Obi-Wan slowly took off his outer cloak, mentally preparing himself for the battle to come. Making sure that his lightsaber was in hand he stepped into the circle. Across from him Knight Kane, a Twi'lek did the same.
The circle flared as the Force was gathered, until an impregnable barrier was formed. It would not lower until a victor stepped forth. On the outside of the circle sat the twelve Masters of the Council, though not allowed to interfere they made sure the rules of the ritual were followed by the two battling Jedi.
Obi-Wan bowed to his fellow Knight, who didn't pay the younger Jedi the same respect. He looked bored as he swung his arms about, getting his blood flowing. Obi-Wan could feel it through the Force, Knight Kane was bored and wanted to get the match over with. The Twi'lek had no doubt in his mind that Obi-Wan would lose. That in a few short moments Obi-Wan would lose the last thing in the Universe that he cared about. Obi-Wan forced himself to release the fear and apprehension into the Force, leaving him focused only on his opponent across from him.
"Begin" came Yoda's voice, and with a thump of his gimmer stick the sacred battle between two Knights for the right to teach a Padawan was on.
"Why don't you admit it, you never would have trained me if you hadn't promised Qui-Gon" accused Anakin glaring at Obi-Wan.
Obi-Wan stared at Anakin, feeling like he had just been slapped. "You think that I was obligated by a promise I gave to Qui-Gon to train you?" he asked with disbelief in his voice.
"I bet if you could have you would have passed me on to any other Knight that offered" spat Anakin.
Ahsoka looked between her Master and GrandMaster feeling the tension thick in the air. But looking at Obi-Wan, she could have swore she saw a look of deep sadness cross his face, though it was gone in an instant. But he could not hide the way the Force around him dimmed with those words. Though he did not know it, Anakin was throwing everything Obi-Wan had sacrificed to keep him as Kenobi's apprentice back into his face. Basically telling him that it was all for nothing.
"Anakin that is not true, we might have had a rough start but I never would have given you up" said Obi-Wan, trying to tell Anakin how much he meant to him without actually saying it. To say his true feelings aloud would meant that Obi-Wan would have to acknowledge the fact he had formed an attachment to his Padawan. A deep one, so deep that he knew that he would never be able to give it up. Anakin was his brother, and in some ways a son, and Obi-Wan tried his best to always be there for him. Whether that be having his back in battle, or distracting the Council so that Anakin could have time with his Senator.
Anakin huffed, looking disbelievingly at Obi-Wan "Riiight, and Hoth's unfroze."
Obi-Wan pressed his lips into a thin line. Those words so callously said, the truth that rang with them. Anakin truly believed that Obi-Wan would have passed him to another Knight if he hadn't promised Qui-Gon. It felt as if a knife had been thrust into him, a deep hurt he hadn't felt since Qui-Gon had been killed. Obi-Wan was aware of all the scars he carried, a testament to how hard he fought for Anakain and in the end it didn't seem to matter. "I hope Anakin that that you do not have to go through what I did with your Padawan" Obi-Wan said lowly. With that he turned on his heels and walked away.
Anakin glared at the retreating form of his former Master. "Typical" he said flippidly.
Ahsoka could feel the anger and the vindication roll off her Master, but also the hurt from the actions Obi-Wan displayed. It seemed Obi-Wan walking away made her Master believe that his words were the truth, since Obi-Wan hadn't really denied it. Except Obi-Wan's parting words made no since, and like the small Master seemed to hide a great deal. Ahsoka knew that Obi-Wan and Anakin would do anything for each other on the battlefield. But something seemed to have gone wrong in their personal relationship. It didn't escape the young Padawan's notice that it always seemed to be Obi-Wan's fault. Almost as if her Master was slightly punishing Obi-Wan for something that had happened in their past. Ahsoka deduced it was with this Master Qui-Gon, who she knew was Obi-Wan's Master and was killed by a Maul. But she didn't know anything beyond that.
"What did he mean Master?" she asked looking up at him.
Anakin looked at her, "It means that he hopes you're not as much trouble and as much as a disappointment that I was to him."
