and terrible and deafening. The power behind the suffering would have brought Siri and Anakin to their knees if they hadn’t already been there. Images of children being gunned down in the streets surrounded them, and they were powerless to stop the slaughter. The voices and images then shifted to a group of malnourished Togrutas deep within a mining facility, anguished cries over the sound of cracking whips and hurtful words were spat in their direction.
“Get away! Jedi only makes things worse!”
The voices and surroundings changed again, this time to the great halls of the Jedi temple. Only the structure seemed to be crumbling and flames seemed to kiss the pillars. Screams of both adults and children pierced the air as the sounds of blaster fire and lightsabers echoed down the hall. Anakin and Siri found themselves holding their hands over their ears at the sheer volume of the screams. All at once they were then engulfed in sand, a desolate landscape stretched on as far as the eye could see. Then they spotted a silhouette of a young man racing towards a speeder.
“That would’ve led them...home.” The young man’s voice was laced with fear.
“Wait, it’s too dangerous!” a familiar voice called after him.
The color of the sand shifted just slightly to a darker tone, a small girl was being held by a bulbous hand as she fought against him, calling after a fleeing starship. Her tears streamed down her face as she screamed.
“No! Come back!” The child with dark hair and three buns cried.
They were then thrust into pitch black, the sounds of a huge explosion shook them. Siri and Anakin felt it reverberate into their bones. They heard the sound of millions of people crying out in terror and then it was suddenly disturbingly silent.
“I fear something terrible has happened.” Obi-Wan’s voice spoke softly in the darkness, but it sounded far older than they had ever heard it.
Everything flickered again before settling back to the landing pad. The two Jedi felt dizzy and overwhelmed. Siri felt tears threaten to fall and Anakin felt nauseous, after a moment they looked up at the small boy sitting with his knees drawn up to his chest.
“You see, I have to help them,” his young voice was calm despite the pain felt all around them. “All of them.”
“Obi-Wan…” Anakin reached out for the boy, but was interrupted by a new presence.
“General Kenobi,” a deep voice spoke from behind them.
Siri and Anakin turned to see Cody standing at full attention, an adult in full armor. They then looked back at thirteen year old Obi-Wan who rose to his feet to address the clone commander. “I will be right with you commander. I need you to set the perimeter around the concentration camps in Garth.”
“Yes sir, General Kenobi.”
Obi-Wan took a moment to brush the dust from his tunic, he was now wearing the arm guards and chest plate he had worn at the beginning of the Clone Wars, it looked much too large on his small frame and the image of a child soldier was unsettling. Siri reached out and grabbed his hand as he turned to leave.
“I can’t do it Siri,” he said and despite the youthfulness to his voice the weight of his tone made him sound far older. “Not until they are all safe.”
“They are safe, Obi-Wan. The Togrutas are safe.” She argued.
He shook his head. “I cannot be the cause of more suffering. Go home, I’ll be fine.”
“Obi-Wan, I won’t leave you.” Anakin insisted, reaching out to grab the boy.
The Padawan version of his former master took a quick step back, avoiding Anakin’s grasp. Skywalker then found himself tackled to the ground by several members of the 212th. The soldiers pinned Anakin to the ground as Obi-Wan turned to leave with Commander Cody.
Siri made no attempt to stop him, she realized this was not an Obi-Wan they’d be able to negotiate with. If his devotion to the Jedi and his love for Qui-Gon didn’t keep him from rushing to aid Melida/Daan there was no way they’d be able to convince him. They would have to go deeper into his mind.
“Anakin,” she called out to her partner. “We have to keep going, he won’t listen to us here.”
“Are you crazy?” He struggled beneath the pile of clones.
Anakin sighed and both he and Siri then drifted back into a meditative trance and found themselves floating in the warm water once again. They traveled deeper down Obi-Wan’s side of the bond until they were blinded once again by the bright white light.
As they woke up and once again they had to steel themselves against waves of dizziness. As Siri’s eyes focused on her surroundings her heart dropped. She found herself in a very familiar ship, one that she did her absolute best to forget. Beside her Anakin sat up, rubbing his aching head.
“So Obi-Wan left the Order to become a child soldier?” Anakin asked, not able to heed Siri’s advice of waiting to ask questions until later.
“Yes,” she curtly replied. She was too distracted to go into details.
“And that’s why he’s so much better at military strategy than everyone else, because he’s been to war before.” Anakin didn’t phrase it as a question, he had put two and two together.
“Yes,” her voice had grown even more quiet.
“I can’t believe Master Qui-Gon would just abandon him.” Anakin shivered at the thought, he couldn’t imagine leaving Ahsoka alone on a battlefield...though technically hadn’t he done that countless times?
