Author: Ryuuko1 PM
Occurs during the Clone Wars but before Episode 3. ObiWan and Anakin get stranded on a planet where the very fabric of time gets warped...Rated: Fiction M - English - Adventure/Drama - Anakin Skywalker & Obi-Wan K. - Chapters: 13 - Words: 13,268 - Reviews: 12 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 04-16-06 - Published: 06-16-05 - id: 2440292
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author: Look! I'm starting this up again. I regained my inspiration after finding the book I wrote some of this story in. I was re-reading the story, and found that my writing style changed a little. It is still, however, roughly similar. Hope you enjoy my continuation. Updates will be sporadic. And, as always, because you love me, REVIEW.
Disclaimer: Nothing in the Star Wars universe belongs to me. Alas...
"So, Ben. You said you're looking for these two? Why?"
Kklar was considering helping the boy, but he had to be certain that he wasn't dealing with a complete lunatic.
Ben looked down at the camel he was sitting on and fiddled with the reins that he was holding onto.
"Hnn...one of them is...important to me. The other..." Ben looked away, took a deep breath, and reigned in his emotions, centering and calming himself. "I want to kill the other."
"Oh?" The fact that Ben could say that with such calm was mildly alarming, but it made Kklar curious. "Why would you do that?"
Ben seemed to withdraw into himself, and he gave Kklar an even look that once again made Kklar think that Ben was not as young as he appeared.
"I have my reasons."
"But are they the right ones?"
Ben paused and looked in front of him, though his eyes appeared to lose focus. Softly, after a long moment, he answered with a simple "Yes."
"It's a sin to take another life."
Ben gave Kklar a long, patient, look, which made Kklar feel very young and small. That a off-world boy could do that to him made Kklar a little nervous.
"I agree with you. It is a sin to take another life." Ben gave Kklar a small, wry smile. "But sometimes your emotions get too wrapped up in something to seriously consider it as something bad." Ben chuckled softly, dryly, and a mocking smile twisted his lips. He shook his head, obviously having thought something that was unpleasant or somehow morbidly funny.
"God, I'm starting to sound like him..." Ben murmured into the fur of his mount, and stroked its neck nervously. He could always feel Anakin on the edges of his consciousness, could pinpoint him if he tried hard enough; however, there was a wall around his mind that made it impossible for him to communicate with the young man. Ben had an awful feeling about that, and the fact that the thing surrounding the man's mind was decidedly malignant made the feeling worse. He had to contact Anakin. But when he was conscious, it was nearly impenetrable. But in dreams, one's mind can drift any way, no matter what barriers might be in place. Ben stopped stroking the animal and smiled faintly. Very well, then. Tonight he would try to contact his wayward one-time padawan.
Ben sat a couple of yards away from Kklar and his extended family and closed his eyes, forcing himself to center and clear his mind. He could not go into this with an uneasy heart. If he did that, whatever was trying to keep him from Anakin would be able to sense him long before he even managed to say one word. He wanted to have a conversation with Anakin, so having that happen was out of the question. Once he had quieted himself to the point where he could sense everything around him for a nearly mile radius, he felt confident enough to reach out over a significantly larger distance and catch Anakin's wandering mind.
Anakin found himself pulled slowly away from the nonsensical dream he had been having and found himself looking into a memory.
Anakin, newly a Jedi knight, looked up at the soft, chagrined voice of his once-Master, now friend and partner. "Yes, Master?"
"I need your help."
Anakin could almost read the sigh in Obi-Wan's mind. Anakin had sounded rather smug. It was because Obi-Wan always seemed so independent, that whenever he had to ask Anakin something that was not mission-related, it gave Anakin a small sense of pride at being able to do something his Master couldn't. Of course, there were scores of things Obi-Wan could do that Anakin might never be able to accomplish, but that wasn't really relevant. For now, that didn't matter. Anakin would give Obi-Wan anything he asked, would do anything for him. He was devoted to his Master in a way that was almost dangerous. He could sense that Obi-Wan was wary of such strong devotion, but he believed that his Master thought it was alright because of the bonds they had formed as Padawan and Master.
