Title: The Will of the Force
Timeframe: approx 3 ½ years post TPM
Characters: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Siri Tachi
Summary: Siri tells Obi-Wan the story of what happened to her during her mission as the pirate, Zora.
Disclaimer: I own nothing, George Lucas or Jude Watson does. I'm here to have a little fun and hope to provide enjoyment for someone else.
A/N: So far, I have a trio of Siri/Obi stories that go together. You don't have to read the others, "A Night on the Town" or "Hidden Underneath" to follow this one, but they do all take place around the same time and this one could be considered the third story in the 'series'.
The Will of the ForceMore than a month had passed since Siri Tachi had returned to the Temple after her undercover mission as Zora, the pirate. During this time, Siri had followed the Council's strong recommendations and she had put herself on a personal probation. As a result, she had to go through intense meditations, visits to the mind healers and had to relearn old skills that she had to cast aside to fulfill her mission. The weeks were difficult. Siri learned it was hard to shed an alter ego that had become such a big part of her, but she was succeeding and the Council believed she was coming along at an accelerated pace.
For Obi-Wan Kenobi, Siri's return to the Temple brought back a light that had been missing for a long time. He often found himself in her company and enjoying it. They met almost daily to practice lightsaber skills and Obi-Wan couldn't remember saber matches being quite so fun. Certainly when they were younger it wasn't that way, in fact, saber sparring with Siri could be down right cutthroat. Now Obi-Wan looked forward to the afternoon practices with the blonde haired Knight and knew he would miss the routine when it was time to give it up.
This morning, Obi-Wan found Siri meditating in the Room of a Thousand Fountains. She usually meditated in a more private place, most often her own quarters, but today she was out among her fellow Jedi. Siri had kept a low profile during her first weeks home, because, Obi-Wan knew, she felt vulnerable to questions, criticisms, and even glares from many of her peers who didn't understand that she hadn't actually left the Jedi and had, in fact, been undercover.
"Siri? I'm sorry to interrupt, but I need to tell you that I may not make practice this afternoon."
"Good Morning, Obi-Wan, and you aren't interrupting," Siri replied as she opened her eyes and looked at him. "Can't make it?" She questioned in mock disbelief. She rose from her sitting position. "Likely story! You're trying to get out of it because you know I am going to win today." Her eyes danced brightly as she teased him.
"I can see there is no fooling you," Obi-Wan chuckled as he matched her good humor. "Seriously, though, I have to go over to the Senate building and, as you know, those trips always take longer than they should. Believe me, I would rather have you beat me in a saber match."
"Well then, I'll just have to beat you twice tomorrow, I suppose." Siri said as she started to stroll along one of the many paths among the fountains.
Obi-Wan was drawn to follow her. He could sense her spark was twice as bright today and happiness radiated off of her. "You've had good news, haven't you Siri?"
"I'm that obvious? The truth is, the Council is very pleased with my progress and I believe I will be off probation very soon. I'm very excited about that."
"Oh, is that all? That's nothing." Obi-Wan pretended to brush the whole thing aside, prompting Siri to give him a soft shove on his shoulder.
"You are not going to rain on my parade, Obi-Wan!"
"Good, because you deserve to be happy, Siri. You've worked hard for this."
The two friends became absorbed in conversation as they continued their stroll and they didn't notice many of the others around them. It was the time of day that most of the elderly or retired Jedi were out enjoying the surroundings, before the young initiates were unleashed for exercise or play or to have class. It was considered one of the more peaceful hours of the morning.
Obi-Wan and Siri crossed over the bridge only to come across an elderly humanoid Knight sitting on a bench at the other side. The woman was known by most of the Temple occupants as crazy Hattie. She had distinguished herself as a Knight and Master in her many years of service, but during her final mission she had suffered a head injury that forever changed her. Mostly she sat in silence, working intently with her hands, weaving baskets or knitting something, but on occasion she was known to have outbursts that were disturbing and sometimes belligerent. She had been a fixture for as long as either Obi-Wan or Siri could remember and she was always lovingly looked after by others at the Temple. It was unusual for her not to have a companion with her.
"You there!" an old voice drew Obi-Wan's attention, "Could you reach that for me, young one?"
"Of course, Master Hattie," Obi-Wan responded as he picked up a ball of yarn from the ground that had fallen just out of Hattie's reach.
Siri, followed behind Obi-Wan and neared the gray haired woman. "Master Hattie?" she inquired, "shouldn't someone be here helping you?"