“I am not defending Qui-Gon’s actions, in fact I know the decision to leave Obi-Wan haunted Jinn probably until his dying breath.” Siri sighed. “But, Melida/Daan isn’t a part of the Republic, the Jedi had only been called to attempt a peace negotiation and it went south.” Siri tried to explain. “A Jedi Master had been held hostage and Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan were sent to rescue her and nothing more.” She sighed. “Obi-Wan disobeyed direct orders from the Council when he chose to stay.”
“To help save innocent children from dying.” Anakin argued.
“I’m not saying it wasn’t for the right reasons,” Siri looked at Anakin. “But he rushed into it without thinking. They could have regrouped and urged the Senate to intervene, to send more Jedi to help the cause. Instead, Obi-Wan let his personal feelings get in the way and it cost him so much more than you or I will ever know.”
“Rushing in, letting personal feelings get in the way. That doesn’t sound like Obi-Wan.” Anakin scoffed.
“As I said, it was a defining moment for him.” She replied. “His commitment to the code and the Council was solidified when he returned from Melida/Daan. No matter what temptations were thrown in his path.” Her voice trembled slightly.
“Siri, what is it?” Anakin eyed her suspiciously.
“Nothing, let’s go find him.” She shook her head and moved down the open ramp of the ship.
Anakin followed her and found that oddly the ship was inside the Room of a Thousand Fountains, he rubbed his temple as he could sense his own mind trying to keep himself rooted in reality. It was then he realized that Siri had stopped cold at the foot of the ramp, he followed her gaze to see an older teenage version of Obi-Wan standing behind a blonde teenage girl with his arms wrapped around her waist.
The familiar features of the girl hit Anakin like a ton of bricks. He eyed Siri carefully. “So, that’s why you have a bond with him.” His voice was dangerously close to angry.
“No, this is actually not why we have a bond.” She replied, her voice devoid of emotions.
They watched as sixteen year old Siri pushed herself away from Obi-Wan’s arms, unable to look at him.
“Forget? I can’t forget - “ Teenage Obi-Wan’s voice was incredulous, his eyes wide.
“We have to.” Came her younger self’s reply. “You have to push it down, bury it….”
Obi-Wan made a move to reach out to her again, but she pulled away.
“I am not going to look back, not once.” Siri continued, attempting to ignore the hurt look within his eyes. “And you will never remind me,” She demanded.
The memory of her demand was like a knife being plunged into the older woman’s heart and she could feel Anakin’s protective energy aimed in her direction.
“Promise me.” The girl begged Obi-Wan.
“...I promise.” The auburn haired Padawan swallowed, his voice was soft, so very soft.
The girl left him standing alone in the garden, Obi-Wan then dropped to his knees and attempted to hide his tears.
The thirty-five year old Siri Tachi felt her heart break all over again. She had long ago come to terms with her hurt and stubbornness associated with this moment, but feeling the raw grief surrounding her from Obi-Wan’s vision it all came crashing back to her.
“What did you do to him?” Anakin’s voice seethed beside her.
She ignored the negative energy standing beside her. “I saved him from making a terrible mistake. He had already left once before, it couldn’t happen again.”
“You didn’t even give him a choice!”
She finally looked at him. “We need to keep moving, this Obi-Wan won’t listen to me right now.”
“We don’t have the luxury of time to keep avoiding him.” Anakin tried to calm his anger towards Siri.
She finally sighed and nodded. She knew she couldn’t let her personal feelings cloud her mission. They took a few steps towards the grieving apprentice when the scene flashed around them once again and they now found themselves in a dark forest.
“Where are we now?” Anakin asked.
“I have no idea,” Siri replied, secretly relieved she had avoided that particular heart broken version of Obi-Wan.
“There’s a light over there,” Anakin pointed through a thick collection of trees.
The pair hiked their way towards the source of the light, expecting to come across a settlement or at least a campfire, but as they crested the top of the hill they discovered that the light source seemed to be emulating from Obi-Wan himself. Siri felt an odd set of nerves settle in the pit of her stomach when she saw that he was still in the same position as he had been in the Room of a Thousand Fountains, and also the same age.
A blast bolt came out of nowhere from the depths of the darkness, Siri pulled out her purple lightsaber just in time to deflect it. Anakin then ignited his blade as he sensed a powerful presence rushing towards him. His azure blade hissed as it made contact with an emerald one, Anakin then looked up into the protective eyes of a determined Qui-Gon Jinn.
Siri turned as she heard the clashing of the two sabers, but quickly had to return her attention to the sniper in the woods. She was assaulted by a series of blasts coming from above her, it was then that she spotted her would be assassin, dressed head to toe in beskar armor. The jet pack kept the Mandalorian far away from Siri’s blade but she could see the slender frame easily enough and she could sense the love and protectiveness rolling off this warrior in waves directed towards Obi-Wan. Siri immediately groaned at the irony, realizing she was fighting Satine Kryze.