"You know I have no skill with mechanics."
"Right." Anakin stood from tinkering with his arm, and followed his Master as Obi-Wan walked away. Obi-Wan had been explaining things to him, but Anakin's mind had been on other things. Primarily the fact that Obi-Wan wasn't wearing the normal Jedi attire. He was wearing something more like what you would find the common person wearing. It was quite alluring in its own, strange way. Anakin's hands itched to reach out and feel how different the fabric was from Obi-Wan's Jedi robes, wanted to–
Not going there. Those were dangerous waters.
Anakin's mind slowly focused on what Obi-Wan had been saying, and was rather displeased. His Master was going on a mission.
Anakin frowned slightly, but kept on listening. It seemed like more of a recon mission, which, Anakin conceded, Obi-Wan was much better at doing alone. Although Ankain would have happily killed to be given a chance to be with Obi-Wan outside of the confines of the Jedi Order. He knew the Order forbid attachments, and he knew Obi-Wan would be constricted even more than he. He also had Padme...
But he wanted Obi-Wan.
He wanted the kind, easy-going, stern, Obi-Wan. The one with a strong sense of justice, of a burning desire to help everyone and everything, no matter the reason, or the position of the person. Obi-Wan enjoyed that above all his other Jedi duties. It was rather endearing. But he would sometimes go too far out of the way for another.
Which was why Anakin was there. He would protect Obi-Wan while the man followed his generous heart.
The surroundings around Anakin faded until it was just Obi-Wan in front of him, looking somehow startlingly younger, yet feeling so tired, yet determined.
There was a soft rebuke in Obi-Wan's voice, one that made Anakin wonder what Obi-Wan disapproved of, yet also made him pout slightly.
Obi-Wan smiled slightly, as if happy to hear his surly, sulky reply.
You love me?
Of course! What a stupid question to ask.
No. Do you love me?
Anakin paused, puzzled.
Who are you traveling with now?
You. Why was Obi-Wan asking so many stupid questions? He was smarter than this.
Are you? Obi-Wan asked softly, sadly.
Anakin jumped a little when Obi-Wan began to shake, as he watched numerous wounds begin to inflict themselves upon the older Jedi.
The image of Obi-Wan wavered before him, like the hologram of someone trying to transmit too far. He saw Obi-Wan look up, and their eyes locked for a long moment, and Anakin felt his heart stop at the pain, longing, and a few emotions that were too raw to have a name to them, reflected in Obi-Wan's eyes.
Who are you traveling with? He heard Obi-Wan ask one last time before the image disappeared entirely, only an afterimage of Obi-Wan imprinted eternally in his mind.
Who are you traveling with?
Anakin slowly opened his eyes and looked up at the palm trees that were sheltering him and Obi-Wan from the worst of the noon sunlight.
'I'm traveling with Obi-Wan.' Anakin said to himself as he turned his head and looked at the form beside him.
Ben coughed hard, and examined himself.
Good. No actual cuts, but there were faint marks that spoke that if his mental defenses weren't as strong as they were, he would be bleeding rather heavily from quite a few wounds. He stood up slowly, working out the kinks in his muscles from sitting still for so long.
He couldn't help but chuckle faintly to himself. He had picked that memory out of all the possible ones because he felt it showed what he believed best. What he had not expected was to find out how strongly and how long Anakin had wanted him. It was...alarming, and, in a really twisted and strange way, sweet. Well, he had done what he could. He hadn't wanted to outright say,
"You idiot. Can you honestly think that the person you're traveling with is me? You've spent so long with me and you aren't able to pick out a fake from the real Obi-Wan Kenobi?"