Without warning the old woman grabbed Siri by the wrist and a wild look spread through her eyes.
"You!" her voice became elevated and agitated. "You should not be here! Your mission has tainted you. You can no longer be a Jedi! You will poison all the others in the Temple!"
Siri stiffened in shock. The happy disposition she had started her day off with fell away as she abruptly shielded all her feelings. Obi-Wan looked at Siri, but couldn't determine if what Hattie had said, had bothered her.
"Master Kenobi, Master Kenobi." a young voice came from the opposite direction as a young padawan girl came towards the group. "I'm sorry, Master Kenobi, I'm the one caring for Master Hattie this morning. I went to get her some water. I thought it would be okay to leave her for a moment."
Obi-Wan turned to face the girl. "It's all right, Barriss, no harm done. We are all familiar with Master Hattie."
"I think your friend was disturbed by her," Barriss said nodding her head towards Siri, who had turned and retreated quickly away from them. Hattie had returned to her work engrossed as though nothing at all had just transpired.
"It will be all right, I'm sure, Barriss. Knight Tachi, I think was just caught by surprise. You will be fine with Hattie, now?" Obi-Wan asked as a matter of formality but he was anxious to catch up with Siri.
"Yes sir," the girl said apologetically. "I'm sorry, sir."
Obi-Wan, however was already on his way towards the exit of the room. Siri had quickly disappeared and Obi-Wan was suddenly worried about her. As he left the Room of a Thousand Fountains he stretched out through the Force to find his friend. He could detect nothing, but he had a good idea as to where she might go and headed for the turbo lift that would take him to the floor where her quarters were located.
When he got to the door of her room he couldn't decide if he should knock or simply enter. As he debated what he should do a voice from the other side made the decision for him. "Just come in," it stated in a flat and emotionless tone.
When Obi-Wan entered he found Siri sitting on her couch with her feet propped on the edge of the low table in front of it. She was leaning forward with her elbows between her knees. Her arms were bent and she held her clasped hands against her lips. She didn't look at him as he approached her.
"Siri," Obi-Wan addressed her as he tried to sense her feelings, "You remember old Hattie. The woman hasn't been in her right mind for years. She had no idea of what she was saying."
"I know." Siri glanced at him quickly and looked away again as she rocked slightly.
Obi-Wan could sense that she was troubled, but not overwrought. He moved to sit down on the table across from her, his leg touching one of her boots. "Do you want to talk about it, Siri?"
She still didn't meet his gaze and stretched her arms forward as she tilted her head down. "I've talked myself sick about it, Obi-Wan. I just want to stop thinking about it."
"Talking to the mind healers is a good thing, Siri, but maybe talking to a friend is better." He brushed her mind softly through the Force as an offer of his sincerity.
Siri again glanced up at him, but did not speak. She touched him briefly through the Force and again brought her clasped hands to her lips.
Obi-Wan waited, giving her space.
The silence stretched out.
Finally Siri spoke as she leaned her forehead on her hands. "Obi-Wan, maybe old Hattie is right. Maybe, I'm tainted."
Obi-Wan wanted to say how ridiculous that statement was, but decided that keeping quiet might be the best way to proceed.
Siri continued, "being undercover for an extensive period of time, like I was, is not compatible with the Jedi Code. In fact, just about everything you do, every decision you make goes against the Code. You no longer make decisions based on right or wrong, but you are forced to choose between the lesser of two evils. A Jedi should not go deep undercover, ever."
It was clear Siri felt strongly about this and Obi-Wan was forced, for the first time since her return to think about what her life as Zora was truly like, what she had to endure, what decisions she was forced to make.
She went on, "I have told the Council this, too, but they see me handling my return well and think their intervention is good enough, that it will be all right for anyone else that goes undercover." She tapped her clasped hands against her forehead in frustration. "It doesn't help that this new Chancellor, Palpatine, champions undercover work. My success has only encouraged him and, I can tell you, I already don't trust that man."
"I don't suppose there is much we can do about the Council, Siri," Obi-Wan commented, but knew that Siri's new conviction was only part of what she wanted to release. "What do you really want to tell me about, Siri?" he asked gently.
She once again glanced towards him and he was sensing that she was still wondering whether she should expose what happened undercover to him. Obi- Wan, instead decided to offer a personal story of his own. "Siri, when I left the Jedi, I also was faced with difficult decisions and many did not turn out well." Siri looked at him more intently, interested. Obi-Wan continued, "I was part of a group of young fighting a civil war and a girl close to me got killed. Her death devastated me and it took me some time to see that it wasn't really my fault. It probably would have happened even if I had not stayed behind on Melida/Daan."