Author’s Note: The flashback/vision dialogue on Melida/Daan between Obi and Qui was taken directly from the Jedi Apprentice book - Defenders of the Deadwritten by Jude Watson. The dialogue between teenage Obi and Siri was taken from the Secrets of the Jedi book also written by Jude Watson.
Hopefully you’re enjoying a trip into Obi-Wan’s traumatized mind so far - not sure Siri and Anakin are. Let me know what you think!! Thanks again for reading.
Chapter 10: Infinite Sadness
There are a lot of different Obi-Wans in this chapter and they are all very stubborn - which is both wonderful for us, but infuriating for Anakin and Siri
Not really a trigger warning per say, but for whatever reason this chapter was rather sad to me so you might want to have some tissues handy (it might just be me though) - heavy duty angst.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Siri weaved deftly between the trees as a heat seeking rocket chased her, she called upon the Force to assist with her speed but found it was difficult to access. She realized that was probably due to the fact that she was using most of her Force energy to actually be there, and probably also had something to do with the fact that she was actually engaged in a confrontation with the Force itself.
“And here I thought she was a pacifist,” she grumbled to herself, jumping up to catch a branch just in time to avoid collision with the rocket.
She expertly twisted her body in a graceful display of acrobatics and landed on the branch. She hoped that the cover of the tree’s canopy would be enough to hide her from her opponent. She waited and watched as the future Duchess of Mandalore circled the treeline, stalking her prey. She took a moment to climb higher into the branches, obscuring herself even further.
Siri glanced down at the chaos below, she was able to make out the blue and grey blades locked in battle, she knew Anakin was one of the best swordsman in the Jedi, but she also knew that this was a protective Force vision of Qui-Gon Jinn in his prime and would prove to be an impossible adversary, even for the Chosen One. She then scanned the meadow below her and realized she could no longer see Obi-Wan.
“Shavit,” she cursed beneath her breath. She knew they didn’t have time for this.
She sensed Satine just below her and Siri jumped out of the tree in a surprise attack, landing directly onto the other woman. Satine maneuvered herself to try and buck off her passenger as Siri used her lightsaber to dismantle the jetpack. Satine ejected herself from the flying device before it could explode and the two women fell to the ground with a bone crunching thud.
Anakin and Qui-Gon were briefly distracted by the explosion of the jetpack and the two women tumbling from the sky. Siri felt the lithe fingers of her opponent grab the fabric of her leather unisuit and tumble around head over heels in the dirt. Satine punched the Jedi in the jaw, which Siri responded with a kick to the abdomen.
The Duchess stumbled back and Siri landed another powerful kick. She scanned the area again and still found no sign of Obi-Wan, she then looked back towards Anakin who was facing the full brunt of Qui-Gon’s powerful blows.
“Anakin, he’s not here!” Siri called out.
“Where could he have gone?” The Jedi knight shouted back, ducking just in time to keep his head from being chopped off.
“Not sure, Mandalore is not something he likes to talk about.” Siri responded, losing her balance as she felt a boot hit her in the middle of her back.
The Mandalorian Duchess stared at the Jedi, the unknown expression behind the helmet was unsettling as Siri rose back up to her feet.
“Where is he, bounty hunter?!” The voice was muffled behind the mask, but Siri could easily sense the fear. “What have you done with him?”
“You tell me Duchess?” Siri countered, jumping out of the way of Satine’s arm blaster. While in the air Siri flipped and came down on top of Satine’s shoulders, knocking the monarch to the ground which caused the helmet to slip off her head.
“I swear to you on my honor and Kad Ha’rangir’s wrath if you so much as hurt one hair on his head…” Satine snarled.
Siri put up her hands in a defensive gesture, trying to show the other woman that she meant no harm. “Satine, please listen to me. I am not a threat to him. I am here to help him, to bring him home.”
“I know that you love him,” Siri took a small step forward. “But you have to let him go.”
The Duchess hesitated, looking at Siri in wonder. “Like you let him go?”
“Oh Satine. Girl, one of these days you and I need to get a drink and have a LONG chat.” Siri kept her guard up as Satine began to circle her.
“Duchess, do not be fooled!” The deep, baritone voice of Qui-Gon broke the calm. “Only the Jedi Council knew of our mission, whoever these imposters are, they are not Jedi!”
His green blade hissed as it collided with Anakin’s blue. The younger man could feel the physical strength of his grand-master, in the back of his mind he realized he had often dreamed about getting a chance to spar with the man who gave him his freedom, but now he was just too tired to care.
“That’s not true, we are Jedi and we’ve come to save Obi-Wan!” Anakin’s voice sounded strained due to the physical exertion. “Master Qui-Gon, please help us! We’re friends.”
“Lies, I sense the dark side within you...boy.” The Jedi Master slashed again at Anakin’s throat. “A dark side that will only destroy him.”