But that, of course, would have ruffled Anakin's feathers and Anakin would not have believed him, which was not what Ben wanted. So he had given Anakin as many hints as he possibly could without telling him outright. Now, the best he would be able to do was the catch up with him and pray that the young man had figured out what he had meant. Obi-Wan slid down the sand dunes to their camp, and rubbed the skin over his heart for a moment, puzzled. Something was weird. Very weird. In a bad way. There was a lack of something in his mind, of a prickle that was suddenly missing. He had just realized it as he was pulling his senses in. There was the lack of another aspect to his power that he had always taken for granted. It made Ben uneasy. There had to be an explanation for this. He would find out in time. But, as of the moment, he had managed to put a kind of mental tracing device on Anakin. He would be able to tell where the man was now, no matter the barriers that were put up between them. That way, he would be able to figure out the best way to get to them. To get Anakin back.
"What were you doing just now, Ben?" Kklar asked softly, not wanting to wake the other members of his household as they slept.
"Meditating," Ben answered as quietly as possible.
"But more, as well."
"You could feel it."
"You are a Jedi, or trained in such arts."
"Maybe. But so are you."
The two looked at each other, each weighing the other.
"Perhaps. Where are we going now?"
"We are a half-cycle away from our destination. Once there, we will drop off the goods that we bought at the fair we are returning home from, and I am planning on staying there until the dry-season is over."
"I see. Then would you be so kind as to lend me some form of transportation as well as some provisions? I must keep on looking for the two I am pursuing."
"You will not rest for a while?"
Ben gave Kklar a small, kind smile. "No, I won't. I have to attend to this matter so that I may move on to another."
"This is a side-issue? One that is only part of a larger one?"
Kklar looked nervous. "You would want to return to something like that?"
"I am needed."
Ben and Kklar fell silent for a while, each thinking their own thoughts. After a while, Ben finally asked.
"Why do you address the woman who looks most like a child as if she were your elder?"
Kklar looked at Ben, startled. "Because she is."
"We start our lives as grey and wrinkled, but over time, our skin firms and gains elasticity, and we grow smaller and smaller. Once we are unable to speak, our families take care of us, and we disappear when we die. Is that not how things go with you, outwordler?"
Oh shit. Oh shit oh shit oh shit. This was bad. Was that the reason he looked to be in his teens? Because in the outside world he was in his forties? This was very, very bad.
"No. How fast does this process go?"
"Not too fast. Each full circle of the sun makes us one year older."
"How many cycles are your years?"
'They grow younger at twice the rate as the people on Courscant, which my body clock is set to. This is NOT good.'
Ben looked into the fire, and his eyes grew distant, alarming Kklar. It was not good for anyone to have eyes so empty. He was about to say something, but Ben's consciousness abruptly came back, and he smiled tightly at Kklar.
"It is now all the more important that I find my friends as quickly as possible."
Kklar was about to ask why, but at the determination that he saw in Ben's eyes, he swallowed the question and instead nodded.
"When we get to my village we will provide you with what you ask, within reason."
Ben raised one eyebrow in skepticism. "'Within reason.' Have I asked that much while I have been with you?"
"No, but it is always better to be cautious."
Ben nodded, his eyes understanding. "We're going to be leaving soon?"
"As soon as the moon comes over the horizon."
Ben nodded. As he had traveled with them, he had found that the natives did not travel at noon or between sunset and moonrise. Noon was because it was simply too hot. Between sunset and moonrise was because there was complete darkness otherwise. Not many stars were seen. Ben speculated that this was because this world was moving in reverse. The people were seeing the world at its end: cold and empty. Ben was slightly saddened by this. Finding new constellations and hearing the stories behind them were always one of his favorite pastimes when he was on a new planet. Here, though, he wasn't able to relax. He had to find Anakin. Before he, himself, disappeared.
Ben and Kklar's family had arrived at the village at sunrise, and the village had turned from sleepy into a bustle. Goods were toted around, people greeted each other, and Ben stayed out of the way after vacating his camel and grabbing his bags. It was an interesting, intricate dance, and Ben enjoyed watching it. Once everything had calmed down to what Ben guessed was its usual level of morning activity, Ben sought out Kklar. He was unsurprised to see Kklar was apparently an official of some importance in the village. He was not the head; the people were matriarchal, and a girl who looked to be no more than 5 or 6 was the head of the village. Ben was finding this a little hard to adjust to, but, because of his young appearance, people seemed to give him some respect. He approached Kklar, and waited patiently until all of the matters he needed to attend to were finished. It was only once Kklar had had a moment to breathe that Ben approached him.