"I'm sorry, Obi-Wan," Siri muttered in a soft voice. "Did you love her?"
"I was only thirteen, but I thought I did and I suppose that is what mattered. She died in my arms and it is still a vivid memory to this day."
Siri nodded and gave her friend a sympathetic look. Obi-Wan could see that she was trying to decide where to begin her own story. Then, at last, she spoke. "Krayn was a monster who took whatever he wanted."
Obi-Wan tensed slightly bracing himself for the dreadful thing he guessed she was going to reveal next. "Did he take you, Siri?"
Siri lowered her hands and gave Obi-Wan a sad smile. "Thankfully, no. I found, what you might call, a creative way to avoid that, or he would have."
Siri let out a deep breath and leaned back on the couch, resting her head against it. She looked to the ceiling when she spoke again. "Zora...I...had a lover."
"I see." Obi-Wan wasn't sure what to make of this information or how Siri expected him to react to it. "I supposed you had to do what you must to preserve your dignity."
"That's what I tell myself, but I didn't have to sleep with him, actually."
Now Obi-Wan was confused and it clearly showed on his face. However, he knew that Siri, having told him this much already, would not stop now and he waited for her to continue her story. He noticed she had begun to relax from her agitated state and she rubbed her hands gently on her thighs, but she still avoided looking directly at him.
"When I first infiltrated Krayn's operation, there was another partner, Derek. I don't know who eyed me more, Krayn or Derek, but Derek's attention was not the same as the lecherous glare that I always got from Krayn.
"One night, I had slipped into one of Krayn's offices and was attempting to tap into his databanks when Derek caught me. At first I thought he would kill me, or worse, but instead he let it be known he knew I was not what I appeared to be and the reason he knew was because it was something we both had in common. He revealed to me that he was working undercover for the Corellian government to get information on Krayn, as well. Krayn had plenty of dirty dealings happening on Corellia and the government wanted him shut down for good.
"Derek proposed we partner together, it might be the only way we would get out of our particular missions alive and somewhat intact. He told me he was tired of having to sleep with one eye open and at the very least we could watch each other's backs. I couldn't discount that the idea had merit, but it involved sharing quarters and declaring we were lovers. He promised it would be only for show and he was as good as his word.
"One night, I returned to our quarters after a particularly brutal day of watching Krayn throw his weight around. Not only had he raped a slave woman, but also he issued orders to have her whipped. Derek found me in the 'fresher losing everything that had been in my stomach. I was so sick of not being able to do anything for Krayn's victims and I didn't know if I could take it anymore. For the first time during the whole mission I felt great despair and wondered if it was even realistic to think it would ever be over."
Siri let out a heavy sigh. "I suppose I was desperate to grab onto any thread of humanity I could find and Derek was it. That night we went from a relationship of pretense to one of reality."
"Did you love him, Siri?" Obi-Wan lowered his head and asked almost in a whisper.
"I didn't even know his real name and he didn't know mine." Siri sat up and put her feet on the floor. For the first time since Obi-Wan entered the room she looked him squarely in the eye. "I needed him," she answered. "I wanted him," she added lowering her voice, "but I never entertained the thought of running off with him. I don't believe he thought about that either, even considering..." Siri's voice trailed off.
"Considering what?" Obi-Wan prompted.
Siri leaned back and unclipped her lightsaber from her belt, as Obi-Wan watched in interest. She held the hilt upside down in her hands and ran her thumb along the bottom edge of it. A hinged lid popped up and Siri tilted her saber hilt over the table allowing three items to roll out, a blonde padawan braid, a man's ring and a small holodisc. Siri picked up the disc and gave it to Obi-Wan. He turned it on to find a holopic of an infant's head and torso. The newborn was fair-haired, blue-eyed, and wrapped in a blue blanket with his tiny fingers folded over the blanket edge.
Obi-Wan looked at her half in surprise and half in question. Siri nodded an affirmative to him and commented dryly, "A funny thing happens to a woman when she sleeps with a man, she gets pregnant." Siri let out a deep breath. "That's my son."
Obi-Wan found himself completely speechless at this revelation. Questions whirled in his brain but they couldn't quite materialize on his tongue. Furthermore, he wasn't sure what was actually appropriate to ask.
"It was strange, but when I discovered I was expecting, I wasn't angry or scared, instead I had a strong feeling that it was supposed to be. Another unusual side effect was that the pregnancy kept the rest of the pirates at arms length. They no longer hovered over me or attempted to put their hands on me.