Skywalker leaned back to dodge the blade and somersaulted backwards, putting distance between himself and the angry Jedi Master. “You’re wrong, I would never hurt him.”
The trees around them all at once caught fire and melted into the ground, the terrain morphed into ragged black rocks. A bright orange and red glow permeated all around them, the source of the glow a large lava river. Anakin glanced over at Siri who in turn looked back at him in concern, the Force around them felt as if it were crying in agony.
“YOU WILL NOT TAKE HIM FROM ME!” A booming yet eerily familiar voice seemed to shake the platform they were occupying.
Siri and Anakin immediately turned towards the source of the voice, their sabers ready to defend themselves only to be met by a tall, imposing figure emerging from the shadows. A humanoid dressed from head to toe in black, face hidden behind an emotionless mask. The sounds of rhythmic breathing echoed all around them.
“What is that?” Anakin asked, beads of sweat dripping down his brow.
“A sith,” Siri answered. “Can’t you feel it?”
“Perhaps the one we’ve been looking for.” Siri’s voice was more determined than he was used to hearing.
“Why would he be inside Obi-Wan’s head?” Anakin felt he really didn’t want to know the answer.
“I don’t know, maybe Zigoola.” Siri answered, taking a step back. “Maybe a vision, either way we need to focus, he’s obviously not here. Let’s try and go deeper and see if we can find him.”
A voice so deep that it ran chills down both their backs suddenly interrupted them. “This will be a day long remembered. It has seen the end of Kenobi, it will soon see the end of the Rebellion.”
“Nooo!!” Anakin pushed forward with a frantic thrust of his saber only to be met by a red blade.
“Anakin, wait!” Siri called after him, but it fell on deaf ears.
“Heart rate is increasing too rapidly!” Helix exclaimed in a frantic yet calm tone that only a doctor can adopt as he rushed to Anakin’s side. “We have to pull him out!”
“Wait,” Plo Koon advised, his eyes remaining closed as he sat next to Siri. “Not yet.”
“But sir, he’s dangerously close to a cardiac episode.” Helix argued. “I can’t in good conscience allow this to continue.”
“Ahsoka, anchor him.” Plo commanded the Padawan. “Do not lose him.”
“Master,” Ahsoka said quietly, placing her hands on Anakin’s chest. She concentrated all the calm she could through the Force. “Master...Anakin, breath with me.”
The Togruta teenager inhaled deeply and then slowly released the air. She repeated that several more times until the alarm associated with Anakin’s heart monitor ceased shouting. The Clone medic also released a breath he didn’t know he was holding.
“Weird Force Osik,” he mumbled.
“How much time do we have left Commander?” Plo ignored the medic’s curse and tilted his head instead to the other presence in the room.
“They’ve been down for thirty five minutes General.” Cody kept a watchful eye on the chrono. “We only have twenty five before we need to bring them back.”
“What if that’s not enough time?” Ahsoka asked, never removing her hands from Anakin’s chest.
“Focus Ahsoka,” Plo reminded her. “We will cross that bridge if and when it comes.”
Cody took a moment to let his gaze fall from the clock towards the way too still form of his General lying face down on the surgical gurney. Not for the first time in his career he hoped the Jedi knew what they were doing.
The battle was evenly matched, Sith locked in a duel with the Jedi. The latter had the advantage of agility, but the former had enhanced strength. It was a stalemate and Siri knew there were more pressing matters. She fought the urge to jump in and help Obi-Wan’s former apprentice and instead reached out into the Force to search for him. She came to the edge of the platform and saw a figure dressed in a tattered and scorched cream colored tunic standing on the bank of the lava river. His face was grief-stricken as he stared at something on the ground, Siri could not get a good angle to see what it was. He bent down to retrieve something from the ground, from the distance she was at it looked like the hilt of a lightsaber, but she couldn’t be sure.
“...I loved you.” His voice cracked as the words were carried along the wind.
Siri knew from experience that Obi-Wan never said that phrase lightly, and also knew it was reserved for only a handful of people. The absolute grief in his voice as he spoke those words concerned her more than if he had been screaming in agony.
Hot drops of rain began to fall all around them, sizzling as they impacted on the ground. The weight in the Force felt like it was weeping. Siri took a step towards the lone figure on the side of the volcano, but was unable to move. He turned to look up at her and even with the distance between them the look on his face caused her heart to shatter.
“Obi-Wan!” She called out to him. “Come back to us!”
The retreating figure glanced one last time over his shoulder at whatever was on the ground and then back up at her. A solemn head shake was all the indication he gave that he had actually heard her.
She watched him for another moment, the rain drenching her hair and soaking her clothing. Her focus then returned to the duel behind her, the drops of water hissing on the plasma blades. She turned back just as the scene around them shifted once again, only this time it was a round room with a large hole in the center.
