Many thanks to all of my readers! I appreciate all of your reviews, even if its just to tell me to update. It does help! ;)
Ice Dragon3: to get accent marks over letters, I go to insert->special character. Hope that helps! -- mickeylover303: I'm so glad to have helped intoduce you to the world of SW slash! I really appreciate your comments. -blush-
And yes, I will start posting the sequel to this story soon, sometime later this week. :) However, I hesitate to call it a sequel, as it is quite different from this story. Since this story is non-slash and the two that follow it are slash, I tried to "distance" them somewhat. Well, you'll see what I mean. ;)
Here we go, last chapter!
"Loud your thoughts are, young Skywalker." Master Yoda observed as he hobbled past Anakin towards the Council Chambers. "Fear loss, you should not."
Anakin quickly stood, embarrassed at having had his mental wanderings heard by the wise old Master. "Sorry, Master, yes," he stammered out.
"Why stand there, do you?" Yoda asked, peering back at Anakin as he opened the door to the Council chambers. "Have an appointment, we do." Without saying anything further, Yoda made his way inside.
Anakin looked after him for a moment in surprise, and then quickly hurried in just as the door shut. Yoda was seating himself comfortably in his chair, and looked up at Anakin when he had finished.
"Master?" Anakin began, looking around the empty room uncertainly. "If I may ask, where are the rest of the Council members? If I recall, I was summoned to meet with the Council," he emphasized.
"So you were, yes. But speak first with you alone, I will," The small Master replied. Anakin mentally squirmed under the penetrating gaze that studied him, feeling unusually self-conscious.
Unable to stand the scrutiny any longer, Anakin spoke up. "Have you decided yet?" he asked, not bothering to say what about.
"For me to decide, it is not. Determine if Obi-Wan is a fitting Master for you, your own behavior will." Yoda answered serenely.
"And what has my behavior decided, then?" he replied tersely. He really didn't want to deal with Yoda's unique brand of wisdom now. He just wanted to be told that he was still Obi-Wan's Padawan.
"What think you of your Master, young Skywalker?" Yoda asked abruptly. "Worried, are you, for him?"
Somewhat taken aback by the straightforwardness of the question, Anakin replied, "I know that a Jedi should not worry, Master. But if I did, then yes, I would worry for Obi-Wan." He chose his next words carefully, while at the same time abandoning all care as his feelings crystallized for the first time into words. "But that has nothing to do with the change that he has undergone. It's because I care about him and want him to be safe."
For a long moment, Yoda only looked at him. "But trust him, do you, to care for himself?"
"How did your meeting go, Anakin?" Obi-Wan greeted Anakin pleasantly.
Anakin grinned broadly. "Very well, Master, very well." He had just gotten out of what may very well have been the most nerve-wracking Council meeting that he had ever experienced, but the end result had been favorable. He still wasn't sure what he had said to convince them, but the Council had decided to allow him to continue his apprenticeship with Obi-Wan.
"And what did the Council want with you, anyway?" Obi-Wan inquired, looking at him curiously. "It wasn't about last night," he stated.
"No, Master, it wasn't." He hesitated for a moment as he decided how to continue. He didn't want to tell Obi-Wan . . . but he didn't want to lie to him either. "The Council had my apprenticeship to you under review," he admitted.
"Ah." Obi-Wan said non-commitally. "Master Yoda had mentioned something along those lines."
"You knew?" Anakin gaped.
"Not much, really," Obi-Wan amended. "I was told only that the Council was 'concerned' about my ability to be a dominant role model as I am now, if I couldn't manage the same before," he said wryly. "Though now I see why you were so anxious to restore our training bond."
"I'm sorry, Master," Anakin said sorrowfully. "I do respect you. And I did miss you," he added. The last thing he wanted was for Obi-Wan to doubt his motivations. He could live with it if the Council doubted him, but not Obi-Wan.
"I know." Obi-Wan said, regarding Anakin fondly. "And I need you to trust me, to take care of myself and your training as well."
"I'll try, Master, I promise," Anakin said sincerely.
"I just hope that's not what you told Master Yoda." Obi-Wan said with a teasing smile.
A brief look of horror crossed Anakin's face, but was quickly followed by one of relief as he recalled his conversation with Yoda. "No, Master."
"Good. Now how about you show me?" Obi-Wan flashed him an almost mischievous grin, and Anakin followed him as he headed out the door.
"I yield." Anakin panted out. Sweaty and tired, he knelt motionless on the training room floor, Obi-Wan's new 'saber at his chest. The pale green blade quickly withdrew at his words, and Obi-Wan offered Anakin his hand to get up. Anakin looked at the small offering doubtfully, thinking he would be more likely to pull Obi-Wan down. He quickly caught himself though, reminding himself that if Obi-Wan could beat him so thoroughly while sparring then he could certainly help him up.
Anakin accepted the proferred hand as he rose, and then walked gingerly over to the bench to grab a towel. Trying to keep up with his Master had been a difficult task, as Obi-Wan had incorporated so many leaps and aerial maneuvers that it almost made him dizzy, and he'd used many rarely used muscles to keep up with him. He still wasn't quite used to Obi-Wan's new fighting style, so his Master had beaten him worse than usual today. He would definitely be sore tomorrow.
But seeing the calm, satisfied look that Obi-Wan wore was worth it. They had both needed this. True, Anakin was still on probation, but he was confident that he could be a better Padawan if only he tried harder.
"Very good effort, Padawan," Obi-Wan observed. "You are much improved," he commented with a knowing smile.
"Thank you, Master," Anakin said modestly. "But just you wait until I get a better handle on your style. Then we'll have some real fun," he said slyly.
"I look forward to it, my young Padawan," Obi-Wan acknowledged with a tilt of his head.
Obi-Wan headed to the showers then, and Anakin followed. As he was enjoying the feel of the warm water against his tired muscles, a sudden, unwelcome thought popped into his head. "Master?" he called, directing his query to the stall next to his.
"What is it, Anakin?" Obi-Wan replied as he felt around for the soap.
"What are they going to do with that Aurën guardsman that tried to kidnap you?"
"Marcall, you mean? Nothing, I'm afraid. The containment cell they put him in didn't even hold him for the night. He's long gone by now," Obi-Wan replied off-handedly.
Anakin's eyes widened in surprise, both at the information itself and by how unaffected by it Obi-Wan seemed to be. "What if he comes back?"
"I doubt King Elhosan would send the same man twice, Anakin," Obi-Wan corrected him.
"But--" Anakin bit his lip.
"And besides, I think its safe to say that we've seen the last of the Aurën. This last incident has surely demonstrated that they will risk more exposure trying to capture me than by leaving me free." Obi-Wan reasoned.
"I suppose you're right, Master," Anakin admitted. Obi-Wan probably was right about this, as he was about just about everything else. And even if they did come for him again, Anakin was secure in his knowledge that Obi-Wan could, and would, put up a good fight.
"Though if there is a next time," Anakin added, "Don't have all the fun without me." He shot Obi-Wan a playful grin, and was rewarded with one of his Master's rare, amused looks.
"I shall try."
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