Title: Fall Inside

Author: RangerGirl

Summary: "He never knew until it was too late just how proud of him I was." Obi-Wan POV.

Notes: Would have been a drabble, but once Obi-Wan started talking in my head he didn't seem willing to stop. After seeing ROTS I had the overwhelming urge to exorcise my angst through fic, so here's the result.

Disclaimer: George Lucas owns all. I just play with it while he's not looking.

Fall Inside

If there is one thing that can be said of the Jedi code, it's that it is rigidly unambiguous. The rules are few, but the principles are all but set in stone; clear, definitive, explicit in their simplicity.

There is no emotion; there is peace.
There is no ignorance; there is knowledge.
There is no passion; there is serenity.
There is no death; there is the Force.

The implications of the code for any Jedi, whilst unwritten, are equally unequivocal. A Jedi must feel no emotion. Passion must be replaced with reason, uncertainty with self-possession. A Jedi must feel no love, no hate; only a desire for peace and harmony. Grief is an abandoned concept for a Jedi, for there is no true death; only a glorious ascension. A Jedi sheds no tears for fallen companions, but rejoices in their achievement of true union with the Force.

Based on the above, I am in all possibility the worst Jedi the Order has ever seen.

The only peace that I have ever known, discounting the temporary release of meditation, has been in those whom I love. My serenity lies solely in the singular fulfillment of a bond of intimacy forged with another – precisely the type of bond expressly forbidden for a Jedi.

As far as knowledge is concerned, I have none left now that I can trust. Perhaps Master Yoda is right; the life of solitude I now face on Tatooine will prove to be the ideal environment for reflection, training, growth. It seems important that I should progress in some way, grow stronger and more proficient, though at this moment I cannot imagine what purpose it could serve. The only shred of reason I have left is my duty to Luke, to the last remnant of hope for the Jedi order. For him, for his sister and for their dear parents whom I failed, I will find the will to carry on.

For now, however, I am still no Jedi.

When Qui-Gon died, I felt the grief would suffocate me. For days, weeks on end, I existed as a shell, going about my routines with an almost automatonic compliance while my consciousness clawed for some solid grounding, anything that might be enough to anchor me back to reality.

I found my reason then in my master's dying wishes. In the promise I made to him as he held his last breath in my arms. And before long, I became attached to my charge, to the spirited boy with an extraordinary power and a potential far beyond his youthful comprehension. Despite my initial misgivings, it was impossible to remain resentful of Anakin for long, and our bond strengthened as his ability gradually developed under my inexpert tutelage. I think even Master Yoda was surprised at how rapidly he seemed to progress from an unruly boy into a proficient and highly accomplished young Jedi.

He never knew until it was too late just how proud of him I was.

I feel emotion burning within me now with an intensity that would be frightening if I weren't so numb. Love, now agonising in its futility, for the boy Qui-Gon found on Tatooine, for the protégée I raised, for the warrior and the friend he became. Grief for the fact that that boy is dead, and I as good as choked the life from him myself. Hatred for the thing that took him from me, the evil that consumed him from within, wringing out all the goodness and courage and purity until there was nothing behind left but a wretched shell. Anakin is lost forever, more so even than if he were dead because of course, there is no death for a Jedi. His soul, his being, was devoured in the forging of the thing that now inhabits his body, a creature which bears no resemblance to the boy I trained or the brother I loved.

This is my failing, Anakin, not yours. I failed you, and I'm sorry. I am so sorry.

For perhaps the third time in my life, I cry.

The tears are shed for too many lives, lost in this senseless war or in the destruction that followed. For the Jedi, the order that had stood for decades but was shattered in less than an hour, the younglings slain before they were old enough to understand why. For Padmé, poor, brave Padmé, and her twins who would grow up without one another and with no experience or knowledge of their parents besides whatever clouded Force memories they might one day salvage.

Most of all, I cry for Anakin, the second person in my life who I've loved and the second I've lost to a darkness that I should have seen, should have been able to vanquish.

I cry for the part of myself that died with him.