Title: Fraternity

Warnings: RotS spoilers, Obi-Wan's oh so angsty POV.

Disclaimer: Star Wars doesn't belong to me, otherwise there'd have been way more x-wing fighting involved. Alas.

Notes: Oh wow, this is my first SW story, which is fun. Have to thank Mel for shooting ideas with me. And J for magically specialiciousness. R&R makes me happy.

In your youth, you learned many legends involving brothers.

Your Master taught you most of them, though where he first heard them you do not know. Such stories exist in nearly every culture you're aware of, with surprisingly little variation on the theme: one brother is favored, the other is angry, and- inevitably- there is war between them.

But you never thought it could be true.

It goes against every natural law for brothers to turn against one another. And he was your brother in everything except blood.

Which is why you could not kill him.

You left him clinging as precariously to life as he was to the patch of rock he'd fallen on, but you know that he survived. You can still sense his presence across the vast distance that now lies between you- an awful malignancy that makes your hands shake and your heart grow cold.

Sometimes you wonder if you were right to walk away after everything he'd done, and everything you could imagine he'd do. Part of you wishes that you could have killed him - a deep, dark corner of your mind that no amount of training and discipline can blot out entirely. The same part of you that wonders if all of it is your fault, your failure.

You feel it at night, when you wake up sobbing and drenched in sweat, with visions of carnage flickering before your eyes. And in the silent days, when loneliness and loss bring you to your knees, and you can find no solace in your training.

You laugh bitterly when you think of what your old Master would say to you now.

Thus far you have not been able to perform the exercises that would allow you to speak with him. In truth, you have not even attempted them in several days, because the emptiness that follows each failure is worse than any form of torture.

You know you are teetering on the same ledge that he has fallen over, but you cannot pull yourself back.

Memories of the tiny infant you carried in your arms to this desert land- and of his sad and lovely mother- are the only thing that keep you from tumbling into darkness. The Lars girl, Beru, has come to you twice with news of the boy, and a basket of home-cooked food. Both times you warned her that she was putting herself at considerable risk, but you are grateful for her kindness- the one bright spot in your exile.

Lately, though, she has not returned. You wonder if her husband has asked her not to come; he distrusts you and wants to distance himself from you, and you cannot blame him, because any suffering that will come is the result of your damnably merciful hands.

Because brothers should not kill each other.

As night falls and you lie awake, wrapped in your fraying cloak, it is the only thought you can muster against the doubts that assail your mind. With a sinking heart, you realize that you will always cling to it, regardless of what happens. Even if it leads- as surely it will, should you meet him again- to your death.

And then, after a moment, you find that you accept that. You sit up, feeling calmer than you have in days, and blink your eyes because the air in front of you is beginning to blur. A familiar presence surrounds you, one you have not felt in years, and your Master's name springs to your lips.

Something inside you bursts, and the words come pouring out in a tremulous rush. You tell him of the Republic's terrible fall, of your exile, of all your doubts and fears. And all the while, his figure becomes clearer and sharper, and the cold ache within you slowly dissipates.

You tell him that you will never strike the killing blow. That you cannot do it.

Because brothers should not kill each other.

That is as it should be.

And you are content.