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all things die

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Obi-Wan stood at the door to what was once Anakin’s room at the Temple.

What was once Ahsoka’s, too—oh, but if Obi-Wan thought about Ahsoka, he wouldn’t get through this.

He input Anakin’s code into the keypad, and the door slid open with a soft hiss. It was the only noise in a silent Temple.

The room, as always, was littered with spare parts and tools. Normally Obi-Wan would make some effort to tidy up, but not today. Not ever again. He stepped around the mess, careful not to disturb the last bit of Anakin that was left.

He wasn’t sure what he was looking for. A clue, perhaps. A reason as to why the person he loved best in the galaxy had so completely betrayed everything he once stood for. Or maybe he was there to pretend, one last time. He could almost see Anakin walking out of his sleeping quarters, tinkering with his mechanical arm, all but oblivious to Obi-Wan’s presence. It was a common scene only a few weeks before.

Obi-Wan input the door code and stepped into Anakin’s quarters at the Temple. Ahsoka’s, too, but she was off playing bodyguard to Senator Amidala. Something crunched under his foot, and he looked down, lifting it to reveal what seemed to be a core processing unit for a droid. Sighing, he picked it up, along with several other pieces within arms reach, and set them on the low table in the center of the room. “Anakin,” he called, exasperated.

Anakin exited his sleeping quarters, his focus on a screwdriver inserted into his mechanical arm. “Hey, Master,” he said, not looking up.

Obi-Wan crossed his arms. “Is this why you’ve been ignoring my comms?”

Anakin looked up at that and grinned sheepishly. “Sorry. Looks like I got a little distracted.”

Obi-Wan rolled his eyes. “Well, your distraction has made us both late for the next briefing. Be grateful I came to get you.”

“Of course, my Master,” Anakin said dramatically. “I am forever in your debt.”

“Perhaps you can repay me by picking up some of these tools,” Obi-Wan said, and gestured to the cluttered space. He began to pick up more of the parts. “Give me a hand, won’t you?”

He realized his mistake too late, whipping his head back up to witness Anakin removing his mechanical arm with a quick twist and throwing it across the room. Obi-Wan caught it easily and glared at him as he laughed.

“Will you ever get tired of that joke?”

Strange, Obi-Wan reflected, that the most mundane of moments would be the memories he carried with him until the end. But then there there was always weight in the most terribly ordinary things.

As if guided by a phantom hand, Obi-Wan found himself gravitating towards the kitchenette. There on the counter was a small teacup—white, patterned with blue diamonds reminiscent of the 501st—half full of tea.

Obi-Wan poured tea into a white and blue teacup and set it down on the counter in front of Ahsoka.

“What’s this one?” she asked, picking it up and sniffing it suspiciously.

“Green tea,” Obi-Wan replied. “Not as easy to come by, but quite delicious.”

He took a drink from his cup, prompting Ahsoka to take a tiny sip from her own. She wrinkled her nose.

Obi-Wan felt a smile pulling at the corner of his mouth. “Not to your taste?”

With what looked like monumental effort, Ahsoka swallowed. She set the cup back down on the counter, pushing it away from herself. “It’s...grassy?”

He chuckled.

Obi-Wan blinked, finding himself turning the teacup around in his hands.

He could almost smell the green tea now, see the last conversation he and Ahsoka had in this room. The last time they’d talked of simple things before she’d been kicked out of the Order.

Then they hadn’t spoken until she arrived on The Resolute with Bo-Katan. And one of his last conversations with her had been filled with frustration. Force, the kindest thing he’d said to her was that Maul didn’t stay dead. He’d thought they would have time to talk after the battle, to fix the rift between them that had only seemed to widen after meeting again. Ahsoka had successfully captured Maul, but then she’d been trapped on a ship with brainwashed troopers and a former Sith Lord.

He should have never let her go.

And oh, he hadn’t even considered the 501st. They had been the ones to lose troopers to this crisis the first time—when the Jedi refused to investigate the claims of chips inside sentient beings’ heads. The guilt threatened to crush him, now. They’d accepted the use of a clone force, millions of identical men who never had a choice. Obi-Wan had thought the Republic didn’t have much choice, either.

There was always a choice, a voice whispered. He had lived and breathed beside those men for three years, had tried to give them as much freedom as he could admist a war, but it was never enough. And now the Jedi were dead, the clones stripped of their very selves . The arc trooper, Fives, had been right. He had died for the truth and nothing had come of it. They’d believed the Chancellor.

“No, you’re helping the Chancellor.” Ahsoka’s words on The Resolute came back to him. What would have happened if he’d heeded her words and sent himself or Anakin with her to Mandalore? Then maybe Anakin wouldn’t have—

The teacup cracked in his hands.

There would be no more cleanup sprees or quiet moments with tea. He had never imagined that it would be the Master left when the Padawans were gone. The last of his lineage, excluding Master Yoda.

Qui Gon had died before his eyes. The Anakin he had known was just as far gone. And Ahsoka...would he have felt her death through that fraying thread of a bond that remained? His Grandpadawan, such a balance between Anakin’s temperament and his own. Angry yet diplomatic. Warm and caring, but able to let go.

Obi-Wan knew she didn’t learn that particular trait from either of her Masters, because there he stood in an empty Temple, holding onto a cracked teacup like a king might cradle the most precious of jewels.

After an indeterminate amount of time—it could have been minutes, hours, days—Obi-Wan forced his limbs to move towards Anakin’s sleeping quarters. The door opened as he approached, revealing yet more piles of machinery and various odds and ends. He stepped inside, and the door slid shut behind him, trapping him inside a haunting tableaux of the past.

Amidst all the metal and machinery, an unfamiliar wooden box sat on the beside table. Faint patterns were painted across the top, faded and uneven with wear. The wood was smooth underneath his fingertips as he lifted the lid.

Inside, blue velvet that still kept the impression of—lightsabers? He recognized these markings—

Ahsoka’s.

So this was where Anakin had kept her sabers. He ran a hand over the depressions left behind. One was significantly shorter, designating her shoto. He remembered admiring the unique yellow-green hue. There had been a time long ago when he had considered dual wielding, but Qui-Gon had quickly talked him out of it, never one to approve of what he referred to as “a fallback for those unable to master the grace of a single saber.”

Qui-Gon was wrong about many things. Ahsoka had been set to become one of the most capable duelists of the Order, her dual-wielding a deadly asset.

His fingers caught on the edge of the velvet, pulling him out of his reverie, and the fabric peeled back slightly to reveal a glint of metal. Obi-Wan tugged it back further, and paused before fishing out the strand of beads that had been hidden underneath.

He sank to his knees, uncaring that he knelt on a metal plate in the process.

Gently, he lowered Ahsoka’s padawan beads into a neat pile in the palm of his hand. He hadn’t even known that Anakin had kept them, though he shouldn’t have been surprised.

Anakin was just as much a brother to Ahsoka as he was to Obi-Wan. And now Obi-Wan would face him. One last time. His fingers closed over the padawan beads. He looked down at his belt, opened the small compartment usually reserved for extra bandages, and slipped the beads inside.

“Tell Anakin—“

“I will.”

All things die. But not like this.

 

——

 

Days later, on a distant desert planet, Ben Kenobi sits in the sand, staring blankly at the horizon, two lightsabers hidden in his robes and padawan beads hanging from his hand.

He won’t let go of them for some time.