And All Points North
Look, all I know is what they taught me at command school. There are certain rules about a war and rule number one is young men die. And rule number two is doctors can't change rule number one. – Henry Blake, M.A.S.H
"Padawan," came a soft voice from far away and Kampher Lutador, Padawan and Apprentice Jedi Healer suddenly snapped to attention.
She and the other Healers, Masters and Apprentices alike had spent the last 36 hours on a Medi-freighter tending to the most severely wounded Jedi survivors of Geonosis – the maimed – the very few that needed more than a simple bacta patch....
"Padawan Healer..." the voice came again. "Are you awake?"
Kampher - or Kam, as she was known - raised her head and her wide brown eyes met sad blue ones.
"I'm sorry Master... Master Kenobi!" she stammered, ducking her head a bit. "I must have drifted off..."
"It's alright," he reassured her gently. "It has been – shall we say - a trying time for all of us. When did you last rest?"
"I just close my eyes a moment ago..." she began, then looked at the chrono. "Oh my, I've been asleep for an hour!" She stood up suddenly, almost unconsciously, ran her hands down her light blue robes as if to straighten them. Obi-Wan flinched. Although her hands were clean, her robes were spattered and stained with maroon patches that could only be drying blood.
"Can I help you Master?" she asked suddenly. "I mean, I..."
"It's alright," he replied soothingly. "I just wanted to see how Anakin was doing. He was... he was among the badly hurt..."
Kampher thinned her lips, which Obi-Wan found ironically amusing. It was an expression he had seen in the mirror many times before when dealing with his young apprentice, but her next words chilled him to the bone.
"Resting at last," she sighed heavily. "We've lost eight of the Jedi who were brought in to us. Anakin – Jedi Skywalker, was very nearly the ninth."
Obi-Wan drew in a sharp breath. "What happened?"
Kampher regarded him for a moment, choosing her words carefully. "He went into shock," she said quietly. "Not from the loss of his arm – a simple amputation is and easy fix..."
She trailed off and Obi-Wan did not push. After a short time, she continued her narrative.
"Master Yoda told us that Master Dooku used a form of – abusive use of the force." She shivered. "A tactic of the Dark Side... His heart had stopped... we couldn't – he wouldn't respond to..."
Again she paused, as if unsure how much she really wanted to tell him.
"He's sleeping now," she said at last. "A combination of reassurance and copious amounts of sedation."
"Reassurance?" Obi-Wan asked, confused. "About what?"
"He would not surrender to sleep until he knew that you and the Senator were all right." Kampher said softly. "It was as if he were desperately afraid for you..."
Now it was Obi-Wan's turn to look away. He was sure that the Healer before him, apprentice or not, understood the Jedi doctrine on attachments; and yet...
"You may come sit with him for a little while if you'd like," Kampher offered him a wan smile that quickly hardened with concern. Apprentice or no, the young Healer carried the air of authority of her office. "But Master Kenobi, if I sense even the slightest disturbance in Master Skywalker's condition, I shall have to ask you to leave."
Obi-Wan winced as he rose, and leaned heavily on his walking stick. Although his wounds had been treated and were well on the way to healing, his leg still pained him.
"Do you wish to have something for the pain, Master Kenobi?" Kampher asked, concern evident in her features. "It would only take a moment..."
"No, thank you..." he grimaced, and then offered a half smile. "I can manage all right. Shall we go in?"
"Of course," Kampher nodded then paused again. "Master... Anakin is... he still is attached to many of the Meeda devices ... I just wanted to prepare you..."
Obi-Wan only nodded as he followed her through the doors.
As they passed into the larger ward, Obi-Wan took great care to hold in his feelings and shield himself as his guide had instructed. They passed a great many beds, a few which had been stripped clean as if their occupants had recently left them. As if to confirm this, they reached a bed where a young Twi'lek lay dying. Two Jedi Healers, a Master and an Apprentice, knelt on either side of his bed, using all the power at their disposal to ease the young man's passage into the Force. Kampher walked steadily past without pause and Obi-Wan understood that this was sadly far from common occurrence.