She looked at Anakin who was taking a step back in order to distance himself from the imposing dark figure. The man in the black mask lifted his saber for a killing blow when the vision blurred and the light saber went from red to green. Anakin was already in motion to thrust his blade against the Sith when he realized his opponent was once again Qui-Gon Jinn. Unable to stop the momentum of his saber Anakin’s weapon pierced the soft flesh with a hiss.
The face of Obi-Wan’s late mentor was one of shock as he let out a grunt of pain, that sound was dwarfed however by the anguished cry behind them.
“Nooooo!!” The voice echoed throughout the room.
Siri and Anakin turned towards the voice, but then found nothing but an empty hallway divided by ray shields. They returned their attention to the fallen Jedi Master only to find themselves now trapped behind one of the red energy shields.
It was then that they witnessed the form of Duchess Satine being suspended in the air by the Force, she clawed at the invisible fingers around her neck as she struggled to breathe. A shorter and much more agile dark figure emerged from the shadows this time, his fist raised towards the woman.
Anakin and Siri both recognized the Zabrak immediately, one from memory the other from description. Both Jedi felt their bodies tense at his appearance, knowing that no good would come from a vision about Darth Maul.
The Duchess struggled valiantly, but there was no way she would break the spell. Anakin and Siri frantically looked for a way to turn off the ray shield just as they heard the snap of a lightsaber activating and the sound of impact. Painful whimpers cut through the stagnant silence in the room as Satine fell to the ground.
“Satine…” the voice was just above a whisper and Siri and Anakin turned to see Obi-Wan on his knees watching the execution.
“You will suffer, as I have suffered.” Maul sneered at Obi-Wan.
Anakin growled beside her. “When will these blasted shields drop? I can’t just sit here and watch, I feel so helpless.”
“I think that is entirely the point.” Siri said, never taking her eyes off the scene unfolding in front of her.
The lights in the reactor room dimmed until everything was cast in complete darkness. Two spotlights illuminated over the barely breathing forms of Qui-Gon Jinn and Satine Kryze. Two different Obi-Wans slowly stepped into each spotlight, kneeling next to his fallen loved ones.
Anakin couldn’t take his eyes off the Padawan cradling the head of Qui-Gon Jinn in his lap while Siri’s attention was on the bearded man cradling the Duchess in his arms.
“Obi-Wan...promise...promise me you’ll train the boy.” Qui-Gon’s voice sounded strained and weaker than Anakin’s memory had ever heard it.
“Yes Master,” the immediate response from Obi-Wan came and Anakin’s breath hitched.
“Remember my dear Obi-Wan,” Satine’s voice struggled to speak through the pain and reached up to cup his cheek. “I loved you, always…”
Siri suddenly felt as if she were imposing on way too personal of a moment, she tried to look away but the Force held her there.
“I always will.” The Duchess finished as life left her.
Qui-Gon reached up to gently stroke his Padawan’s cheek, brushing away a tear. “He...is the Chosen One, he will bring balance. Train him.” The once powerful Jedi fell limp in Obi-Wan’s arms.
The bearded Obi-Wan gently kissed Satine’s hand, allowing a single tear to fall. The Padawan pressed his forehead to his Master’s and openly wept.
The ray shield finally dropped and both Siri and Anakin hesitated to move closer to their grieving friend(s). Siri slowly made her way towards the bearded man who was carefully laying Satine on the ground while Anakin moved towards the apprentice who was still clutching the deceased Master.
“Obi-Wan?” They said in unison which caused both Kenobis to look up at them. “Obi-Wan, I’m so sorry…” Anakin and Siri’s voices were still in stereo.
Both Obi-Wans sadly nodded and returned their attention to their fallen loved one. Siri knelt behind the Knight, placing an arm protectively across his chest. Obi-Wan leaned back wordlessly against her, clutching her arm with both of his. Anakin knelt in front of the apprentice and enveloped him in a tight hug. The Padawan seemed unsure for a moment, but then melted into the embrace.
Padawan Kenobi gripped Anakin’s tunics tightly as he cried into the younger man’s shoulders. “You will be a Jedi, I promise.” He said between sobs.
Anakin felt his own tears threatening to fall. Memories of those exact words ringing in his ears, the knowledge that simple phrase changed his life completely. “...thank you Obi-Wan.”
Siri held her Obi-Wan tighter, sensing his desire to break down but knowing he couldn’t. She gently placed a kiss to his temple, leaning her head against his so her lips hovered just above his ear. “We can fix this, together…” She promised. “But you have to come home.”
“Infinite sadness,” his voice sounded hollow. “It is what I was created for.”
“Stop it,” Siri protested.
“The Force knows this,” he continued. “It is my purpose to carry the weight of it. I see that now.”
She shook her head. “That is nonsense. The Force is compassion, it is love.”
