A/N: I am so very sorry it took so long to get this updated! I got... er... stuck... But don't worry! As always, the wait is long, but (I hope) the results are worth it! I know this chapter is a little long to not really go anywhere, but I can almost guarantee that they will be at Kapitenochan by the end of the next chapter. I'm just not positive how yet... Anyway, shoutouts!
SoloKenobi: Don't worry! The twists are coming very soon!
Jedi-Keliam-Kenobi: Yup, his arm got chopped off... And I have just recently read Secrets myself... and I'm rather disappointed with myself for breaking them up... might have to put her in here somewhere...
Eowyn Skywalker: sulks Fine. No more glaring... And I can be as mean as I want! Don't you remember Hunter? smacks hand over mouth No more here! Can't talk about that... Glad you think I'm getting better, though!
Padawan Sydney Bristow: Yeah, poor Obi... And more so in this chapter!
mikigm31: Uh... 'cause he's a brat? Yeah, I don't care for Ani too much... but I guess I don't really have an answer for your question... maybe it was past his bedtime... Anyway, there is definitely more Anakin for this chapter! blushes You really think I do conversations well? I'm... I'm touched...
Ashes Kittyhawk: Glad you like it! Hopefully this ending is less of a cliffie...
BabeBunny: Here's your update!
To Foral McDerson Windu, I wish you would review more! Alright, enough yapping. You all want to hear what happens next! All 2,011 words of it...
Chapter 8: I Wish...
Adi bowed her head. She didn't want to have to see Obi-Wan like this. But, then again, she just couldn't leave him. She was too worried about him. And so, when Bant and Garen rejoined Anakin in the shelter, Adi stayed with Obi-Wan. She sat next to him, deep in thought. She hadn't yet had a chance to put the pieces together. She had been so caught up with the sudden shock of discovering that the one person she disliked the most in the universe, or that she thought she disliked most in the universe, loved her. It was something she just couldn't understand, couldn't grasp, and yet, here she was, the most concerned over the young man's condition.
Adi thought back to her childhood, specifically to the day Qui-Gon had come to her with the news that he had discovered the identity of her secret admirer. That was the day she had received her last gift in front of her door. She had seen Obi-Wan and Garen with Bant a little later on. And that was also the day Qui-Gon's Padawan had fallen strangely ill. Now it all made much more sense. That was probably the day Obi-Wan told them, or at least one of them. He must have gone into some kind of emotional breakdown.
Still deep in thought, Adi absent-mindedly stroked his face. Suddenly, she was jarred out of her thoughts. She pulled her hand away. Something was wrong. Her mind was worn out from so much thinking and lack of sleep, and it took her a while to register the sensation of heat on her hand. She blinked several times as her hand cooled, glancing down at the sleeping Jedi Knight. She once again placed her hand gently on Obi-Wan's face, drawing a sharp breath as heat once again coursed through her hand. She drew it slowly away again, placing it against her own skin. She was surprised at how quickly her hand cooled, at how chilled her own face was. It was only then that she noticed the cold breeze blowing through the dark camp.
Her weary feet moving sluggishly slow, Adi walked to the shelter as fast as her legs would take her. Though, to her panicked mind, it was too slow. She hated to wake Garen at this hour, especially with all they needed to do tomorrow morning. But she didn't have much choice. Obi-Wan might be in serious trouble. She wanted to have Garen there just in case something was seriously wrong, in case she wasn't able to take the emotional strain on her own.
Garen's eyes flew open as Adi started shaking him. Whatever was wrong, it was making her desperate. "What's wrong?" he asked as he stood up and walked outside with her.
Adi shook her head as they walked. "I'm not sure yet," she answered in a fearful undertone.
Bant watched the two walking outside. Garen threw her a reassuring look over his shoulder, though she could tell it was only half felt. Bant tried not to worry, but it was getting difficult. She sat up and glanced around the meager shelter in an attempt to occupy her mind. Sleep would no longer be possible for her.
Young Anakin Skywalker stirred on his cot across the room, then turned over and sat up, flicking his eyes uncertainly about the empty shelter. His blue eyes came to rest upon the Mon Calamari, and the depth of uneasy fear within them tore at her. She went over to him and sat down next to his cot, placing a reassuring arm around his shoulders.
Anakin raised his eyes to meet hers. "Will Master Obi-Wan be alright?" he asked in a low, fearful tone. Bant turned her silvery eyes toward the shelter entrance through which her friends had disappeared.
"I hope so, Anakin," she answered after a while of silence. "Oh, I certainly hope so." She turned back to him and tried to smile, but they could both see the uncertainty and concern in the other's eyes. And so they sat on in silence, waiting anxiously for some news of their comrade.
Garen placed a hand on Obi-Wan's forehead, then moved it down to his cheek. He shook his head, frowning, then moved the crude bandage aside from the wounded shoulder. Adi flinched visibly and looked away. Garen shook his head again and looked over at Adi, who gazed longingly at him for good news.
Garen sighed. "Not good," he whispered quietly. "He's in no condition to travel, and he won't be for several days. I'm afraid it's become infected."
Adi's stomach churned and her heart raced. Tearful eyes dropped down to the sleeping young man stretched out before the small fire in the center of the clearing. "But there's no medic for miles," she whispered back. "He'll have to travel. We have no choice."