When they reached Anakin's bedside, Obi-Wan gasped in shock. Kampher had warned him about the Meeda – Medical Emergency Droid and Accessories, but this was far worse than he could have ever imagined.
What lay on the bed was a shadow of his Padawan. He was pale and drawn, and his right arm ended in a gauze-wrapped stump. Although the Lightsaber had cauterized his wound, innumerable tubes and sensors protruded from it. Anakin's face was bruised with an oxygen mask strapped tightly over his nose and mouth, and Obi-Wan was dimly aware of his labored breathing. So entranced was he by this vision that he failed to notice that he and the young Healer weren't Anakin's only visitors.
The Medi-droid flashed its lights and rotated its head as if to silently express it's displeasure and its hopes that the Healer would set things right.
"Senator Amidala, Schurke Canaille!" Kampher hissed. "What are you two doing out of bed? And more importantly, why are you disturbing Ana - my patient?"
As if being pulled out of a daze, Obi-Wan looked over at his Padawan's other visitors.
Senator Padmé Amidala sat closest to him, dressed in a loose, ill fitting gown with her hair falling about her shoulders and Anakin's hand in her own. The second was one of Anakin's few close friends, a fellow Padawan named Schurke Canaille. Shurke sat closer to the head of the bed with one hand resting on Anakin's shoulder, the other stroking his head tenderly. To Obi-Wan's horror, he realized that Schurke was missing his leg.
Unperturbed and perhaps unmindful of Obi-Wan's reaction and Kampher's irritation, Schurke raised his hand in silent greeting. Padmé however, continued to stare straight into the distance, absently stroking Anakin's hand.
"You both should be in bed..." Kampher began but Shurke cut her off softly.
"Toboo – Anakin - was moaning in his sleep again, Kam," he told her quietly. "The Senator arrived soon after I did. We just wanted to help."
"I know," Kampher replied gently. "But..."
"Excuse me, Healer Lutador," a young voice interrupted them both. A young Twi'lek Jedi, also dressed in Healer's robes had appeared as quietly as a wisp of smoke. "Master Healer Amarre wishes to see Padawan Canaille, and has instructed me to refresh the bandages and bacta on the Senator's wounds."
"Oh of course," Kampher nodded, all sense of formality dropped now. "It's time for me to tend to Anakin as well." She turned to Obi-Wan who had almost succeeded into fading into the background. "Master Kenobi? Will you sit with Anakin for a few minutes while I assist Shurke back to his bed and retrieve the supplies I'll need?"
Wordlessly Obi-Wan nodded and moved to his Padawan's side as Schurke retrieved the braces that would help him walk. Mindful of his own balance, Obi-Wan helped him rise as the young Twi'lek took Padmé's hand. Padmé pulled Anakin's hand to her lips and kissed it, and seemingly oblivious to Obi-Wan's presence, allowed herself to be lead away. Obi-Wan cast a puzzled look at Kampher, who shook her head.
"The Senator's wounds were badly infected, Master Kenobi," she told him sadly. "We didn't know she wasn't a Jedi when she was brought on board and the pain management techniques we used have affected her much more strongly then it would have a Jedi. She'll regain her lucidity after an hour or so of sleep." She nodded at Anakin, whose breathing became a little stronger as his head began to move from side to side. Kampher frowned, placed her hand on his head and after a moment, he calmed again.
"Nice trick," Obi-Wan croaked, finding his voice at last. "You'll have to teach me that one."
The frown became a look of restrained frustration, one Obi-Wan was all too familiar with, having recognized it as his own. "Master Kenobi," she said coolly. "It's a sign that he is once again fighting the sedation and will wake in considerable pain if it's not addressed soon." She closed her eyes and sighed deeply before continuing, now in a much more measured tone. "Please Master Kenobi; he needs you right now, and this will only take a few minutes."
Obi-Wan offered her a wan smile as Schurke lightly touched his friend's forehead.
"He speaks so highly of you Master Kenobi," Schurke said softly. "He only wants to please you... make you proud."
Stroking Anakin's head, Obi-Wan replied in that same soft voice, "he does..."