He turned just slightly so their foreheads were touching. “The Force is everything, Siri. You’ve seen the pain that I inevitably inflict,”
“The future's not set in stone.” She argued.
“Balance requires sacrifice. I cannot allow it to be anyone’s but my own.” His voice was full of conviction.
“There is only one thing to do.” A young voice emerged from the darkness. “I can get us out of here. I’m the only one who can.”
She tightened her grip on the Obi-Wan in her arms and both turned their attention towards a small figure standing in front of them. A familiar scrawny boy just on the cusp of puberty, his auburn hair matted and dirty with a slave collar around his neck, a transmitter in his small hand.
“No,” Siri shook her head.
“Let me go,” thirteen year old Obi-Wan looked into her eyes. “It’s my time.”
She continued to look up at the boy and hold the man in her arms. She knew as a Jedi she was prepared to let him go if it was indeed his time, but she refused to believe the Force would go to all this trouble to simply let him die.
“That is something I cannot do.” She whispered in his ear.
She then reached out with the Force and grabbed the transmitter from the child’s hands, she placed another kiss to the Knight in her arms’ temple as she then proceeded to crush and destroy the detonator with the Force.
The lights in the room suddenly sprang back to life and the three versions of Obi-Wan turned to stare down Siri and Anakin.
“Siri, what the hell did you do?” Anakin asked as both he and Siri were backed up towards the melting pit.
“Saved him from himself.” She simply answered.
“Don’t let your personal feelings get in the way.” The Knight shouted at her. “Do you have any idea how many will suffer because…”
“Because what?” Siri snapped. “Because you weren’t able to offer yourself up as a sacrificial lamb to the proverbial or literal slaughter?”
His silence spoke volumes.
“You cannot take the blame nor the responsibility for the actions of evil.” She continued. “You can only be responsible for your own actions.”
“My actions have caused and will cause so much harm.” The thirteen year old replied, tears in his eyes.
“Obi-Wan, please...we need you.” Anakin pleaded.
Siri placed a calming hand on his arm. “It’s true, you weren’t able to save your Master,” she said and the twenty five year old version of Kenobi flinched. “But, you destroyed the Sith that day, saving not only Naboo but possibly the galaxy.”
“You cared for a lost slave child who didn’t have a friend in the world and taught him to be a Jedi.” Anakin added. “You did that Obi-Wan, and if you weren’t around to keep me in line just think about what might happen.”
Knight Kenobi offered a sad smile.
“What happened to the people of Kiros was not your fault.” Siri said, her voice steady. “You think the Zygerrians wouldn’t have punished or killed them if you hadn’t been there? I hate to tell you this, but that is what slavers do.”
Anakin nodded in enthusiastic agreement.
“They may have been used as a way to torture you, but that is not a failing on your part.” Siri took a step closer to the three Obi-Wans. “You gave them hope.”
“How would my presence give any of them hope, they suffered needlessly just to break me!” The Knight snapped back.
“How could you not give them hope Obi-Wan?” Anakin stepped forward. “You give all of us hope; hope this war will come to an end, hope of peace, hope that no matter how dark it gets there is always light to be found.”
“Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.” A disembodied, female voice rang out around them.
“Come back to us Obi-Wan,” Siri pleaded. “The galaxy still needs you.”
“I still need you,” Anakin added.
“Kenobi!” A terrifying voice called out and the red and black Zabrak came down towards the trio of Obi-Wans.
“No!” Knight Kenobi cried as Maul turned to face Siri and Anakin,
The three versions of Obi-Wan simultaneously pushed out with the Force and caused Siri and Anakin to tumble into the melting pit.
“It’s been fifty minutes, General,” Cody exclaimed, concern evident in his usually stoic voice.
Plo Koon took a deep breath to try and keep himself centered. “Ahsoka, we need to start pulling them back.”
“But Master Plo, they haven’t brought him back yet.” The Padawan argued.
“We don’t have a choice, we cannot risk losing them as well.” The Kel Dor sighed, a hint of sadness in his voice.
“Yes Master,” Ahsoka agreed, unable to keep the defeat from her voice.
“Reach out for them Padawan, let’s bring them home. There isn’t much more they can do.” Plo Koon said, as he reached out towards Siri.
The clones watched in amazement as Plo Koon and Ahsoka rested their hands on the heads of the other Jedi. They began to chant something beneath their breaths and the bodies of Siri Tachi and Anakin Skywalker arched in response off the floor.
The pair landed ungracefully in a sand dune, coughing and attempting to catch their breaths.
“Kark, we were so close!” Anakin shouted.
Siri rose to her feet and dusted herself off, scanning the surroundings. “Where are we?”
“It looks like the Jundland wastes.” Anakin’s eyes went wide with recognition. “What in blazes are we doing here?”
Siri shook her head in response to his question. “I don’t know, but we’re out of time. Can you feel it?”