While Obi-Wan and Anakin had been arguing none had witnessed the presence of Yoda join them. Not even Obi-Wan when he had walked off felt the GrandMaster's Force presence. Yoda had stayed silent through it all. But listening to his Great-Great Padawan make light of all the sacrifices Obi-Wan had gone through to train him, was beyond what Yoda was willing to let go.
He wacked Anakin on the shin with his whole entire non-Force strength. "Ungrateful and blind you are, Anakin Skywalker."
Anakin yelped and reached down to clutch at his shin, which he could already feel the bruise forming.
"Fought Obi-Wan did to have you as his Padawan. Sixty times he fought in the Agoge to keep you as his apprentice. Obligation to a dead man it was not. Shame Qui-Gon and his teachings in rejecting Obi-Wan"
Ahsoka looked at Yoda in confusion "What is Agoge?" she asked, never hearing the word before.
Yoda sighed, "Come, to my quarters we go. Something to discuss in public, this is not."
Yoda led the Master/Padawan team to his quarter where he bade them to sit at his low table as he put on a pot tea and a holo chip on the table. It wasn't until the tea was brewed and it was brought to the table did Yoda began to speak.
"Ancient tradition the Agoge is. If a Knight or Master, felt they did that a Padawan of another Jedi should be removed from their care. Right they have to challenge, the right they have to take the Padawan as their own" explained Yoda as he poured the tea. Unsurprised at the surprise and shock that rolled through the Force as he said this, it was the same reaction new Knights had when this tradition was explained.
"So say that Master Obi-Wan had a problem with the way Master Anakin is teaching me, he could challenge Anakin's right to teach me and take me as his own Padawan?" asked Ahsoka, making sure that she got the idea correctly.
Yoda smiled at her. "Correct you are, but only one time they may challenge and only once a month. Deep in Temple is special arena. Challengers face each other in circle of Force, while the Council watches we do. To make sure the rules are followed, but intervene we must not. The barrier of Force does not come down until a victor is known. Winner gain rights to train Padawan they do."
Anakin frowned, "That horrible, does the Padawan have no say? Why have I never heard of this before?"
Yoda's ears twitched. "War changes everything. Once taken Padawan learner, all lessons of responsibilities you would have learned. But no time there is none, not when battle rage on. Very rare the Agoge is performed. Padawan was expected to accept the change. In ancient times, the match was to the death, but since then only until one surrenders. For your Master, monthly occurrence it became for the first five years of your training young Skywalker."
Anakin sputtered as he set down his tea cup with force, "What!"
Yoda looked at Anakin with half-lidded eyes. "Very powerful in the Force you are young Skywalker. Seen by everyone in Temple even when young. Young Obi-Wan was considered, to young many thought to be your Master. Believe many do that Chosen One you are. Thought they would be better Master's for you they did. Would have been simple for Obi-Wan to allow another older and skilled Jedi to train you. No fault would be found in his actions. Few times members of Council told Obi-Wan to stop fighting, because they couldn't stand the beating Obi-Wan was receiving. But Obi-Wan would not. If Obi-Wan felt obligation for a promise alone, different Master you would have" said Yoda with conviction.
"I can't believe this" said Anakin feeling suddenly lower than ever.
Yoda slide the data chip across the table. "Record of every Agoge Obi-Wan participated in this is. Watch it you should before judge Obi-Wan commitment you should."
The three sat in silence, letting the information sink in. Anakin waited until Ahsoka had drank all her tea, his stomach churning too much to finish his own.
Yoda watched them leave still sipping his own tea. He hoped that Obi-Wan would forgive him for sharing this information. But he had seen the young Master's pain and heard the voice of his Grand Padawan.
You did the right thing Master came Qui-Gon's voice again. To long has Anakin mistrusted Obi-Wan. Their bond was always full of shadows when it should have been light. It is time for Anakin's eyes to be opened.
"And so they will be" murmured Yoda as he felt Qui-Gon's presence leave him once more.
This idea's been bouncing around in my head for a while, hoped you enjoyed the first part! Please review!