"It turns out that those ruthless bastards have a bizarre superstition about pregnant females. Those pirates will lie, cheat, steal, strike each other's women and beat each other to a bloody pulp, but if anything happens to a pregnant woman within their vicinity it brings very bad luck. They have even been known to have autopsies done on their dead female slaves to see if they were carrying a child.
"Derek let it be known immediately that I was with child and I was given plenty of space.
"The months that followed were much easier. Together Derek and I were able to gather much information and it finally looked like we just might succeed in our missions. The day finally came, of course, when Derek insisted I leave the operation until after I gave birth. He had connections of connections where he could hide me. It was a concern that if I delivered among the pirates, the child would be taken by one of them and sold on the black market. Healthy babies bring a high price there. So I stayed with some Wookie friends on a nearby planet until the baby arrived.
"During that time, Derek continued to work with Krayn but he came as soon as he heard I delivered and took the baby away. He told me he was going to see to it that the boy got back to his family...whoever that was. I was able to hold my son for only an hour before he was taken away from me and I have no clue as to where he was taken or even what Derek named him."
A large tear rolled down Siri's cheek as she continued to relate her story to her friend. "He was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen and the tiniest. His soft downy head barely filled one of my hands and his fingers could barely wrap around one of mine. He was perfect, though he was so little. He was a bright light in so much darkness.
"He wasn't at all Force sensitive or I would have found some way to get him here to the Temple."
Obi-Wan could feel Siri's sorrow as it was finally unleashed through her shields and his heart broke for her. He watched another tear roll down her cheek and it caught the light and sparkled like a jewel. He reached over and wiped away the tear with the edge of his finger. "I'm so sorry, Siri," was all he could think to say but his expression was sincere and Siri knew it.
Siri nodded thanks and continued with her story, "When I returned to the organization, the group still kept their distance to a certain degree. Derek told them that I, Zora, had sold my own baby on the black market.
"I was so mad at him for that, but he told me I had to trust him. If they thought I was that ruthless, it would make them think twice before messing with me. I think he was also preparing me for his exodus. About six weeks after my return his ship went down and the wreckage was such a charred mess that it was hard to tell if he was in it or not. I found the ring he wore at the site and I tried to determine through the Force if his body was there. I don't think he was. I think he left the ring for me to find.
"He told me he had spent 20 years doing undercover work. He was a master of two things, disguise and faking his own death. I kept the ring, I don't really know why. Maybe I figured if I ran into him again I would return it."
Siri tucked her hair behind her ears as she concluded her tale. "About six weeks following Derek's departure, you and Anakin showed up. I didn't even recognize you at first. I hadn't seen you for so long and your longer hair and beard fooled me, but when I realized it was you, I was so happy. I finally had hope that it was going to end and that I could finally get out of the organization and the mission."
Obi-Wan moved to sit beside her on the couch and after a few moments of silence he spoke, "I don't know what I expected when I asked you to tell me what happened, but this is far from anything I would have ever imagined. It's also less devastating than anything I would have thought could have happened."
"But Obi-Wan I broke so many rules and codes. I did so many things wrong."
"Perhaps from your point of view, but, Siri, what are the odds that you would find someone else undercover to help you through the mess? What are the odds that you would produce a son? The way I see it, the whole relationship kept you alive and sane. It brought you back here and I have the distinct feeling that that would never have happened without Derek. There are no coincidences in the Force."
"But I have a son out there and I have no clue as to where. I don't know if he made it to a safe haven and I have no way of finding out. I'm a terrible mother."
"You are not a terrible mother. A terrible mother wouldn't even think about it. Siri, if the Force was instrumental in what happened than you must trust it will also guide your son. There is a reason he exists and you may never know, in this lifetime, what that is. You are a Jedi, you know what you must do."
"Get over it and move on?" Siri said, but in a mocking manner.
"No, accept it and learn to live with it as you move on. There is a difference, Siri, and you know it. You have suffered the loss of a son and that will always be with you. Just like the loss of a father is with me." Obi-Wan took one of her hands in his. "I think the person who needs to forgive you is you."
Siri tilted her head slightly. "I suppose so."
Obi-Wan touched his forehead to hers and smiled at her. "I know so."
Siri put her arms around him and gave him a big strong hug. He could feel her spark begin to return through the Force as he returned her embrace warmly.
"Thank you, Obi-Wan."
Or is it the end? I could post an epilogue to this piece. What do you think? I would love reviews!