“They’re calling us back.” He agreed. “What do we do?”
“I sense him,” Siri exclaimed, looking around the horizon again.
“I don’t sense him at all,” Anakin shook his head. “Wait, I do sense something…”
Siri turned to look at the younger Knight as he closed his eyes and called upon the Force. After a moment of searching his blue eyes opened and were frantic.
“Run,” he whispered.
She barely had time for a response when a giant lizard came barreling into their space. It was the largest one Anakin had ever seen, running towards them on ten powerful legs. It’s jaws snapped in his direction as the creature stretched it’s long neck.
“Krayt Dragon!” Anakin screamed as he ignited his saber.
A primal fear rose up in Anakin as he tried to put distance between himself and the creature. Legends of the Krayts were told as horrifying warnings to all the children of Tatooine, in a way to keep them from venturing too far into the desert. This one however, was straight out of Anakin’s nightmare.
Siri watched as the creature stalked Anakin, leaving her virtually unnoticed. She pulled the hilt of her saber out to try and help him when she felt a pull from the Force. She glanced back at Anakin and then towards the disturbance.
“We don’t have time for this!” Anakin’s voice was higher pitched than normal. “Go find him!”
Siri nodded in agreement and turned to run towards an alcove of rocks to her right. She felt the sand tugging at her feet, attempting to slow her progress but eventually she made it to the small canyon and climbed down.
The wind whipped around her, sounding almost like wailing against the canyon walls. It made it very difficult to get a good sense of where she needed to go. She could also feel the pull from the physical realm and knew she had little time left. She took a deep breath and called upon the Force for guidance.
“If you want us to help him then we’re gonna need a little assistance from you in return!” She said out loud to no one in particular.
Suddenly the wind stopped. Siri opened her eyes and saw a figure draped in a threadbare brown cloak. She took a step forward, trying to see the face beneath the cowl.
“Obi-Wan?” She asked, hesitantly.
Two wrinkled hands that had clearly been out far too long in harsh weather conditions reached up to grab the edges of the hood. Her eyes widened as a sun-beaten and stress worn face smiled up at her. His hair and beard were completely white, she briefly wondered if it had been bleached by the sun or he was just that old. Though it was unmistakably Obi-Wan Kenobi, the crooked smile and the kind blue/grey eyes were all too familiar to her.
“Hello there,” he said in a familiar accented voice, though it sounded rough from a lack of use.
“Obi-Wan?” She asked again, taking a step forward.
He tilted his head in amusement. “Obi-Wan?” He sat down, contemplative. “Obi-Wan, now that’s a name I’ve not heard in a long time...a long time.”
“Are you...why...do you…” Siri had so many questions, but couldn’t seem to formulate a coherent sentence. “Do you live here?”
He beckoned her to sit beside him on the rock and nodded. “I do, I have oh, for almost two decades now.”
“You left the Order?” She was surprised how much the realization hurt.
“To tell you the truth I’m not sure why I’m here, which is very strange. The Force is suddenly clouded.” He shrugged as if it really didn’t bother him. “But I can tell you that I didn’t leave the Order, that much I know for sure.”
He looked at her suddenly. “Anakin is with you?”
“Yes, we came together.” She nodded.
“He cannot know I’m here, now, on Tatooine.” his eyes showing actual fear.
“Why can’t he know…”
“I wish I knew, but just trust me when I say that Anakin Skywalker cannot know I’m here.” Obi-Wan turned to look up at the canyon wall. “Promise me,”
“I promise,” she answered, automatically.
He looked back at her again, his features softened as if he realized who she was for the first time. “Siri, you haven’t aged at all since I last saw you.”
Siri swallowed, realizing the implications of his statement. She decided not to focus on that now.
“Obi-Wan, I haven’t much time…”
“I am stuck inside a vision?” He asked, as if already knowing the answer.
“After Kadavo,” her voice grew quiet.
Old man Kenobi leaned back against the rocks, stroking his beard in thought. Siri smiled because she realized it was a habit he never broke. “Kadavo, yes, I remember…” He then sat up and looked at Siri. “You were right about that one my dear friend.”
“You made it this far and you still don’t know that I was right about all of them?” She smirked, surprised how easy it was to fall into their usual banter.
“Old habits die hard, it would appear.” He smirked.
She suddenly felt the pull again from Plo Koon, she knew her time was up. She looked back at Obi-Wan, knowing this was her last chance. “We need you to come back, can you help us?”
Obi-Wan sighed and offered a slight nod. “I will talk to him.”
“Thank you Obi-Wan,”
He reached out and held her hands. She was surprised that despite the age, they still felt familiar wrapped around hers. “Thank you Siri.”
They stood, hands still clasped together. Obi-Wan squeezed hers tightly before speaking again.
“Have patience with him, he is trying.” The older version of Obi-Wan said somberly. “This can all be...a lot.”