Garen's eyes dropped as well. "No, we don't," he replied. "That's what worries me. He may not have a chance." Adi closed her eyes, tried to close herself from the truth. Finally, she had realized the one thing that she had known her whole life, realized she was more than just deeply loved, she was cared for. And now it was too late. The truth of this tore at her heart, ripped her insides apart, battered around her mind, echoed in her head. Tears once again spilled down her face onto the ground in front of her.
Garen wrapped his arms about her shoulders and sat her gently down on the forest floor. Sitting down beside her, he tilted his head back and stared at the star-studded black field just beyond the tree tops. He couldn't help thinking that somewhere out there was a world where they all would have been safer. If only they had stayed there, that is. He forced the thought from his mind. This won't help things, he thought.
Adi lowered herself slowly to the ground. She was too tired to think about anything anymore. Everything seemed out of her control now, and it made her feel uncomfortable.
Garen stood and walked quietly back to the shelter. Bant was still in there, he knew, and she needed to know what was going on. Adi stayed behind again, lying on her side, parallel to Obi-Wan, facing him. She could not tear her eyes away from him, nor did she want to. It almost seemed like he was as fragile as a dream, like he might disappear if she turned away just one more time.
She reached out and touched his face again. It felt hot, like it had been burned. He stirred slightly at her touch this time, turning his face toward her. His eyes opened half-way, looking at her. She froze instantly, almost afraid of waking him up. He reached up to take her hand.
Adi's first impulse was to pull away. She almost did. Yet something in his eyes kept her still as he clasped her hand in his. "Is everything all right?" he whispered.
Adi wanted to tell him that everything was fine, but something deep within her almost brought the entire truth right out. Between trying to say something and trying to keep that voice quiet, she could only nod. A faint smile flitted across her face before disappearing behind a fresh cloud of grief. She thought she might start crying again, but her tears were spent.
Obi-Wan saw the struggle on her face clearly. He wished there was something he could do for her. But he knew that there was nothing to be done. There wasn't much to say, either. And so they both fell silent and waited for dawn.
Anakin rose as soon as it was light enough to see by. He was restless by nature and felt that he needed to be out and doing things as soon as he possibly could. As he walked outside the shelter, he began to think about his short past as a Jedi. There wasn't much to think about, since he had only been with the Jedi Order for a year. But there were a good deal of lessons to think about and meditate on.
Not that he particularly enjoyed meditating. It was much too dull for his restless life-style. He had often wondered if other Jedi ever had as much trouble focusing during meditation as he did. He had often meant to ask Obi-Wan, but had never gotten around to it. Right at that moment he made a mental note to ask as soon as all this was over.
As he stepped into the clearing, his eyes wandered over the forest all around him, finally coming to rest on two figures lying near the ashes of the fire. Both were asleep, there hands clasped loosely together between them.
Something about the scene before him struck Anakin strangely, as if he had seen it before somewhere. The more he thought about it, the more he was sure he had seen it in a dream somewhere. But in his dream the couple had been different. One of them had been him, he was sure. Who the woman was, he could not yet tell, or did not want to.
And then it was gone, like a morning mist, so quickly one wondered if it was half imagined. Anakin walked closer to the two, slowly and quietly so as not to wake them. Once more a shadow of his dream flitted before his eyes, too quick to grasp. He stood there a moment longer before turning back to the shelter.
Bant Eerin, the Mon Calamari, had told him the night before that his Master was in very bad condition and needed immediate medical attention. What troubled Anakin was that there was no medic for miles, which meant that…
Anakin did not finish the thought. It was too painful. He fought a strange overwhelming desire to run as he entered the shelter.
Garen was already awake. The weary young man lifted his sandy blonde head as Anakin walked over, exhaustion showing clearly in his face. He wouldn't try to hide it. There was no point. He watched Anakin closely as the young Padawan came over and sat down next to him. The boy was worried, that much was certain. But beyond that, Garen could tell nothing of his feelings. Anakin was as hard to read as indistinguishable writing. "Are you going to be alright?" he asked gently.
Anakin only nodded, staring blankly at the ground. He knew Garen was trying to be helpful, and he appreciated it, but he didn't see how anyone could understand what he was going through. None of them had had to deal with the knowledge that their Master might possibly die soon. Sure, Obi-Wan and Bant had lost their Masters, and Adi had lost a Padawan, but none of them had seen it coming. And if his Master died, he would have no one left. At the moment, Anakin Skywalker felt very alone.
It was at that moment that Garen had a glance into the boy's thoughts. A flicker, but it was enough. And he saw there not only worry, but fear. Fear for his Master. And when he looked at himself, he saw something very similar: fear for a friend. He put his hand gently on the Padawan's shoulder. "It'll be alright, Anakin," he assured him. "We'll be alright."
"I wish..." Anakin began, faltering as he tried to grasp his fleeting thoughts. The older Jedi waited patiently. "I just wish... we had stayed," he said at last, raising his gaze to meet Garen's. "If we had, none of this would have happened."
Garen nodded slowly, letting the words hang in the air for a moment longer before replying. "Wishful thinking is not the way of the Jedi," he finally said quietly. "I find myself thinking this way myself, but we must always remember that our destiny is chosen. We cannot change our past just by wishing things had been different."
Anakin's gaze dropped back to the ground. "A lesson from the Masters?" he asked sullenly.
Garen gazed out the small doorway, a sad smile playing across his lips. "No," he answered. "The words of a friend."