"So kind of you to be patient," Kklar said, weariness in his voice.
"It is not an issue. You know what I'm here for."
"Yes. Yes, I do. Tell me what you think you will need, and I will see if I agree with you."
Ben ticked off a list of things he thought he would need, and found that Kklar agreed to most of them.
"You will need a guide."
Ben shook his head. "Ever since I managed to get out of the rainforest, my skills have returned to me."
"You speak of the Force."
"You can use it."
Kklar looked at him for a long moment, then sighed. "Very well, Jedi. I will trust you know what you are doing. You are simply going to track this person?"
Kklar wrote down what Ben asked, and added a few things he knew Ben would need, before turning back to the Jedi.
"I am relieved to meet one of my Order. I have not been able to sense any other Jedi besides myself before you came."
"It is because your world is moving backwards in time, so, if you lived forever, you would find that you would eventually be able to sense more and more Jedi."
"In the space outside this place, time tends to bring things from small to large, from strong and energetic to wrinkled and grey. You're moving into the past, as things outside are moving into the future."
Kklar frowned. "I see. How strange. It might be because of those."
Ben glanced at him sharply, and all attention was suddenly very focused on Kklar.
"Tell me about these Cities."
"You see them, every now and then. Large, metal monsters in the desert. They are evil."
"How are they evil?"
"You cannot feel how strong the Dark Side is there?"
"I was just coming out of the rainforest, where all my Force strength was bound when I ran across one. I feel that my skills were still slightly on the fritz."
"So could you please tell me more about these places?"
Kklar called in another male, handed him the list, spoke to him in his native tongue, and then sent him away. He slowly looked back at Ben.
"The cities...are remnants of places, of pasts, futures, and presents that were not meant to be. The appear, then they fade, almost as if once the point where they would be needed is passed, they feel no more need to stay, and so vanish. Our people always pray that one day, all these Cities will be gone from out planet. For, to enter into a City is to court disaster. While you might find technologies and information that are wildly helpful, you might also contract a disease, find horrifying information, or worse." Kklar paused, looking nervous, as if to speak of them was to bring ill-luck upon his people.
"I'm sorry to press you, but please tell me what 'worse' means."
Kklar shifted in his chair, then sighed.
"It has been said that dark, evil things roam the Cities, looking for ways to be free of the time-loop they are trapped in. I've heard that the only way that they can escape is by possessing a host and taking over. That's what 'worse' means."
Kklar was alarmed by how pale Ben had become, but did not reach out to touch him. He felt that if he had, he would not have gotten through anyway. The boy before him was traveling down roads in his mind that Kklar didn't even want to consider following.
So that was it. That's what he had felt. But why had it worked? He was stronger than that! To allow himself to be possessed by something...bah...he had failed not only himself but Anakin as well in his weakness. He had also managed to figure out what he was missing. It all made sense, finally. He had been determined before, but now that he realized just how weak he had been, and how much he had failed as both Jedi and man, he would not give up, no matter the obstacles. Very well. He would rest through the midday, and then he would head off. That was decided. Ben looked back up at Kklar, and distantly noticed how the man looked nervous.
"I'm going to be leaving after the midday."
Ben didn't have to wonder why Kklar had guessed. He wasn't exactly trying to conceal his power signature anymore. He was driven, but he wasn't pissed at anyone in particular. He found that not being angry simply focused him more, but it also broke down some of the holds he had on his power signature.
That's alright, Ben thought to himself. Let that dark-being become frightened. Ben knew he was strong; he wasn't what Anakin had the potential to be, but he wasn't a weakling. He would accomplish this mission he had set for himself. It would be done.
He would trust the Force. He knew all would work out, if he simply relied on his instincts, for once, rather than trying to rationalize.
He supposed that, sometimes, a Jedi had to truly let go of their intellect and just rely entirely on the power that guided their entire life.
But, damn, was it a hard lesson to learn. Especially if the price was his life and his relationships.