Siri felt the pull harder than before, she knew if she didn’t leave she’d risk being lost within the Force. She looked up at him and sensed the intense loneliness within him, but she also sensed resolve and hope in a way that she hadn’t felt in her friend in a very long time.
She quickly enveloped him in a tight hug, resting her face into the crook of his neck. He smelled of sand and sun, but he also still smelled like Obi-Wan and she took comfort in that. The older Obi-Wan seemed unacustom to human touch, he hesitated for a moment and then melted against her, wrapping his still strong arms around her waist, not wanting to let her go.
“I’m so sorry,” She said after a moment, her voice muffled in his robes.
He leaned his head on top of hers. “Whatever for?”
“I don’t know,” She finally released him from her hug. “I just felt like you really needed to hear it, instead of being the one to constantly say it.”
The look on his weathered face told Siri that he was genuinely touched and he reached up and held her face between his palms, his thumbs wiped tears that she didn’t even know she was shedding.
“You better go, he will need your strength.” Old man Kenobi said softly.
“And what about you?” She asked, her breath hitched. “You’re all alone.”
He tilted his head at her. “No, I could never be alone. I have the Force,”
Siri reluctantly nodded as her vision began to blur. “Don’t forget to send him home to us.”
“When have I ever let you down?” He teased. “Wait, don’t answer that.”
She couldn’t help the sob filled chuckle that escaped her lips as she woke up on the cot in the medbay. It took her a moment to catch her breath, the warnings from her heart monitor screeched. She felt Anakin beside her snap awake as well, his monitors harmonizing with hers.
It took several moments for all the Jedi to calm down and focus on where they were. Both Siri and Anakin felt extremely weak, and required help standing.
“Did you reach him?” Anakin suddenly asked Siri, his eyes wide and nervous.
She nodded, but said nothing. She didn’t want to admit that she too was nervous it had all been for nothing. Her faith in the elderly incarnation of her friend was not unfounded, a moment later a soft moan came from the motionless form in the center of the room.
Everyone startled at the noise and jumped to attention. Helix pushed his way towards his patient and shined a light into Obi-Wan’s eyes by pulling up the closed lids. Kenobi protested weakly at this, attempting to turn his face from the offending light source.
“Uncivilized,” the voice was rough and came out in a slur, but to the worried gathering of people it was music to their ears.
“Is he going to be okay?” Ahsoka asked, her young voice trembled.
“He’s still heavily medicated for the pain, I wouldn’t expect him to be terribly coherent. But at least his vitals are holding steady and he’s responding.” Helix explained. “Looks like whatever you did it worked. But, he’s not out of the woods completely, we need to get him into bacta right away.”
With a lot of coaxing from the medical staff and a Council Member the rest of the group slowly filed out of the recovery room and into the bright hall of the Negotiator. Siri leaned against the wall for support, Anakin was being half supported by Ahsoka.
“We should all get some rest,” Plo stated to the group. “He will likely be in bacta for several days and as it stands you two will be facing probable Force Exhaustion.”
“Yeah, you guys both look like you’re about to drop dead.” Ahsoka exclaimed. “Unless, you wanna talk about what you saw?”
“Not even a little bit Snips,” Anakin answered.
The Togruta made a face that was a clear indicator she would drop the subject for now, but wouldn’t drop it forever. Skywalker inwardly sighed and decided he was too tired to worry about that now.
“I should go inform the Council of the outcome,” Plo Koon announced after a moment. “Go. To. Bed.” He then said in a very fatherly tone.
“Yes Uncle Plo,” Siri rolled her eyes.
“Uncle Plo?” Ahsoka giggled. “There has to be a story there.”
Anakin turned his apprentice in the opposite direction. “Another time Snips, let’s go check on Rex and then I need to sleep for a week.”
As they turned to leave Anakin briefly reached out to grab Siri’s elbow. “Hey, why was he on Tatooine?”
“I think it was during the Naboo mission, when they first found you.” Siri shrugged. “He was guarding the Queen of Naboo.”
Anakin easily accepted that answer and turned back to his apprentice. Siri leaned against the wall with her arms folded around herself as she watched him leave. Her thoughts lingered on the old man they had found in the desert, and the echo of a familiar voice in her head whispered.
Author’s Note: Welp, that concludes the weird Force Osik portion of this story! I hope it made sense and worked for everyone. I tend to write a lot of angst, but honestly found myself shedding a couple of tears while writing this chapter - maybe go read some fluff after this.
Some of the dialogue was of course taken from both TPM and ROTS, 13 year old Obi-Wan's dialogue was taken from Jedi Apprentice book #2
Alright, one chapter left in this story. Gotta bring our favorite Jedi out of the bacta and see how he’s holding up.
Thanks so much for reading, please I’d love to hear what you thought about this chapter.