(A/N) Why can't they just be happy? I mean, Palpatine, that raisin-ass bastard, is dead! What's the big deal? Who knows, maybe they can be.
Considering ending it with this chapter, not sure if I like the ending. May do another chapter. May do a part 2. Haven't decided either way. R and R what you think, both about the chapter and the ideas. Y'all are great!
It was far too quiet here for Anakin. He had never liked funerals to begin with, the sense of finality, the pain and suffering that they always brought. Even now, with only himself, Master Windu, and Master Yoda in attendance, an air of solemnity hung about the place. The casket chamber closed, the light igniting as the cremation began, and, unlike at other funerals he had attended, including Master Fisto's the day before, he had not desire now to look away as the light grew and faded quickly.
They had returned Palpatine's body to Naboo. He had served their planet for years, and even though his identity as the infamous Sith Lord had been revealed, they had demanded he be returned and buried on Naboo soil. There was little discrepancy within the Jedi Order to do so, a team had been sent to accompany the body to make sure it was properly buried and that no suspicious activity surrounded the funeral. Anakin had abstained, there were far more important things to take care of here.
A questions had arisen, a question not easily answered, one that was still hanging over him. His status as a Jedi was in question: there were clearly those within the order who wanted his status to be revoked. His marriage to Padme and her subsequent pregnancy was now common knowledge, and in all manners of the word, it violated every aspect of the Jedi code. There were others Ahsoka, Plo Koon, Master Yoda, and, in a most unexpected turn of events, Master Windu who had abdicated for a repartitioning of the definitions that encapsulated attachment for a Jedi. He was now in Limbo, a member of the Jedi Order still, but walked the halls almost a stranger, where other Masters, Knights, and Padawans stared at him as he moved. He didn't care, he was numb to their words after spending years excluded from them as the chosen one.
And still, there were other things to deal with. Padme was pregnant, now he knew, and he was planning for her impending labor and childbirth. It was months away, but still, he worried about it each day, even though, after Palpatine's death, the image of her dying in childbirth had ceased to be anything except a sour memory. He refused to resign from the Order, telling Master Yoda that if they wanted him gone, they would have to expel him, and so, under this guise, he was juggling his personal responsibilities, his responsibilities as a master, and his work as a general in a war that finally ending.
He had stayed any punishment of Rex for his actions in assisting the Chancellor in his plot. In turn, they had investigated the root and had narrowed the cause down to a small set of trigger tumors. They were beginning to investigate all of the clones, beginning with the 501st battalion. In each report he checked, the story was the same. Every clone had them, in varying states of decay. If they had not stopped them, hadn't caught it, they would have slaughtered their commanders at the drop of an Order. It was horrific, an incredibly detailed plot hatched only months after Anakin himself had joined the Order. None of them had caught it. Not a single one.
"Clouded, the future of the Jedi Order is." Yoda said, breaking the silence that was only accentuated by the small roaring of flames they could hear beneath the ground. It was much better, Anakin thought, than the open funeral they had held for Qui-Gone Jinn. More terrible, too. These efficient chambers existed only because of the war, when Jedi were being killed in massive numbers. All that remained now between them and victory was General Grievous, whose location they were pinpointing as the three Jedi sat. "Tread carefully, we must. A failure, we were, so long ago."
Anakin knew what he was referring too. It was not the first time the little green master had lamented his own mistakes as a Master. As a Jedi.
And still, Anakin found it hard to focus beyond the immediate future. Beyond the end of the war, the election of the new Chancellor. Padme's pregnancy. His own status as a Jedi. And, lying almost completely comatose in a bed several hundred levels above him, his own master, still clinging to life. Anakin knew that Ahsoka's actions of healing, of being able to concentrate her power into helping his oldest friend had saved the man's life. But his injuries, which had been healing, were now even worse.
Whatever Rex had done, in his blitzed out mind, had torn at the already weakened muscles on Obi-Wan's back and chest, shifted his ribs where they were already cracked and broken. Each time he went to the medical ward, it seemed they were changing his bandages and sheets that had become soaked with blood because they couldn't stop the bleeding. He spent most of his days in there, when he wasn't being forced to testify in court, when he wasn't forced to endure Rex's testimony about the torture Obi-Wan had been subjected to, first on Zygerria, then on Kadavo, and then even worse on Serreno.
Now, when he would hold Obi-Wan's body upright, allowing the medical droids to stitch at, inject, and re-wrap his wounds, he could feel the hot pulses on anger that shot through him at every whip mark and bruise. But, like the other feelings of pain, he released them into the force, determined not to let them get the best of him now as they had in the past.
Which is why he was sitting where he was now. Unlike Naboo, when they had contacted Serreno; they had not wanted Dooku's body returned. Despite protest form many Master's, the fact did not change that Dooku had once been a Jedi, that he had tried to stop Palpatine. Yoda had been insistent, and eventually, the rest of the council had relented. He would be cremated here, his ashes left to mingle with those who had been his Jedi brethren so long ago. But they had not attended his funeral, Anakin wasn't sure why he himself was here. But he could feel the closure that watching the pit of flames brought him. This was over, the Sith were done.
"I fear now that if we don't change, we are sealing our own fate." Windu agreed, and even though Anakin knew that they were considering validating his marriage, allowing him to be both a Jedi and a husband and father, he didn't want to talk. He clenched his metal hand tightly.
"I need to leave. Master Yoda, Master Windu." He bowed slightly to them and let his gaze linger for a moment longer on the funeral pit of Count Dooku before he left. His feet carried him forward to wherever they were going to lead him. He had not destination in mind. If he never saw another funeral again, eh would be happy. If he never saw the inside of another hospital. If he never saw another drop of blood, another bruise being covered by a bandage, heard another scream, he felt that would be happy.
Unfortunately, as he pressed the button that would carry hi back to where Obi-Wan was laying, those weren't options he had.